Hey, guys! Whether you found this post through pinterest, google, instagram or facebook–you’re here for one reason. You are planning a wedding and want it to be the most amazing one ever! We know there is nothing worse than being a guest at a wedding where you feel like you are spending the entire time standing around waiting for something to happen. And we’re here to help make sure that does not happen at your wedding.
Of all the weddings we have been guest at, our favorite ones have always been the ones where we were not stuck in our seats waiting. They were the ones where we felt like everything was going smoothly and the night was progressing well. After photographing and attending over 100 weddings, we have seen patterns in events and activities that guest enjoy.
So, here is our advice to have a wedding your guest will love:
First, things first, an amazing wedding experience for your guest means that they are not waiting around too long at any particular time. That means if your ceremony starts at 4:00, but you’re not walking down the aisle until 4:30, guest can start to get a little bored. The same thing for the reception, if they are sitting around waiting for things to happen they may get a little restless.
So great, we know that is a problem, but how do we fix it?
Your timeline will have a huge impact on your guest experience. First looks are a great way to make it so your guests are not sitting waiting around. When you have a first look, you can get 80% of your photos done before the ceremony begins, meaning that your reception can start on time! This is great because people are not waiting around after all the appetizers have been devoured. If you need a little extra time during your cocktail hour–give your guests something to do, this will keep them happy and entertained.
Along with the timeline, try to make sure dinner only last an hour (huge weddings are an exception). The lull between finishing dinner and waiting for events to start is when we really start to see people get fidgety.
Put the correct start time on your invitations. I know that typical advice says to put your start time 15/30 minutes earlier so guests are there. However, from our experience, people who want to be there will be there on time. Once guests are waiting too long, they start to move around, wondering if something is wrong and get a little fidgety. So if you want to start your ceremony at 5:00 pm, put that on the invite.
I know when I was a bride one thing I pictured was dancing the night away with all of my friends. But the reality is, not everyone likes to hit the dance floor all night long! We have only photographed a handful of weddings where more people danced than didn’t. So it is a good idea to give guests who don’t like dancing something to do.
At our wedding, we had a dessert station, board game area, and a photo booth! All three were a hit and gave our guests something to do that wasn’t dance.
Some of the biggest hits we have seen have been:
A petting zoo
Doughtbar, taco truck, dessert truck (basically a late night bite)
And since we’re on the topic of dancing… a great DJ will increase your guest experience! A great DJ will know how to feel out the mood and play songs that get people up and moving. There is nothing worse than an inexperienced DJ who gets everyone up for one song, only to have them sitting for the next.
Don’t feel like you have to space your events out every 20/30 minutes! Grouping activities together will keep guests entertained. Now, that is not saying put all the dances, cake, and toss back to back. But instead of taking a break between each dance, have them back to back. Group similar activities and then give guests a break. Try not to let any break in activity last more than 30 minutes, unless all events have been completed.
Don’t wait to cut the cake, for some guests cutting the cake signifies that they can leave. So makes sure you don’t push that too late in the night.
Don’t feel like you have to party all night! It is very hard to keep guests entertained for 6/7 hours! That is ALOT of time!!! Receptions don’t need to be 5+ hour long events if you want something simple keep it at that. However, if you want to party to midnight–then, by all means, do it!
I would love to hear from you!! As a guest what has been the best thing you have seen at a wedding??