It’s your wedding day. The day you’ve always dreamed of since you were a child. The day you’ve been planning for your whole life – or at least for the past year. You’ve planned every detail of every minute so that it is just the way you dreamed. It’s true you want everything to be just the way you planned, but don’t forget about your guests. Those individuals who have traveled near and far to share in your special day and watch you make your lasting commitment to each other. You want them to have the time of their lives and return with fond memories their experience. What could go wrong? Here are our top 8 most common wedding complaints and how to avoid them.
1. Selecting A Difficult Date.
When selecting the date for your wedding, not only do you have to coordinate the availability of your venue, caterer, photographer, band, and other vendors, you should also consider any holidays or special events that may conflict. Unless you’re set on having a candlelight New Year’s Eve wedding or a Halloween-themed reception, steer clear of the holiday seasons and special events. Many of your guests may have holiday traditions that they won’t want to break, or have already made plans for vacation travel or to attend the big Bowl game. Also, let your guests know as soon as you do when you have selected a date so that they can mark their calendars and reserve the date for your special day.
2. Confusing Invitation Guest Lists.
Don’t start your wedding festivities off on a negative or hurtful foot by not making it clear who is or who is not invited. Are you inviting all children, or just children in the family? Is there an age limit? What about “plus ones”? The first remedy is to use proper etiquette when addressing your wedding invitations. Write the individual names of the people invited on the inner envelope. And don’t exclude the “significant other” your cousin has been living with for two years, just because they aren’t married. Chances are, not only will that cousin not show, she will feel slighted for the omission. As an added clarification, write the names of the guests you want to invite on the response card and leave your primary guest to check off whether they will or will not attend.3.
No doubt you have attended weddings, both indoor and outdoor, where the temperature was either way too hot, or way too cold. You want your guests, your wedding party, and YOU to be comfortable both at the wedding and the reception. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, today’s party planners rely on party supply vendors to have just what they need to keep their guests comfortable. From canopy tents, tents with sides, and heaters or air-conditioning units, you can plan for whatever the weather may bring. You can also provide fans, cold drinks and sunglasses for warmer weddings, or cozy pashminas, scarves and blankets for colder weddings.
4. Seating Slipups.
Guests will complain if you don’t take the time to provide a sensible seating chart for dinner, or even worse, if you don’t have a seating chart at all! Part of making your guests feel comfortable is to have them know where they belong when it comes time for dinner, and to seat them among or next to people they know. Also, don’t crowd your tables with too many people so that elbows are touching. And make sure your table centerpieces don’t interfere with eye-to-eye contact across the table.
5. Buying Their Own Drinks.
In the 80’s it was the norm. But while today’s wedding guest won’t mind paying travel and clothing expenses to attend your wedding, he does not expect to pay for his drinks. Opt out of a cash bar for your reception. If a budget is a concern, which is completely understandable, opt, instead, for a limited selection of beers and wines and/or a special tasting station or signature cocktail.
Likely one of the most important elements of your wedding day, and probably the one that gets the most complaints, is the food. Always carefully plan AND taste every item that you elect to serve at your wedding. Consider offering some sort of food during cocktail hour, if you have one. Wedding-goers expect to delight in great-tasting selection of a variety of foods. Consider a balance of sweet, salty and healthy selections. And, don’t forget options for the special diets your guests may have including those with food allergies, vegetarians, vegans, diabetics and gluten-free diets. You may want to ask about dietary restrictions on your RSVP card and then note each person’s individual needs.
7. Volume & Type Of Music
This is a tough one. Pleasing your guests of all ages and music interests can be extremely challenging. Deciding between a DJ and band is also something to consider. Some tips for winning with music?
- Keep the music slower and softer during your cocktail and dinner time so your guests are able to converse.
- Whether you choose a DJ or a band, make sure you have given them a long list of potential songs to play that will encompass a wide range of decades to interest the most guests possible.
- Don’t sit elderly guests near the speakers.
- Pump up the volume when it’s time to get people out on the dance floor.
- Make sure your music provider is flexible so that they can change genres if what they are playing isn’t working.
8. Disappearing Bride & Groom.
Your guests are at your wedding to – guess what? – see YOU. They want to see you walk down the aisle, they want to see your first dance. But mostly, they want to give you a hug and tell you, in person, how much you mean to them and how happy they are for you. It may be challenging to accomplish, but you must make every effort to visit every table, to hug every guest and thank them for coming. If your photographer can follow you around to get photos of everyone there, even better, because chances are, the whole night will be a blur when you wake up the next morning. Follow up your honeymoon with personal, hand-written thank-you notes to for each and every gift. They WILL notice if you don’t send them. It’s the least you can do for their generosity.
Here’s a checklist to get you started with all you’ll need for your wedding. If you need help planning, consider the party planning specialists at Cabaret Tent and Party Rental. They’ve been planning weddings in the New York City area for more than 35 years. Planning a wedding certainly isn’t easy, but if you can avoid these eight most common guest complaints, you’ll be on your way to providing your guests with an amazing experience.