Honoring your love and commitment to one another is the reason for a wedding; however, when you host an event for invited friends and family, it’s important to keep their happiness in mind as well. To ensure you don’t make any guest-related faux pas, we’ve listed six of the main attendee complaints your loved ones might express – or even keep to themselves – after your event has come and gone, and how to avoid each of them!
- An inconvenient date. Chances are, if you’re having an average- to larger-sized guest list, your chosen date will be inconvenient to at least one person; however, the idea is to ensure the availability of the majority of your desired attendees with the selection of your date.
How to avoid: Even though you love Christmas, Halloween, or another major holiday more than anything else, resist the urge to pick it – or the few days surrounding it – as your wedding date. Additionally, take the schedules of your bridal party and immediate families into consideration. Find out if there are any big birthdays, graduations, etc. around the time you’re thinking and be sure not to book during such an event.
- An extensive “cocktail hour.” The second part of the phrase is included for a reason: cocktail hour should only last around 60 minutes or so – it may shift depending on if there is a location change for the two parts of the day – as its purpose is traditionally to give the wedding party some extra time to take photos. However, longer gaps between the ceremony and reception will only serve to irritate your guests.
How to avoid: Make sure you don’t leave anything extra to be done during the cocktail hour. Many photographers encourage doing a “first look” before the ceremony, which will cut down the amount of time needed to take photos in between the “I dos” and the party. Make a strict timeline and stick to it – hiring a professional planner or a day-of coordinator would help in this effort!
- An uncomfortable temperature. Unfortunately, weather isn’t 100% predictable, and sometimes it ends up being just too hot or too cold at your wedding ceremony or reception for your attendees to feel content. This is typically more of a ceremony problem, as friends and family are required to sit for a certain period of time.
How to avoid: Read up on plans and décor options in case of rain as well as ideas on how to keep your loved ones comfortable. Ensure you have a backup plan if the weather goes sour and ensure any indoor dance venues can be properly ventilated or “aired out” in case they become too stuffy.
- A confusing seating situation. Maybe you provided guests with a very confusing “match-up style” seating chart, or maybe you decided to go with an open-seating plan for your wedding with over 20 guests – these things can lead attendees to get left out of the pair or group they came with, pulling chairs from some tables to others, and general disorganization.
How to avoid: Make a clear and cohesive seating chart to present to your friends and family. You can definitely get creative in its design, but ensure it’s still easy to read – we recommend letting your parents or bridal party look at it for a second opinion. We also encourage you to embrace some sort of seating plan, unless you’re hosting a very intimate event, as open seating can cause unforeseeable logistical problems. Remember: giving your guests a table assignment is just fine – no need to assign every seat if you don’t want to!
- An inedible menu. Whether they have dietary restrictions, you have limited culinary options, or the food isn’t up to standards, this can pose a real problem. Cuisine is an important element for any formal affair and it should be treated as such every step of the way.
How to avoid: Ensure you concentrate a good amount of effort in the planning process on the food! Even if you’re having brunch nuptials or a cake-and-punch reception, take your fare seriously. First, keep your guests in mind: take all dietary restrictions into consideration and ask your caterer what options they have for each. Additionally, ask their opinion on how many appetizers and entrée selections they’d recommend for your maximum number of guests (the guest list you’re starting with – assume everyone will accept your invitation to avoid underestimation). Finally, do your research on your intended caterer and speak with people who have used them in the past – we strongly advise against making the food yourself or having friends and family step into that role on your wedding day.
- A set of disappearing hosts. They say the day goes by so quickly, you’re lucky if you get a slice of cake at your own wedding, but for some couples, it goes by so quickly that they forget to acknowledge each of their guests – either during the event or in the aftermath.
How to avoid: As previously stated, make a timeline for your nuptials and stick to it – be sure to allot time for you and your spouse to greet your friends and family, either during cocktail hour or the reception, to personally thank them for attending. What’s more: don’t forget to schedule some quality time to write thank-you notes after your fête to show your appreciation for the gifts you received!
Opening photo by Justine Ungaro