How to Balance Guests' Needs with Your Own

Be a good host without sacrificing your vision.

There frequently seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to discussing weddings. To some, you are the star of the show and everything is selected to make your special day as close to your dream vision as possible, no matter what anyone else thinks. Others take the opposite approach, feeling that the engaged couple are the hosts for the evening and must put their guests’ comfort before anything else.

how to balance your wedding guest's needs with your own
Photo by Ashley Paige Photography

Of course, as with many things in life, there is a middle ground to consider. Your wedding is primarily about you and your future spouse, but once you have invited other people, it is also important to be considerate of those honored to share the moment with you. Finding the proper balance between the two priorities can be tricky, but that’s why we’re here to navigate the minefield that is wedding planning. 

- When to worry about others' opinions. Your attendees should be a priority when it comes to food, drink, and general comfort (i.e. weather and temperature). However, they should not affect your choice of attire, décor, or theme, whether or not they are related or contributing to the event. It's your day!
- The guest list. If your parents are paying for the wedding, it is fair for them to pad the guest list a bit, but not at the expense of the people you want to be there. Whether it’s a spending limit or issue of venue capacity, your loved ones should take priority over your mom’s book club buddies.
- Compromise on entertainment. When it comes to the music, you should meet the revelers halfway. Perhaps you love a genre like country or punk, but you also want everyone to dance, right? Mix in some classics that a wide range of people will enjoy, and stick to niche favorites for your special dances.
- Don't skimp on moments you're not involved in. If it's important for you to not see your bride or groom until the ceremony, while you shouldn't be pressured into a "first look," you also should make sure that the guests are well taken care of at cocktail hour while you complete your photos.
- The plus one debate. People shouldn't ask for a plus one, but be considerate about when they are offered. It is impolite to not include one half of a couple, particularly if they are in a serious relationship.
- Compassionately adults-only. If you want a child-free wedding, be sure to give plenty of notice, and be understanding if those with children are unable to attend. If there are a lot of families traveling for the wedding, consider supplying childcare during the big day. That gesture will go along way in making your guests happy, while also providing you with the adults-only reception of your dreams.

For more ideas, find out if your wedding should be child-friendly or child-free, learn the must-know rules for plus-one guests, and see what's considered proper behavior when attending a wedding.

Authored by: Emily Lasnier