For some reason, the second you start planning your own wedding it becomes very easy to forget about what it's like to be a guest. While yes, the day is all about celebrating you — your partnership, and your lifelong union — you shouldn't forget that your guests are some of your favorite people in the world. You guys invited them, after all.
Here are a few ways to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible on your big day.
1. Arm them with the necessary supplies.
Stock the reception bathrooms with some supplies they might need during the party. We're talking pain medicine, mouthwash, stain remover, hairspray, bug spray, and the like. These things might come in handy for you, too!
For out-of-town guests, having a basket of goodies to greet them in their hotel room is such a nice touch. Fill a bag with some of your favorite local products, snacks, and any info they'll need for the day or weekend. (The last part will save you from handling panicked text messages from lost or confused guests.)
2. Say hello to everyone.
It's a tall order if you have a huge guest list, but taking a few minutes to greet each person means a lot — especially to family and some of your older relatives. They're here to support you, so make it a point to say hi and thank each person for coming. If you have time, try taking a picture with them, too.
3. Strategically plan your seating chart.
A wedding without a seating chart gets awkward real fast. Where do you sit? Who should be sitting at each table? Do everyone a favor and have a system that will point every one in the right direction. A seating chart allows you to separate fighting guests, lets you put family together, and ensures everyone will have a seat.
4. Make sure there's more than enough to eat and drink.
Have you ever been to a wedding where you get your meal and it's the world's smallest portion? We're not saying you need to give everyone super-sized plates of food, but make sure people won't go hungry. If you're questioning it, consider keeping a table full of snacks that guests can help themselves to throughout the night. You don't want people leaving early because they're starving.
When it comes to drinks, it's up to you guys whether or not you want to have an open bar or not (maybe you want no bar?). If you do have a bar, make sure to work with the venue or caterer to make sure there will be enough. And either way, you'll need plenty of non-alcoholic options for those who don't drink or just need a break from the booze.
5. Create a charging station.
People use their phones instead of cameras these days. And due to all of the photo-worthy moments from the day, their batteries might be drained before your first dance. Set up a little corner or table with iPhone and Android chargers to make sure everyone has enough juice to capture all the moments they want to.
6. Plan for the weather.
You can't control the weather, but you can help guests be more comfortable in it. Is the day going to have a record-high temp? Make sure you have plenty of cold, non-alcoholic beverages, fans, and cool places to sit so guests don't overheat. Is it going to be chilly at night? Keep a basket full of blankets around. And we don't want to use the R-word, so we'll just say this: You might need some umbrellas.
7. Curate a mix of music that works for a range of guests.
Think about your audience and try to keep the tunes as universal as possible. Throw in some classics for older guests and some current hits for your friends. You can always stack the night with the traditional songs up front and save the more fun stuff for later, once the older folks have said their goodbyes. When in doubt, allow the band or DJ to take requests to keep everyone feeling included.
8. Provide non-dining chair seating options.
Some people don't dance and others get tired after a long day of excitement. Think about adding little lounge areas so guests won't have to sit at their tables all night.
9. Gift a useful favor.
Food is almost always a safe bet. In our experience, mini bottles of wine or Champagne are always well-received because they can bring them back to the hotel and keep the party going. Think about other things guests might want to eat later in the night — or in the morning when people wake up feeling, um, a little rough.
10. Help everyone get home.
If you're providing transportation from the venue back to the hotel, make sure that information gets advertised. If you're not, consider having printed out directions or numbers for local cab companies (not everyone knows how to use Uber!).
What other special touches have you done or seen at weddings?