- 1. Acting Like Royalty. You’re not a prince & princess. No one denies it’s your wedding day and it should be special; however, it’s one day in your married life. Do not treat your guests like they are your servants or peasants. If you have not hired professional services (cake baker, musicians, caterer or decorators) and are relying on family to provide these, you better show up and help as much as possible.
- Expecting & Not Thanking. Express gratitude in writing early, and often. If you receive an engagement gift, send a hand-written thank you note. Your aunt, or anybody else for that matter, will carry a grudge or be resentful of not having her gesture acknowledged. If someone hosts a shower or party for you, send a token of your appreciation, or at the very least, a hand written thank you note. Doing less, makes you look ungrateful and like you don’t have time for such manners. Some guests change their plans to attend due to a lack of gratitude during the engagement time.
- Unreasonable Wait Times. A wedding reception is the first event hosted by the couple (even if they aren’t paying for it). How you treat guests says a lot about you, your level of maturity and your sense of class. If you keep wedding guests waiting endlessly at the reception site, especially without access to food and drink, it sends a less than favorable impression of you and how you value your guests. 30 Minutes. Never arrive more than 30 minutes after your guests arrive to the reception location. Think about this when scheduling the wedding day events. Can photographs be taken before the ceremony? Can guests begin eating before your arrival? Can you pass hors d’ oeuvres and drinks until your arrival? Can the music start? Consider these before hopping in your limousine and taking photographs post ceremony.
- Running Out of Food. Always plan for 10 percent more than expected when ordering food from a caterer, and any good caterer will tell you they do this. First, get an accurate guest count and report that to your caterer, so they are adequately prepared. Don’t cut corners when it comes to serving your guests. And, do not assume a buffet is less expensive than a plated dinner. The latter guarantees all are served the same portion size, which does not happen with buffet lines.
- Dark Cold Settings. Outdoor events can be lovely. But that turns wicked when one fails to plan for Daylight Savings Time changes and falling temperatures. Not only are your guests cold, so is their food. If you are planning an outdoor event, lots of care must be given to proper lighting, pest control, food temperatures and level walkways.
- Drunk Guests. While inebriated guests may be amusing short-term, they become a nuisance and safety hazard while at the event, and especially if they drive away from the event. Hire professional bartenders who know when to cut guests off and are held liable for the drinks they serve. Tactfully handle inappropriate PDA (public displays of affection) and ask guests to keep beverages and cups off the dance floor.
- Noise. Guests want to hear you exchange your vows. Make sure they do either through voice or microphones. Honor the ceremony and keep the chit-chat between you two for later, not during the ceremony. Remember, many guests use weddings as family gatherings. Keep the music level reasonable so conversations can be had at the reception location.
- Distance. Consider if it’s reasonable to require guests to drive endless miles between the ceremony and reception and overnight lodging. Doing so may deter some from attending. Concern for this aspect of your wedding sends a message that you care about your guests as much as about yourself.
- Poor Planning. A seamless wedding requires proper planning with lots of attention to detail. It’s more than putting on a pretty dress and suit and saying, “I Do.” If this is not your skill set or if you do not have time to manage details, hiring an experienced wedding planner is your best wedding day investment. Have you considered the flow of guests to the buffet line? Are there vegan items?Are there enough toilets for the number of guests attending? Are there umbrellas for rain? Will the buffet line be open on both sides to move guests quickly through? Are there enough parking spaces? Is a valet service needed? If these give you a headache, hire a planner whose job it is to ensure that you have a wonderful wedding and that your guests enjoy being there to celebrate with you. You want them talking about great memories of your day, not sharing horror stories for years on end.
- Expenses. Consider that your guests incur expenses to celebrate with you, especially at destination weddings. Provide a variety of overnight lodging choices or choose a reasonably priced location if all guests will be in one location. Same thing for the bridal registry. Choose items at varying price points. And, for goodness sake, acknowledge the investment your guests have made to be there with you by, at the very least, thanking them during the reception. If your budget allows, place a gift basket or personalized note in each guest room.
- Performances. Weddings are steeped in tradition. Honor that. A church wedding deserves reverence not social media sharing moments. It may be trendy or cute to do a little jig down the aisle, but in the long run, it’s not cool and, over time, it will be regrettable. Same rule applies at the reception. Stop performing for You Tube and Facebook and present yourself to your guests as a couple for the first time in a way that respects them and each of you.
- Penny Pinching. Weddings are expensive. Avoid spending all of your budget on yourself and appearing cheap when it comes to your guests. Can you spend less on the dress and more on food quality or offerings? Can you spend one less day on your honeymoon and provide chairs for the ceremony and guest room baskets? Think this through. Leave guests loving you more than when they RSVPd to attend.
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Linda Leier Thomason is a former CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form below.
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