At the end of the day your wedding is about you. But since you’re celebrating with the most important people in your life, and spending a pretty penny along the way, you probably want to ensure that your guests have an amazing time too.
Here are six of the most common wedding guest complaints and some advice on how to avoid them:
1. Dinner seating snafus
While you most certainly can’t ensure all of your guests will be pleased with the table that you’ve sat them at, you can ensure that they’re comfortable while they’re there and that the seating environment is conducive to conversation.
How to avoid: Avoid packing in too many guests at one table. With standard round tables for example, aim for eight guests at a 60” and 10 guests at a 72”. Be mindful of your table decor decisions. Sure, tall centrepieces can really make an impact; but they’re also a major conversation killer.
2. Cash bar groans
This is not to say that footing the bill for an open bar is the answer, but when you’re hosting a wedding it’s nice for your guests not to have to reach for their wallet every time they want a drink.
How to avoid: Consider serving a limited selection of wine and beer to keep costs at bay and let guests pay for any cocktails. If you prefer to offer more choice, why not provide a few drink tickets to each guest that they can use on whatever they’d like? Avoiding an open bar can actually be a blessing in disguise as you’ll see far less abandoned drinks and hopefully less inebriated guests.
3. Cold weather commotion
There’s nothing worse than freezing your butt off at a wedding because it ruins your enjoyment of, well, everything else at the wedding.
How to avoid: If you’re planning an outdoor reception in Vancouver at any time of year be equipped with heaters and blankets to keep your guests comfortable. It also wouldn’t hurt to remind your guests to bring a warm coat for the evening.
4. Less than good food (or lack thereof)
Bottom line, food is super important so choose your caterer and menu wisely. If you’re straying from the ordinary sit-down dinner, be sure to let your guests know beforehand so they can plan accordingly.
How to avoid: Always arrange a food tasting before you select your menu items so you can avoid dry chicken and pint-size portions. Ask your guests when they RSVP if they have any allergies or special dietary concerns. Also, if you’re only offering snacks and dessert, be sure to let your guests know beforehand. Nobody wants their guests to arrive and leave starving.
5. Never ending toasts / speeches
It’s tough to tell guests that they can’t speak but most should understand that there’s a limited amount of time for toasts in the overall wedding itinerary. Short, sweet and humorous are three characteristics of a good wedding speech, so keep that in mind when you’re briefing your speakers.
How to avoid: Politely give any speakers a five minute allocated timeframe for their speech and avoid an open mic at all costs (this can be particularly problematic when your guests have had a few drinks). Don’t make serving dinner contingent on your speeches concluding because they, more often than not, run overtime. Instead, kick off speeches once dinner is served and everyone has had a chance to get through the first course.
6. Intolerable music
Okay, so it’s tough to please everyone with your playlist selection as music is so very subjective. You can, however, be strategic with the type of music you play when and ensure that the style and volume suits the time of the evening. A good DJ should also be able to read the crowd on the dance floor as a cue on what kind of music to play.
How to avoid: During cocktail hour and dinner, try to ensure that you’re playing music at a volume that’s low enough to speak over. You should also choose a genre that sets a good atmosphere but isn’t too jarring, something like soft rock or jazz. Generally it’s best to kick off the dancing with some older classics like Sinatra and Huey Lewis and saving the loud party music for later in the night. Also, be cognisant of seating Grandma and any other elderly relatives far away from the speakers, and don’t forget to give your DJ your must-play and do-not-play playlist.