We’ve already looked at what guests remember most, and how to make your wedding the best one ever, but there are also some common pitfalls to avoid being labelled one of the worst weddings. Some complaints are so big for guests that they overshadow the good parts of your special day.
A bad date
Yes, your wedding date should be important to you and you shouldn’t have to take other people’s concerns into account, but the truth is a bad date can put a lot of people’s noses out of joint. When choosing your date, make sure you consider if there are any big matches happening that would have all the men (and possibly your groom) running to the nearest television straight after the ceremony. You should also consider the very end of a five-week month before pay day. This doesn’t mean you should avoid these days, but you should be aware of them.
Strict dress code
We’re not saying you can’t go black tie for your wedding, of course not. We love men in tuxedos! But if you’re having a themed wedding and insisting on your guests wearing a certain outfit or colour, expect grumbles in the ranks. They are not your bridal party to stick in whatever you want, so don’t be surprised when you hear guests complaining that they all had to wear black, or that all the men had to go and rent top hats. It is your wedding but your guests should be able to pick what they want to wear, within reason.
Yes, just like your wedding date, your wedding venue should be completely up to you, but it’s important to bear in mind the cost of staying there for the guests that want to avail of that option. If it is €500 a night, most guests probably won’t be able to afford it, which will mean your wedding will probably end early without a residents’ bar and with taxis to book back to other accommodation. Even if you believe your venue to be reasonably priced, it’s important to investigate, other, budget-friendly options close by for guests who would rather not stay in the venue itself, to show you’re taking them into consideration. Make sure you put this information in with your invitations.
Guests often complain about a large distance between the ceremony and the reception. We understand there are so many beautiful venues all over the county, but you can’t expect guests to come to your ceremony in Galway and then follow you to a reception in Dublin. Chances are you won’t even want to make that journey. Keep a limit on the distance you’re willing to go from your ceremony and stick to it. It’s a good idea to try and keep it under a 40 minute drive.
If your ceremony is at 1pm, there’s no reason for your reception and meal to be at 9pm. Guests commonly complain about the long wait between the ceremony and dinner, particularly if pre-dinner canapés are scarce. Even when they’re there, a long wait for dinner leaves guests annoyed and it’s what they’ll remember most, so bear this in mind when you’re opting for an extra two hours for photographs.
While we’re on the subject of food, one of the things guests remember most about a wedding, is the food, whether that’s for better or worse. Everyone always asks guests, particularly in Ireland, what the food was like, and you don’t want your guests answering that question with something negative. When you have 100-200 people to satisfy, you’re probably not going to please absolutely everyone, but you should be able to please the majority, by not being too risky or alternative. Here are five foods not to serve at your wedding to avoid guest complaints.
Sitting with strangers
Of course you’re probably going to have to mix and match some groups, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll have too many guests that don’t know anyone at all. Make sure you have someone at every table that knows someone else so no one is left on their own sitting with strangers, because, while your intentions may be to ensure your family and friends mingle with each other, there’s no point in forcing it and it can make for a very awkward dinner. While we’re on the subject, avoid the idea of a singles table. It’s just awkward, and everyone at it will know they’re at the singles table, which will not make them feel good. Most of the ‘singles’ will probably have attached friends that they’d much rather sit with at your wedding, then be on some bizarre group date. If you intend on match-making, consider introducing them later on and let things happen organically.
This isn’t something you necessarily have control over but speeches that go on and on and on tend to annoy guests, no guest ever came out of a wedding thinking the speeches were three hours but they were absolutely worth it. It’s a good idea to keep speeches to a 5-10 minute limit so that they don’t drag on and guests appreciate all the funny and touching moments of each speech instead of zoning out half way through.
It’s your wedding and you’re out to have a good time. But not everyone wants to be up dancing for every song. And while some of your guests are resting they may want to chat without feeling like they’re in a nightclub that they can’t escape from. It is possible to have you music loud enough for everyone to hear without making it impossible for your other guests to have a chat. And don’t forget, there’s a mix of all ages there so make sure you play music suitable for every generation.
Not seeing the bride or groom
Guests don’t expect to be talking to you all night, but they do expect to at least get to say hi to you. Make sure you greet everyone who comes to the wedding and spend a few minutes with them, so they feel appreciated. Remember, it’s your wedding, and all of these people took the time to travel to your wedding and celebrate today with you so make sure you get to say hello to them, chat to them and thank them for coming. They are here for you after all.
No thank you
One of wedding guests’ biggest gripe comes after the wedding, when they’re left waiting for a thank you card, only to never receive one. Then your wedding, your marriage and you as a couple will be remembered as the ones who didn’t say thank you for coming, and worse, the ones who didn’t say thank you for the gift you received. It’s just rude and there’s no excuse. Make sure you get to the thank you cards right away, and don’t worry if they seem daunting. Even if you have 200 guests, if you each take 10 per night, you’ll be done in 10 days. While we’re on the subject of gifts, make sure your registry has a massive price range. You have no idea what people can afford or what they want to spend on you so make sure the prices don’t start too high.
- Jenny Darmody