How do I make my wedding guest feel special?

wedding guests dancing

As couples try to focus on personalization and unique details for their wedding day, a lot of attention is paid to making sure the guests have a truly excellent experience. This is one of the many reasons the popularity of smaller, intimate weddings has increased. However, for some sweethearts cutting the guest list is simply impossible. Whether you have a large number of friends, a huge family, or parents who insist on inviting who they please because they’re footing the bill, hosting fewer than 100 attendees doesn’t work for everyone. Plenty of pairs find themselves with over 200 loved ones checking yes on their RSVP card! Don’t fret though, and you can still make each of those people feel like they were an important part of your big day.

It’s very easy to get caught up on your wedding hype and think “this day is all about me”. While a wedding is centred on the bride and groom, remember that your guests also are there to celebrate your union while also enjoying a good time. It is also worth noting that your guests have spent so much on buying your gifts, getting a new outfit, and trundled out to wherever your wedding is being held. So, be the good host and make sure your guests feel comfortable and appreciated, even before the wedding, with these few tips.

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Before Your Wedding

wedding guests dancing

Give Your Wedding Guests Ample Time to Plan. 

As soon as you book your wedding venue, communicate your wedding date to your guests with a fun “save-the-date” announcement. This gives them plenty of time to plan for their trip to your wedding. For more assistance, check out our Wedding Stationery Guidebook.

Create a wedding website with your wedding guests in mind.  

As you write the copy for your wedding website, keep your wedding guests in mind. Tell them what they need to know to plan their trip to your wedding city. Share your favourite local restaurants and upload some local maps. And, remember to provide them with wedding day details — Is there a long walk from the parking lot to the ceremony location? Is the ceremony indoors or outdoors? Are you covering the cost of parking and the bar? If you aren’t let your guests know in advance so they can stop at the ATM on the way. And, don’t forget the primary details — Y0ur wedding date; the wedding venue address; the start and end time; and the expected attire. And, please ensure that your site’s domain name is easy to remember.

Inquire About Their Music Choices.  

When creating the copy for your RSVP card, consider adding a line that asks your wedding guests what song they would like to hear at your wedding reception. It allows your guests an opportunity to put in their song requests to the deejay or band before your wedding day arrives.

Upon Arrival

Welcome, Your Guests Upon Arrival at the Hotel. 

Place a welcome sign in the hotel lobby. It’s a basic but simple touch that brings a smile to your wedding guests’ face upon their arrival. And, never underestimate the power of a welcome note! Type a letter to your wedding guests, and ask the front desk staff to hand to your guests upon check-in. Or, you can pay to have the welcome note delivered to the guests’ rooms with a special welcome gift — Either way, it will make a big impression.

During Your Wedding 

Assemble a Wedding Day “Welcome Wagon.” 

Ask some of your family members to stand at the entrance of your ceremony and/or your reception to welcome wedding guests as they arrive. Since their sole purpose should be to welcome wedding guests, let someone else hand out the programs.

Think of the Introverts at Your Wedding.  

Allow your wedding guests to refresh. Provide some seating vignettes away from all of the action. If you want to kick it up a notch, bring in lounge furniture and place a small bar near these seating areas.

Be Inclusive. 

Reach out in advance to your guests needing special accommodations, and find out what they need to participate in your wedding day fully. Work with the venue and the caterer to accommodate their needs. But don’t make a huge deal about it! You don’t want to make your guests feel awkward or feel like they are a burden.

Provide Child Care for the Younger Guests.  

Will your guest list include children? Then, consider securing a room for the children, and hire a professional (and licensed) babysitting service to entertain and care for the children. The children will have fun, and their parents will be able to enjoy an evening with other adults! Check out our Wedding Activity Book for Children.

After Your Wedding 

Keep Your Wedding Guests Hydrated on the Way Home.  

Get some water bottles branded with your wedding logo or monogram, and ask the valet parking staff to place these cold water bottles in the cup holders of your guests’ cars right before they bring them their car. Your guests will love you for it. 

Provide Your Wedding Guests with a “Morning After” Treat. 

Are most of your guests staying at the hotel or resort? If so, have the hotel staff deliver a nice treat to your guests the next morning. Some suggestions include biscuits and jam or scones and tea.

Cap Off Your Wedding Weekend with a Fun Event. Dance the night away with your wedding guests at an upbeat “after-party” or chill out with them at a mellow brunch on the morning after.

Show Your Gratitude in a Timely Manner.  

Don’t make your guests wonder if you received their gift. Send a personalized thank you note to each of your wedding guests within 1-2 weeks after you received it. Check out our Post-Wedding Day Worksheet.

Small gestures and anticipating the needs of your wedding guests will go a long way toward making your wedding guests feel welcome!

Ways To Make Your Wedding Guests Happy

Create A Wedding Website In Consideration Of Your Guests

Keep your wedding guests in mind as you create your website. Your website copy should tell them whatever it is they need to know. Tell them about the city where you’re having your wedding. Give them tips on how to plan their trip (if need be) efficiently.

You may want to share some of your favourite restaurants so that if they plan to stay for a couple more days, they’ll have an idea of where to eat their meals. You can even upload a map to your wedding venue. With that, your wedding guests won’t have to go on stops to ask for directions.

On top of that, you may also want to add some wedding day details. For instance, you can tell them if your wedding ceremony is held indoors or outdoors. You can tell them if they still need to take a long walk from the parking lot before getting to your actual wedding venue.

Your wedding website is also a good place to tell your wedding guests if you’re paying for the parking lot or if they have to cover it themselves. With that, they can stop by an ATM on their way to the wedding venue.

Most importantly, you shouldn’t forget to put in details like what time the wedding ceremony will start, not to mention the proper wedding attire. Wedding websites can also do e-invite for RSVP.

Place A Welcome Sign Upon Your Wedding Guests Arrival At The Hotel

Do you plan to book a hotel room for your wedding guests? If yes, you might want to consider putting up a welcome sign for them. No need for it to be too fancy. Just make it short and sweet so that you can paint a smile on your guests’ faces when they arrive at your wedding destination.

This might seem like a small gesture, but it means a lot to your wedding guests who probably spent hours looking for your wedding destination. You never know. Some of them might have even come from faraway towns and went all the way to attend your wedding.

Serve water and refreshments for your wedding guests.

Your wedding guests are most likely to be looking to quench their thirst or get some refreshments while waiting for everyone the moment they enter your wedding venue.

With that, make sure to have plenty of water or refreshment in the venue. While wedding venues usually have water storage, you may want to bring some that are on bottles so that guests can carry them wherever they go.

Setup A Different Wedding Table For Kids And Adults

While there is no harm for kids in playing and simply having fun, it can make your wedding a bit disorganized.

Adult wedding guests would need a place where they can talk and socialize with each other. That being said, we suggest you set up a separate table for the kids and adults. Besides kids love to be with other kids.

Prepare A Charging Station For Your Guests

Your wedding guests would be too busy getting their dresses ready that they might forget their power bank, guests taking photos minute by minute draining their phones.

In that case, you better prepare a charging station so that your guests can keep on taking photos and upload them on social media. Having a battery drained phone during that special day is a sad, sad situation.

Check out our extensive list of Wedding Bands in Melbourne to help you celebrate your special night.

Bring Some Insect repellent lotion/spray For Your Wedding Guests.

In case the venue is outdoor like gardens with tropical plants and fauna, it best to prepare insect repellent lotions or spray for your guests. This way, your guests will feel cared and special in such away.

Consider Putting Up A Small Bar In Your Wedding Venue

After the ceremony, there’s bound to be a wedding party, and you can’t have a party without booze. This is the most effective way to gather your guests in one section and keep the spirit flowing.

Give Your Wedding Guests Some Surprise Entertainment

Maybe you can hire a band or singer to perform at your wedding. Your wedding guests won’t see it coming.

Recorded music is good too, but nothing beats the excitement and energy brought by a live performance.

Provide detailed information 

If you are holding a destination wedding, your guests need to know what they are up to. Some of these weddings can be held in a very remote place or even last for days. List detailed information and itinerary for each event so they would know where to go, what to bring, and how many days they are packing for. You can include this information using a booklet in the invitation or on your wedding website.

Welcome bags 

Welcome bags are a great way to say “Thank you for coming to our wedding!” easily to everyone. This is especially true if you are hosting a destination wedding and your guests had to go the distance. Present them with the exotic trinkets and souvenirs the town has to offer. Maybe even add your sense of personal touches like the calligraphy of their name or a little message. This will bring a smile to anyone.

Relevant favours

Still, on the subject of destination weddings; some require guests to bring extra appliances. Beach weddings mean flip-flops and sunblock, tropical weddings call for an umbrella and shades, and so much more. More often than not, your guests will forget some of the essential items for certain destinations. Offer them your alternative to these articles through the wedding favours. Your guests will be relieved and love you even more for how thoughtful you can be.

Don’t keep your guest waiting.

Some weddings most likely have more than an hour break between the ceremony and reception. Don’t keep your guests waiting too long by taking too many bridal shots or touching up your makeup. We know it’s your day, but the last thing you want is your guests getting bored and decided to call it a day. To tackle this, you can always provide finger food or refreshments so your guests can mingle as they wait. If you want, you can also provide games for the guests to play together like this couple here!

Providing kids’ area

Kids are truly precious little things, but let’s face it; they can be fussy when they’re bored. Without a proper platform, these children will keep on nagging their parents and hinder them from enjoying the celebration. Unless you’re having a kid-free wedding, try to accommodate your guests’ children by providing a kids’ area. Colouring books, sandbox, dolls and pillows, these are some of the things you can put there for the kids to play with. This way, the kids, as well as their parents, can truly have a good time!

Guest lounge 

For a standing reception with plenty of guests, adding a lounge space to your reception makes complete sense. Not only it is pretty and can accentuate your wedding theme, but it’s also a perfect space for those with killer heels, people who danced their feet off, and for generally tired guests that are looking for a place to rest.

Be smart with your seating arrangements.

Open seating may be fun, but the pressure of having to save seats for their family and friends are not. Not to mention if there are no seats left and they have to join strangers that all came together. Plan your seating where your friends and your partner’s friends can mingle without feeling like a complete outsider. Also, keep in mind; don’t seat the elderly near the speakers, keep children near their parents, and feuding guests apart from each other.

Have a variety of meal options. 

Take your guests dietary needs into consideration when deciding the wedding menu and have at least one or two vegan option and a few different mains. It is also a good gesture to provide information if the food you’re serving contains allergy-prone ingredients such as nuts, lactose, or seafood. You don’t have to write down all the ingredients, place little logo next to the menu, so your guests are aware of what goes into the food.

Plan a few surprises. 

Keep things exciting for your guests by adding a few extra surprises to your reception. Photo booths are always proven to be a crowd-pleaser. Open mic karaoke is also one way to keep things alive. You’ll be treated to some amazing and even hilarious solos that will keep your guests involved. Inviting some entertainers is also a great alternative. A mini-musical performance, stand-up comedy, or performance by the bride and groom are some great ideas you can consider.

Check out our post on What should I expect from a wedding DJ?

Address problems positively. 

If you find yourself in a wedding day emergency, do not throw a fit and create a scene. It will only put all your guests in an awkward position. Instead, talk it out. Maybe your cousin drank too much and is behaving childishly. Keep your composure, talk to someone you can trust, and figure out a way to establish the situation the best way.

Comfort applies to many aspects of a wedding: the temperature of the venue (indoors and out), the number of personal space guests have, and opportunities for them to relax during the festivities. Your invitation or wedding website should indicate what dress code will best suit the occasion. Ceremony on a hot beach? Advise shades, sunscreen and sandals, and pick a reception venue that’s air-conditioned. Winter wedding? Offer guests a cozy reception room and a hot cocoa bar. Be sure your venue (and its restrooms) is wheelchair accessible if necessary. Just remember, comfortable guests, are happy guests.

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