Take a second to think of the weddings you have attended. Think about the memorable—and not so memorable—elements of each. Then remember the highlights and what was done right. You want your wedding to stand out from the rest, so how do you make your wedding the best wedding ever? We have a few ideas that will leave your guests amazed.
Ultimately, your wedding day is about celebrating the love between you and the person you’re about to marry. But there’s another goal at hand: Throwing one seriously epic party that your guests will talk about for years to come. But how do you make your big day stand out among the crowds of weddings your family and friends have attended in the past? Ahead, sure-fire tips that will leave your guests impressed. Including even just a handful of this standout, ideas will turn your wedding day into an event to remember.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Ways to Throw the Best Wedding Ever
- 1.1 Keep Your Ceremony Brief
- 1.2 Choose a Personalized Program
- 1.3 Use a Wedding App or Hashtag
- 1.4 Give Out-of-Town Guests a Welcome Bag
- 1.5 Greet Each Guest
- 1.6 Create a Well-Planned Seating Chart
- 1.7 Splurge on the Open Bar
- 1.8 Have a Signature Cocktail
- 1.9 Make Sure Your Guests Are Comfortable
- 1.10 Design a Lounge Area
- 1.11 Keep Speeches Short
- 1.12 Ask for Song Requests
- 1.13 Create a DIY Bar
- 1.14 Have Phone Charging Stations
- 1.15 Play Wedding Games
- 1.16 Serve Late-Night Snacks
- 1.17 Give a Favor People Will Use
- 1.18 Have a Photo Booth
- 1.19 Skip Traditions That Don’t Fit Your Style
- 1.20 Make a Memorable Exit
- 2 What Do Guests Care Most About?
- 3 Top Wedding Planning Tips
- 3.1 Start wedding planning early
- 3.2 Nail the budget
- 3.3 Helping hands
- 3.4 Be selective with the guest list.
- 3.5 Long-distance venues
- 3.6 Make sure you have a Plan B in place.
- 3.7 Pick your best girls.
- 3.8 Book the best photographer you can
- 3.9 Get the menu right
- 3.10 Feel fabulous, but don’t overdo it
- 3.11 Don’t fall for common beauty mishaps.
- 3.12 Give your groom his responsibilities
- 3.13 Make the little details personal.
- 3.14 Lists, lists and more lists!
- 3.15 Don’t forget what’s important.
Ways to Throw the Best Wedding Ever
Keep Your Ceremony Brief
Don’t get us wrong, your friends and family are there to see you get married—but no one wants to watch a drawn-out ceremony. Keep the actual proceedings (not including entrances and exits) around 20 minutes so you won’t lose anyone’s attention.
Choose a Personalized Program
While we’re on the topic of the ceremony, don’t forget about creating a wedding program. By personalizing this piece of stationery with interesting details about you and your partner, a breakdown of the ceremony’s proceedings, and any important information they should know (like a translation of traditional vows or a note to let guests know not to take photos), you’ll capture their attention and get all of those key details across. Plus, it will keep them busy if the event runs a little late.
Use a Wedding App or Hashtag
There are many great wedding apps to choose from. Some interactive ones allow guests to upload wedding photos to one curated place, while others keep your friends and family up to date on any wedding-related news. Want something even easier? Create a clever hashtag and ask guests to tag all of their photos using it.
Give Out-of-Town Guests a Welcome Bag
Whether you’re hosting a destination wedding or hometown bash, some of your guests have to travel to be a part of your day. To show your appreciation, give welcome bags for guests staying at hotels. Include a few snacks, bottles of water, and a list of local spots, like the nearest drug store, restaurants, and coffee shops, plus any nearby attractions.
If you’re able to splurge, throw in a bottle of wine, tasty local treats like an artisanal cheese or candy, and a guidebook.
Greet Each Guest
It’sits important to greet every guest at your wedding personally. Once the celebration is underway, do your best to spend time with each person—whether that means chatting over a cocktail, visiting their table at dinner, or letting loose on the dance floor.
Create a Well-Planned Seating Chart
It doesn’t matter if your reception dinner will be a buffet, plated meal, or family-style servings: A smart seating chart is vital to ensuring your guests have a good time. Try to group people with similar backgrounds and interests, so they’ll have something to talk about even if they’ve never met before.
Splurge on the Open Bar
While open bars can be pricey, there are ways to make it work on any budget. Consider offering just beer and wine or a few cocktail options if you need to cut back, but don’t ask family and friends to open their wallets.
Have a Signature Cocktail
Speaking of cocktails, serve one or two delicious customized drinks. It’ll offer you huge savings if you forgo a full bar, and it makes your reception feel so personal. You and your partner should each pick a concoction, but try to select drinks that are palatable for a wide array of people.
Make Sure Your Guests Are Comfortable
No matter what time of year you’re tying the knot, it’s important to think about what your guests might need to stay comfortable throughout the evening. That may mean offering wraps, parasols, or flip-flops.
Design a Lounge Area
Not every guest will want to dance all night. Some may not want to hit the dance floor at all. Although reception tables are a fine place for friends and family to chat, offering a designated seating area is a nice touch. Lower the music, provide comfy chairs, and this will be a detail many guests will love.
Keep Speeches Short
Speeches are a necessary component of any wedding, but it’s important to ensure they don’t drag on for too long. Keep the toasts brief—no more than a few minutes per person—and have your DJ or bandleader prepared to make tasteful cut-offs.
Ask for Song Requests
Want to know the best way to get your guests out on the dance floor? Play the songs they want to hear. Have your DJ make an announcement that they’ll be taking requests and watch the dance floor fill up when a crowd favourite comes on.
Create a DIY Bar
Whether it’s an outdoor cigar bar, a build-your-own-biscuits bar during cocktail hour, or a sundae bar at dessert, your guests will love making (and eating) their treats.
Have Phone Charging Stations
Offering charging stations is a very kind way to show guests you care about their personal needs. Plus, if you want to see tons of Instagram photos of your amazing reception, your friends and family will need battery life. Tuck them away near the bathroom or entrance. (Don’t forget to include a sign with your hashtag too.)
Play Wedding Games
When guests need a break from dancing, what’s more fun than an interactive game? Options like bocce ball, oversize Jenga, and backgammon are fun ways to get your friends and family to interact with each other.
Serve Late-Night Snacks
Yes, you’re having dinner and dessert, but those are typically devoured hours before the reception ends. And with couples extending their parties later and later, it’s likely that more than just a few of your guests will be thinking of a tasty late-night snack. Have your caterer bring out handheld options like sliders and fries, mini grilled cheeses, or coffee and doughnuts about an hour before the reception ends to revive revellers.
Give a Favor People Will Use
Trust us; people don’t want a framed photo of you and your new spouse. If you’re going to spend the money on favours, select something your guests won’t leave on the table. Mini bottles of bubbly, a yummy snack like cookies or popcorn, or a treat they can enjoy once back at home like jam or syrup are all crowd-pleasers.
Have a Photo Booth
Not only is a photo booth a fun activity for your reception, it’s also a great alternative for your guest book or favour. The options are endless, but we love a great selection of props for your buddies to play with.
Skip Traditions That Don’t Fit Your Style
Some couples don’t want to toss the bouquet or the garter, while others would prefer not to wait until the ceremony for their first look. If you can’t imagine partaking in one of these traditions, don’t do it—after all, it’s your wedding.
Make a Memorable Exit
No one wants your wedding night to end, but since it has to, go out on a high note. Do fun and festive farewell, like a fireworks show, sparkler exit, or confetti send-off. Your guests will love it, and it will make for some amazing photos.
What Do Guests Care Most About?
Guests will be overjoyed to watch the happy couple proclaim their love and be joined in wedded bliss – I mean, it’s the whole point – but the crowd may start to get restless during a long, drawn-out ceremony.
One of the most common guest complaints is having to sit through a too-long production, so keep it short and sweet (roughly 30 minutes or less) for a happy clan.
Enjoying a decadent meal with loved ones is a treat for guests, so make sure your food choices are crowd-pleasers. A fantastic meal will keep those good vibes going, but a bad one could bring down the mood. In addition, be sure to offer options for vegetarians or those with common allergies, like gluten and nuts.
Weddings and booze go together like peanut butter and jelly. Bottom line: Keep the drinks flowing, because there’s nothing that wedding guests hate more than the liquor well running dry. Forgoing the fully stocked bar is fine; an edited menu of Champagne, wine, beer, and one or two specialty cocktails will keep guests in high spirits all night long.
The tunes will be going strong from the first arrivals through the last dance, so make sure your music list is on point, especially once guests start hitting the dance floor. Skip the chicken dance and opt for fun, contemporary tunes that everyone is sure to know and love to unite the crowd and get people moving.
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Common sense is the key here. Skip the outdoor venue during the hottest, most humid days of summer, and likewise, choose an indoor sport during the fall and winter months when temps may be chilly.
Outside of the climate, a unique venue is something they’ll also care about, particularly if the journey to your wedding is a trek for some of your far-flung guests. A seriously cool spot is much more of a draw than, say, Hotel Ballroom #3.
Top Wedding Planning Tips
Start wedding planning early
You might have summer 2020 in your mind as the ideal wedding date, but don’t think that means you have to wait two years before you start planning. The earlier you get onto it, the easier, and less stressful it will be as your day approaches. Having a clear plan before you start will help you keep on top of everything and be sure that you don’t forget something important. Insurance, rough guest list numbers and the budget should always be your first three things.
Nail the budget
Don’t spend anything until you’ve set a realistic budget that won’t stretch you too far. It’s a common mistake to forget all the little extras, too – for the budget to work, you need to factor in every detail. Don’t forget to account for additional costs like dress alterations, gifts and beauty expenses. These can all add up!
Although it’s your big day, your friends and family will be more than willing to help and will want to be involved in the planning. By getting help from people you trust, you’re more likely to feel that you can be honest if things aren’t exactly as you want them!
Be selective with the guest list.
Sorting the guest list early is important so you can then focus on finding the perfect venue that will cater to your chosen number of guests. Costs per head will most likely be your biggest expense, so don’t be guilt-tripped into inviting people you don’t want to come. It’s the biggest and hardest decision in the whole planning process, but it has to be yours and your h2b’s decision only.
You may not be a fan of where you currently live or want to wed where you grew up, but make sure you don’t stray too far from the majority of your guest list, as fewer people will be likely to attend. It will also affect the timings of your day – you can’t expect guests in Liverpool to get to Somerset by 11 am, for example. This is especially important if you’re planning a wedding abroad. To be safe, expect that many people won’t be able to make it.
Make sure you have a Plan B in place.
However much you don’t want to think about it, something could go wrong on the day. This could be anything from a problem with the catering to rain (despite the forecast promising a dry day). Plan alternatives for each scenario and account for anything that might not go to plan, so you’re not left stressed out and panicking on the big day. Additionally, you should invest in wedding insurance, and check what circumstances are covered under your policy.
Pick your best girls.
Your bridesmaids should be your biggest support throughout the planning process, so choose wisely. Friends you’ve recently made, or cousins you rarely see are not the best choice. Instead choose your sisters, long–term best friends or close relatives. The last thing you’ll want is to look at your wedding album a few years later and to be no longer in touch with one of your bridesmaids.
Book the best photographer you can
Your wedding album is how you’ll relive the cherished memories of your day, so don’t underestimate the importance of a good photographer. Research carefully and find someone who understands exactly what you want. Engagement shoots are a great idea too because you’ll get to know your photographer better as well as practise your poses!
One of the biggest talking points at any wedding is the food. From hog roasts and buffets to bake-offs and mini fish ‘n’ chips, the quirkier, the better! Avoid skimping in this area – hungry guests are never a good thing!
Feel fabulous, but don’t overdo it
Everyone wants to look fab in their wedding photos, so if you’d like a confidence boost, now’s the time to adopt a healthy eating plan and practise a few simple exercises to tone your body. On the other hand, going on an extreme diet is not a good idea. Just remember that your groom wants to marry you exactly the way you are!
Don’t fall for common beauty mishaps.
The main culprits here are too much fake tan, coloured–in eyebrows and too much foundation. Yes, you will need to wear slightly heavier make–up than usual to make your features stand out in photos, but don’t go crazy! 2015 is all about soft, smokey eyes and peachy tones on the lips and cheeks.
Give your groom his responsibilities
Your fiancé may not have been planning his wedding since he was five, but he will have his ideas and opinions and will want a say in the planning. Listen to what he says and remember it’s his day, too. Most guys like to get involved with the menu, music and budget spreadsheets.
Make the little details personal.
Your wedding is all about the two of you, so try to incorporate as much of your personalities into the day as you can. From the stationery and favours to the outfits and first dance, guests should say ‘that’s so them!’
Lists, lists and more lists!
With a million and one suppliers to deal with, each with different payment deadlines, it’s impossible to keep track of everything by yourself. One of our top wedding planning tips is to sit down with your h2b, make a budget spreadsheet of forecast costs and actual costs as well as when payments are due and list what things are left to do.
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Don’t forget what’s important.
Wedding planning can be stressful, but if you find yourself getting too caught up in it all, take a step back and remind yourself what your wedding is really about – marrying the love of your life!
Hopefully, this guide was able to put some wedding planning details into perspective. Wedding planning is SO stressful that being able to brush aside some of those worries can be a huge relief. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that your wedding day is exactly that: YOUR wedding.
Instead of stressing about what you think your guests want, do what you want. Remember that your wedding day is above all about you and your spouse and the love you share, so take a deep breath and think about what is important. Good luck!