Your wedding day is all about you, right? Well yes and no. Yes, your wedding day should be focused on your love story, your commitment to one another and the first moments of your marriage. And yes, you are the centerpiece of the event, the reason for the celebration. But, don't forget you are also hosting your dearest friends and family and you should be considerate to their anticipated needs. Beyond blocking rooms at the local hotel, there are many ways to treat your guests thoughtfully.
At every wedding I have officiated I have noticed the ways couples have provided amenities for their guests. Happy guests make for an even happier event! Happy guests will always remember your graciousness and the fun they had on your wedding day.
Here is a list (and some pics!) of ten things you can do for your guests' comfort:
1. This one's easy - pre-ceremony refreshments, particularly for outdoor ceremonies. If your wedding is at a venue, ask them to provide bottled water or hot chocolate/coffee/tea (on cooler days). If your ceremony is at a park or other non-catered location, be sure have a refreshment table set up near the entrance to guest seats.
2. If the ceremony is outdoors and there is a chance of light rain or cool breezes, consider having umbrellas or small throw blankets available for your guests. These items can also serve as a wedding favor as well. Your guests will enjoy the ceremony should the weather not be ideal.
3. If there will be little ones at your wedding consider their needs too. One couple provided sippee cups so that the kids could dance and celebrate without their parents worrying about spills.
4. Flip flops are a welcome sight to guests attending a beach wedding ceremony or for those that regret wearing high heels after a few spins around the dance floor. A large container of various size flip flops at the entrance to the ceremony or near the dance floor are a thoughtful touch. Old Navy offers $1 flip flops one day each year and many of the dollar stores stock flip flops starting in April or May. Keep sand out of your guests shoes and keep your guests on the dance floor with this inexpensive amenity!
5. Offer your guests a choice of favors. Offering two or three options is a way to appeal to everyone. Some people might prefer small bottles of wine while others enjoy chocolate!
6. A ride home is a way to ensure that those guests that wish to enjoy cocktails may do so without worry. Companies like UBER and Lyft offer an option to provide rides for your wedding guests. Nothing tells your guests how much you love them than making sure they get home safely.
7. Wedding programs are a nice touch because they introduce your guests to the VIP members of your family and wedding party, provide details on how the ceremony will unfold and give you a chance to acknowledge your guests' attendance at your wedding and thank them for being there. Programs that are also fans serve two purposes at an outdoor ceremony on a warmer day. The program is also a place where you can bring your guests into the loop of why certain elements (music, readings, etc.) were chosen by you and your new spouse. It's a great way to make your guests feel more connected to you and your ceremony.
8. Your guests will most likely shed a tear or two of joy on your wedding day. Along with the ceremony there are the toasts, the first dances, the reunions with loved ones, etc. For these reasons, a container of packs of tissues or hankies at the entrance to your ceremony is a great idea!
9. Sometimes there is some down time for your guests between the end of the ceremony and the start of cocktail hour. One of the couples I know were kind enough to provide a cocktail and snacks for their guests at the hotel lounge while they waited for the party to begin. A sign at the ceremony exit let the guests know that the bride and groom were treating them to a round before the start of cocktail hour. Each guest was given a drink "koozie" which served as their "ticket" to have a drink on their hosts! What a thoughtful way of keeping your guests entertained for an hour while you go off to have photos taken. Another benefit is that you don't miss any of your cocktail hour since your photo shoot will be done!
10. Send your guests home with a snack. Even though your guests have eaten all evening, everyone enjoys a little late night snack! A candy bar, milkshake shot or donut wall is a sweet touch at the end of the night. A little treat from the bride and groom is a nice way to send your guests home smiling!
I'd like to thank the couples who I have married for these inspired ideas! I continue to be blown away by the creativity and kindness you have all shown towards your guests. I hope these ideas inspire those of you who are planning your weddings as well. Keep in mind, you don't have to do everything! There is already enough on your wedding to do lists. However, picking one or two ideas to take care of your guests is an easy way to leave a lasting impression! As always, I wish you all the best!!
The following story is its' own page on my website but it had been a while since I had read it. When I did, I wanted to share it as a blog post in honor of my grandparents. I hope you feel inspired by their love story.....
These are my grandparents, Howard "Shrummie" and Marjorie "Marge" Shrum. They were married to each other for seventy years. They grew up in a small
coal-mining town outside of Pittsburgh named Connellsville, Pennsylvania during the Great Depression. From the ages of 8 and 11 they were aware of each other and Marge, my Nana, would watch Shrummie, my Pop Pop play ball in the park. Something about him stood out to her heart yet they never dated during their school years.
At age 18 Pop Pop was drafted to serve our country in World War II in the Pacific in the Navy. During that time, and feeling lonely for home, he thought of Marge and decided to write to her. The problem was that Marge had moved to New Jersey with her family and Pop Pop did not have her new address. Pop Pop was always tenacious and never gave up on anything. He wrote to a friend back in Connellsville who he figured had Nana's new address. In that letter he asked his friend to write him back with the information so that he could begin corresponding to Marge. And so the friend did as requested and my Pop Pop began courting my Nana from the Pacific Ocean. My Pop's friend eventually gave Nana the letter Pop had sent him requesting Nana's new address. To this day she has that letter, written on rice paper, tucked in a drawer with other lovely momentos.
When Pop Pop returned from the war he immediately made his way to New Jersey and proposed to Nana in the rumble seat of his buddy's jalopy. She said yes and the rest is history.
In their seventy years of marriage on this earth they had four children. Two of their children passed away as infants, one on Christmas Day in my Nana's arms. My Pop Pop worked many jobs trying to make ends meet and take care of his family until he eventually landed at Metropolitan Life Insurance. He spent 35 years as a successful agent until his retirement. My Nana worked at home, managing the household and raising children. They survived the depression, the war, illnesses and the passing of many loved ones . They enjoyed traveling, being with family, the Pittsburgh Steelers' games and most of all each other's company.
This picture was taken during the last days of Pop Pop's life. He was home on hospice, exactly where he wanted to be with his sweetheart at his side. He passed away peacefully in her arms at the age of 90.
This is a real love story. Not as glamorous as in films or books, but more beautiful, truthful and inspirational than any love story I have ever heard. My grandparents stayed together, through everything and in the end all that mattered was their love.
I dedicate my work to Nana and Pop Pop. They taught me the greatest lessons of love and life in the quietest, most humble ways. I wish you all the same kind of love affair as Marge and Shrummie.
Be an anchor in the storm and give each other wings.