There are definitely more than seven don’ts on our list, but when it comes to your wedding, these are the ones that are perennial headliners. Nothing here is disastrous or unfixable… this is simply a savvy guide to planning your party to ensure every minute of your wedding is a DO!
1. Don’t leave your guests in the lurch between ceremony and reception. Make sure you have something planned to keep them busy because this can be a real party killer! While you are having your photos (which can take a while!) plan to have food and drinks available for your guests at your reception space as well as some fun entertainment and activities (photo booth, scavenger hunt, digital portrait artist are a few great examples) to keep them engaged.
2. Don’t opt not to invest in your food! If there’s one thing people will complain about when it comes to a wedding, it’s the food. People have so many different dietary needs, having a caterer who understands how to accommodate those demands AND create delicious food is an absolute necessity. If the in-house or preferred caterer for your venue of choice doesn’t meet your needs, consider looking elsewhere. Spaces can be transformed with decor and florals, but bad food is bad food, and that’s what people will remember.
3. Don’t seat all friends together. Mixing and mingling with new people is something most people love about weddings. Instead of seating everyone who knows each other together, mix things up a bit by seating people you think have complementary personalities at the same table. This is also a great way to make out-of-town guests or single friends more comfortable: if every table is a mix of strangers and those who know each other, no one is left feeling like a third wheel.
4.Don’t even consider a cash bar! If you want happy guests, you need to keep two words in mind: open bar. Not everyone has a huge wedding budget, BUT asking guests to pony up for their own bevvies is just gauche. If budget is a concern, an afternoon cocktail reception with canapés and a dessert table (complete with coffee and tea, of course) that’s limited to a couple of hours is a great budget-friendly alternative to a full, multi-hour pre-dinner, dinner, and post-dinner reception.
5. Don’t limit your music playlist. Just because you love hip-hop or classic hair metal, that doesn’t mean all of your guests will. Whether you hire a professional DJ or have the best man put together a playlist, having a variety of music is key to getting everyone having fun on the dance floor. If you have a number of older guests attending, consider skewing the music to the classic side early in the proceedings to encourage them to boogey down before they depart (they will inevitably leave before all of the younger guests, after all). Plan for a good interactive number shortly after your first dance/father-daughter dance (hello, YMCA is calling!) to get everyone limbered up and then let it all flow from there.
6. Don’t forget to take care of your guests travel needs. If your wedding will be taking place out of town, a map of the area, directions for getting there by car or other modes of transportation, a few options for places to stay and a list of things to do in the area are super helpful. It’s also lovely, if the wedding is small enough that everyone is staying at the same hotel or inn, for you to arrange special rates as well as morning-after activities for any guests who are not partied out.
7. Don’t give a takeaway gift without special meaning. The best wedding favours are tasty, useful or thoughtful. Consider donating to charity the amount of money you had planned to spend on favours. Have a small note at each place setting explaining that in lieu of favours you and your partner have donated to (insert charity of your choice here) in honour of your guests as a gesture of thanks for their generosity and love.