In my last post, Be Our Guest - Being Informed, I talked about informing your guests leading up to the wedding day so that they know what to expect. In this segment, I will be discussing ideas and tips to make your guests' experience a great one on your big day.
In their original invitation information, your guests should have been provided with directions and parking information (if parking is not just a lot onsite). There should be no reason for your guests to have to drive around for a while looking for somewhere to park.
·If your venue utilizes a parking ramp or paid lot, you can arrange ahead of time to prepay these fees for your guests and send a parking voucher along with the invitations. The lot will collect the vouchers and charge you based on how many they have times the rate.
Some venues do not have much parking or parking close to the site is not allowed. In this case, it is courteous to provide a shuttle to transport your guests from their cars (or even the hotel) to the ceremony location.
Once parked and at the ceremony venue, your guests should be welcomed and greeted by someone involved in the wedding. Whether it is the couple's parents or the ushers, it is nice for the guests to be greeted to confirm they are in the right place and to see a familiar face.
Rent speakers and small microphones for the groom and officiant to wear. Be careful with lapel mics as they can pick up wind and may cause issues. Your guests have come to see you exchange vows so make sure they can hear the words. Place the speakers so that the sound isn't erased by wind or blocked by the chairs or landscaping.
Have programs available to your guests. Most likely your guests are not going to be familiar with both families and everyone involved in the bridal party. A program is a great way to introduce the important people in your life to each other. Even including just a short list of the name and relationship of the people in your party.
Along with listing out the events "main characters", provide a breakdown so your guests can follow along with the ceremony. If having guests sing along with any songs, also include the lyrics in the program.
I mentioned in the last post about having your own unique QR code to provide information to your guests on. The program would be the perfect place to put this QR code. The guests can click on it and it would take them directly to directions for the reception or activities to do between the ceremony and reception. This way if they forgot to bring the information you provided in the invitation it will be readily available to them at the ceremony.
Have a Back Up Plan:
For your guests convenience, try to have your back up location as close to the original venue as possible. This is will help your overall time line to be less affected as well as your guests needing to adjust travel times.
Prepare a "quick contact" list ahead of time, either with email addresses or phone numbers (whichever will be sure to reach your guests) and distribute to a few people involved in the wedding. Make sure to include the address of the location on this list for those who will be doing the communication. Once it is determined to move the ceremony to the alternate location have the designated people begin to contact the guests and let them know of the change.
Hot Summer Day:
Water bottles - have a large bucket or two full of ice and water bottles for your guests to grab on their way in or out of the ceremony. There are many companies that will print custom labels for the bottles as well for a cute extra detail.
Fans - Print your programs on a heavy paper that can also be used as a hand fan. This is a great way to save money by giving something a double use. There are companies online that will create you adorable fan programs or if you like to DIY, there are multiple ideas for that as well.
Parasols - Purchase or rent parasols or umbrellas for your guests to use to block the sun. Bella Umbrella has some adorable options!
Sun Umbrellas - Rent large sun umbrellas to cover large areas for the guests to have some shade.
You want your guests to walk away saying how beautiful your vows were not complaining about how uncomfortable they were. It is the little things that will pull your day together!