A couple's wedding day can be one of the biggest days of their lives. It is the first day of their new life together and a chance to celebrate this with their family and friends. The guests may travel from near and far, pay for expensive hotel rooms, bring wonderful gifts and spend possibly their entire weekend to be there. The last thing you would want is that your guests walk away only remembering the confusing directions, sitting out in the hot sun, the long wait for dinner or even the cold food. After spending all that time (and money) on picking out and perfecting every last detail, those are the things your guests should remember when they leave. That and the amazing time they had celebrating with you! Planning ahead and thinking through the day from the guests' perspective can make all the difference is how they will enjoy your event.
So, let's talk about making your guest's experience a wonderful one!!
Being Informed - Providing your guests with the information they need.
If you are planning to invite a lot of out of town guests or choosing to have your wedding on a holiday or otherwise popular weekend, it is wise to send out Save The Dates. These should be sent out at least six months in advance announcing the wedding date so that the recipients can begin to save money, ask for time off from work and arrange travel plans.
The moment your guests receive the beautiful invitation in the mail they should know what to expect; from the location, to what they should wear, to what they will eat. Now, you do not have to spell out things like: "wear a sundress and put your man in a tie" or "we will be serving chicken and red skin potatoes". Saying things like "join us for an outdoor ceremony at ABC park" or "reception with dinner and dancing to follow" will give your guests enough information to plan their attire and whether to come hungry or eat ahead of time.
Including start times on the invitation is very important. Obviously, you will need to list the time the ceremony will begin but do not forget to include a time the reception will begin as well. If you are going directly from the ceremony into the reception or a cocktail hour, something like "Reception immediately following at (insert location and address)" will suffice. If there will be a lapse in time between the ceremony and reception make sure your guests are aware of this by listing specific times: Reception to begin at 5:00 pm, dinner to be served at 6:00 pm.
Personalized wedding websites have been becoming more and more popular in this techy world. Having a website for your event is a fantastic idea, especially for your out of town guests. Include information such as recommended hotels (block rooms ahead of time for your guests), where you are registered for gifts, and directions for both your ceremony and reception venues. There are many companies that offer wedding websites, WeddingWire.com or TheKnot.com are a couple. If you are feeling extra techy, you can also set up a QR code specifically to take your guests to your site. This code could go on an insert in your invitation and also on your programs the day of the wedding so guests have directions to the reception at their fingertips. Of course, don't forget to print out directions for those guests without smart phones and have them available at the ceremony.
These are a few simple and inexpensive ways to get your guests excited and looking forward to your event months ahead of time. Stay tuned for more tips on making your guests' experience a positive one.