A wedding day is all about two people celebrating their togetherness and commitment with those closest to them. But not everyone on the guest list is riding high on the wings of love, and – depending what’s asked of them – some may have gripes about the proceedings. The best weddings are ones where the happy couple makes sure their guests have a great time, too. We’ve compiled a list of the seven most common wedding guests complaints to avoid, in the interests of harmonious nuptials.
1. An inconvenient date.
Modern life is super busy and people’s diaries get full up far in advance, so it’s worth doing a ring around of your core people to be sure they can make it on the day in question. Once you’ve pinned down a date that they can do, send out pretty save the date cards to your full list of invitees. Try to avoid clashing with major celebrations that could cause FOMO in some of your guests – tie the knot on World Cup final day and you might find some folk slipping off to find a TV, leaving the dance floor somewhat sparse.
2. Confusion over invitations
Having to explain to someone that they can’t bring their kids or a plus-one can be, like, awkward! Avoid any tricky conversations by writing the names of the guests you want to invite on the RSVP card and having them check off a “will attend” or “will not attend” box.
3. Seating controversy
The seating issue is so political it has the potential to put couples in therapy before they’ve even walked up the aisle. Be sensitive to who gets on with who, who has a history of discord, and what groups need to be seated together, but don’t tie yourself in knots about it. It’s your wedding, so you would hope that – barring the odd hot potato – people will make the effort to get along and mingle outside their group. You might even mend a few bridges by the healing power of love! Make sure everything runs smoothly on the day with a clear, themed table plan for guests to consult, and pretty place cards on the tables. Set the tone with table names printed with fun facts about the couple.
4. Too expensive
A four-day hen do in Ibiza, followed by a Caribbean wedding in the Christmas holidays? Unless you’re a jetsetter who can foot the bill for flights, you’d better be prepared for a few dropouts due to insufficient funds. When dreams of your big day take flight, there’s a danger that some of your nearest and dearest get left on the ground as the constraints of time and money kick in. If you want to avoid disgruntlement and no-shows, keep it closer to home. If you’re crazy in love and don’t give two hoots – sod them all and head for the winter sun!
5. Slim pickings on the food front
The traditional wedding sees guests gather for a sit-down feast of four courses of fine food. But the modern wedding might forego this for a communal paella sitting on hay bales around a marquis or a vegan buffet served in the evening. With so many options for catering, some guests may feel underwhelmed by what’s on offer. If you can offer choices on the sit-down meal, you’re more likely to please more of the people – show them what’s on offer with lovely printed menus. And make sure reception-only guests don’t go hungry, especially if the party falls over a mealtime.
6. Disastrous disorganization
The string quartet is booked, the canapés are made, and the speeches are written. But if the photographer runs over by two hours to take arty pictures of the couple in the grounds with the peacocks, the whole order of events can get knocked out. Next thing you’ve got guests going hungry, children causing mischief, bridesmaids going missing and the cello player throwing a strop. To avoid descending into chaos, print up great-looking orders of service so that everyone knows what’s happening, when.
7. Ungracious hosts
Everyone knows the wedding is a whirlwind for the bride and groom, but guests love it if they get to spend even just a little time with them on their big day. You don’t have to hold up the proceedings, just make time to go from table to table during the meal or party to say a quick ‘thanks for coming,’ and give people a chance to congratulate you. Also, sending out thank-you cards gives guests a little feel-good glow after the event, and a memento of the beautiful day.