At both our wedding 30+ years ago and at daughter's wedding nearly two years ago, the focus was on having fun and celebrating with loved ones. With good food & drink and good music, the rest tends to take care of itself. After both weddings guests told us each was one of the most fun weddings they'd ever attended. Sometimes when I read the posts on this forum the writer is so stressed out about miniscule little details that no guest will ever care about. Focus on it being fun and staying in the moment, and don't sweat things like favors, super detailed decor, etc. Good luck!
Good food, cake, & drinks! Having a great & fun evening with my family & friends! I’m marrying my best friend, the man of my dreams!
Apply for a marriage license early! Covid's making it harder to get them and not having one is the only way to TRULY ruin a wedding. Also, this isn't necessary for logistics, but spend time alone with your fiancé in the days leading up to the wedding, and just by yourself the day of/day before the wedding. Weddings are stressful and include a lot of togetherness, so it's good to decompress. A stressed out bride is not good for anyone. From a guest's perspective, if you must have a break between your ceremony and reception, plan something for your guests to do. They'll be happier with you for not taking up their whole day without occupying them, and you'll be happier because they'll show up to the reception on time.
Dude for me as a guest it’s about the food aha. For me as a bride I definitely wanted there to be good food so most of my budget was geared towards getting food and I’m so glad because I got rave reviews for my food which really was delicious
People go to weddings to see and support the couple getting married, and to enjoy themselves.
I think the bigger problem is what people focus on, that doesn't actually matter.
So many people tear themselves apart over linens, or just the right centerpiece, or if the invitations match the .. something, and so on. None of that matters. It might be nice, or fun, or satisfy a need for beauty or creativity, which makes it important to *you*... but, I promise, your guests aren't going to remember it. (Ok, maybe if it's like... super specifically YOU. The ones I remember were utterly themed to the couple... but I still don't remember the specifics.)
Feed your guests well, give them something to do - even if it's creating an environment amenable to conversation - and your guests will have a great time.
As a general rule, I'd just say set your guest's expectations properly. Think as a guest, and what you'd wonder about if it's not abundantly clear: - Can I park here? - Is the ceremony out back or in the main house? - Who will I be sitting with at the reception?- Wonder where I put this gift?- What's the dress code for this thing? Use your invites, website, signs or staff so that people can move through the day enjoying themselves. Anxious people (like myself) will appreciate it and will actually check your website, and the type Bs won't pay attention in either case so you haven't lost anything there.
Hello. Recently married here. We celebrated one year on July 25, 2020, but we also had our reception on October 25, 2019. Unfortunate and unforseen circumstances caused us to bump up the ceremony part of our wedding, but we kept the reception date as we had so much invested already.
Anyway....to the point. There's been something on my mind all this time that comes and goes. I'm really really trying to not be petty here, but hear me out. The circumstance I am referring to in the first paragraph is that my dad discovered he had stage 4 colon cancer on June 1st, 2019. He wanted to fight like a champ, but was losing the battle. Knowing that he didn't have much time left, my hubs and I moved our ceremony to the basement of the hospital dad was at so that he could be part of our big day. It was important to us. This was July 25, 2019. It was supposed to be just immediate family (moms, dads, brothers and sisters). However, one particular aunt found out and told her daughters who traveled with their families of 4 (each). She also told another cousin of mine who showed up with his wife. Then...my grandpa and his wife showed up. An extra 14 bodies!! We ordered Olive Garden ahead of time for pick-up so that we could have a family meal for just the 15 or so of us originally. Last minute, we had to wheel and deal with Olive Garden to get DOUBLE the amount of food for the intruders, lol. It didn't bother me too much at the time, the more the merrier! But......then we get to the ACTUAL reception.
So, Dad died August 11, 2019.
We go ahead and get the invites with the RSVP's mailed out in the week or so after Dad's funeral. We wait, and wait, and wait. These few "intruders" from the ceremony are not responding with their RSVP cards. I make some phone calls and find out to put them down. Everybody is coming. Great!
We also had open bar at our reception. In our opinion, it's tacky to make your guests reach into their pockets for a party you planned and invited them to. We kinda figured we'd have a bit of a bill to pay the next day for the bar, but shouldn't be too bad. We had some leftover money from our total amount we had already paid for the overall reception. I think we paid to the hotel somwhere around $8,000 just to get it over with. Anything leftover after food was paid for, was to be applied to the bar tab.
Well, the evening of the reception comes and I've got all the dinner tickets layed out on a table. I'm kinda watching it as the evening draws closer to dinner. Keep in mind, I think we had about 5 meals for just "extra people that may or may not show up". There are SO MANY ENVELOPES left, it's killing me. I go and inquire about these two daughters who crashed the ceremony party....well, one is home with a sick kid and the other wasn't feeling too good herself. ( I go on Facebook the next day and see the one daugher with the "sick kid" having a great time at a pumpkin patch with said "sick kid" on the day of our reception.) Ok....so we waited past the deadline for you to figure out that you wanted steak, of all things, then you no show on us. We got the same story for a lot of no show's. We had so many empty seats and leftover meal tickets, it was embarrassing!
OUR PHOTOGRAPHER AND FRIEND (who does this for a living, mostly) who I paid $600 to be with us a good portion of the day...when I saw her sitting alone at the table (she reserved two adult dinners and one kids meal) I asked her if her husband was showing up soon. She got a blank look on her face and says "oh, was he supposed to come?" OMG!!! You have got to be kidding me!!! You do this practically every weekend and you had a wedding yourself a few months ago!!!
An aunt of the hubs didn't come (after RSVPing "yes" with her husband) because they couldn't support the fact that their nephew was marrying for the second time. First of all, thanks for the "welcome to the family support" to me, and second, you had time to tell us that you just weren't coming! It's ok, really. Just tell us, save us the money on the back end of things.
Now, we live in a place where per meal prices aren't crazy high, but $36.00 steaks add up quite fast. We counted the next day how many leftover meals we had...It was over $800 worth!!!! OMG!!! To top it all off, we owed an additional $1,300 on the bar tab.
It's fine if you don't want to come to an event, but then don't respond that you ARE coming. That $800 worth of wasted food could have been applied to the bar tab instead.
Things that will peeve off a bride who is paying for your place at her reception:
1. showing up uninvited and doubling the cost of something you WEREN'T INVITED TO.
2. making her wait for your response to attend the party you WERE INVITED TO.
3. having had a wedding yourself in the past and knowing the cost of a no show guest and then no showing yourself.
4. Lying and getting caught on social media. I will never tell her I saw this though.
If you have made it this far, the original question asked about hindsight for the small things that end up being kind of a big deal in the end. The food and RSVP's!!!