Even though you’ll be told a thousand times your wedding is all about you and your spouse-to-be, chances are, you’ll be thinking about your guests’ happiness first and foremost during your planning. From outfitting a killer bar to creating the most Instagram-worthy photo ops, planning a wedding really is like planning an amazing party for your friends and family—one that you hope they’ll have a great time at, and take away nothing but priceless memories from. But: Reality check! Those little wedding details you lose sleep over perfecting so your guests are blown away? They might go completely unnoticed by most of your RSVPs! Yeah—there’s a disconnect between the things you, the bride or groom, think your guests will care about at your wedding vs. what they actually notice when the big day comes. And being keen on these discrepancies could save you a lot of time, stress and money.
Let’s take a closer look on which wedding details you’re probably obsessing over as opposed to what your guests will actually care about.
You Obsess Over: Your Signature Cocktails
Guests Notice: The Wait Time for the Bar
Signature cocktails are a nice wedding detail, and make for great photos, but consider them nice-to-haves rather than need-to-haves. If you’re thinking of pinching your bar budget to fit them in—say, if you’re adding them onto your otherwise beer-and-wine only menu—think again. It’d be a better guest experience to use that extra money on a satellite bar. Every moment a guest is waiting in line at your bar is a moment they’re not enjoying everything else you’ve painstakingly planned for your wedding, not to mention precious time on the dance floor with friends and family! Experts recommend one bar and two bartenders for every 100 guests, but the best way to minimize congestion is to have multiple stations in different areas of your venue (like, one outside and one inside). Trust me: If the drinks are flowing quickly, no one will miss that signature cocktail.
You Obsess Over: A Next-Level Photo Booth
Guests Notice: The Music
A photo booth is a fun experience for guests, and creates sweet souvenirs—and with so many high-tech options available today (like slow-mo video booths!) you might think springing for an over-the-top booth is one way to really win over guests. But guess what? Guests will spend most of their time at your wedding doing what guests have done at weddings for generations: Dancing! And if the music isn’t great, they’ll notice (and so will you, because your dance floor will be empty!). So, if you’re choosing between a top-rated DJ or band and a crazy photo booth, go for the good music, hands down. You rent a basic photo booth for an affordable sum but you can’t rescue a cheesy wedding DJ spinning hits from the first edition of Now That’s What I Call Music.
You Obsess Over: Table Settings
Guests Notice: The Food—and When it’s Coming
Don’t get me wrong—guests notice decor and wedding details. But even more importantly, it’s what on the plate that matters, rather than what the plate (and charger, and napkins, and twenty different types of drinking glass) looks like. There’s tons of inspiration out there for tablescapes, and rental companies offer endless look books these days, whereas with catering companies, it can be easier to just leave the chefs to their job and hope everything comes out fine. But the food is what your guests will really experience, and remember. Not to mention, they’ll be at your wedding for a long time—like, 6-8 hours!—so what they eat is kind of a big deal. If you’re deciding between over-the-top place settings and a couple extra passed apps, or a caterer with higher ratings, definitely opt for the food for happier guests (with more energy to burn off on the dance floor thanks to that ace DJ you hired).
You Obsess Over: Cute Extras in the Restrooms
Guests Notice: The Restrooms. Period.
You can supply a million baskets with flip flops, hairspray and makeup remover, but at the end of the day, an outhouse at a wedding is still… an outhouse at a wedding. When it comes to your restroom options, what matters is that the restrooms are decent enough that guests in formalwear won’t feel uncomfortable using then, and that there are enough of them to prevent long lines (don’t forget what happens when people drink too much!). If you’re renting restrooms for an outdoors affair, trade up for the nicer models—they may cost a bit more, but it’ll be worth it (especially if you’re the bride—try navigating a porta potty in your wedding gown!). And if your venue has restrooms but you’re worried they won’t be enough for your large guest list, rent a few more—you might no longer have it in your budget for the cute amenity baskets that are all the rage these days, but most guests would take quick-moving restroom lines over a free spritz of hairspray any day!
You Obsess Over: The Table Assignments
Guests Notice: Who They’re Sitting With
Guess what? Here’s one wedding detail where your neuroses and your guest’s preferences completely align! One thing guests report really not liking about weddings (even beyond long bar lines)? Having to mingle with strangers. So that time you spend laboring over seating assignments—making sure every table has common ground and each guest will be able to speak comfortable with the others at their table—won’t go unnoticed. Does every table have to be made up of six to eight best friends? Of course not! But spending the extra time and exerting the extra energy to make everything fit (and try to make everyone as happy as possible) will ultimately result in a more friendly wedding with better vibes. So, go ahead and cut back on the time you’ve allotted to DIY your escort cards, and give that time back to yourself when it comes to mapping out your seating arrangements. Turns out, what’s written on the escort cards really is more important—to everyone!