Your wedding should be about you and your partner, reflecting your taste, style, and personality. However, there are also going to be a whole bunch of other people who have traveled and spent money to attend your big day—your wedding guests—so it’s important to take their comfort and enjoyment into (major) consideration. Of course, trying to make 100 or more people happy is pretty much impossible. So how do you narrow down the wedding details that your guests will actually care about? Well, you’re in luck—we asked nearly 1,000 guests to share what they really pay attention to at weddings (and what they could care less about). You may be surprised at their responses. Here, find out what your guests will actually notice at your wedding—and the things they really won't.
What your guests really do notice…
This is probably not too surprising—62 percent of wedding guests said that food is one of the most important things they pay attention to at weddings. That’s why you’ll probably spend about half of your budget on your catering and venue—because the last thing you want is hangry guests. Whether you choose to serve your wedding meal plated, buffet-style, or family-style is your call, as long as you ensure that your food appeals to a wide range of tastes and is plentiful. That’s where hiring a skilled and experienced caterer comes in.
Choosing a wedding venue is one of the very first things you'll do when planning your big day—because it's really important! Your venue sets the tone for your entire wedding, and your venue’s amenities have a major role to play when it comes to your guests’ experience. Details that may seem minor, like a venue’s parking situation or the number of restrooms, can have a big impact on how guests view your big day. According to the WeddingWire study, 47 percent of guests said the venue was one of the biggest things they notice when they attend a wedding.
Your guests want to celebrate you and your new spouse—and good music is essential for that party atmosphere! In fact, 46 percent of wedding guests said they care about having good music at a wedding. Whether you go for a band or a DJ is entirely your decision, but make sure your hire a professional who can read your crowd to ensure the dance floor will be packed all night long. The last thing you want is a group of bored guests.
Both during the ceremony and reception, guests are indeed checking out your décor. According to the study, about a third of guests say they pay the most attention to a wedding's decor. That doesn’t mean you need to go Pinterest-crazy, but working with your vendors to come up with a cohesive color scheme and wedding style will ensure that your décor is on point.
For some guests, the highlight of a wedding is free booze (about 40 percent of guests said they care about the bar). Alcohol can be expensive, though, so don’t feel like you have to offer a top-shelf selection. Know that your guests may stage a mutiny if they have to pay for alcohol, so instead, limit your bar to wine, beer, and a signature cocktail or two to save money while still providing ample drinks to your guests.
What your guests actually don’t care about…
You may be agonizing over creating that picture-perfect escort card display or seating chart, but here’s the thing—your guests probably won’t even notice.
Ceremony Language and Readings
The structure of your ceremony and any added readings will be most meaningful to you and your partner. Aside from your vows, your guests probably aren’t hanging on to every single word during your ceremony.
You and your loved ones may spend hours (or more!) agonizing over the reception toasts—who gives 'em, exactly what they'll say, and more. But it turns out that your guests really aren't listening that closely to those toasts and speeches. According to the study, only 22 percent of guests cared about a wedding's toasts.
Your recessional will probably be one of the most joyful moments for you and your new spouse, but your guests will likely be more focused on getting outta there to head to the buffet and bar!
Bouquet and Garter Toss
While some love these traditions, others find them outdated—so if you’re leaning toward skipping, know that your guests probably won’t miss ‘em. According to the study, only 10 percent of guests said they paid attention to the bouquet and garter toss.