There are so many details that go into planning your wedding and it’s hard to know which of those things are most important. While you can’t make everyone happy (and you shouldn’t stress trying!) obviously you have your wedding guests in mind as you make decisions about how your day will play out. Hiring an experienced wedding planner, like Your Perfect Bridesmaid or Alston Mayger Events , early on can ensure you won’t miss some important details that can easily be overlooked.
Your guests will obviously be wowed by the pretty shiny things. Your dress! The flowers! The cake! The sparkler exit! But surprisingly there are some not as glamorous, more logistical things, that will make a huge impact on their experience and memory of your day. So what will your guests actually remember most from your wedding?
1. The Ceremony
Your wedding guests can’t wait for the big moment. All eyes will be on you as you say your vows and officially tie the knot. Despite bursting with glee as you step into the title of husband or wife…there are a few things in particular they will remember most about your ceremony.
- The length. Not something you can control if you are getting married in certain churches, but if you have any say in the matter keeping your ceremony between 20-30 minutes seems most pleasing to guests.
- The vows. Guests are more likely to remember (and be moved by) your vows if they are written by you and are unique and personal. They will also remember if they could hear you or not! This is a common problem! Discuss this in detail with venue and coordinator to ensure the proper measures are taken so that guests can hear you loud and clear whether you are indoors or outdoors.
- Distractions. Guests will remember if they were distracted during your ceremony. Have a quick exit strategy in place for those with infants or small children (and make them aware of it ahead of time). Also, consider having everyone turn off or put away cell phones during your big moment. You hired a professional photographer! Let them do there job and keep distractions to a minimum. Additionally, talk to your venue (if outdoors) about road noise or other elements that might affect the ceremony experience.
- Heat/cold. While you can’t control all the elements, do the best you can to make certain your indoor or outdoor ceremony will be comfortable for guests. There are many ways to help with extreme heat for instance: water station, fans, umbrellas to block sun, moving the ceremony to a shady spot, air conditioning (if indoors), etc.
Photo Credit: Jessica Hill Photography
2. The Food
Your wedding guests are looking forward to and will remember the food. Being unique in this category will go a long way. Don’t be afraid to do something a little bit different. Fajita bar? Oyster bar? Passed appetizers? Mashed potato station (with all the toppings)? They will also remember if the process for getting the food flowed nicely (and they didn’t have to wait a long time).
You will be their favorite couple ever if you also surprise them with late night snacks! Chat with your caterers about the possibilities or consider bringing in a late night food truck. And we all know dessert will be the literal icing on the cake. Whether it’s wedding cake, donuts, cupcakes, mini pies, or a full dessert table. Your wedding is one day they are surely planning to let themselves indulge. Make it memorable!
3. The Bar
What will your guests remember about the bar? Everything! Not everyone can afford to host an open bar, but wedding guests will surely appreciate it if you can! Consider some fun themed signature cocktails that will leave a lasting impression or get a chuckle as well. Talk to your caterers about the layout of your event and your guest count. Make sure guests will not have to wait a long time for drinks, especially when they first arrive.
4. The Music
It’s worth the investment to get a band or DJ that can really create the energy and party you are envisioning. And once the party is in full swing…try not to have it interrupted. Talk to your wedding coordinator and DJ about getting some of the formal things done earlier in the night, like cake cutting, speeches, and first dances. That way you aren’t cutting off the music and taking people away from the dance floor when they are totally into it. When picking a venue, make sure to ask about noise rules and how late you can go with the party and the music! There is no greater disappointment for wedding guests to hear it’s the last song at 9pm when they thought they were just getting started!
Photo Credit: Jessica Hill Photography
5. The Venue
Your venue choice basically determines SO many important things. You will most likely pick your venue based on the gorgeous views or hip vibe you are after and your guests will bask in the beauty and uniqueness of the property you choose. However, what they will remember MOST about your venue is the logistics.
They will remember if parking was easy or a hassle. They will remember if there were nice bathrooms that were easily accessible (and a good amount of them based on guest count). They will remember if they were extremely hot or uncomfortably cold. They will remember if it felt chaotic during the room flip (if you are doing ceremony and reception in the same room). They will remember if the size of the venue fit your guest count…it will be the difference between them feeling comfortable in the space or cramped. These are all very important things to consider!
6. The Speeches
The speeches can be one of the most touching and emotional parts of the day! Memorable for sure! Be very selective in who you choose to give speeches at your wedding. It’s best to limit the number of people and give them some length of time suggestions. Pick people whom you think will take the time to prepare something special on your day. Wedding guests will remember this part of the reception in a negative way if it drags on and if too many people grab the mic to ramble on and on.
Photo Credit: Jessica Hill Photography
7. IF YOUR VENDORS WERE NICE TO THEM
Your wedding guests will most definitely remember how they were treated throughout the day. By your coordinator, your bartenders & catering staff, your venue manager, your photographer, your DJ, and the list goes on and on. Make sure you are hiring top notch professionals that will execute the details of your day flawlessly while ALSO providing impeccable customer service. Personality, people skills, and professionalism are all just as important as the product or service they are providing.
8. If they got a moment with you
This one is tricky because we all know how fast the day goes by and how many things are going on! If you have a huge guest count, it might seem nearly impossible to get a moment to talk to each person. Ask your coordinator about ways you can make sure you get at least a hug or quick hello with each guest. Whether that is a traditional receiving line or some time allotted for you to stop by each table. After all, they are here to celebrate YOU. And even though you are going to be spread very thin on your big day…just a few moments with you will mean the world to them. This is one huge benefit of having a smaller guest list and hosting a more intimate wedding.
All images used in this post: Jessica Hill Photography
The Art of Weddings Portland strongly recommends you hire a professional wedding planner that is experienced and connected to the top vendors in the community. You can find the full list of our favorite Portland planners, venues, and vendors in our vendor guide! Follow us on Instagram at @artofweddingspdx too!
You should also keep your eye on The Venue Crawl event. Wedding planning has never been so much fun! Follow on Instagram at @portlandvenuecrawl and check it out.