7 Ways to Keep Wedding Guests Happy |

June 14, 2017

7 Ways to Keep Wedding Guests Happy | Tips for Brides by Karen Shoufler Photography

Your wedding day is a day for your family and closest friends to celebrate with you as you become husband and wife. Your wedding guests are excited to be there! They have given up their day and spent money to get there, so it’s important to keep them in mind when planning your day. Most guests are going to give a lot of grace when it comes to the little things that can disrupt the day that are beyond your control, like bad weather. But, with a little pre-planning, you can help to make their day enjoyable and relaxing!

  1. A good timeline. Talking to your planner and photographer about the wedding day timeline with your guests in mind is a must! Your guests will expect some downtime between the ceremony and reception, but try keeping this at a minimum. This might mean having a first look and getting a lot of the photos done before the ceremony. Or, it might mean providing some activities for your guests to do while waiting. Whatever you decide, keep waiting times to a minimum so your out-of-town guests don’t have to try to spend an hour or two walking around the nearest Target trying to waste time before dinner at your reception.
  2. Plan a cocktail hour with light snacks. Even if you do a first look, there is likely going to be some time between the ceremony and your reception. Providing a cocktail hour with light snacks will give your guests something to do and also give them a little something to keep their stomachs happy until dinner is served.
  3. Keep the environment comfortable. If you are having an outdoor wedding in July, keep the ceremony short and provide bottled water and fans to your guests. It would also be helpful to provide some shade, at least for older guests. You don’t want people getting sick or passing out during your wedding because they got overheated.
  4. Provide late night snacks. If you have a crowd that is going to stay late and dance the night away, providing late night snacks is a huge win! It’s a surprise for them, and gives them something in their stomachs after drinking and before they go home. Have fun with this one! You can have a food truck arrive near the end of the reception, have your favorite pizza delivered, or have hot pretzels with dipping sauces. The possibilities here are endless.
  5. Keep the reception moving along. Guests are going to expect a few special dances and reception activities. Keeping these to a minimum will keep your guests’ attention until it’s there time to cut a rug on the dance floor. If you have to many special dances, you may end up boring your guests who may then take the opportunity to sneak out early.
  6. Over communicate. You want your guests to know what’s going on! A few ways to keep them informed is to provide clear directions and signage to the ceremony and reception, provide a timeline on your wedding program, or putting up a decorative sign at the reception with the events of the night. Guests are much more likely to sit through a speech or two if they know dinner will be served immediately following.
  7. Clean restrooms. Most of the time, the venue will have this taken care of, but appointing one person to keep an eye on the restrooms throughout the day will help. That person doesn’t have to be responsible for cleaning them, but having someone know who to contact to take care of any unpleasant situations is a must. If you are having an outdoor wedding, make sure guests know where to go for restrooms. If you must have a porta-potty, make sure it’s the cleanest, nicest ones you can find.

Taking care of these few things will help to keep guests happy, comfortable and focused on celebrating your marriage! For more tips on planning your wedding day, click on the For Brides box at the bottom of the page.


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  1. Kayla Grey

    June 14th, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    What great ideas! I know that so many couples, and even parents are looking for ways to keep guests happy during pictures and the reception!

  2. Ashley Durham

    June 15th, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Yasssss! All of these are definitely great ways to keep wedding guests happy!!

  3. Joanna Moss

    June 15th, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Love this topic. Great tips!

  4. Jesi

    June 15th, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Yes to #6!! Helping your guests understand where to go and exactly what is next is so important! People get bored easily and sometimes it is hard to bring them back from the cell phone abyss!