There’s the parties you don’t want to end and the parties you want to leave as soon as you can. What makes some parties so good and others, well, not? If you’re planning your wedding celebration, you’ve probably wondered about this yourself. Wanting your guests to make memories and have an amazing time is probably high on your list of priorities. Not only do you want your loved ones to have a memorable time, but creating a great guest experience has another effect. When your guests are comfortable, connected and happy, that joyous energy is what will create the atmosphere you’ve always dreamed of. Indeed, making a great guest experience is the most direct way to a celebration you’ll never forget.
With that in mind, we dissected the elements of a party to identify the ways to make it outstanding and alternatively the things that can ruin the energy and spirit of the celebration.
Great parties: Include plenty of music, all the time
Music is one of the easiest ways to set the atmosphere for your party. In the background it influences our mood and adds another layer of interest. Music turns a gathering into a party. So make sure there’s music present at every part of your wedding day. While guests are being seated at the ceremony, opt for subtle background music. During cocktail hour, maybe the energy of the music goes up a bit. Then for your wedding reception dance time, be sure to select a variety of musical genres and eras to keep everyone connected. There’s no time like the present to begin your wedding playlist. The more time you give yourself, the more song ideas you’ll think of. Guestie makes it easy to include song suggestions from guests with a Song Request option that automatically syncs with your Spotify.
Great parties: Have people that want to be together
Friends and family don’t need to remain strangers until your wedding day. The more introductions you make before the big day, the more celebration energy and anticipation you’ll add to your celebration. This type of feeling is infectious and gets others to be more open and relaxed. Take advantage of the time before your wedding to connect your guests and start building your new united community. Use Guestie to create an effortless guest gallery so everyone can know names, how to pronounce them and how everyone is connected. You have the power to make it so that there’s not one stranger attending your wedding.
Great parties: Prioritize guest comfort
Those jaw-droppingly gorgeous chairs might look marvelous in your reception room, but if they’re uncomfortable, they aren’t worth considering. Your day is about you and sharing it with the people who have loved and supported you. Take the time to make sure you look at your planning from the guest perspective. What will they experience? Is there any help they might they need? What can you do to make each guest feel welcomed and valued? Little touches like umbrellas, throw blankets, slipper flats and late-night food offerings can show guests their needs have been considered. Also, by putting in the planning time to consider everyone’s comfort level, you’re less likely to be caught off guard during your wedding with some unforeseen request.
Great parties: Give guests fun things to do
You’ll have plenty to do on your wedding day, from family photos to dancing and cutting the cake. That’s all very exciting stuff, but what about your guests? What does your wedding day look like from their point of view? Try to visualize the day, what elements can you picture them raving about to a co-worker the day after? What would they find fun and entertaining? Those are the items you’ll want to work into the celebration. That could be anything from a trendy mixologist giving craft cocktail-making lessons to a cool food truck or photo booth van. Spreading out the entertainment into different pockets of your venue can also help keep guests moving and mingling. Pair an activity with a food station, for example you could place a fortune teller next to an hors d’oeuvre table to give people an ice-breaker to enter the area.
Great parties: Keep guests in the loop
As a general rule, people can relax more when they know what to expect and what’s going on. A schedule of events for your wedding day can give guests a visual preview of what they should expect. It’s much better than having guests leaning across tables asking each other what’s supposed to happen next. The same is true for parts of the ceremony or reception that could benefit from a bit of context.
Embracing cultural traditions and incorporating them into your wedding can be one of the most meaningful moments for a couple and their family. Some guests however might be confused and not understand what they are watching. Give everyone context and they will feel the power of the moment with you. A program and/or translation can help everyone understand the significance and make them feel part of it. A brief introduction can also make guests feel like you care about their inclusion. These little steps will make your wedding day experience feel so much more connected and joyous, as everyone’s energy contributes to making your moments extra-special.
Great parties avoid: Pushing guests outside their comfort zone
Whether it’s confiscating phones, requiring a strict no-posting on social media mandate or walking around and insisting everyone get up and dance, guests don’t like to feel ordered around, especially when they are expecting to relax and enjoy themselves. Although it can feel scary without rules, the more restrictions and demands you place on guests, the less they will feel comfortable to be themselves and enjoy the day as they are. Some people will want to dance, others will be more comfortable watching from the sidelines. Respect the boundaries and needs of each guest. Place older guests away from speakers and the center of the action.
Great parties avoid: Dead space and lulls in the action
One survey asked party guests what upsets them the most. The majority said being hungry and waiting too long for food and drink. One sure way to get grumpy guests is to keep them waiting to the point of becoming hangry. Waiting too long can spoil even the most lavish gourmet catering spread. Instead take a look at your timeline and make sure you plan things around your guests’ comfort levels. Don’t create an enormous gap between the ceremony and wedding and make sure you stay as on-time as possible so guests feel their time is being respected.
Great parties avoid: Leaving people lonely
Not everyone will know everyone at your wedding. It’s easy to think people will naturally mingle, but that’s often not the case. Guests can feel when they’ve been placed at the random guest table. It’s not much fun. Taking the time before your wedding to set guests up for success (i.e. fun and connection) is one of your jobs as host. Take special care to place guests with others that they have something in common with. Ask others to include them in their conversations beforehand. This is one way Guestie can help you make this an extremely efficient process. Within your Guestie Guest Gallery, you can tag guests by table placement or even common interest. Voila! Instant connection.
Great Parties Avoid: Making guests pay
The internet is full of horror stories of wedding couples that demand a minimum price per gift and other out-there requests. You would never do that of course, but there are other ways to play it cool when it comes to money and make things classy and effortless for guests. That begins with the wedding invitation. Don’t start off the guest experience with a gift request. That means leave off wedding registry information from your invitation and save it for your wedding website.
Another common faux pas? Trimming down the budget by opting for a cash bar. Guests don’t expect to spend money while at a wedding (plus they’ve already spent money on travel, attire and gifts). Although the bar can be an expensive part of your reception, look for creative solutions that prevent guests from having to reach into their wallet. Signature drinks, sticking to just beer and wine or limiting the liquor selection can all help keep the bar budget in check.
Great Parties Avoid: Getting caught up in the little details
Did you ever host a party thinking you’d have a blast, but instead you went from hyper-prep mode to full-time host for the duration of the party? The night flew by and you didn’t even get to enjoy the fruits of all your effort and expense. That’s not what you want for your wedding. Delegation and simplification are going to be your best allies in making sure this doesn’t happen.
Although DIY videos may make it look easy to build your own couple’s backdrop or bake your own wedding cake, taking on too many roles will keep you from enjoying your day. Err on the side of doing less and delegating more. Opt for simple favors, centerpieces and arrangements. The less complex, the less there will be to think about. It will also help you prioritize the things that do matter the most: the experience you, your fiancé and your guests get to enjoy.
Want to know more ways to make your wedding day the celebration of your dreams? Get Guestie’s Ultimate Guide eBook to planning a joyous, memorable wedding day. It’s a step-by-step how-to that’s sure to inspire creative ideas for your wedding! A little pre-planning now will go a long way to giving you the wedding that’s filled with joy and celebration.