Did you know that wedding guests have a secret? They actually have five that they wish you knew while you’re planning your wedding reception. They secretly long for: an easy to get to location, comfort & conversation, fabulous libations, great music, and late night snacks.
1. Location: This first one’s quite simple: make it easy to get to with plenty of parking or close to public transportation if it’s in the city. If you’ve chosen a venue that’s not, provide ride share information, taxi suggestions, discount codes or a shuttle bus from a few locations to the venue, if your budget allows.
2. Comfort & Conversation: Surprise your guests by changing it up from the norm because what they secretly want is to be able to mingle, be comfortable & have conversations with friends and family. Try this: don’t serve a three or four course meal all in one go. This usually takes 1 1/2 hours forcing everyone to remain seated in one spot.
Serve the salad course then invite your guests to dance & mingle before the main course is served. Follow that up more time to get them out of their chairs to dance, chat with family & friends at other tables or for socializing at the bar. Cut the cake and have guests return to their tables for a slice.
3. The Bar: Don’t scrimp on the libations or the bartenders! I recently attended a reception where most guests knew that the bride & groom met & fell in love over their shared love of “fine wine and cheese.” I was surprised to see that they were serving wine from gallon bottles. If YOU love good wine, your guests will probably expect it at the reception. This goes for beer as well – serve a variety to suit all tastes.
From your guests’ perspective, cash bars are a definite no-no at receptions. Since budget is always a concern, save money by only serving wine and beer or by offering two signature cocktails – one each for the couple. And about those bartenders? Your guests secretly prefer not to wait in a line for 20 minutes for a drink so for 100-125 guests, use the rule of TWOS: 2 bars in 2 different locations with 2 bartenders at each, especially if you’re serving cocktails.
4. Great Music:It doesn’t matter if it’s an 8 piece band or a DJ, choose music to suit the tastes of your guests to encourage them to dance the night away. Music throughout the reception is great but speak to the DJ or band leader about modulating the volume during dinner so that guests can hear each other. In terms of comfort, choose a venue that provides an area, inside or out, for guests to mingle away from the music as well. Your older guests are secretly wishing for it at your reception.
5. Late night snacks: Surprise your guests with something everyone, young and old, are longing for as the reception winds down: late night snacks. All that dancing really works up an appetite so how about serving one of our favorites during the last hour of the reception: A cappuccino cart & cookies, hot dogs & chips, pizza, an ice cream sundae bar or a sweets table. Your guests will thank you for it!