Friday, September 19, 2014

Keeping Your Guests Happy

You've planned the perfect guest list, 
                  they've traversed the globe to celebrate with you,
now's the time to think about your event from the perspective of a guest. (psst. you're a guest too!)

When you plan your event, you often think of the big items; site, clothes, music, food, photography.  But we challenge you to think about it from a different angle.  If you haven't started planning yet, this is a great framework to use.  It will be a fresh take and will alert you to what matters to you and what you'd like to skip- then your budget priorities will be so much easier. 

Time of day...

You may have chosen the time of your event for many reasons; budget, availability, lighting, theme (dessert bar anyone?) but there's other things to consider about the time your guests will arrive..

Starving Guests...

When did they eat last?  When did you eat last for that matter. Sometimes clients have chosen an off time of day in hopes of saving some money on a full blown meal. Or perhaps on alcohol (think brunch not late night) but you should also consider- how long have they been traveling to get to your event? (up a mountain?) Will your ceremony end at an assumed meal time? Or will they be at your event for an extended period of time? Better plan ahead for food, and don't make them wait too long.

Traditionally no food or drink is offered prior to the ceremony.  But if your guests had to skip lunch to get to you on time, it might be nice to have a table set up as guests enter with water and crackers and cheese.  If your ceremony is in a church, then make sure to display a sign asking guests to refrain from bringing food and drink inside.  Perhaps a water station in the yard outside would be a nice arrival welcome for the weary traveler.  Remove or cover the food portion (leave the water) about 15 minutes prior to your ceremony start time to let guests know it's time to find a seat.


Something you want to consider for outdoor ceremonies (or indoor with poor ventilation.)
  • Indoors- test the ac and or fans before hand and plan when they'll begin to run.  (Several hours prior to event, to ensure proper cool.  Ac's don't recover well to quick rises and you don't save by leaving them off until the last minute.  Let them run little bits in the am in prep.)
  • If you've fallen in love with an old church with no ac and are marrying on a hot day, do everything you can to help your guests. offer handheld fans, a very cold water station just outside and ask the staff what they can do to help.  They often know some tricks of the space.  (Once you know the plan- alert your vendors!  Nothing ruins a cool room, like the doors left open while vendors set up.)
  • Outdoors- plan shade if you can.  visit your site a couple weeks prior at the exact time of day to scope the cool and shady spots.  Place your ceremony there if you can, rent pretty white umbrellas for the guests if not. (even a few are nice), or set up some chairs in the shade for older guests or those who are not so great at dealing with the heat.


If your event is outdoor and evening, then you should ask the staff what bugs they normally deal with.  (This also applies to barn or backyard events.)  Have the staff use bug sprays leading up to the event. (Make sure they are environmentally friendly.  don't want to be breathing the remains of those!) And plan your event away from water sources.

Boredom & Sleep...

That's right! You heard me! Don't let your guests sit with nothing to do for long periods of time.  And please consider what they have the following day. (Church? Early flight home?) If you're event will go into the wee hours, then make sure that the main events; dinner, dessert, toasts, are done fairly early in case a guest must leave you early.

The Ride Home...

Ice cold waters for the ride home are a nice touch.  Especially if they've been 'partying heavily'.  
A thank you sign on the way out, shows your appreciation.
A polite sign near the exit for a local taxi company says "I love you, don't drive if you've indulged too much." but maybe not those exact words.

You've done all you can do, but we just want to say... You can't please everyone.  Just ignore any rude wedding guests and Enjoy Your Day!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Informing Your Guests, Without a Megaphone

Photo: Verge Photography

There's a good chance you will need your guests to move.  It makes for a great event if done correctly.

Even if your ceremony and reception are at the same location, you will need to alert your guests which way to go from the parking lot, where to place all those gifts, what to expect in the ceremony, where to go after you're wed to toast your nuptials, where to sit and when they're allowed to eat all that fantastic food!

It's best not to leave this to the imagination as wedding guests will take matters into their own hands.  (I've seen it happen) Fear not, and leave the megaphone at home...


Save the Date- Your first 'sign' to your guests. When you're worried they might have other plans and don't have enough details for your formal invite- a Save The Date Card is perfect.  It can be informal and simple.

Invite- This sets the tone for your wedding.  If you're planning an upscale event, your invite better look it.  Want people to plan for a relaxed outdoor grassy event? Word it so they'll leave their heels and cocktail dresses at home. (Watch for our upcoming article on invite wording.)


Hotel Guests- If you have some guests who will be staying at a hotel when they come to celebrate, it's nice to have a printed weekend itinerary ready for them. (include some important phone numbers and address' too.)  A easy to carry 1/4 sheet card of your favorite restaurants, ice cream shops and watering holes is also a plus so that they can grab something without guessing. 

Wedding Drive & Parking- If the route is confusing or has a tricky turn, then a well placed sign or balloon will make your guests day so much better.  If there are parking options then leave a well placed sign to make it obvious where to go.

The Big Event-

Signs of where you'd like guests to sit, sides? where not to sit, 'reserved for family' and even a drink sign and a galvanized bin of cold water are very helpful to expectant celebrators.

Post Bliss-
Do you want your guests to stay seated after the event? Remain in the ceremony area? Move to another area? You may have your officiant announce this at the end or/and have a sign where guests can easily see upon arrival, what you wish for them to do after.

Reception & Special Thoughts-

Seating Charts- If you'd like your guests to sit somewhere specific then make an easy to read chart at the entrance to your reception. (Where on earth could you get advice about that?) If you're not bothered where they sit, then a cute sign saying so would be a welcome assurance for them to pick their favorite spot.

Photo Booths, Guest Books and Other Fun Ideas- If you've planned something special for your guests then place it somewhere your guests will see and leave a sign to encourage them to partake.

Food- If you have a buffet then it's nice for guests to know whether they should help themselves, wait until the prayer, or wait until they are dismissed by the caterers to chow down.  (Remember, if you're asking your guests to wait to eat the meal a long time, you should have snacks and water and drinks to tide them over.  They likely have not eaten in a while as they've been busy dressing and trekking to celebrate with you.  Nothing says thanks for coming more than food does.)

Favors & Parting Gifts- Leave your favors where your guests will depart from with a reminder that they are welcome to take one.  A sign for a taxi service or the name of a person willing to give someone a ride in case they've celebrated too much is also nice.


Thank You's- It will surprise you to know that I'm terrible at thank you notes.  Lucky for you we live in an age that makes it very easy for you to show your gratitude.  Consider the recipient.  Send your grandma a handwritten note.  Email your vendors.  Text, tweet, instagram- just do something to let people know you love their gift (pretend if you need to.) and that it wasn't stolen.  Be creative and grateful and they'll know you love them.

Plan ahead, well ahead for all of your signage.  pretend you're a guest and make a list of what you want to know.


for ideas and start early.  The best wedding plans often get dropped or poorly implemented due to frustration and task overload in the end planning.

Enjoy your planning!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Easy Wedding Flowers

Wedding flowers can be over whelming. You don't know the names and really can't believe you have to spend so much on them.

Here's a few tips for planning those gorgeous buds...

1. Suit Yourself!

If you're Miss America you could put them in your red plastic cup. Just suit your personality. Make it you, not what you think you are supposed to have for your wedding. Anything goes. Get on Pinterest or and start seeing what you like.

2. Order them from a wholesaler or even CostCo (cue gasp) and tie them up yourself. Better yet have your sister or someone close to you whom you trust do it so that you won't be stressed just days before your wedding.
Did you know that you don't usually need a wholesale license to order flowers from a wholesaler.  They can sell retail to you and you'll still save a bundle.

3. Pick some gorgeous ribbon beforehand to tie your flowers up once you've wired them together.

  • Start with a center flower and while adding to your hand vary which flower you add next until your bouquet is big enough.  
  • Wire the bouquet tightly and cut the end of the wire off and tuck it in.
  • Use garden shears to cut all stems to same length- About 3" below where you'll hold them.
  • Tie a pretty and thick ribbon around your bouquet then wrap it around to cover most of the stems.  Leave tendrils out or hot glue end to ribbon.
  • leave the bottom of the flowers out and put them in a little water to keep them fresh until the ceremony.  This way the bouquet can be assembled the day before.
4. Relax, they're flowers.  They don't have to be perfect. Just a pretty accessory for you to carry.  Ancient brides carried flowers to mask body odor from their groom since they couldn't bathe often.  This probably isn't the case for you- so it's probably not as serious of an issue.

Enjoy Your Day!