You want to be the perfect party host! You want your guests to feel that this event was the BEST party EVER! So how can you achieve that?...
In some cases, your guests are coming from all over the world or at least, from all over the country. They think enough of you to spend that kind of money on traveling to your event, so repay the favor! Make your guests feel welcome and comfortable! And you will be surprised how easy and affordable it is to accomplish!
First of all, create an informative wedding website and include it in your invitation packet. This is an easy way to feed your guests any updates and important details along the way! It's also a great place to put your gift registry information and hotel block details.
Send out save-the-dates early, especially if your event is scheduled around a holiday! Everything is much more expensive then, so with early notice your guests can plan better, get better deals, and perhaps budget ahead for the trip. To follow up, also send out your invitations early--try for eight weeks in advance of the event. Your guests can plan early for the time off or away from home, for out-of-towners.
Inform your traveling guests of your area's weather predictions for the events' time of year. Don't forget to include the proper dress code in your invitation packet. Another important detail is to let your guests know whether there will be a full buffet, seated dinner, or light or heavy appetizers. Your guests will know whether to schedule a later dinner on their own or to come prepared to dine the night away. With that said, if your event is an event where you start midday and continue into the late evening or night...feed your guests a plentiful meal (not just appetizers)!
Hotel welcome bags, open bars, full buffets or seated meals are the basics of hospitality! Going a step further is setting up a menu with a few special plates (by request) to consider your diabetic guests, guests with food-allergies, dietary restrictions, and vegans. Also, it is in bad taste to offer a cash bar to people who have spent so much to celebrate with you.
Be on time!!! Ceremony right on time...check...Reception started promptly...check...PERFECT! Stress to your family and wedding party during the wedding rehearsal that EVERYBODY must be on time!!! Your guests will love your promptness and so will your vendors, especially your caterer! People act a lot better when they are fed at an appropriate time, especially for weddings following your ceremony!
Show your guests to their seats and welcome them at the same time by attaching a personalized ribbon with name and table number over a chilled champagne flute. Perfect for adult-only events! And your guests will be all ready for the champagne toast!
For outdoor events:
* Have several tall patio umbrellas placed around your seating to shade your guests during the ceremony.
* Have refreshing drinks ready upon your guests' arrival. Choose personalized bottles of water, sparkling water, mimosas, bellinis, or chilled fruited punch.
* Consider having a portable coffee bar setup...lattes and cappuccinos would be nice! Add in a shot of Bailey's and a tray of chocolates to get a big smile from your guests.
* Have your grounds sprayed by a professional service to rid your event of mosquitoes and flies! Purchase some natural insect spray to set around for your guests. Amazon.com sells batches of mosquito repellent bracelets that would add a nice touch!
* For a reception tent, rent a cooling unit or large fans to place around the perimeter for those hot evenings or a space heater for chilly nights.
* Provide a basket of color-coordinated flip flops so that guests can take off those heels, and dance the night away!
* Consider renting lounge furniture to scatter throughout the event to provide your guests with additional places to mingle!
* Consider providing bug spray, sunglasses, sunscreen, fans, parasols, umbrellas, and/or first aid kits.
For beach ceremonies:
* Strategically place baskets of fans around the area.
* Provide your guests with Fedora hats for shade.
* Have hostesses pass around chilled towels infused with eucalyptus or lemon oil, tied with nice ribbon and palm leaves. Adorn the tray with lemon, lime, or orange slices for accent.
* In case there's a breezy wind on the beach, purchase color-coordinated pashminas (light blankets) to keep your guests warm. Place them in beautiful baskets around the event adorned with matching ribbon.
Consider seating arrangements carefully--put 'like' people at the table together (reduces drama), don't seat older people near speakers, have enough seats, and select comfortable seats!
If any of your guests are celebrating a special event, briefly acknowledge them during the event by providing them with a table centerpiece, a bottle of champagne or just having the DJ to give them a hearty 'shout-out'!
Ensure that you have an adequate number of restrooms available. Include baskets in the restroom with toiletries...lotions, feminine products, toothpaste and brushes, tissues, hand sanitizers, hangover kits (aspirin, water), etc.
Try to visit each table, as a couple to thank your guests for coming! It's a great photo opp time too!
Be sure to have the number for local cab services, UBER, or Lyft handy to make sure drinking guests get home safely. While we are talking about transportation, if you can afford it hire a shuttle bus, trolley, bus, etc. for out-of-towners to and from the designated hotel. If the event venue has limited parking, hire a valet service or pay for parking for your guests.
When your guests see your little touches everywhere, it will translate into great memories of a lifetime! You don't have to spend a lot of money...it's the little things that count that show your guests how much you appreciate them sharing in your special day!