Once Wed, one of my favorite sources for wedding inspiration, asked me to share some advice on creating a memorable guest experience, and I'm sharing my thoughts over on their blog here. One of my favorite parts of the design process is translating my clients' story into tangible, memorable experiences for guests - these details are what make your guests say, "That was beautiful and fun and so them!" Go check out Once Wed for more or see below.
Weddings are about creating lifelong memories. We put a lot of time and effort in to planning a wedding because it’s a day we’ll remember forever. But what about your guests? Ensuring you create a memorable guest experience for your friends and family is equally as important. Think about creating a wedding that speaks not only to who you are as a couple but also to how you want to make others feel…
Who are you as a couple?
One of the first questions I ask my clients is what kind of experience do you want your guests to have? Creating a memorable (and meaningful) guest experience begins with the reason they are at your wedding in the first place. Take some time to think about what the two of you love to do together, why other people like being around you, and what you want your marriage to be about.
What are you known for?
Are you known for hosting laid back dinner parties with wine and conversation stretching into the late hours? Then serve a family-style meal at long tables with low floral arrangements so guests can speak easily. Or are you the couple who feeds off each other’s comedic personalities, always keeping a room lively? Focus your efforts on a rocking band and come up with small details that make your guests interact with each other in unique ways. Let your story dictate the feel of your wedding. If the thing you both enjoy most together is camping, then show your guests the beauty of the outdoors by planning a reception outside, with a heavy focus on greenery in your florals, and a late night campfire complete with s’mores!
Take care of your guests
This can come in many forms but try to picture yourself as a guest at your own wedding. Close your eyes and move through the day. Is it chilly outside? Provide guests with blankets for outdoor events. Do you know where to go? Signage can be hugely helpful. I often design a large ‘Welcome’ sign that lays out the plans for the evening. Something like”So glad you’re here! 6pm Cocktails 7pm Dinner 8:30pm Dancing!” goes a long way. Do you feel at ease? Especially at large weddings, something as simple as assigning guests to their seats with placecards can help your loved ones feel that they have been thought of and taken care of. Placecards are another place to get personal – if the two of you met wine-tasting, then perhaps your placecards have an aptly-placed wine bottle stain in the corner.
Surprise your guests!
You want to create an experience that your guests will relive the next day. It could be something as simple as a surprise late-night serving of your favorite donuts or your groom getting up on stage to perform guitar solo, or as grand as a firework show. Planning some detail of the day that creates a memory for those that attend is always a good idea.