By Terry Meadows
While the wedding day is all about the bride and groom, there are still guests out there who need your attention. Most people don’t remember the flowers on the ceremony arch or the vegetable side dish; they remember how happy they were, if they had a great time, and if they felt included.
Here at Zion Springs, not only do we love planning and celebrating weddings, but we also have a passion for wedding education. When couples decide they want to plan their wedding, it can be overwhelming. Trust us when we say we’ve seen it before: the uncertainty, the questioning and even the doubt as couples decide what is right for them. Seeing how difficult this decision can be first hand, we realized a long time ago that - while sure, we care about our all-inclusive venue - we really care about helping couples plan their that is perfect for them.
To alleviate some of your anxiety we give you solutions to the most common mistakes we see.
Mistakes to avoid on your wedding day
1. Mis-timing length of events
One thing that is annoying for guests is the stiff and awkward hanging about while waiting for the next part of the celebrations to begin, whether it’s the arrival of the bride or the wedding photo shoot. And you don’t want to get caught out with the venue shutting down your celebrations because you ran out of time. You are looking for a seamless day where one special moment flows smoothly into the next.
Solution: Time everything. Drive the route to your ceremony and reception venues at the same time and day of the week you have scheduled for your wedding day. Read your vows aloud with a stopwatch. Set time limits for speeches and share these with your speakers.
While you are having your photo shoot, provide cocktails and canapés for your guests to keep them entertained and engaged.
Display a timeline of events on your wedding website, or include it with the invitations so guests can anticipate how long they can expect each event to take.
If your venue has a shutdown time, especially in residential areas, you want to make sure that you provide enough time in your schedule so that you are not rushing at the end.
2. Miscounting the headcount
Event managers know that the industry standard is that 10% of the guest list won’t show up. That is not always true of weddings. You might have a guest list of 200 and are stuck when 196 turn up on the day. And sometimes there are those guests who fail to mention they are bringing a plus-one.
You will want to be thoughtful about your invitation list. If you are randomly inviting everybody from work, your book club, or the bowling team, be prepared that they might turn up. Each guest has a cost to their attendance, and this can get expensive very quickly.
Solution: Make sure you have a contingency plan with your vendors and suppliers to accommodate unexpected guests. You will need extra seating, tableware, food, and drinks.
It is incumbent on you to follow up with those guests who fail to RSVP to the invitations. If you are not including plus-ones, make sure your invitations are specific, and maybe follow up with certain guests. If you are inviting children, don’t forget to include them in your headcount.
3. Speeches disasters
Open-mic nights are great for having fun with your friends but not at your wedding. If the drinks are flowing, people start crawling out of the woodwork wanting to share those hideously embarrassing stories of when you were kids, or that one dating disaster.
Solution: Limit speeches to the groom, best man, and maid of honor. If you are comfortable with the parents giving a speech then go for it. You know your parents well enough to decide if they will embarrass you. Stipulate that speeches must be kept to the specified time, as long speeches tend to get boring.
Be judicious with your speakers. If you know that somebody might give an inappropriate speech, don’t ask them. If you have a wedding planner and a DJ you can lean on them to help you avoid any surprises.
Consider having the speeches early in the reception so people haven’t had all evening to let alcohol loosen their tongues.
4. Kids or adults-only?
You might want to include all the nieces and nephews. From both sides. And then there are your friends’ children, and suddenly it is now a Disney theme park. Decide early on if you want an adults-only or children-friendly wedding.
Solution: For an adults-only wedding, use your invitation to clearly state that children are not invited. Reiterate this on your wedding website. This lets parents make plans for child care in advance.
For a child-friendly wedding, consider hiring child-carers to look after the children and keep them entertained. Make sure your venue can accommodate children in a kid-friendly space.
Avoiding mistakes on your wedding day
There are any number of things that can cause a disruption on your wedding day, and you want to make sure you eliminate them before they even get a foothold.
Whether you are using a wedding planner, an all-inclusive venue, or doing it yourself, with careful planning and using a comprehensive checklist, you can anticipate some of the mistakes that might interrupt your wedding day.
If things do go wrong, embrace them, and give yourself grace. Permit yourself to enjoy the day, and let any mistakes be something you can laugh over in years to come.
Here at Zion Springs, we provide couples with an all-inclusive wedding experience, but we’ll give you some info on the other types of weddings out there so you can work towards making an informed choice that best suits your needs. Check out our other articles on all the different steps in planning your wedding