I'm sure by now that we've all seen a few episodes of TLC's 'Four Weddings'. We all love to watch as four brides attend each other's weddings over the course of a year, and take notes and judge each other to see who had the best wedding out of the four of them. We watch as they party it up at the reception, complain about the food, judge the current bride's dress, and make notes about how such-and-such just isn't their 'style'. While it can be fun to watch, one thing we can all take away from this show is what makes wedding guests grumpy, and try to avoid these things at our own weddings. So, here is a list of 5 things that wedding guests complain about most:
1.) Cold Food. Your caterer can only keep dinner warm so long, especially if they're not cooking on site. No one likes to eat a cold dinner- unless it's supposed to be cold. So, what can you do? You can work with your photographer and wedding planner to assemble a reasonable timeline for your wedding day, and stick to it as much as possible. When you're running behind, that's when your catering team starts to struggle to keep dinner warm for everyone. Better yet, it's becoming a trend to skip the sit-down dinner altogether, and just serve hors d'oeuvres.
2.) A really long ceremony. Unless you find that it's absolutely necessary due to religious reasons (i.e. a full Catholic Mass), I would suggest keeping your ceremony short and sweet. Most guests' attention spans for ceremonies only lasts about 30-45 minutes from when the wedding party enters to when the bride and groom depart. If you do find it necessary to have a much longer ceremony, I would suggest only inviting those who are most important to you to the ceremony, and the rest of your guests to your reception afterward. This way, your guests don't start getting antsy during your long ceremony, because they understand the significance of it.
3.) No cocktail hour. If there is a really long span of time between your ceremony and the start of your reception, guests feel unsure of what to do to take up the time in between. Give them something to do! Even if you don't plan on having a traditional cocktail hour, new trends include providing board games, a movie viewing, or other various forms of entertainment. If you can't- or don't want to- provide something for them to do, provide them with a few local suggestions such as museums, parks, or other nearby attractions to take up their time.
4.) A boring D.J./Band. This day in age, people come to a wedding reception to party. They aren't there to visit with family or friends, or to enjoy the ambiance. They're there to help you celebrate this milestone in your life, which means a party! If your D.J. or band is boring or otherwise unappealing, it can make it hard for your guests to enjoy themselves. Does this mean that you have to turn your reception into a rave? Nope. But you should look for a D.J. or band that is professional and entertaining that will also fit in with your party style.
5.) Over-the-top decorations, especially table centerpieces. You may think they are awesome, fantastic, absolutely gorgeous, and that they are a necessity, but the truth is, over-the-top decorations just make it hard for your guests to maneuver around your wedding and reception locations. Huge table centerpieces make it almost impossible for people to converse while eating, leaving them only able to speak with the people right next to them. They may look stunning, but they leave guests feeling claustrophobic. And then begs the question, 'What are you going to DO with all of those decorations after your wedding is over?' Does this mean you shouldn't decorate? Absolutely not. Just keep some logistics in mind when you're planning your decorations.
Guests ultimately come to weddings to help you celebrate a huge milestone in your life, but we all want our guests to have a great time while doing so. Taking their comfort into accountability will help you avoid many pitfalls of wedding planning, and help you and your guests to have an amazing time on the day of your wedding. Best of luck!