1) Bad Timing-Long pauses between the ceremony and reception are generally a bummer. If you cannot book the ballroom immediately following the ceremony, arrange for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at an adjacent space.
2) Cash Bars-Sorry, a cash bar is never an acceptable money-saving solution. Swallow that expensive bill by thinking about this: you would never ask guests to pay for a cocktail in your own home; your wedding should be the same. *Offer a limited open bar with beer and wine or a signature cocktail to keep costs low.
3) Stranded Dates- Don't create a painful experience for your attendant's dates. Speed up the marathon photo sessions and seat dates together with the wedding party at the reception.
4) Stranded Guests-If your wedding reception and ceremony locations are far apart or far from accommodations, you should provide guest transportation. Besides the obvious safety concerns of drinking and driving, your guests should remember what a lovely time they had at your wedding-not what a pain it was to get there.
5) Unaccommodating Accommodations-Failing to provide information for convenient and affordable accommodations for long distance guests never goes over well. Don't force guests to be their own travel agents, and don't secure the only room block at a 5 star hotel. Make sure to block off rooms at several hotels at different price points.
6) Silent or Tardy Dinner Bill-If your four hour reception falls during meal time, understand that your guests will be expecting just that- a meal. And they'll expect that meal during normal lunch or dinner hours. If you will be running late due to pictures, think of feeding your guests before you arrive to keep them happy!
7) Ungracious Hosts-Failing to acknowledge any gift or thoughtful gesture with hand-written, personalized thank you notes is always an etiquette faux pas and never a breech that will go unnoticed. I can still name the couples who did not send a written thank you note!
8) Bar-If you choose to have an open bar at our reception, make sure you have adequate staff. I recommend 1 bartender for ever 75 guests. Make sure that the bar is stocked and everyone is ready to go as the first guest arrives. Nothing will kill the party mood like waiting in line for 20 minutes for a drink!
9) Room- Make sure your venue isn't too crowded and there are plenty of places for your guests to sit or place their drinks. Your guests will not enjoy being bumped into while they're holding a plate and drink.
10) Temperature-If your ceremony is outside and in full sun offer guests umbrellas, customized water bottles, and programs that double as a fan. It's always nice to have shawls available for ladies who might get cold in your ceremony or reception venue. You can even have these match your theme or monogrammed.
11) Food-Your guests are wanting to be "wowed" at your wedding. Wow them with food! Believe it or not, some guests actually complain if the cocktail hour offers too much food! Tease your guests with the cocktail hour of what lies ahead for dinner! Put effort into your menu selection (it can be ethnic foods to pay tribute to your heritage, a childhood favorite, family recipes and so on.) Work with your caterer or venue to see how they will be serving the guests. If it is a plated meal, will they serve each table at once or each dish (all chicken first, all beef next, etc? ) Guests want flavor, the food to be at the expected temperature, and "not your average chicken dinner."
12) Children-If you are going to have children at your wedding offer them their own table filled with goodies (playdough, coloring books, craft projects, beading, etc.) Offer them goody bags to play with at their table if they are young and need to be with supervisors. You can hire someone to watch children in the venue while they play, watch movies and even eat a pizza. Of course, being the gracious host you are, have arranged the details and ordered the pizzas! :)
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