No one wants bored wedding guests! In fact, this is probably one of the biggest fears that brides have about their wedding day. It was definitely one of mine. In fact, I had recurring nightmares of guests yawning, checking the time, and wanting to leave early.
Although you can’t guarantee that everyone will have a rollicking good time at your nuptials, there are a few sure-fire ways to prevent your guests from getting grumpy.
1. Plan your timeline carefully
My biggest wedding pet peeve is the amount of time between the ceremony and the reception. If there is a huge gap, then you’re almost guaranteed your guests will get antsy. Depending on your wedding timeline, try your best to arrange to have less time in between. If the gap can’t be avoided (due to photos etc.), open the bar early so guests can have some drinks while they wait. Make sure there are plenty of appetizers to help absorb the alcohol!
2. Food, glorious, food!
Everyone knows that the way to a wedding guest’s heart is through their stomach, so make sure you’ve got some good eats planned for your reception! That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank for a gourmet 10-course meal; food trucks and food stations, pizza bars, taco bars and popcorn bars are just a few lower budget options that will up the fun factor and have your guests raving about your big day.
3. Great entertainment
You will most likely have activities and crafts for the kids coming to your wedding to keep them entertained, why not add some fun and frolic for your other guests? Along with a traditional guest book, have things on each table for guests to do, such as puzzles, mad libs, trivia or even a modern I Spy game. A band, DJ, live performers, dancing lessons and musicians also help to keep people’s attention after dinner.
4. Account for down time
Most weddings start in the early afternoon and then continue late into the night. That is a lot of time that guests will spend in one or possibly two locations. Try to account for the common lulls in a reception, such as right after dinner before everyone starts dancing or after everyone has danced for an hour and needs a break. Maybe put out a candy bar or late night snacks at that time or activities such as board games, a live event artist, on-site poet or a photo booth.
5. Create inviting lounge spaces
At my wedding reception, I noticed the reception hall quieted down around 10 pm. I walked downstairs to find a group of guests relaxing on couches in the basement of the venue chatting and having a good time. Was I upset that they weren’t getting crazy on the dance floor? Definitely not! Sometimes guests just want to chill – and that’s why it’s a great idea to create some inviting lounge spaces that include comfy seating.
After five years together, Sadie and Jonathon didn’t see the point in having a long drawn-out engagement or a huge wedding. Instead, the couple just wanted to celebrate the continuation of their journey in life together with those they loved the most and in the way suited them best – with a non-traditional and meaningful outdoor wedding ceremony and a pizza party!
Special thanks to Keely & Aaron for capturing this sweet Texas wedding and sharing it with us today.
Sadie, 22 & Jonathon, 28
Wedding Date: May 5, 2015
Number of Guests: 35ish
Wedding Cost: $4,651.00 (this does not include rings)
Wedding Ceremony Location: The Grove At Denton Valley
Wedding Reception Location: The Grove At Denton Valley
Why did you have an intimate wedding?
I’ve gone to weddings and seen huge amounts of people, and the bride and groom looking stressed trying to see everyone. Seeing just how chaotic the day can really be, I knew that, for Jon and I, we wanted it to be the most stress-free day possible. We had originally started planning a huge wedding with a year long engagement, and I just thought “why?”. We’ve been together for five years and it just seemed silly to drag it all out for a whole year, so we had a short engagement instead and a small five hour wedding day with no bridal party. I wanted the day to be about us and I didn’t want to have to stress and make sure everyone else was on time and doing what they were supposed to be doing.
What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
We actually didn’t have much trouble as far as planning our wedding. I’m HUGE on decorating and planning events, and I’m super frugal as well, so with our budget I got to think outside of the box, which was even more fun for me as I love a challenge. I had lots of help from friends and my mom and sister, and as far as ideas and opinions go, our wedding coordinator – whom I also rented a lot of our decor from – was tons of help as well.
Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
It really wasn’t for us. We had our wedding on a Tuesday because I really loved that the date was all fives and felt it was unique and something to remember. Being on a Tuesday we had a lot of guests who were not able to attend, and to keep it an intimate event, we asked that it be an adult only kind of day, so we had some not attend because of that factor as well.
Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?
We did and we just explained that this is what we really wanted and it was what we were going to do. In the end everyone loved our day and thought it was perfect.
What were the highlights of the ceremony?
We were so worried that it was going to rain the whole day and when I finally walked up to face my husband, a huge rain drop hit the top of my glasses and slowly ran down as myself and Jon watched it go and tried not to giggle uncontrollably. It was something I will never forget and it eased our nerves. I spent weeks writing out our ceremony as I wanted it to be as non-traditional as possible, but still be romantic and meaningful. One thing I wanted to emphasize was that this was not a new start or new journey for us, but rather just another step in our journey together, and that we were there so that our loved ones could witness our love and our commitment to each other. We also used a “these are the hands” poem and it really just moved me to stand there with my husband holding my hands and smiling down at me and squeezing my hands as the poem was read. I’ll never forget the feeling of standing up there with him while our justice of the peace spoke; it really did feel like we were the only two people there and nothing else mattered.
What were the highlights of the reception?
We did a pizza buffet and we were a tad worried it wouldn’t go off like we wanted, but to see that it had been all laid out perfectly made for such an awesome reception! I think cutting into our cake was our second favorite highlight of the reception; it was so, so delicious and feeding it to each other was just so fun.
What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?
I would have to say the atmosphere; it was such a calm wedding and it flew by much faster than I wanted, but during the wedding, there was no stress, no “it’s time to throw your bouquet” or “do this” or “do that”. We just got to hang out with family and friends, eat good food, and enjoy our day. I felt like we were actually present in our day and because there were not many people there, we really got to feel the love from each and every person. And hearing everyone call me Mrs. Prestridge was just such a joy that I felt all giggly and free, and so, so happy the whole entire time.
What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?
I would say do what you want to do regardless of what others would like. If you want pizza, have pizza; or burgers or whatever you want! The most important things are the two items you take away from your wedding which are your husband and your photos, so don’t sweat the small stuff.
Venue: The Grove at Denton Valley
Photographer and Cinematography: Keely & Aaron
Makeup: By Jonathon Mendoza at TG & Company
Hair: By Carlos at TG & Company
Food: Papa Johns
Cake: The Flour Shop Bakery
Bride’s Shoes: Michael Kors
Bride’s Dress: Asos
Linens and Centerpieces: A Sense Of Bride
Cake Topper: My brother in law Jason Cobb made it with his 3d printer.
After 14 years together, Joe and Kayse decided it was time to tie the knot. They chose to get married in a location that was very special to them: the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. On June 28, 2014, with only a handful of immediate family members, the couple hiked into the Gorge for an intimate ceremony, followed by a casual reception at a beautiful cabin in the woods.
Thanks to videographer Reel Special Productions for sharing this film with us!
Back in the day when guestbooks were simply, well, a book, there was always some reluctant guest assigned to “guestbook duty” to make sure everyone signed the book. That poor soul would go around the reception tables and ensure that every last guest signed the book. Fast forward to 2015, and wedding guestbooks have become a fun wedding activity. With an exciting guestbook, guests are eager to write lovely messages and will sometimes even line up to sign. Here are 10 brilliant wedding guestbook ideas we love:
1. Classic book
This wooden guestbook by TotallySalinda features the places the couple met, lived and married in laser engraved wood. The cover is stunning wood while the inside is paper for guests to sign and is perfect for couple’s who want to make their mark on the world.
5. Advice cards
At your wedding, chances are there will be people attending who have been married 20, 30 or even 50 years; and they have a lot of advice to give. So give them the option with wedding advice cards. Write questions out on Kraft paper or find some templates on Etsy, such as this set of 50 wedding advice cards by SouthernCards.
6. Advice coasters
Instead of having a traditional guestbook table, place the “advice cards” at the tables or at the bar, so people can fill them out while they are having dinner or drinks. This letterpress coaster set from LuckyBeePress is a fun, wedding idea.
7. Drop jar
The latest trend is wedding guestbooks is the “drop jar.” Similar to a shadow box, guests fill out pieces of paper or wood and then drop them into the framed box. It is interactive and an interesting piece of wall art for your home after the wedding. We love this “mason jar of hearts” guest book idea from StrangelyYours.
8. Heartfelt wishes
Maybe your guests will want to write something a little more private and not have it displayed publicly on a large poster. In that case, have small pieces of paper, fabric or wood for each guest to write on.
9. Photo poster
This wedding guestbook idea takes the idea of the “fingerprint poster” and a photo poster and melds them into an even more interesting concept. Guests can sign a custom poster of you as a couple that is also a work of art in itself by FlutterbyePrints.
10. Map poster
Map your journey as a couple with a map poster of your travels designed by MarshmallowIncLLC. You could also have also guests who have traveled far to attend the wedding sign it with where they have come from.
*This post includes Etsy Affiliate links.
A few DIY projects can really inject some personality to your wedding decor. They are also a great way to take your reception to the next level with unique ideas that you’ve put some effort into. Your guests will be seriously impressed by your handy skills. We’ve picked our 12 DIY ideas that will really add the wow factor to your reception.
1. Flower Chandelier
An embroidery hoop can be transformed into a gorgeous flower chandelier with some basic supplies. Roses and peonies in pink, peach and white have a classic look, but you can also go for bold and bright blooms for a dramatic look.
2. Moss Table Numbers
Instant green moss sheets are used here to create these table numbers, which can be placed under bell jars for a different look. You can expand on this idea by using the moss for letters or to spell out words on the tables.
3. Spun Sugar Decoration
Spun sugar can be used to decorate so many desserts at your wedding to give a little flair and color. If you’re having a simple cake you can also make some spun sugar to place on top of it for a quick and easy decoration.
4. Feather-topped Drink Stirrers
Putting some extra thought into the smaller details will really make a difference to the overall style of your wedding. These are great to do yourself too as they don’t take very long to make, but have plenty of impact. Drink stirrers topped with a feather will look gorgeous for a bohemian affair.
5. Flower Power Photo Backdrop
Creating your own photo backdrop will save on the expense of a photobooth and also add some stunning color to a plain wall. These silk flowers will have your guests lining up for their time in front of the camera.
6. L.O.V.E Marquee Letters
These marquee letters might require some more effort, but it’s such a fun project to work on as a couple. Just look how awesome they’ve turned out!
7. Edible Gem Favors
These yummy DIY gems will not only look and taste delicious, but they can also be used as a decoration for dessert tables too.
8. Mini Disco Ball Place Cards
The contrast between the shimmering disco ball and the plants will ensure that these place cards keep your guests interested. Unexpected details like this are fun to make and great to watch your family and friends enjoy.
9. Floral Beach Cruiser
Decorating a white bicycle with flowers and a sign will give you the perfect exit for a beach wedding. It also looks great as an interesting piece of decor too.
10. Light Columns
If you’re having a wedding that also has an outdoor or pool area, these paper lantern columns will brighten up the space.
11. Test Tube Chandelier
Who would have thought that a chandelier made from test tubes could look so good? With the added bonus that you can tell everyone that you made this eye-catching piece yourself.
12. Chevron Risers
These DIY chevron risers will look perfect on top of the bar, dessert tables or to give your centerpieces a vivid lift.
Photo one: honestlywtf.com; Photo two: ruffledblog.com; Photo three: blog.etsy.com; Photo four: 100layercake.com; Photo five: blog.etsy.com; Photo six: evanandkatelyn.com; Photo seven: projectwedding.com; Photo eight: ohsobeautifulpaper.com; Photo nine: stylemepretty.com; Photo ten: marthastewart.com; Photo eleven: oncewed.com; Photo twelve: stylemepretty.com