Your guests have traveled far and wide to attend your wedding. They are friends old and new and family members you see often and not often enough. No matter the relationship, your guests are there to celebrate you.
While gifting and congratulating is commonly doted upon the couple on the wedding day, that same kindness can be extended to guests. On a day filled with love, there’s nothing better than showing your friends and family just how much you care for them.
Thanking Your Guests
A simple thank you can go a long way. Where thank you cards are traditionally expected after the wedding, why not give them one on the day of as well? Handwritten notes can be incorporated in seating place cards, included in a welcome bag or handed out as favors at the end of the night. You can choose decorative stationary, write on postcards or put your message on the back of a photo of you and a guest. Another option is to grab the mic and give a thank you speech. It can be written out or short and sweet. The best time to do this is right before dinner is served.
Receiving lines are a great way to briefly thank and chat with each attendee. These often take place as guests leave the ceremony site, following the service or as soon as the couple reaches the reception location.
Many couples choose dinner as a time to visit each table, before guests start getting up to dance and mingle. During this time, have your photographer follow and snap a photo of you with each table. Other couples choose to make this a game of sorts, having the DJ play a song and within the span of that song, the couple has to make it to each table to take a photo. All the more special, include that photo when you send out thank you cards after the wedding day.
Guests appreciate a functional and thoughtful gift. Welcome bags are a wonderful way to greet guests and meet their needs for the night of festivities and the weekend ahead. Anyone would be thankful for snacks, water bottles, beverages, pain medicine, electrolyte-hydration packets, local brochures and coupons or localized treats and gifts.
A major aspect of a wedding reception is the meal shared. You don’t want anyone to go hungry due to a dietary restriction or allergy. You can elect to have alternative options already on the menu or provide a place on your website or RSVP for guests to indicate any meal accommodations. And don’t forget to ask any vendors, such as photographers, videographers, planners, coordinators, DJs and musicians, about their meal preferences.
Whether your wedding has an open bar or select signature cocktails, it’s a thoughtful gesture to include one or more mocktail options. This offers a fun and inclusive option for those who choose not to drink alcohol, are unable to or who simply want to skip the hard stuff for a round. You can pre-select mocktail ingredients, so the bartender knows exactly what to make.
While most wedding venues should be handicap accessible, it should be confirmed in the case of guests who are handicapped or have mobility issues. Having ushers or greeters at your wedding can be helpful in showing people to their seats, directing parking and more.
Accessibility can also include access to easy amenities such as providing a hotel room block or hotel suggestions, arranging transportation, providing discount codes for ridesharing apps and having a point of contact for guest questions during the weekend.
Including Additional Family Members
Traditionally, weddings are structured to have the father walk the bride down the aisle and dance together at the reception. The groom and his mother typically get their moment to shine on the dance floor, too. But the rules are yours to make — anyone can walk you down the aisle, have a special dance with you or create your own unique moment.
Mothers of the bride, fathers of the groom, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, children and simply those who feel like family are all options to include in your day that don’t often get the acknowledgment they deserve by the traditions of the wedding industry.
With an increasing emphasis in recent years to make memorable wedding experiences for all, you might consider including events, activities and day-of mementos which could include entertainment, games, instant photos and more.
Investing in your guests doesn’t have to be a grand or expensive gesture. It could be offering late night bites or ordering pizzas at the afterparty. Or, including a song-request card in the invitation or wedding website.
Whatever way you choose to thank your guests, they’re sure to be grateful, making a momentous occasion for all.
Feature photo courtesy of Jennifer G Photography