Planning a wedding is a stressful event with a lot of different deadlines and vendors to manage. On top of that, the advent of Instagram and Pinterest has led many people to feel like they have to plan the perfect “Pinterest-worthy” wedding, which often makes people spend more money than they wanted to. The reality is that most of us aren’t celebrities. People can still have a budget along with their nice wedding if they know what to focus on.
Instead of spending all your money on hundreds of tiny details, invest in making your guest experience as good as it can be. After all, a wedding is a celebration of the witnessing of a union.
Writing a Visitor’s Travel Guide
Most people count on friends and families making a trip to see them get married. When you send out your “save the date” cards, include a short visitor’s travel guide. This could include:
- A list of local hotels, especially if you’ve reserved a group rate.
- Some recommended restaurants.
- Child care options if you know your guests will be bringing along their kids.
- Great local sights to see.
You can print this on the backs of the “save the date” cards or include it separately. Or, you can even send it out as a webpage or email. This will make your guests’ lives easier and show them you appreciate them making the effort and spending the money to come to your event.
Greeting Your Guests
One memorable and thoughtful thing you can do for your guests is provide them with a welcome basket. Think of thoughtful items they might need as out-of-towners– breath mints, toothbrushes, headache medicine, fresh fruit, chocolate. Include a note expressing how grateful you are that they’re attending your wedding.
Providing an Experience
It’s often said that people value and remember experiences over material things. Another thing you can do for guests is set up some kind of experience for them that’s outside the wedding. You could hire a Pilates instructor to do a group session, take them on a boat excursion, or invite them all out dancing.
During the reception, having an activity for your guests beyond dancing and drinking is always fun. Hire a mixologist to show them how to make special cocktails during the reception. Have games to play, like cornhole.
Another new trend is hiring a team of pastry chefs to decorate the cake right in front of your guests. Called Live Cake Art, this is taking off in cities across the nation.
One thing that people sometimes forget to include are directions to the wedding. Some venues, such as those in parks or in semi-public places, can be difficult to find even if you use something like Google maps. Writing out clear directions with landmarks is helpful. Be sure to include directions from north, south, east, and west. Include information about handicapped parking, and drop-offs.
Music is usually the main entertainment at weddings. Of course the style will reflect your personality, so you want to make sure you and the band or DJ are on the same page when it comes to musical tastes. Here are some tips:
- Consider who’s going to be at your wedding. Your grandfather might not want to jam out to hip-hop tunes from the 90s all evening. Throw some songs in there that will please the older crowd, too.
- If you want a raunchier song that you know will have your auntie clutching her pearls, but you love it and want to dance to it, then save it for late in the evening. That’s when most older people will have hit the hay.
- If you absolutely detest certain wedding stand-bys (Macarena, anyone?) then write down those songs and give it to the DJ.
- Choose a mix of slow and fast songs.
Selecting Useful Wedding Favors
Instead of a keepsake with your wedding date permanently inscribed on it (who needs to remember your anniversary besides you?) consider giving your guests something small and useful. Food items like spices, s’more kits, and artisanal jars of jam are all possibilities. Other ideas include small potted succulents, tote bags, blankets, or alcohol.
This is all a lot of stuff to manage and remember, though. How are you going to keep track of who stays in what hotel, who’s allergic to peanuts, and how you’ll get your welcome baskets to everyone? If the DJ ends up playing one of the songs you hate, who will be responsible for telling them to turn it off?
Consider hiring a wedding planner. Though it can seem like a splurge, it’ll actually save you countless hours and even dollars (not to mention save your mental health). Planners will prioritize your purchases, negotiate with vendors, and generally let you enjoy the whole process instead of worrying about it.
Amanda is a recently engaged blogger based out of Arizona. She has always had a passion for helping and connecting with others through her writing. When she’s not pouring over flower arrangements and wedding designs, you can catch her writing and exploring the outdoors with her fiancé and Pups.