Five Tips for an Even Better Wedding Reception!

Photo from The Wedding Lens!

Your wedding reception will be a great reflection of you & your partner’s style, musical tastes, and (most importantly) love for each other. But there are some tips that will make your reception even better — regardless of your personal style!

  1. If there’s time between the ceremony and the reception, give your guests something to do. I dont mean that you have to rent out a space for them, but suggest a place for them to go — a coffee shop, a bar, a museum, just something. I one time ended up sitting in a Quiznos for three hours because I was from out of town and didn’t know what else to do or where else to go.
  2. Let your guests know what’s going on — have a program and/or have the DJ/Band/Emcee explain what is happening when. People don’t like to feel out of the loop! Just letting them know that they’ll be eating their meals before the speeches will make people relax and enjoy themselves a bit more — except for maybe the speech-giver.
  3. You won’t be able to create a seating chart that makes everyone happy, but if at all possible, seat people who know each other together — even if one of ’em is single. Singles hate singles tables. It’s awkward! But if the person knows just one other person, try putting them together. It will put everyone at ease.
  4. If you’re not providing transportation for your guests have cab numbers readily available. People drink & they have to get home — make it easy on them!
  5. Take breaths,  enjoy every moment, and HAVE FUN! Your happiness makes everyone else happy. I promise.

There are LOTS of things that you can do to make your reception even better, but these are just a few things that I’ve taken note of over the years. As much as you want this day to be perfect to you, don’t forget that your guests are there for you and don’t want to be forgotten, taken for granted, or left out of the loop. They are there to share in the joy and happiness of the day! So let them! 🙂

Happy wedding!

~ Natasha

Getting Your Wedding Guests There: Transportation!

Wedding Car photo from The Wedding Lens!

Depending on the type of wedding you’re having, and where, you may require your guests to do a bit of traveling. In most cases there are 3 times that transportation is necessary for your wedding guests:

  • from hotel to wedding ceremony site
  • from wedding ceremony site to wedding reception site (if in different locations)
  • from wedding reception site to hotel

While some of your guests may be locals and/or may have cars or rent cars, not everyone will do that — or be able to do that. Remember, going to a wedding is expensive! Sometimes people try to save money in whatever ways that they can. There are basically 3 options to resolve the transportation quandry:

  • rent a shuttle bus service or multiple cars to take care of your guests
  • organize a carpool where people with cars and pick up those without cars
  • give out cab numbers

Obviously renting a shuttle is the most expensive option, but it also alleviates a lot of stresses that guests have about attending weddings. The shuttle can pick up guests at the hotel, bring them to the venues, and return them home at the end of the evening. Be sure to rent the vehicles for at least one hour longer than you think you’ll need them; because of their own obligations, it may not be possible to make this change at the last minute.

Organizing a carpool requires a bit of coordination. If you decide to do this, ask someone who isn’t the couple getting married to figure it out. You can ask people whether they have a car to transport people (and the number of people) on the RSVP card. Or you can send out emails to guests later, as the date gets closer and people solidify plans. Be sure that if you are asking people to carpool that the guests stick together from hotel to ceremony, ceremony to reception, and reception to home again.

In terms of giving out cab numbers, I think that even if you do the above, you should ALWAYS have cab numbers on hand. Put a stack of business cards by the door at the reception. Have the information on your wedding reception invitation and on your wedding website. Put cab numbers everywhere! Why? Because sometimes a guest has more to drink than they intended and they just can’t (and shouldn’t!) drive. The more available cabs are, the more likely you are to avoid someone getting in their car to try to “make it home.” So just avoid that and give out cab numbers everywhere.

What will you do? Happy transporting!

~ Natasha

Green Wedding Tips: Location of Your Wedding!

An outdoor wedding venue! photo from The Wedding Lens

A lot of people are “being green” on their wedding day – even doing the smallest of things to help save the environment, just a little bit. Here’s another part in our series of green wedding tips that focuses on each part of the planning process. Here are your green wedding location planning tips!

  • Pick a venue that is outdoors.  Selecting a venue like an area of a forest or part of a beach is beautiful. You can take advantage of natural lighting and you won’t need electricity during the ceremony. And, as a bonus, many times, it’s also free! It takes advantage of the nature that is easily accessible. If you do get married in a park, make sure you check out any required permits! The National Park Service website has resources for this – just go to their site and search based on the park you’re looking at.
  • Think about where your guests are coming from. The more people who are traveling, the worse it is for the environment because of the oil & gas that gets used to travel! AND, even more importantly, the people who have to travel get hit harder in their wallets. If most people are in a certain place, consider having your wedding there. If you’re asking people to travel, then also think about asking guests to purchase carbon offsets or donate to an earth-friendly organization to compensate for their travel.
  • Consider the decor of the venue; use windows wisely! Try to select a venue that has natural light so you don’t have to use electricity. Many churches have open stained glass windows that provide natural light. Similarly, restaurants and other venues with lots of windows are great for this.
  • Provide a car- or van-pool from hotel to ceremony/reception. Rather than have everyone drive from their hotel to the wedding reception, organize a car pool or hire transportation for wedding guests to & from the venues. You save fuel and ensure your inebriated friends get home safely.

Got other green wedding ideas? Need ideas in other areas of wedding planning? Here are more green wedding tips!

Go Green!

~ Natasha

What Time Does the Wedding Start? How to Get People to Arrive on Time

You got a wedding invitation (or you’re creating one) and it says it begins at 6pm. So does that mean it starts AT 6pm or that you should be there at 6pm and it starts at 6:30pm?

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

If you want people to show up on time, you should be clear about what that means.

  • You can write “prompt” on the invitation to emphasize that this isn’t an arrival time, but that things will be moving right along.
  • You can put an insert into your invitation that says something to the effect that if you arrive after a certain time, you will not be able to be seated until after the processional.
  • Another idea is to arrange for transportation for your guests. For example, if your guests are staying primarily at one hotel, arrange for a shuttle to pick them up at a certain time.
  • One site advises that if you want people to be there by the time you start, then write 6pm, but start at 6:30pm. If you do decide to start a lot later than the “start time,” make sure you have something for the guests — such as cold water or lemonade  (especially if it’s hot), so that they dont feel like they’re waiting for hours and are irritated.

 What you should NOT do is start early. I have a friend who went to a wedding recently and the invitation didn’t say prompt, but the wedding ceremony actually started about 10 minutes before the invitation time — dont do that! She felt awful that she arrived on time and had to wait for the bride to finish walking down the aisle before she could walk in. It was awkward.

What will you do?

~ Natasha

Time of the Wedding: Day verses Night

While you may not have control over what time your perfect venue is available, it is a good idea to have a time in mind — at least whether you want a day or a night wedding or reception. (Obviously, there are lots of things to keep in mind when selecting a day!)

daytime-wedding

During a day-time wedding people may feel uncomfortable drinking or dancing during the daylight or people may have to leave early (or wish to leave early).  These could be reasons not to have a daytime wedding, BUT if you are on a tight budget, this might be the perfect arrangement.  And, your close friends and family will, presumably, stay around to drink and dance. Photos will come out better during the day (assuming you are outdoors!)

A night wedding doesn’t risk the drinking, dancing,  leaving early issues (as much) BUT there are drawbacks to the night wedding too. Because of all that drinking and dancing, it may be more important to consider transportation options for your friends and family.

What some friends have done is hold the ceremony during the day (in daylight for better photos and sunshine and all that) and have a reception that follows a little later (either in a different location OR at the same location with a cocktail hour in between and dinner as it gets darker). It is a way to have the best of both worlds!

What do you think? Do you have a preference?

~ Natasha

Wedding Guest Transportation

You picked a reception site and you picked out a few hotels that you’re recommending your guests stay at. (Hopefully you’ve also blocked off rooms so that your guests can book their rooms more easily too!) If the hotels and the reception site are not near each other, I strongly recommend that you do *something* about transportation for your guests.

Why? Because the reality is that people drink at receptions. And you do not NOT not want your guests to drink and drive!  One friend told me that he figured either his friends would drink and drive OR they wouldn’t enjoy themselves as much because they were acting as designated driver. Either way – those are two reasons to deal with transportation.

You can pretty much do anything from hiring a shuttle bus to providing taxi cab phone numbers. Obviously that depends on your budget!

As a guest in an unfamiliar city, it was particularly nice to have a shuttle pick us up at the hotel, take us to the wedding (and reception – which was at the same place), and then home again.  It was nice because I didn’t have to worry about directions and I didn’t need to pay for cab fare in both directions.

Note: Sometimes the hotel provides shuttle services — which could range from being free to a fixed price (rather than per guest). 

Another friend couldn’t afford to provide that service and also felt that there were more people from the area than out of town. In that case, a cab that we paid for ourselves was a better option.  The hotel usually has preferred cab companies, but it also is nice if that phone number is given to guests before the day.

A green option is to make sure that the wedding site, reception site, and hotels are so close together that transportation is not needed. Perhaps they would all be the same place!

One site makes a recommendation if a guest gets too inebriated to drive and there are no transportation options: if the reception is at a hotel or near a hotel that is NOT the location where most people are staying, try to get a hotel room there.  Yes, it might not be cheap, but it is definitely safer.

I’m sure there are other options (tell us!). Just be sure to think about the reality of drinking and driving. They don’t mix.

~ Natasha