6 Easy Things You Can Do to Keep Your Wedding Guests Happy

Yes, an open bar is one of them.

Illustration by Agnese Biocchi

Illustration by Agnese Biocchi

There’s a difference between the things you must do for your wedding guests— and the things that are nice to do if budget and time allow. Here, Wilmington planner Erin Proud of Proud to Plan breaks that difference down.

The Task Greet or thank each guest individually

The Planner Says … Definitely!

The Reason Guests are there to share your special day, and you should show your appreciation by visiting each table and thanking your loved ones for being there.

The How-to Strategize your seating chart and put older guests in the same area—hit that group of tables first, then work your way around. You’ll see your friends on the dance floor, but your elders will appreciate the time you took to visit them at their seats.


The Task Have an open bar at the reception

The Planner Says … An absolute must

The Reason It’s considered a faux pas to make your guests pay for food or drinks at a wedding.

The How-to If it’s a budget concern,limit the bar to beer and wine only,then add a signature drink if you’d like. Open bar doesn’t have to mean “top of the line” bar.


The Task Provide directions to the ceremony and/or reception

The Planner Says … Always!

The Reason Some of your guests may not be GPS-savvy and will require written directions; either way, it’s helpful to have them available.

The How-to Include a separate card with your invitation suite; this is also a great place to mention parking logistics or shuttle information.


The Task Put together welcome bags for overnight guests

The Planner Says … If your budget can swing it

The Reason Welcome bags are a great vehicle to get amenities and information to your guests. Plus,they’re a wonderful first impression of the fun to come.

The How-to Buy treats in bulk to save on costs, and toss in a local souvenir for a fun reminder of their trip. Be sure to include a welcome letter outlining the schedule of festivities, suggestions of local attractions and dining recommendations.


The Task Pay for guests’ valet parking at the venue

The Planner Says … Nice, but it isn’t necessary

The Reason Most guests will assume they’re responsible for any travel-related charges when they accept your wedding invitation,but it’s a lovely gesture if your budget allows.

The How-to Communicate information about parking in your invitation or on your wedding website. If there’s a fee, a discount or special instructions, let your guests know. Communicating effectively is the best way to manage expectations and eliminate surprises.


The Task Send your guests home with favors

The Planner Says … Eh, go edible or go home

The Reason No one wants a random knickknack that’s just going to collectdust.

The How-to You should offer some token of appreciation to your guests, and the possibilities are endless: custom cookies, candy buffets, Philly soft pretzels. Or have a specialty food truck or ice-cream cart available for late-night snacking.

For more on your and your guests, go here

This article originally appeared in the spring/summer 2016 issue of Philadelphia Wedding. 

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