Wedding Receptions: Be Mindful of Your Guests
It's your wedding day and it should, of course, be all about you. But it's also good practice when planning the event to be mindful of your guests and their wedding day experience too.
Your friends and family will likely travel at some considerable expense and effort to attend your wedding. It goes without saying you'll provide accommodation options and drama-free seating charts. But it's just as important to plan, as much as possible, the pacing of the day.
If your ceremony and reception are at different locations, do your best to minimize the in-between time, which may leave guests with a large portion of the afternoon with nothing specific to do. If a large time gap is inevitable, make sure they have the option of being entertained by planning an outing or setting up a hospitality lounge, with drinks and snacks, at the hotel where they will be staying.
You may never want the day to end, but not every wedding guest will feel the same way. They may have traveled a long distance, slept in a strange place, or partied a little too much with friends and family the night before. This is why pacing is key - time dragging between the ceremony and reception can get boring and can seem longer when you're waiting on dinner and haven't eaten since breakfast. So if your toasts are scheduled to take place before dinner, make sure that the speakers know to keep their comments brief - 10 minutes is enough to be funny and heartfelt without seeming rushed. Because it is after all a toast and not a speech.
If you're going to have more than two speakers, i.e. co-maid of honors, the best man, parents etc. consider starting the toasts after dinner has been served. Nothing will make your guests' attention wane faster than sitting through an hour of speeches prior to the meal being served. The best way to make sure you don't lose valuable dance and party time is to preplan the toasts with your wedding planner or emcee and stick to the schedule.
Guest comfort should also be a main priority. It's nice to have entertainment, like a quartet or singer, during the cocktail hour. And always have plenty of seats for tired feet. The music should be loud enough to dance to, but not so loud that you can't have a conversation at your table if you're not dancing. If you're organizing transport back to hotels for your guests, don't make them stay until the early hours - have a couple of shuttle runs, for older guests and those who want an 11pm bedtime.
If you have an event booked at Pittsburgh's Grand Hall or Mansions on Fifth Hotel, let our wedding experts Courtney Burns and Rebecca Lazeration assist you in planning your day. At the Priory Hospitality Group, there isn't a lot we haven't seen after hosting over a thousand weddings, so put our expertise to use and we'll help identify easily avoidable wedding pitfalls and missteps.