Alright, so if you ask me, it’s pretty rude for a guest attending any event to complain about little details when the host as obviously gone through so much effort to create a nice evening for them. However, the fact remains that there will be people who get upset about someone you’ve planned. I found a great article on BrideMix.com listing eleven of the most common complaints guests have had at weddings. It’s a great list! If keeping your guests happy is something you worry about, you should definitely check it out.
To go along with the BrideMix.com list, I’d like to make my own little Utah specific list of a few common complaints I’ve heard.
1. Reception is boring. Alright, I’m just going to be honest here. A lot of Utah weddings really ARE boring. There. I said it. After thinking about this a bit I think I’ve discovered the problem. Many Utah weddings don’t serve alcohol- this is not the problem, I think is a wonderful thing. The problem is that most people don’t plan around that fact. I mean, they plan not to serve alcohol, but they forget that without drinking a little most guests won’t feel comfortable on the dance floor. So how do you plan around it? Hire yourself a great DJ who will lure the people in despite their reservations. Or ask some outgoing friends to fill the dance floor all night and ask other guests to dance with them. Or find another activity all together. Play a wedding video, serve a sit down meal, plan a schedule so you have announcements (such as the bouquet toss) made throughout the evening or have your reception in a location such as a park or museum where guests can wander about as they please.
2. Reception Line was SO long. Reception lines can be a great way to see each of your guests, but the entire idea of a reception line came about because the bride and groom would stand outside the doors as each guest would enter for the big wedding feast. The ‘line’ would take only moments to get through and then the bride and groom would enter the room and the reception would begin. My point: The reception line was never meant to be the main event of the reception. If you have so many guests coming to your reception that you plan on standing in line all night long, you might want to consider a different way to greet your guests. Maybe make a formal toast, visit each table (that way you say hello to 6-8 people at a time rather than one) or leave a note on each plate thanking guests for taking the time to come. If you want to stick to the reception line tradition, schedule a time for the line to end so that you and your guests can enjoy the evening together.
3. The reception was too far away This is actually a complaint that drives me crazy. I guess it’s because people go to so many weddings in Utah, but for some reason if the reception is more than 10 minutes away they think it’s far. Personally I think they’re crazy and if you’re really important to them they’d drive the whole 30 minutes to share the most important day of your life with you. But, I didn’t grow up in Utah so my views are different. The truth is, if your reception is far away they won’t come, so if that’s important to you plan something close by.
4. I didn’t get invited to see the ceremony. Many religious ceremonies only allow you to invite a small amount of guests to your actual marriage ceremony. Of course this is a hard reality to those who will not be invited to attended. Do your best to make them feel welcome, plan a picnic for them during the ceremony or have a close friend there to show them around the area and explain what’s happening in the ceremony and why it is such a small gathering so they understand your point of view.
5. I felt too awkward to stay longer than a few minutes. I remember before I was married, wedding receptions were not my favorite thing. First of all, it was like rubbing salt in my wound of singledom. On top of that, it’s really hard to walk into a room full of people you don’t know when you’re walking all by yourself. Make sure single friends know they can invite a date or friend to come along, or invite an entire group of friends to come together. If you have a friend from out of town who won’t know anyone, give them something to do at the reception so they won’t feel out of place (maybe they could check up with you every 20 minutes and see if you need anything, help with the food, or make sure the gift table stays well organized etc)
6. I didn’t want to pay a babysitter. Most people will go to several weddings each month during a summer in Utah. That can get pricey after all the gifts, travel expenses etc. If you feel many of your guests might opt out of coming because they just can’t pay for a babysitter, make sure they know that children are welcome. Plan an activity for children to do during the reception (maybe make a craft or have wedding coloring pages ready for them) or reserve a room for children to play in during the reception.