(Photo: Jennifer Napier of OneWed, Me, Kasey Conyers of Bliss Weddings and Events, Quenetta Gordon of Something Blue, and Melissa Margarita-DiStefano of MasterPiece Weddings)
Earlier this year, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend Eventology 2009. I took a lot away from this conference – networking with planners, thought-provoking presentations and Katasha’s special touches.
But, what I remember the most was the fact that I was among a group of total strangers yet somehow felt like I was in a special community of the most welcoming and most hilarious colleagues I might ever meet.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if your wedding guests felt that way?
Consider creating your own wedding guest community that makes your guests feel special and welcome. Here are some ideas –
- Highlight your wedding guests. Use a section of your wedding web site to highlight a different wedding guest each month. Provide a very small bio of the highlighted guest or share a fun tale that describes his or her relationship with the bride or groom. And step outside of the “wedding guest box.” It’s easy to highlight a bridesmaid or a family member on your wedding web site — consider highlighting those family members and friends that might not know very many of your wedding guests.
- Engage your guests prior to the big day. If a number of your wedding guests are on Facebook or Twitter, consider engaging them. A barrage of wedding details will bore them to tears — instead share funny wedding planning anecdotes. Use this opportunity to to ask for advice of your guests. Many will be happy to share their words of wisdom.
- Connect at the pre-wedding parties. Take some time at your bridal shower or your engagement party to introduce and thank each guest. Work with your bridal party and your family to connect shower/party guests who have similar interests and backgrounds.
- Music matters. Playing background music will set the tone for your wedding reception. Nothing too loud — People need to hear each other to engage. Upbeat music is great for lively pre-dinner discussions and jazzy instrumental music is great complement to dinner conversation. Try to include dance music that appeals to most of the wedding guests.
- Create a small game for guests to play during your cocktail hour. One option is to create a game that encourages your wedding guests to meet and chat with other wedding guests. I’ve seen trivia contests and small scavenger hunts that were pretty fun and successful at receptions.
- Pay attention to the seating plan. You don’t have to seat all of the family members together (okay, the spouses should be together). Consider the following seating options: similar interests, occupations, sororities, and alma maters. Try to create wedding guest symmetry by placing the social butterflies and the great storytellers at different tables — you don’t want your guests feeling left out because they aren’t engaged in a fun, lively discussion.
- Pay attention to the table sizes. I find that the tables with fewer guests have the best dinner conversations. Instead of 10 or 11 guests at a larger 72″ table, consider placing 8 guests at a 60″ round table.
- Encourage each table to work together. Ask your guests to work together to write you a group note with their best marriage advice. Allow your emcee to read all of the notes out loud, and give a fun prize to the guests at the table for best answer. Everyone at the reception can vote on the best answer by applauding.
Do you have any ideas for creating a wedding guest community?
Love & Soul Always, Kay
(Photo: World’s Largest Self Portrait Taken By Melissa Margarita DiStefano)