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I’ve written before about the importance of having a Plan B for your ceremony venue in the event of extreme weather. This post is an extension of that theme; it’s all about why it’s so important to respect your wedding guests.

It’s super easy to get caught up in the wedding hype and think “it’s all about me (us!), it’s my (our!) day”. While a wedding totally is centred around the bride and the groom, when you get right down to it you’re running an event. Your guests have frocked up (sometimes in a new outfit), spent money on a gift, and trundled out to wherever your wedding is being held (often an hour or more away from home). Now while they’re here to celebrate you and your love for each other, they’re also hoping to have a good time and enjoy themselves. It’s important to be respectful of the effort and expense they’ve outlaid to be at your special day. Here’s a few areas to think about:

Extreme weather

I know I’ve talked about this before, but I’m going to say it again: insisting that your ceremony is outside in the open, because that’s your dream, even when it’s 45 degrees or pouring with rain, is inconsiderate of your guests. I can guarantee you that guests who are sweaty and sticky, or who are drenched through, are not going to have a good time at your reception, and I’m pretty sure the last thing you want is for your guests to have a crappy time!

Remember that the bride is usually the person who is out in the weather for the least amount of time. Think of the guests who’ve been arriving for an hour before the ceremony starts, the groom and groomsman who are often wearing three-piece suits, and please think of the poor celebrant who’s been there for at least an hour!

By all means, if your heart is set on an outdoors wedding, go right ahead, but respect your guests by providing shelter (from both rain and heat), refreshments (water is so important on a particularly hot day), and even props like blankets or hand fans.

Arrival time

Lots of people think a bride “should” be late, that it’s “tradition”. I can’t find any “traditional” reason for it. Why should the bride be late? I think this is disrespectful to your guests, some of whom may have been sitting or standing around for an hour or more (because some guests are super early). Worried about guests being late? Put an “arrival time” on your invitations rather than a “ceremony start time”, and make it 15 or 30 minutes earlier than you’re planning your ceremony to start.

Now obviously there are some things that are out of anyone’s control that can make a bride late (I’m talking traffic jams or suppliers not turning up). But being late for the sake of being late, or not allowing enough time to get ready, is really not respectful to your guests. Plan, plan, plan, and make sure you have enough time to get everything done – talk to your suppliers, they’ll be able to tell you how much time you should set aside for each aspect of getting ready. Put together a running sheet for the day so everyone knows what time they need to be where.

Between the ceremony and the reception

If your entire wedding is taking place at one venue, and there’s likely to be anything more than a half-hour break between the ceremony and the reception, please respect your guests by making sure they have something to do! Yes, we know you need time to have your bridal party photos taken, and you want to maximise the time you have available, but the last thing you want is your guests getting bored and deciding to take themselves off to the pub down the road, never to be seen again…

It might be as simple as ensuring the venue’s bar will be open for guests to purchase drinks at. You may want to provide canapes and drinks during this break. You may even want to go so far as providing them with some form of entertainment – lawn games and jumping castles are great for this!

 

Please, just respect your guests. If they’re having an amazing time, you’re going to have an amazing time, and you want people to be talking about your wedding for years to come for all the right reasons…