Personally I think there are two different types of couples with wedding planning, although you could have one of each type within a couple (the need to compromise is paramount if this is the case). There are the throw-it-to-the-wind-we-do-what–we-like-this-is-our-day type and the more cautions we-want-to-please-everyone-and-make-sure-they-have-a-great-day type.
I am absolutely the first but not necessarily proud of it (selfishness isn’t pretty). Guests need to be comfortable and catered for and those of the second type need to relax (just a bit) and realize that of course you want happy guests but this is your day and should reflect the two of you and your lives together.
Here are a few ideas on this compromise:
Hit the Road Jack – You really want that fabulous venue an hour and a half from the church your parent’s married in. Fine, do it. Your day. But think about giving detailed directions to your guests beforehand – or even better, hire a bus to take them all there! On the way over, pass out a little quiz or activity to keep them talking or entertained. For the way back, put together a little snack bag with still and sparkling water or lemonade (don’t forget the straws for the ladies) and a few nice handy snacks. You could also arrange for them to go straight from the church to the local area or park with beverages (better to lay off of the alcohol at this early point) and snacks while you are off taking photos. Meet you at the venue later.
Take two – Your photos have to look fantastic because, quite frankly, you do! If your ceremony and venue are the same location or close together, why not think about taking your photos before the ceremony? You will get more intimate photos (think of your photographer capturing up close the look on his face when he first sees you) and a better and more sociable timeline. Making your guests wait around for you to finish photographs is tiring, boring and a huge mood killer. Besides you want to see them too!
Whose wedding is this anyway? – You haven’t seen your closest college friends in a year and can’t wait to catch up. Be sure to get to all of your guests by going around to visit every table. If your mother’s third cousins have been invited you should speak to them too. Pre-wedding parties and Hen/ Bridal Showers are the way to catch up with everyone first and it is not uncommon to have several of these with different groups of friends – Grooms too. Or plan for a wedding weekend where your guests stay for more than one night so you can meet everyone.
Beef or Salmon? You are a real foodie and have just finished a gourmet cooking course. That’s great and food can be a good expression of who you both are but don’t get too elaborate. Lots of people are fussy eaters and while the Seared Loin of Rabbit will taste great if they try it, a well presented dish that they recognize may keep them happier. But do creative, speak to your chef and give guests a good selection of options – but please be more adventurous than beef or salmon!
Waltzing Mathilda – Your ideal band is a Metallica tribute band. (you know who you are!) Don’t’ give up on your head banging moment entirely. A good band and DJ will play a variety of music and will know when to inject your favorites while keeping the rest up dancing. Also, consider any older guests or ones who simply want to catch up and have a lounge area within listening range but where they can go for a nice chat.
Think of the little guy- Guests with children actually do like them. Others (and you) may not think little Johnny is so adorable when he is screaming through your cathedral ceremony or running around your posh hotel venue. Make it easy for parents and clear that babysitters are available. Have a ‘Kids Club’ with minders and activities separately for them during the meal with kid friendly food.
So the above are just a few suggestions. As I mentioned, it is ultimately up to you what you do on your big day. But you will have more fun when you see content and happy guests all around you. You can still change things up. Just because something has always been done a certain way, it doesn’t mean you have to.