wedding photoWe’ve all been to one of those weddings that just couldn’t end soon enough.  Whether the ceremony lasted a lifetime, the food service was ridiculously slow, or the entertainment was a snooze-fest, you likely thought to yourself you could do a hundred times better if given the opportunity.  And now that you’re soon to walk down the aisle yourself, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is with a wedding that will wow them all.  So here are a few tips to keep your dream wedding from becoming a nightmare for your guests.

1.) Skip the sermon.  Tradition is great, but if you make your guest sit through a two-hour ceremony you can almost certainly expect some grumbling (and possibly a few snores).  So you had better make it up to them with an absolutely unforgettable reception.

2.) Don’t do it on Sunday.  Is there anything worse than going to an evening wedding and having to get up the next day to go to work?  Guests may not be able to drink, stay late, or take the next day off work.  So opt for a Saturday afternoon or evening if at all possible so your family and friends can really let loose and enjoy themselves.

3.) Run your own show.  If your parents want to help you out with the wedding costs, make it clear that their contribution comes with no decision-making power where wedding plans are concerned.  After all, you don’t want your friends to feel like they’ve been suckered into volunteering at a geriatric center instead of attending a wedding reception.

4.) Offer alcohol.  Okay, you might not want to provide a fully stocked wet bar to tempt the heavy drinkers in your group, but without at least a little champagne, wine, and/or beer to fuel the festivities, you might as well just declare your reception a no-fun zone.

5.) Serve a full meal (or cut short the reception).  You want people to have plenty of time to dine, but if you’ve decided to go with alternative eats to save money (an afternoon tea, tapas, or just a dessert bar), compensate by making the reception shorter than normal so people don’t get bored.

6.) Don’t delay.  Weddings are notorious for late starts, but if you make your guests wait too long for the vows, the food, or the entertainment, they’re bound to get bored and more than a little antsy.

7.) Play it by ear.  Having a schedule is a great way to move things along), but you don’t want to feel rushed, either.  So don’t get so attached to your structured timeline that you lose sight of your real objective: to share your happiness with those who love you most.

8.) Spring for a professional DJ.  These people know how to keep the party going, move things along, and make sure everyone is having fun.  You can probably save some money by getting your cousin to run the mic, but you may not get the professional service that ensures you and your guests remain entertained.

9.) Limit speeches.  You should not only keep speeches to a minimum (stick to traditional speeches like best man and maid of honor rather than open-mic night); you should also get at least a rough idea of what people are going to say beforehand and then request that they keep their well-wishes short and sweet.

10.) Provide entertainment options.  While you can certainly hire a band or DJ, a wedding magician, or even a troupe of acrobats, you should also give your guests a few ways to keep themselves busy.  Provide disposable cameras so they can amuse themselves taking photos, cute wedding-themed games (like bride/groom trivia questionnaires with prizes for whoever gets all the answers right), and even old-school dance cards that will get guests mingling.  All will ensure that nobody has a moment to be bored.

About the Author:

Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.