Sunday, January 31, 2010

5 Important Ways to Make Your Guests Feel Welcome...

... so you are throwing a party. Your wedding. It's gonna be BIG. Perhaps the most important celebration you'll ever plan. You have lots of friends and family attending. Some from afar. You love your guests.

... OMG your guests.

... You've been so focused on the ceremony, the dress, your bridesmaids, the food, the cake, the first dance, the invitations, that you almost forgot about how your guests will feel coming into town for your big day.

... Now that you are thinking about it, the thought of how you are going to be able to talk to all of your guests during the reception is making you break out in a cold sweat. How will you ever have the time to spend with all of them?

... Well, you can sit back, and take a deep breath, because it is not as overwhelming as you might think, your guests do not expect you to be able to devote hours of time to them at your wedding. BUT,  it IS important to make your guests feel welcome. You want them to know you are happy that they are there to celebrate this most important part of your life. But how to do that? Well, one popular way is to provide a little gift or goodie bag they will find in their room upon arrival. Great, check, you've got that down. You have bags, bottles of water and tissues all ready to go.

... Whoa! Wait, it's a little more involved that that. If you really want your guests to feel special, take a look at these 5 tips:

  • PERSONALIZE! Sure, it's going to take a little bit of extra time, but providing your guest with a gift bag that actually has their name on it lets them know that you are acknowledging their presence and the lengths they have traveled to be with you. You can make fun tags to tie to the bag or basket. You can incorporate your wedding colors or theme.  

  • A GOOD, OLD FASHIONED NOTE. In this day and age of technology, the art of the note has been somewhat lost. Remember when you'd come home from school or soccer practice and there was a note from your mom, telling you she loved you, she'd be home at 6, and by the way could you put the cassarole in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes? Well, I'm not saying you have to go so far as to HAND write a note to your guests, but type up a note welcoming them into town. Tell them how thrilled you are that they are in town. Tell them to relax and enjoy the goodies you've provided. Tell them how much fun the celebration is going to be!

  • GIVE THEM A PLAN, STAN! Nothing is worse than feeling uninformed. Especially in a place you may have never been. Although we have access to the web pretty much everywhere we go and can get information quite readily these days, it is nice to give your guests an itinerary of the weekend's events. Note where the rehearsal dinner is going to be, what time the ceremony starts, oh and what about that brunch on Sunday morning? You can also include information such as shuttle pick up times and places and notes, and any info on transportation you might want to include. I always like to format this in a size that can easily be slipped into a suit jacket inside pocket, or maybe fit into a cocktail purse. That way, your guests can take it with them when they head out for the weekend's events.

  • WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO? You, as the bride (or groom!) know the area of your wedding better than anyone. Gather brochures or make a list of your favorite restaurants, spas, golf courses, and shopping areas to give your guests a real flavor for the area. You can do this via a list, or you can bundle the brochures with a fun ribbon or string. Include a fun tag telling them these places are your faves. When guests travel for weddings, they sometimes like to make a mini vacation out of it and want to explore the city or town when not involved in wedding activities. Show them how fun and cool your area is!

  • NO JUNK IN THE TRUNK! Be thoughtful when gathering items fill your welcome gifts. Your guests might not want a bedazzled foam coaster in the shape of the Space Needle just because you are getting married in Seattle. Let your guests know that these are things that you think they'd like, and also show a little bit of you. Water and tissues are a staple your guests will appreciate. How about a piece of gourmet chocolate from that little chocolatier you love? I had a client who had her wedding in the wine country. Knowing her guests might go out wine tasting upon arrival, she included fresh baked bread from a local bakery, local gourmet cheese, almonds, and fruit in her welcome bags. Her guests loved that they had something yummy to nosh on after all that wine, and didn't have to rely on the vending machine down the hall for a snack. Be thoughtful, incorporate the weekend's theme, or fill it with usable, practical things that are a reflection of you as a couple.

... Whew! That sounds like a lot! Well, it's really not, if you just plan it out. Make a mock up, and see how you like it. Make a plan for writing the note, making the gift personal, and how you will purchase the ingredients of the bag. Then, it's assembly time!

... Happy Planning!


  1. Great ideas! I was originally going to provide OOT bags, but apparently the majority of my guests aren't staying at the hotels I blocked, so I can't get the bags to them. I will be providing it to the ones who are staying in the hotels I blocked though.

  2. Wonderful post. It is so important to take care of your guests, because your wedding is the first time you and your new husband will entertain as Husband as Wife.