I recently read an article regarding the top 10 complaints your guests make about your event. It was actually 12 complaints and somewhat difficult to read.So I thought I would share my observations based on what I have seen and heard. This is part 1.
#1 – Inconvenient Date – because people don’t want to attend your event on Super Bowl Sunday or during the Christmas holiday week.
There is no perfect date. If your event or wedding is local you do run a good chance that people may have other plans and not want to change them. Holidays can be bad or good if you are having a destination wedding. Bad because getting an airline seat may be tough and expensive. Good because the family and friends can take a week and actually vacation in the area of your wedding.
It is pretty easy to figure out when Super Bowl Sunday is going to be so you can avoid that. However, we had a wedding date the couple selected a year before the hockey playoffs. When planning they had no way of knowing that the local team would be playing game seven of the Stanley Cup on their wedding day. This holds true for non-wedding events as well.
Accept that some of your guests may be excited about a sporting event happening on your wedding day and make arrangements to take that into consideration for the festivities.
#2 – Invitation Confusion – Who is being invited? Just me? Me plus One? Me, spouse, and the kids? No kids?
In my opinion, for what it is worth, when people are confused it is because they do not understand proper etiquette. If the invitation is addressed to Sally Smith and guest, then it is obviously Me plus One. If it is only to Sally then only Sally is invited. To Sally Smith and Family then the kids and spouse are included.
However, to make it easier for all concerned you could list each person and have a check yes or no for each person. Seriously, a right royal pain but it would make things clear.
#3 – Seating Snafus – Oh God, I’m seated next to someone I don’t like.
This is the stuff nightmares are made of. You could just let people sit wherever they like but then you run the risk of having a couple who have to sit at separate tables because the only seating left was one seat at table A and one seat at table B.
In over 25 years in the business I have found that letting people fend for themselves works out fairly well. Just have reserved seating for the immediate special guests. Make sure those people know in advance where their table is. Use a floor plan if you have to.
#3.5 – Unfriendly Centerpieces – I can’t see the people across the table from me because of the centerpiece.
Agreed. Keep the centerpieces short enough for guests to be able to carry on conversations. Besides your guests are here to enjoy the event, not gush over ultra fancy flowers, candles or what-have-you.
#4 – Cash Bars – I was invited, why should I have to pay to drink?
Weddings, anniversaries, and private parties have more of an issue with this than other types of events. And the guests do have a valid point. If you cannot afford an open bar you can be alcohol free, host beer and wine, or have a signature drink in order to keep costs down. You could also cut your guest list a little if necessary. By the way, don’t forget those of us who don’t drink alcohol. Consider hosting soda, lemonade, and ice tea. Always, always have plenty of water, especially if it is a hot day or at altitude.
#5 – Weather for outdoor events – Too hot, too cold.
Let’s face it, sometimes you get lucky and the weather is perfect. Other times you can’t win. Be a good Boy Scout and be prepared. Too hot? Have lots and lots and lots of water available. Umbrellas are nice too for shade. If there is no way to avoid having your guests sitting in the sun do not seat them until just immediately before everything starts.
Too cold, get heaters. Let guests stay inside until the last minute. Seriously consider in advance having a tent on call or moving the event to an inside location. If your guests are chilled they will be miserable, leave early, and have poor memories of your event.
Special note for brides – I observed a wedding where everyone except the photographer tried to convince the bride to move the wedding inside. The seats already had four inches of snow on them and the snow was still coming down. Her bridesmaids had strapless dresses and stilletto heels on a grass surface. She insisted on having the wedding outside. The bride herself had a stole so she was toasty warm. She would not let her mother or mother-in-law to be wear coats because she wanted everyone to see their dresses. A ceremony that was scheduled to be 30 minutes long was actually only eight minutes. The pastor told the DJ that the redder the bridesmaids shoulders got the shorter the ceremony became. I always wondered what the groom thought of a woman who would subject her friends and family to such poor conditions just so she could have awesome photographs. Special note # 2, if you are this kind of bride, please do not call McKinney Entertainment. Our equipment doesn’t like snow either. 🙂