Getting Guests Involved
Every bride and groom wants a wedding in which their guests are engaged and emotionally involved. Read on for some simple tips to help get your guests involved in your wedding.
Start your wedding as you hope for it to continue
Make the wedding fun and interesting right from the start by adding personal touches to the cocktail hour such as old photographs, personalized place cards and memorable songs from life’s milestones to engage your guests and draw them into the evening’s activities.
Welcome your guests with some fun and unique cocktails. Champagne Jello Shots are an example of a less common choice which will get guests talking and curious to see what comes next.
Have your wedding ceremony include features which are thought out and help to make your guests feel part of things. Orders of Service, personalized seating cards or individual bags of pretty confetti are all good choices.
Interact with your guests and personally greet as many as you can and thank them for coming. This thoughtful gesture will make each of your guests feel welcome and loved.
Start on time and don’t keep your guests waiting. Sitting around at the ceremony or standing at the cocktail hour (especially outdoors in the heat or cold) for an extended amount of time will frustrate your guests. Frustrated guests typically want to eat, drink and leave.
Provide conversation starters to engage your guests and get them involved
If a large number of guests don’t know each other, consider using place cards with trivia questions about you and your groom to get them talking to each other. Questions like “How did the couple meet?” “How long have the couple been together?” “Where did the groom propose?” “Where are the couple going on their honeymoon?” Another idea is “5 things her side should know about him” and conversely “5 things his side should know about her”, a fun game which is sure to get your guests chatting to each other. Answers can be inscribed on the backs of the cards.
Contain all of your entertainment within the parameters of your reception area. Any distractions which draw your guests away from the reception area will detract from the participation and involvement of your guests in the reception. Photo booths, photo presentations, caricature artists, etc. should all be stationed within the reception area. If possible, have the smoking area as adjacent to the main reception area as possible so that guests who wish to go outside to smoke still feel part of the main celebration and are likely to be pulled back in rather than create new area outside.
Guests take their cues from the newlyweds, so always be an active part of your reception. If you’re up dancing, your guests will be too. Play music which appeals to a wide variety of guests. Start with something slow that everyone recognizes and will dance to and build up to the music that you and your friends like as the evening progresses. Make sure the music isn’t too loud. If the music drowns out conversation at the guests’ tables, they are more likely to walk out of the reception area take a break from the sound. The party will inevitably slow down as the reception area empties, which you want to avoid.
Allow group dances. Many couples shy away from group dances because they think that they’re cheesy. However, keep in mind that most people who don’t feel comfortable dancing solo will nevertheless join a big group on the dance floor. There are so many from which to choose that you and your band or DJ can find one that will work well with your guests.
Keep the party moving
Many brides ask if they should move the cake cutting until late in the reception so that more guests stay as, according to traditional etiquette, guests leave only after the wedding cake is cut. However, holding guests hostage if they want to leave isn’t a good way to get them involved. By holding the cake cutting after dinner, you are enabling those guests who want to eat dessert and leave to feel comfortable doing so, leaving the partying to those who want to party.
Making sure your guests get involved with your wedding just takes a bit of planning. Follow a few of the suggestions we’ve provided and you will most certainly have a magical evening.