Wedding Guest Advice :: 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding Part 10

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Wedding Guest Advice

Welcome Back to Part 10 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding :: Wedding Guest Advice. Over the course of these months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of your life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles below.

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  • Wedding Budget – Part 1
  • Choosing a Photographer – Part 2
  • Wedding Planner? – Part 3
  • Early Wedding Planning – Part 4
  • Pinterest – Part 5
  • Your Wedding Party – Part 6
  • Stress – Part 7
  • Wedding Day Expectations – Part 8
  • Wedding Checklist – Part 9

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.


This is really what all of my wedding guest advice boils down to. Right here in this paragraph. Your wedding day is YOUR WEDDING DAY. 100% I wholeheartedly agree with this. But, you already know that these statements always come with the proverbial “but.” Your wedding guests have come to share the day with you and deserve a bit of thought. Maybe they’ve traveled from a great distance to see you. They’ve probably bought you a gift. They love you or they wouldn’t be there. A great way to make sure you have a wonderful day is to ensure that those around you also have a great time. Being worried that your weddings guests are bored or actually seeing your wedding guests be bored can be really stressful. And we don’t want that. Stress=bummertown.

I’ve seen too many weddings where guests are standing around for a long time during cocktail hour or sitting around for a long time after dinner with nothing going on. I’ve seen guests bored out of their minds. You know what happens when guests are bored out of their minds? They leave. Super bummertown.

So how do you avoid this? My best piece of wedding guest advice to keep your guests engaged is this: Keep things moving. Your timeline and the way you plan out your wedding day will have a lot to do with this. I am going to discuss timeline planning in the next section of this 12 part series and have some great tips for planning a wedding day timeline so be sure to come back for that.

Cocktail Hour:

In my humble opinion, a cocktail hour that is even one minute longer than an hour is too long for your wedding guests. You can avoid this easily: Have a First Look before the ceremony. Then, in addition to being able to do formal portraits and wedding party photos, you could also get the family photos out of the way before the ceremony. Talk about a stress reducer. Then that is all done, out of the way and after the ceremony, you know what you get to do? Enjoy the rest of the day or evening. And your guests won’t be standing around bored to tears.

I definitely still recommend having a few minutes alone after the ceremony with your newly betrothed and then head to your wedding reception.


Consider how long dinner service will take – realistically. Are you having a plated dinner? If you are, the question you need to ask is how many servers will be available so there isn’t a huge lag time between when the first and last guests are served. That means from the time you are served salad to the time your distant cousin, Marvin, is served his salad. More than 10 minutes difference for any one course is unacceptable and a recipe for guest boredom. If it’s a buffet, how many people can go through the buffet at the same time? Is it one line? Two? Four? If you are having a large wedding, make sure there are multiple buffet stations. Wedding guest advice horror story:

Sidebar story: So I was at a wedding with 300 guests (I know big wedding – I don’t even know 300 people). There was one buffet table for food. ONE!

From the time the first person went through the buffet line to the time the last person went through the buffet line (for the first time) was 1 hour and 45 minutes! 105 minutes. 1.75 hours. So, let me paint you a picture, some guests sat for an hour and 45 minutes, with nothing to do, while other people were eating. And once the first people ate, they sat for over an hour with nothing to do while the rest of the guests went through the buffet. (They also ran out of food by the time the last people went through but that’s a different story altogether.) The moral of the story is think about this and be respectful to your wedding guests.

Give Your Guests Something To Do:

There are tons of great ideas to entertain your guests while they are at cocktail hour or waiting for dinner service. I’ve seen classic games on the tables, fun mad libs about the bride and groom that the guests can do, cards asking for advice from guests to the bride and groom, a special performer (not like a clown – scary, I’m thinking musician). This would be a perfect place to go to the ever-powerful Pinterest and get some great ideas that will fit the style of your wedding. You may have to invest just a little more but your wedding guests really will thank you and when they’re having fun, it’s easier for you to also have fun.

A Good DJ or MC:

We’ve all been to that wedding with the annoyingly cheesy DJ – making inappropriate jokes and embarrassing the bride and groom. However, a good DJ or MC can really make a wedding reception fun and keep the reception moving along in your guests eyes. I don’t believe things have to go in a certain order but there is a flow that sort of makes sense and you can tweak it to fit what you want: Entrance, dinner, toasts, cake cutting, first dance, parent dances.


Yikes. This is a tough one for me to write. As someone who has heard A LOT of wedding toasts, it’s my least favorite part of the wedding day. I know your brother means well when he makes fun of the time you fell out of the tree and broke your arm and something hilarious happened, but for the 90% of guests at your wedding that don’t know that story, they don’t care. There I said it. They don’t care. It feels so good to get that off my chest! Seriously, you have no idea!

To keep a reception moving and interesting for your wedding guests, 3-4 toasts is the most you should have. And for Pete sakes, ask those toasting you to keep it under 5 minutes. The toasts at a recent wedding I attended took an hour and 20 minutes. One toast was 30 minutes. Dude, that’s too long. The guests were yawning. It was awkward. Enough said.

Last piece of wedding guest advice regarding toasts is Open Mic=Disaster!

So this episode of 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding actually wasn’t about you, not really at all. And it sort of feels like a lecture. But I’m sort of OK with that. It’s important to consider others when you plan your wedding. Because in the end, knowing that your wedding guests are having a good time, not bored to tears and don’t just up and leave will help you have a great day.

And that’s ultimately what this series is all about.

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