How to ensure a good time will be had by all.
Credit: Austin Gros

Your wedding may be all about you but it's also a time to think about your guests. Since they've made the time and effort to celebrate your new marriage with you, plan your ceremony and reception so that your family and friends are happy, comfortable, and glad to be with you. Take a look below of what ranks high on guests' wish lists to ensure you're planning a party everyone will love.

Great music.

Having talented musicians or chosen by a sharp DJ performing the right tunes can make or break a wedding. Think of the most memorable parties you've been to-doubtful it was the shrimp appetizer that stands out in your mind; most likely it was the time you spent shaking it up on the dance floor with your friends.

A short wait between the ceremony and reception.

Unless everyone lives locally, guests won't have anywhere to go if there's a multiple hour wait between the vows and the cocktail hour. Keep the break brief so that the party starts strong.

Designated reception seating.

Nobody enjoys scrambling for seats like a herd of cattle or, worse, "saving" seats for latecomers. Figuring out which table to assign to each guest can be frustrating and stressful, but if you do your best to set up tables in a thoughtful way, your loved ones will appreciate your effort.

Accurate directions.

Your phone's GPS usually works pretty well, except those times it decides to flake out on you, and the next thing you know you're lost. If your ceremony and/or reception is in a hard-to-find location, include clearly written directions with your invitations.

An open bar.

If you want to insult people, ask your beloved family and friends to pay for their drinks. When you invite someone to your party, you should pay for everything, including every drop of vodka or sauvignon blanc. Limit the liquor to beer, wine, and a signature cocktail if your budget won't allow for a full-blown bar.

A wedding hashtag.

Everyone will be glad they've got a place to post their photos. Put it on your invitation, your website, and on signs placed on guest tables.

An easy way to RSVP.

Whether you go traditional with a stamped postcard or envelope, or ask guests to reply online, make RSVPing quick and painless.

A seat far from any speakers and the kitchen.

Arrange the tables and chairs in such a way that nobody's eardrums will be shattered when the DJ blasts Chance the Rapper through the speakers. A chair by the kitchen and other busy areas isn't prime location either, though if you anticipate your friends spending most of their time on the dance floor, it's better to put them there than Grandpa.

A photo booth.

Something magical happens when people step into a photo booth: their inner goofball comes out. Props like mustaches and silly hats make the experience even better so have plenty on hand.

Limited, short speeches.

Give speakers a two-minute time limit-that should be long enough to offer their congratulations to you without losing the audience's attention.

Song requests.

Send a card with your invitations where guests can ask that their favorite song be played at the wedding. ("Let Me Love You," anyone?)

A way to get from the hotel to the wedding and back again.

This really only applies to out-of-towners but depending on where the wedding is in relation to their hotel, this could be a sizable number. Hire shuttles, vans, or even a school bus to transport your people to and fro.


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