We all want our weddings to be distinctive, personal and fun, to show our personalities and our love, and to be enjoyed by our friends and families.
Your guests on the day are there to see you at one of the happiest moments of your life. They are there to share the joy and love of two people beginning their lives together as one. There is no doubt that people will enjoy your day, because, if they are indeed the people you love and whom love you, they will be delighted to just be part of it all. If you really want to go the extra mile to treat them however, we have compiled a few ideas. Some are more expensive options than others but keep in mind that they are just suggestions, and no matter what you do for them, your guests will have an amazing day.
By Karen Birney | Main photo by Sean Curtin Photography
Photo by Amy & Stuart Photography via WeddingChicks
1. Shawl/Blanket Baskets –If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, some pre-dinner drinks on the balcony or some evening food or entertainment on the lawn, some inexpensive blankets or shawls would be very appreciated by the cold shoulders of your female guests! You could even do a mixed basket containing all different types of shawls you’ve picked up over a few months for people to throw over them. You could also include a little note tied to the side that asking to drop them back in the basket when they’re done, or a simple ‘with compliments of the bride and groom’!
2. Umbrella Baskets – A basket of either specially bought wedding umbrellas, of little black brollies or of big donated golf umbrellas won’t go to waste during the Irish winter months (or summer months, of course). Many hotels provide this service but if your venue doesn’t, have a little bucket of brollies next to the exit at the ceremony or beside the door to the smoking area at the reception.
3. Flip Flops/Socks Baskets – A super popular idea with the girls on the WOL forums is the flip flop basket. Many of us ladies like our heels and come hell or high water we are wearing them to Angela’s wedding on Saturday. However we tend to forget that Angela’s wedding will probably last ’til 2am and we’ve ‘worn in’ our shoes for approximately 20 minutes before deciding they were too uncomfortable for the house. Switch to kitsch sock slippers to create a more ‘wintery’ dance floor.
“Bought new shoes to match your dress
and now your feet are sore,
Help yourself to a pair of these
so you can dance some more.”
4. Bathroom Baskets – Bathroom baskets are a lovely idea for female and male guests. Make up a big hamper full of individual products that you think your guests may need after a long day. Some ideas are: Women – plasters, breath mints, deodrant, hairspray, sewing kit/safety pins, nail files, hair brush, lip balms, sanitary products; Male – Mints, lint roller, deodrant, hand sanitiser, mini mouthwash, individual floss, nail scissors etc…
5. Sweet Tables & Candy Trees – For guests with a sweet tooth, the candy table is sure to be like a return to youth. Have a professionally made sweet table for a real wow factor, or DIY with some special wedding sweets and make it a feature of your reception. A candy cart is a great way to add some fun decor and entertainment to your reception and can also double as both dessert and wedding favours!
6. The ‘Receiving Line’ – Early in the day, say hi to your guests by meeting them outside the ceremony. This is quite traditional but is a lovely gesture particularly for older guests who you may not get to see for the rest of the day. You could ask your bridesmaid or best man tostand with you and move the line along in a timely manner.
7. Photobooth Fun – For laughs that last, photobooths are a great addition to weddings. Photobooth and videobooths are the perfect way to add some fun to your day and can also double as a guest book or wedding favours. Add some chalkboards to the mix so your guests can leave a message (maybe get everyone to take their photos in groups to move it along at a good pace!) or pop some funny masks or other props in for them to play with.
8. Magician – A magician or illusionist can add some great entertainment to pre-dinner or after-dinner drinks. Not only will a magician’s ‘act’ be a great ice breaker for guests and create a fun (and mysterious!) atmosphere, but it’s definitely something everyone will remember long after the day is done.
9. Caricaturist – Much like a magician, a caricaturist is a huge ice-breaker for guests. The best thing about caricaturists is that they can be enjoyed by people of all ages and are a very personal favour for your guests to remember your big day by! You could also ask the artist to draw up a big picture of the two of you and use it as a guestbook!
10. Fireworks/Chinese Lanterns – Fireworks or chinese lanterns are a lovely way to end an emotional and fun day, and are a great send off to your guests. Lanterns are a nice way to get guests involved in proceedings, and something that will certainly be highlighted in their memories.
11. Get Involved with Guestbooks – The way to make sure your guestbook is signed is to make it a feature of your wedding. If the guestbook is a little bit of fun or entertainment for the guests they will more than likely flock to sign it, resulting in an amazing keepsake for you. A photobooth, poloroid or caricature scrapbook, a giant thumbprint tree, wish tree or a signed photoframe mirror will all make fabulous keep sakes and are guaranteed to get your guests penning the sweetest of wishes for you both.
12. Children’s Entertainment – If you are having children at your wedding, adding a little treat for them will really help them to enjoy the day and feel special. Things like children’s magicians, kids party bags (which you can DIY from little toys or sweet from the local pound shop) or, if the venue can cater for it, their own little space to watch DVDs or play board games with a sitter, will be a great way to give parents some time off to enjoy themselves and will give the children a great time too!
13. Transport – If you’re having a city wedding, one thing you could consider for guests is transport. If parking near the church or registry office is sparse, you could hire The Wedding Bus, some mini buses or even The Vintage Bus for guests to get from one venue to the other. This way they don’t have to worry about transport or parking and can relax and enjoy themselves!
14. Placecards – A lovely (if a little time consuming, depending on your guestlist!) idea to make your guests feel special is to hand write their place cards. Like the wedding above, you could add a little note to the person (in the form of a poem, if you are lucky enough to have a good way with words!) with a little ‘in joke’ or detail about them that you love. The minute they sit at the table they will know how much you appreciate them being there.
15. Favours – Favours are a long tradition in weddings, as a way to gift your guests something special to thank them for attending your big day. These can go from small inexpensive knickknacks, to DIY treats to personal gifts. Your favours depend on your budget, time and the style of your day, but are a nice way to thank guests.
16. The Bridal Speech – If you want the opportunity to make a speech soley to thank your guests, or mention certain people who may have travelled to get to your wedding, or indeed those who made a very special effort to make it, you can choose to do a bridal speech. A lot of brides will enjoy the opportunity to be able to thank their guests, and of course the groom and other speech makers will do this too, but this may be a great chance to give a ‘dedicated’ speech to just the guests.
17. Thank you Cards – Although many couples put it on the long finger, thank you cards are an important aspect of your wedding. Guests will really appreciate a ‘thank you’, whatever form it may come in. Try to keep a list of what your guests gifted you, and mention it in the card to look really on top of things! If they gifted money, maybe mention how you used it – ‘Thank you for your gift, we put it towards our honeymoon and had a wonderful time’ etc…
18. Table Names – Your table names are a great way to include your guests and make them feel special. If you simply number the tables, you could ask them to name their own table (just leave some card on the table for them to write it on) and really break the ice, or you could name the table by something that you associate with that group.
19. Table Games – Table games are a great way to get guests to mingle and create a fun, happy atmosphere. Twenty Questions cards or Sweepstakes for the speeches are perfect to get everyone chatting. You could also name each table a different song, and leave a note that when that song is played they have to get up and dance (make sure you tell your band or DJ first of course!)
20. Evening Food – It’s official. People like food. And sometimes there’s nothing better than food from a van. Retro chip van and ice cream van are a really cute way to serve evening food or dessert to your guests. They serve as a bit of entertainment while also being a great photo op for you! Surprise your guests outside your ceremony with the chimes of an ice cream van, or bring them outside to the lawn for midnight snacks from a chip van.
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.