Ten Keys to Making Your Wedding Unforgettable

Every wedding has a love story. Practically every wedding has a ceremony, followed by a meal. But not every wedding is memorable. By focusing on what matters to your guests, you can ensure that your wedding will be a day filled with lifelong memories — for you AND your guests. Here are ten keys to an unforgettable wedding.

Comfort. Uncomfortable guests are unhappy guests. If your ceremony or reception will be outdoors, provide seasonal aids like throw blankets, sunglasses, fans, water bottles and insect repellant. Inside, let your female guests set aside their high heels, by providing them with flat sandals for dancing.

Contact. Try to greet and thank every guest personally. You’ll have plenty of opportunity for a receiving line if you choose. You may prefer, instead, to greet your guests over cocktails or visit their dinner tables, though the latter is the most time-consuming, and risks postponing the start of dancing until some guests get impatient and leave early. Personal contact and “face time” with the newlyweds is very important to the people who care enough to set aside a whole day to help you celebrate. 

Brevity. If you’re going to have a full religious ceremony that takes a half hour or more, warn your guests in advance. A ceremony with a full communion may seem interminable for guests who are unfamiliar with religious traditions. If you’re inviting everyone to your ceremony, the ideal length is no longer than 20 minutes – plenty of time for the processional, a homily, your vows, your exchange of rings, perhaps a wine/sand/unity candle ceremony, your kiss, a closing prayer and your recessional. Then your guests can get right down to partying.

Seating. One of your biggest challenges will be creating a seating chart that puts together guests will similar interests and experiences. Table conversation is easier if the guests have something in common. Try to seat singles with singles, couples with couples, etc. 

Booze. A well-stocked open bar will help your guests let their hair down. If your budget won’t allow a full liquor selection, a beer-and-wine bar will do. You’ll also need to provide non-alcoholic drink options like lemonade, punch or soda. Above all, avoid a cash bar. It makes you look cheap.

Speak fast and shut up. Tell everyone who’s offering a toast that he or she has 2 or 3 minutes before your DJ starts gradually bringing up the music to tell him to wrap it up. Your guests don’t want to listen to a long, unprepared stream-of-consciousness speech, especially when they’re sitting there hungry.

Music. Let your guests select a fair share of your dance music. After all, they’ll be the dancers. And they’ll dance to music they like. It’s simple to add a line to your invitation RSVPs letting each guest select his or her favorite DANCE song. Be sure you specify DANCE song, or else you’ll end up with lots of requests that will leave the dance floor empty.

Dessert. A s’mores bar, or ice cream bar, or other “build it yourself” dessert selection will be a big favorite.

Recharge. Any DJ can tell you that some guests are going to ask where they can charge their dead cellphones. Anticipate it, and set aside a couple of charging stations, so your guests can get back to taking great reception pictures right away.

Recharge, part two. Speaking of recharging, your guests are going to get hungry again after a couple hours of dancing. A table of late night cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pizza or other treats will help them recharge THEIR batteries, and keep the party going strong.

Remember, your guests will forget your color scheme, your décor, their entrée, and probably their wedding favors. But they’ll remember the experience they had; and making that experience as fun and pleasant as possible will pay off in great memories that will last a lifetime. 

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2017 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company. 

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