You will always hear me say that your wedding is the first time you officially host an event as “husband and wife” or “official partners”. So it’s important to keep your guests in mind when you are planning your wedding weekend events.
How to be a great host: 4 ways to knock your wedding guests socks off

photo by Daniel Moyer Photography from Vicki and Dave’s wedding at the Allentown Brew Works

You will always hear me say that your wedding is the first time you officially host an event as “husband and wife” or “official partners”. So it’s important to keep your guests in mind when you are planning your wedding weekend events.

If you listen to the Put A Ring On It podcast that I co-host every other Tuesday, you may have heard one of our first episodes on “It’s Your Party For Everyone Else”. In that episode we talk about some ways that you can set you and your guests up for a great time. If you haven’t yet, give it a listen. It’s a goodie.

As we mention in that podcast episode, you and your partner only make up 1-2% of your guest list (or less). As you go through each step of the planning process, it’s important to craft a day that reflects you and your partner but also keeps in mind the comfort and hospitality of the remaining 99% of your guest list.

For today’s article, I wanted to dive in a bit further and get specific on four ways on how to be a great host on your wedding day.

01. Create a cohesive experience from start-to-finish

Your guests’ experience starts LONG before they show up to your wedding ceremony. Part of being a great host includes creating one cohesive experience from the first moment they hear about your upcoming wedding. This typically starts with your Save-the-Dates and wedding invitations. Make sure your stationery gives off the same vibe that you want on your wedding day. If your wedding is going to be casual, sending a “fancy” or “formal” invitation is not a good fit and vice versa. If you want your wedding to be fun and a little bit whacky, sending a super-serious save-the-date is not the way to go.

Another aspect that you want to make sure matches your vibe/mood/theme/formality is your wedding website. This is going to be the place where your tech-savvy guests go for more information. Make sure it falls in line with everything else you have going on. From the colors, to the fonts, to the wording, keep it cohesive.

When your wedding weekend finally arrives, this is when your guests will become fully immersed. Think about their moves from the time they’ll check-in to when they’re making their departure. This often starts with a nice welcome bag at the hotel they’re staying at. Give them some treats and a timeline (more on that in #2) to make them feel welcome.

If you’re providing transportation (I like to recommend that if the budget allows) be sure to let the hotel and your guests know what time(s) they’ll be picked up AND dropped off.

Think about your guests throughout the day, as well. Will they have a coat? If so, talk with your venue about coat check options. If your guests will be driving, are there places nearby to park or should you have a valet? When your guests use the restroom, have some nice hospitality baskets in there waiting for them. (Not sure what to include in those baskets. Check out this article.)

At the end of the night, designate someone to make sure all of your guests get back safely (ah-hem, this is usually my job) and be sure to inform your guests about any next-day activities like brunch.

02. Keep your guests informed

I dove into this quite a bit in #1. But let’s go a bit further and talk about HOW to inform your guests.

First, a wedding website. In today’s age, I feel that this is a must-have. It’s a great to clearly communicate with your tech-savvy guests on ALL types of information. You can often create a wedding website for free with very little knowledge of how to create a website. The website URL link can then be included on everything from your save-the-dates, to your invitations, to your welcome bags.

I like to say to include information on the locations of your events (addresses, contact numbers, directions, parking info) and times. Those are key. You can also include the “engagement story” or how you met, fun info on the wedding party, your registry info and some pictures from your past. I recommend also including things like “what to wear” or what type of weather they should be prepared for. If the terrain is rocky, let them know that flat shoes are advised over 6″ heels. If it gets cold at night, let them know to bring a light jacket. Your options are really endless and it’s best to give as much helpful information as possible.

Second, you have your stationery. Obviously, it goes without saying that your invites should hold the basic information (and your wedding website link for more info) but there’s other ways you can keep guests “in the loop”. Start with your welcome bag. Include a basic timeline of events (including transportation pick-up and drop-off times, local hot spots, etc.) for your guests reference. You can also make sure of some space on your ceremony programs to give directions to your reception venue or where to go next.

03. Check your attitude

I know, maybe more than most, just how much a bad attitude can affect others. When I’m in my kitchen, cooking dinner for the fam, running around feeling frazzled, stressed, and annoyed, everyone around me starts to take on those same feelings, ultimately making the whole situation chaotic and UBER stressful. I can guarantee you that you do not want to experience this on your wedding day.

As hard as it may feel, keeping a calm and positive outlook on your wedding day WILL rub off on others creating a better environment for EVERYONE. The more “zilla” you get, the more everyone else will start to freak out right with you. And you don’t want or need a bunch of people freaking out around you on your wedding day. You want happy people. And supportive people. And having-a-great-time people. This all starts with you. Being a great host.

04. Be thankful

One of the smallest things you can do throughout your wedding to be a great host, but will make one of the BIGGEST impacts, is being thankful. Whether you plan on having a receiving line as your guests exit your ceremony, or if you’ll be visiting guests tableside during dinner, take the time on your wedding day to give hugs, love, and thanks to all of your guests who traveled and came to share in this AMAZING day with you and your partner. Be sincere and do your best to make each guest feel like they have your undivided attention, even if it’s just for a few moments.

After your wedding (and after your shower, too!) make sure to send “thank you” notes to all that gave a gift or card. I know it takes time, but give yourself a goal of writing out 10 or so a day. Just be sure to get them out as SOON as possible.

Finally, don’t forget to thank all of the people that came together to work their butts off for you. This includes anyone who helped financially, anyone who helped with your over-zealous DIY projects, anyone who was there for you mentally and emotionally when your caterer told you they just couldn’t do the nacho cheese fountain you were wanting. You also want to thank your creative pros and vendors. One of the best ways I’ve found to thank your pros is through a review. Sites like WeddingWire make it super easy to leave a review which helps gives feedback to the pro and give an unbiased opinion of their work to future couples.

And don’t forget to be thankful for each other. You couldn’t do this wedding without your partner and try to take moments throughout the day to step back and take it all in. Together.