What do guests really care about?

By on Nov 2nd

Here are a few of the imagined thoughts of some of my wedding guests…

My florist cousin was telling me about how much some brides pay for their flowers, and that flowers are considered to be one of the most-noticed parts of a wedding. I haven't been to many weddings but I can not for the life of me remember ANYTHING about the flowers. I remember the ceremony and the entertainment and of course it's hard not to notice the dress. I'm curious to know what the most memorable parts of a wedding are to guests? What have they been in your own personal experiences?

Obviously every guest's notice-worthy things will be different, but I'll speak for myself based on two things: my opinions as a wedding guest, and my opinions as a wedding blogger.

As a guest, here are few things I have thought to myself at weddings over the past decade:

  • "Holy fuck, they look gorgeous." Yes, I'm superficial and always notice amazing clothing on the bride and the groom — especially when it's clearly custom work.
  • "Ooh, that's a clever way to get them involved!" I love seeing the special roles/ways that couples invent so that they can include people in their wedding days — e.g. creating a special task so that their community's army of small children can all participate.
  • "OMG, YUM." Delicious food is delicious.
  • "I'm starving and confused." If your wedding is remote, welcome bags for out-of-town guests can enter the realm of more than just etiquette. Hangry guests are no fun.
  • "Oh man, that is so THEM. I love it!" I've had this thought equally in response to everything from very fancy centerpieces to wedding invitations that looked like they were assembled by a pre-schooler. For me as a guest, the special ways that the wedding reflects the couple are WAY more impressive to me than the specifics of what the results are. In fact, I'm more impressed by something truly reflective of the couple than I am by the quality/fanciness/professionalness/whatever of it.
  • "Awwww…." I don't always remember the words of the ceremony and I don't always remember the content of any speeches, but I always remember the displays of deep, heartfelt emotion. To me, these are the very most memorable moments of every wedding.

As a wedding blogger (which is a whoooole different thing), here's what I notice:

  • Beautiful photography. The right photographer can elevate courthouse elopements into epic adventures full of dream-spun golden light and glimmering tears thanks to the right photographer. The wrong photographer can reduce an ornate wedding with hundreds of guests and acres of decor into a over-processed nightmare with images that feel more like illustrations than documentation.

Obviously, as a blogger, photography is going to be important to me. But you don't organize weddings for bloggers (…Right?! Because you really, REALLY shouldn't.). You throw a wedding for your community, and only you can know your guests and what they might appreciate. When in doubt, early-on in your wedding planning, ask a few of your guests directly to get a read on your community.

I'd love to hear from readers: what ONE element do you find yourself appreciating the most at the weddings you attend?