10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Wedding Better For Your Guests

Obviously the most important people at your wedding are you and your partner, and you really only need to please yourselves. But the chances are you're looking forward to celebrating with your nearest and dearest, and you'll want to make sure they have a good time too. If you're knee-deep in planning and wondering what you can do to help ensure your guests have a great time, this list should help to remind you of some key factors to consider. From making sure everyone's well-fed to crafting that guest list with care, these details will really make your wedding memorable!

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1. Give plenty of notice

There are a lot of wedding traditions from the USA that are probably best left to our transatlantic counterparts, but the Save the Date is not one of them. Asking people to mark your wedding date in their calendar as early as possible reduces the possibility that you'll be missing a key guest due to prior commitments. If you know the date and you've booked the venue and the wedding is within the next 12 months, don't hold out on sending those Save the Dates. Nobody will complain about advance notice!

2. Consider how they'll travel to and from the venue

It's wonderful that you've found the perfect rural church or hidden-away country house for your nuptials, but consider your guests' travel bill. Of course it's your prerogative where you marry, but choosing a difficult location with limited transport options and a lack of affordable accommodation puts a huge strain on your guests. Think about the kind of people you're inviting. If they mostly have cars and some level disposable income, great. But if all your friends are urban 20-somethings who use public transport, asking them to spend a weekend in a £200-a-night country house hotel a four-hour journey from home is big ask. If you have your heart set on somewhere that's tricky to get to, make sure you provide information on affordable accommodation, and consider putting on transport where you can (at least between the church and reception venue and possibly to the nearest town at the end of the night).

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3. Be really careful about plus-ones

Weddings are expensive. Everybody understands that you have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to the guest list. But there has to be a rule that works. These days, "no ring, no bring" often isn't it! What if you have friends who've been together for years but never married? Or perhaps you know one person's new girlfriend way better than someone else's husband of five years who never comes to parties?

If you can't do the easiest thing and give everyone in a relationship a plus-one, sit down with your partner and work out where you draw the line. Maybe you say no to kids, maybe you cut the partners who you have never met, or maybe you chose a specific group who you know will understand (work colleagues, old school friends) and invite them as a gang, no partners allowed. Whichever you choose, someone will inevitably be disappointed or surprised by your decision, but hopefully they will understand it's about logistics (or finances) and not your opinion of their partner!

4. Tackle the issue of children with great care

Regardless of what anyone says, it's your choice whether you decide to invite children or not. But your circumstances will often dictate how "right" it feels to say no. If you have a lot of kids in your family or your close circle of friends, you'll probably want them there! If most of your friends are child-free, an adults-only wedding may be perfect for everyone, including the few parents you do have on your list who will hopefully quite like the idea of a night off and a party! Just remember that finding child care is expensive (especially for an out-of-town wedding) and parents usually like to include their children in things!

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5. Do your local area research

Events going on around your wedding affect the wedding itself. Is there anything that'll push up prices in the area? Is the city hosting any kind of festival, sporting event, parade, or big concert? Hotels push up prices (and book up early) when there are special events in town. You may have your heart set on a specific weekend, but if all the rooms nearby are booked up because of a big event, you're risking your guests being unable to attend.

6. A bank holiday weekend might not be the perfect time to wed

Similar to the above, bank holidays can cause unexpected issues, especially the ones in peak wedding season: Easter, May Day, and the last weekend of August. It's more expensive and busier to travel at these times, and they're also popular times for people to book holidays and mini breaks. A lot of couples choose bank holidays because they're convenient: fewer people involved in the wedding will need to book extra days off work, even if travel is involved. But this could mean some family or friends might have to choose between multiple weddings if everyone has the same idea!

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7. Remember, there is no such thing as too much food and booze

The worst thing you can do at a wedding is leave people underfed or without a fully stocked bar. If you're putting your guests first, ideally this is where the majority of your budget should go. People won't remember the favours or even the flowers, but they will remember being hungry at 9 p.m. if the last meal they had was the wedding breakfast at 1! If money is tight, aim for a ceremony after 3 p.m. so you only have to provide dinner, and look into options that'll keep prices lower: BBQs, food carts, buffets . . . a three-course meal and silver service isn't the only option. Limit the drinks options: wine and water at the table and a cash bar is still a completely acceptable option in the UK, and don't let anyone tell you differently, but if you can afford to put some money towards beers, soft drinks, and other drinks during the evening, your guests will love you!

8. Don't put ridiculous stuff on the gift list

We all want a KitchenAid. But do you actually know people who're going to shell out £400 on a gift? If you have a gift list, be kind and keep the majority of items below £50. You can always put multiples in there so those able to spend a bit more can buy you a set of something. If you're keen on monetary gifts, try a service like Prezola, which allows guests to put money into funds for specific items, like house renovations or your honeymoon. It's a little bit more discreet than asking for cash in an envelope!

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9. Take care with the seating plan

You're never going to want to hear the words "table plan" or "seating plan" again after your wedding. Forget finding the dress or writing your vows, this is the most stressful part of the whole thing. No matter what you do, the numbers just won't quite work — there's always a big group you have to split, a child who throws the numbers off, or a feud you have to deal with (but not draw attention to). You'll consider all kinds of silly ideas (at one point, my husband and I pulled names out of a hat and placed them randomly on the plan), but eventually you'll have to just make some compromises, try to group like-minded people together, and hope people will cope for a couple of hours.

10. Consider providing some creature comforts

Umbrellas at the exit, flip-flops by the dance floor, a few little extras in the ladies' toilets (blister plasters, tampons, mints, nurofen); if funds allow, pay attention to the little details that'll help your guests to have a great day even if things go awry.