I wanted to paint you a picture, one where I say “you do you” but also, hey, don’t forget about your guests. Yes it’s your day BUT it’s also theirs, that's why you invited them. If it was just all about you then you would have eloped, right? ( Which by the way is also an awesome choice that my husband and I actually almost did ourselves!)
So here is the story of our wedding day - May 17th 2014
Our ceremony was at Wategos beach in Byron Bay and our reception was at a restaurant about a 2km down the road.
We organized a bus to take everyone to the ceremony and then back to town afterwards.
We did that so no one had to worry about trying to find a park as it is a popular spot (And it’s lucky we did, when I arrived at the beach there was no parking spots available at all, and our guests didn’t drive!)
The spot where we wanted to have our ceremony had people setup for a picnic that looked like they were in for a full day of beach hangs. Rather than ask them to move, our ceremony coordinator suggested we move to a better spot which actually had grass. It ended up being away from the wind and away from a lot of people enjoying the beach plus it was bigger which meant we were able to set up more seating. It was the best suggestion and I’m glad I trusted her judgement.
While we were off getting bridal photos our guests were taken back to town in the bus.
When they arrived at the reception they were greeted with a special cocktail (we chose one which we thought everyone would like) and some food while they waited for us to arrive.
My husband and I wanted to throw a party. A big huge party where we invite all our friends and family and party the night away.
We didn’t opt for tables with a sit down alternating menu, that just wasn’t us. We had couches, coffee tables, benches, bar tables and stools. Our guests mingled all night, they moved around the room, talking to other guests they had never met before. Everyone was friends with everyone by the end of the night which was exactly what we wanted!
We had a live band (best decision ever).
They played the most amazing mix of covers from classic 70's to modern tunes all night long. They were having such a good time and feeding off the energy of all of our guests that they stayed for an extra hour for FREE!
We served canapés and small plates all evening.
We were so worried we hadn’t ordered enough food but in the end our guests couldn’t eat it all. The food just kept flowing all night long which was awesome for those of us that love to graze.
We had an open bar.
Yes, a messy open bar 😂. At the time, my husband and I weren't beer and wine people and neither were our friends and family. So we thought, why would we only offer that to our guests? We put a limit down on the bar and just let them get exactly what they wanted. When the limit ran out we actually just kept adding to it and so did a few of our family members. I said messy right?
We organized a performance, a special intermission half way through the reception for our guests to enjoy.
They were fire twirlers, and I’ll never forget the moment we told everyone they had to stop what they were doing and follow us outside. They were so confused, but I’ll never forget the smiles and cheers and general energy of our guests during the performance and then directly after.
We included them. They were there because we wanted them to be, and we wanted them to enjoy themselves. Our wedding day is still talked about now, 6 years later. It’s still talked about because we did things differently. We did it our way, but we also made sure we did it for them.
So in summary
I guess what I’m trying to say is, try to find a way to include your guests. Make them a part of your wedding day, not just a witness. Whether that simply be tossing some confetti during your processional, organizing a special performance for them or organizing a game to include them, I say…. you do you - But also include them.
I hope this has been helpful for couples planning their wedding day. If it has been helpful to you I would love to hear about it and what you plan to do to include your guests in your day! Leave me a comment, share the post with your friends or contact me here!
Some photos of our unforgettable reception 🙌🏼