Guests won’t care if you serve them chicken Florentine instead of the chicken cordon bleu, but these 5 wedding reception mistakes are (almost) unforgivable:
1. Not telling them what to wear
Whether it’s casual, themed, or black tie, letting your guests in on the dress code is step one to making them feel comfortable at your wedding.
2. Not providing a vegetarian option
Even if you’re pretty sure everyone in your pool of family and friends is omnivorous, having a vegetarian option usually appeases picky eaters and kids while saving you a little cash. And of course, if you do have a true vegetarian or vegan friend or family member, or another guest with a dietary restriction, ask your caterer to prepare a special meal – that is, unless you want one or more of your guests to spend all evening with a bad case of the hangries!
3. Too much time between the ceremony and reception
Having a buffer of time in between the ceremony and reception is a good idea – you can use it to take family portraits or just to have a little down time before the reception – but make sure you provide some guidance to guests, especially if there are many coming in from out of town. One popular solution is to have a cocktail hour. If that won’t work for your circumstances, consider providing a list of local attractions and bars or cafes near to the reception area so guests at least have a place to hang out besides their hotel rooms.
4. Not warning guests about important details
Is the reception outdoors on grass? Is there handicapped access into the venue? Are you serving only appetizers? Is there a long walk from the reception parking to the venue? Or a parking fee? Your guests will appreciate a head’s up on these details, so think through the guest experience and give them a little warning about things that may affect their comfort. This isn’t to say you need to change your plans – just let your guests know what they are.
5. A reception that never ends
There’s a growing trend toward having longer and longer receptions, but ask any wedding professional and you’ll probably hear plenty of reasons why that’s not a great idea. For starters, longer receptions cost more money – every staff member, food item or drink served, will cost extra if you prolong the reception, and it’s worse if you didn’t arrange for it in advance. The typical reception is four hours plus one cocktail hour – that’s potentially five hours of drinking for your guests. Much more than that, and you’re asking for trouble. You know what they say – nothing good happens after 2am. Or in this case, after 10pm, 11pm, or midnight, whichever time your reception is scheduled to end. If you’re still wired from the day, gather a small group of friends and head to a bar in a cab or limo. Most of your guests will be ready to head home by the tail end of the reception anyway, so you’ll be dancing by yourself.
What’s the worst wedding reception mistake you’ve seen?