Sitting at another magical wedding sipping on some fantastic Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc while the bride and groom dominate the dance floor with their sweetly rehearsed routine, I look back over the many, many weddings I have had the privilege of attending.
From the home-made weddings where every item has been crafted by a family member, to the upmarket hotel weddings where crystal glasses and French champagne signify this couple is certainly erring on the side of ‘for richer’, every wedding has something memorable to cherish.
Overall, most weddings follow the same flow of events… the ceremony, the photos, the reception, the dinner and speeches, but it is amazing how a few simple adaptations can make all the difference and add that extra wow factor to the occasion.
Of course, the big day is about the happy couple – well mostly the happy lady – but it is always a wonderful gesture when guests’ needs are taken into consideration on the blissful day. Here are a few key elements to charm your guests:
1. Transport options
If you decide to choose a remote wedding venue atop a scenic mountain in Nepal, then fantastic for you. Just remember to chat to the local Sherpas and arrange for your great-aunt Ida to get up that mountain as well, otherwise it’s going to be a very lonely wedding. Whether it’s transport from airports to the wedding venue or between the reception and wedding venue itself, source what is available in the various price ranges and let your guests know. This is particularly important for destination weddings. I particularly love it when transport is provided between the wedding venue and accommodation if it’s off-site.
If there is limited or no accommodation available at the wedding venue, then it would be wise to source a range of options in the vicinity. There’s nothing worse than having a fantastic celebration at the wedding venue and then having to travel hundreds of kilometres to a remote hotel that resembles something from a 1960s horror film. It’s also worth inquiring about block bookings as you may even be able to organise discounts for your guests.
3. Don’t overdo the I do’s
I appreciate that differing religions require varying ceremony lengths but sitting on a hard, wooden bench in the searing heat for hours while that scenic wedding venue and chilled sparkling wine is waiting outside can be quite disheartening. Don’t go cutting out the ‘I do’s’ but by keeping the ceremony to the point, there is more chance that people will remember those special vows while still maintaining enthusiasm for the rest of the day.
4. The photo shoot
This is my biggest dread. That long, boring phase between the ceremony and the reception when the happy couple and the bridal party disappear into the woods for some iconic photos while the rest of the guests are left to mingle and make very, very small talk. Yes, for many the photoshoot is terribly important but there are some ways to make this in-between break more interesting for guests. Food and drinks are a must, as is the option of seating, especially for the older and pregnant folks. One wedding I attended hired those fun prop, photo booths where everyone gets dressed up and takes pictures. Another one had a number of lawn games such as croquet and boules. It doesn’t have to be expensive but try to keep your party engaged and entertained.
5. The never-ending speeches
Often the crux of a successful wedding, the speeches, can really determine which way the evening is going to go. Having every member of your family get up to say something is completely unnecessary. And let’s be honest, not everyone is a public speaker. Even if your best man is hilarious, rather give him a time limit as you can have too much of a good thing. People will be itching to get to the dancefloor so don’t let people waffle on forever.
It’s important to remember that, although this may be your big day, your guests could be attending up to 10 weddings in a year and each one comes with the expenses of travelling, accommodation and gifts. Where you can make the experience enjoyable for them, try to do so. In the end, they are people you love and cherish so show it to them!
For more ideas on wedding planning and wedding venues, take a look at Waterkloof Wine Estate. Waterkloof hosts many weddings per year and is an awe-inspiring Cape Winelands Wedding Venue to celebrate your dream wedding at. Professionalism, style, elegance and sophistication are all synonymous with Waterkloof Wine Estate.
Contact Waterkloof today for a Cape Wedding Venue that dreams are made of.
Photo courtesy of Abigail K Photography.