Last weekend, The Nerd was a groomsman in his college roommate’s wedding. A lot has changed since I planned our wedding almost five years ago. Today, brides-to-be have Pinterest to turn to when planning all the details of their big day.
As I sat during the rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception this weekend, I couldn’t help but marvel at the ways that this couple took care to welcome guests to the celebration. We were a five-hour drive from our home in Dallas, with a fussy toddler who refused to sit through Catholic Mass. And yet, there were so many little things that made me glad we’d come.
I’d like to share a few of them with you, and a few other things that were suggested by friends, family and some lovely readers.
1. Think About the Parents
The Mother of the Bride had hired her family’s babysitters to stay with small children during the rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception. The duo of experienced babysitters stayed in a room at the hotel where the reception was held, patiently watching and playing with little ones so parents like us could enjoy the festivities.
This was probably the #1 thing that I would recommend, if I were getting married today. Trying to tame a toddler during a wedding ceremony is hard enough. I got to eat my dinner without little fingers snatching at my food, and Andrew got to play with other kids his age. It was a win for us both. He didn’t stay with the sitter all night. In fact, I went up to get him about two hours into the reception. But it was long enough for me to have some “grown-up” time to laugh and enjoy the evening with friends we hadn’t seen for a while.
2. Include the Little Ones.
Before the Bride and Groom had their first dance, the dance floor was filled with kids just having fun. And even when the adults were getting their groove on, little ones were welcome to join in. It was so much fun to see the Bride dancing with little boys.
You could also set up a table for the children with coloring books, crayons and toys. One of my friends said she went to a wedding recently where there was a clown making balloon animals for small children during the reception — how awesome is that!?
3. Provide Transportation So Everyone Stays Safe!
The couple had a charter bus this weekend to carry the bridal party and guests to and from the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception. Everyone got to party and drink responsibly, and there were no issues with people getting lost.
4. Little Details Go a Long Way!
At each seat this weekend, guests were greeted with small bags of Jordan Almonds, an Italian tradition that paid homage to the Bride’s heritage. When we checked into our room, we received a gift bag of goodies from the couple to welcome us.
My friend Shannon said that there were many guests from out of state at her wedding, so she had Texas-themed gift bags for out-of-town guests. We did the same thing with The Nerd’s family visiting from South Dakota and Vancouver for our wedding.
Another friend, Bethany, suggested providing comfy flip-flops for guests to wear when they want to kick of their heels and dance. I LOVE that!
5. Take a Few Moments for Yourselves.
Everyone is so excited to be there and celebrate with you, but take a moment, sit down, and catch your breath. You have all night to see everyone. And it’s ok if you don’t hug every last guest. The time and care that you took planning the evening will be obvious to everyone. Remember, we’re all here to celebrate YOU.
We had such an amazing time celebrating with Ryan and Jenny last weekend. They are perfect for each other and we could not be happier for them.
What are some ways you’ve seen guests welcomed to a wedding? Do you have any to add to the list?