Just when you thought of everything, sometimes it’s the smallest details that mean the most to your guests! After playing hundreds of private events here’s some “little” things we think help!
1. Schedule delays (and hunger)
Consider the length of time between each part of your event and keep it moving. Speeches & presentations are entertaining if they don’t go on too, too long. Sometimes a bride and groom disappear an hour or two to get after-ceremony photos. If there will be long durations, consider opening the bar early and serving some appetizers especially if folks haven’t eaten since breakfast (as often is). Food delays are common and usually minor however it can be cause for concern if seriously delaying other parts of the evening event, not to mention hungry guests, we suggest asking how many cooks and servers will be present and if they can manage the demand.
2. Background Music
Background programmed music or a live instrumental musician is always a nice touch during transitions, dinner, ceremonies, and when guests are socializing. It helps create atmosphere and dimension. Some guests will tune right in while others enjoy it as background checking in here and there. Consider old classic 40s tunes and NYC Jazz for pre-programmed or classic instrumentals with acoustic guitar or violin/fiddle, etc!
3. Air conditioning
In the warmer months some venues are challenged to keep rooms at a comfortable temperature. It’s good to be aware that some locations just simply don’t have any AC or not enough to keep up (we know a few in Nova Scotia!). If it’s exceptionally hot & muggy in a particular area, you may want to visit the location and ask your banquet manager. Fans or portable AC units near windows can help, especially closer to older folks. During colder months it’s rare but we’ve seen locations that are on the chilly side.
Seating elderly guests further away from the band or DJ can be a good strategy if they’re sensitive to the volume of music. If tables need to be moved from the dance floor after desert or speeches, this is also a courtesy so older guests can still access seating.
Before the dance portion of the evening begins, have staff or anyone to turn off or dim some of the lights to create atmosphere. It’s a very simple thing that really changes the mood, who wants a bunch of florescent lights or lights set on stun like an office when it’s time to partaay? Up-lighting around the perimeter of the room creates a surreal look and adds something special to any room. Some entertainers, event locations and suppliers offer this.
Bar pricing can be expensive for guests, if possible negotiate pricing on drinks. Ask if there are any specials on even just a few products like a brand of beer and red & white wine, some guests appreciate it. Your venue might offer a special price on the first few bottles. Hosts will sometimes buy their guests the first round or two or have “open-bar” for the first hour.
7. Munchies round midnight
Like mid-morning & afternoon, the 11pm munchies can sneak up. This part doesn’t have to be expensive; even a local pizza delivery can be a huge hit for guests. Of course no one’s gonna argue nachos, poutine, taters or sushi either! One over-the-top idea is the favourite local food truck.
If guests are finding their own way home it’s helpful to prearrange some car and taxi pooling. It’s likely all guests won’t know each other so go through your guest list and see which folks are in similar areas and recommend they travel together to and from. It will be appreciated during the day and end of the night. It’s also a great way for guests to get to know each other! If you don’t get around to this, assign a friend or family member to sort this out as guest start heading home!
9. The after (or before) party
Often times they find themselves at the end of the night, guests seeking to keep the party going. Fun planned ideas: A. An outdoor campfire in the backyard or on a beach with a getto-blaster and some drinks. B. Hire 1, 2 or 3 musicians (or DJ) who’ve already played your event to play in a rented suite, a living room, kitchen or outdoors. C. Karaoke anywhere. D. Go to a club. Pubs like The Halifax Alehouse have live music till 3:30am). E. Hire a service to set up a big projector/screen w sound system in or outdoors and watch a classic comedy movie or live music concert! These can all be quiet too, ie. a singer with acoustic guitar playing favs for all to sing to. Remember if you have guests together before the big event, these are also great pre-party (and post) ideas any day or evening!
10. A friend in need
Delegate as many details of the big day possible to associates or family. Payments to vendors, someone to stay on top of the venue, flowers, band, photographer, speakers, guests, DJ playlist, etc. If an event planner is looking after all this, great but sometimes even they can use a little help! Last thing you want to do on wedding day is search for your cash/chequebook, look around for staff or be helping one of your guests with incidentals. People generally enjoy and want to help!
Bonus: Expect (and Enjoy) the unexpected
At the end of the day, you’ve planned all you can, enjoy everything about your event, the little things that don’t go as planned will give your event character and something special to remember! Really, it will be all part of the fun. Regardless. You deserve to relax and enjoy every moment of it, try to start with a day off before the big one 🙂
c. Eddie Fisher. Updated Oct. 5, ’18.
If you’re looking for help planning your next event, contact us!