Most would agree that Disney usually gets things right. We definitely agree that they were right on point in the classic scene in Beauty and The Beast where Lumiere sings the famous lyrics, “Ma chere Mademoiselle, it is with the deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight. And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly presents – your dinner! Be our guest! Be our guest! Put our service to the test. Tie your napkin ’round your neck, cherie and we’ll provide the rest.”
It may be your grand event ~ your dress is stunning, the centerpieces are outrageous, and the venue is amazing, but the guests need to be happy too. Of course, you have chosen every little detail and meticulously selected the menu. In your eyes, all is perfect. However, if guests are not satisfied with the temperature in the space, that’s all they will be focused on. We want the focus to always be on the guest of honor and in order to do so, remember your guest list. It is crucial for a successful party.
We compiled a list of things to keep in mind.
- Remember the Essentials: First things first, be sure there are enough bathrooms. Everyone has got to go, and this could be a problem if a line starts to occur. The only line you want is on the dance floor. If your event is outdoors, provide a shady spot and umbrellas. Also, have heaters on hand if it’s cold. If your party is on the lawn, alert your guests ahead of time, so they will wear the proper footwear. Provide valet service if parking is far. Female guests will certainly appreciate it. Contingency plans are always needed for your guests’ comfort.
- Explain any unfamiliar customs in your service program: This could be a short paragraph of the meaning of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, what a sponsor is at a confirmation, the breaking of glass at a Jewish wedding, a unity candle, jumping a broom stick and so on. This will help guests that don’t understand to be more engaged at your event.
- Assign seats: This is always a concern that occurs when a formal sit-down dinner is not being served. However, place cards are always a good idea since they indicate where people can “park” themselves and their belongings for the night. It also alleviates people pulling up chairs to a “popular” table which becomes crowded and then leaves a couple eating alone at a large table. Assigning seats also allows you to place older guests away from the dance floor speakers. These will most likely will be too loud for them to enjoy themselves and they will complain all night.
- Offer more than alcohol: It’s nice to always have a non-alcoholic beverage being passed along with the champagne to accommodate guests who may not drink. Sparkling water with a garnish is a great option for those that don’t drink to still be able to participate in a toast.
- Choose menu items carefully: Just because you may not eat meat, you should still serve it at your party, unless religious customs forbid it. Not everyone eats what you do, so it’s great to try and have a variety to please everyone’s palate. You don’t want to serve exotic cuisine to those who don’t appreciate adventurous culinary delights like you do. Of course, you can include anything that reflects your taste. But, make basic staples such as pastas, salads and vegetarian entrees available. Mix up your menu so no one leaves hungry.
- Don’t force guests to participate: It’s best to let guests do what they are comfortable with. For instance, you may have a best man who dislikes speaking in public. Don’t make him do the toast, pass it on to someone else. No one likes to be dragged to the dance floor either and not every single girl wants to catch the bouquet. Some adults hate being lifted up on a chair during the hora or being dragged into a conga line. There are no rules. Be respectful of everyone’s feelings.
- Circulate: We know you want to dance the night away but take some time out and reach out to each and every guest. A good time to do this is when dinner is being served. They will appreciate the effort. This also offers a photo opportunity.
- Music: It’s your day! Of course, play your favorite hit list, but try and include a selection of alternative tunes so all your guests can enjoy.
- Say thank you: This starts with a hospitality bag for those that are visiting. Fill it with some basics like water bottles, snacks, chocolates, aspirin and even sunscreen. These items may not be available in your guests’ hotel room. Send out those thank you notes as soon as possible. Guests want to know that you received their gift and that it didn’t get lost. Acknowledgement is very much appreciated especially to those that traveled, took time away from their life and spent money to be part of your celebration.
- Treat your guests the best: Happy guests always make the best guests!
*photo credit: Disney