How to ‘wow’ your wedding guests


Weddings are about creating lifelong memories. We put a lot of time and effort in to planning a wedding because it’s a day we’ll remember forever. But what about your guests? Ensuring you create a memorable guest experience for your friends and family is equally as important. Think about creating a wedding that speaks not only to who you are as a couple but also to how you want to make others feel

Event stylist, floral designer and planner Mallory Joyce shares with us her approach to creating a memorable guest experience.

Who are you as a couple? 
One of the first questions I ask my clients is what kind of experience do you want your guests to have? Creating a memorable (and meaningful) guest experience begins with the reason they are at your wedding in the first place. Take some time to think about what the two of you love to do together, why other people like being around you, and what you want your marriage to be about.

What are you known for? 
Are you known for hosting laid back dinner parties with wine and conversation stretching into the late hours? Then serve a family-style meal at long tables with low floral arrangements so guests can speak easily. Or are you the couple who feeds off each other’s comedic personalities, always keeping a room lively? Focus your efforts on a rocking band and come up with small details that make your guests interact with each other in unique ways. Let your story dictate the feel of your wedding. If the thing you both enjoy most together is camping, then show your guests the beauty of the outdoors by planning a reception outside, with a heavy focus on greenery in your florals, and a late night campfire complete with s’mores!

Take care of your guests
This can come in many forms but try to picture yourself as a guest at your own wedding. Close your eyes and move through the day. Is it chilly outside? Provide guests with blankets for outdoor events. Do you know where to go? Signage can be hugely helpful. I often design a large ‘Welcome’ sign that lays out the plans for the evening. Something like”So glad you’re here! 6pm Cocktails 7pm Dinner 8:30pm Dancing!” goes a long way. Do you feel at ease? Especially at large weddings, something as simple as assigning guests to their seats with placecards can help your loved ones feel that they have been thought of and taken care of. Placecards are another place to get personal – if the two of you met wine-tasting, then perhaps your placecards have an aptly-placed wine bottle stain in the corner.

Surprise your guests!
You want to create an experience that your guests will relive the next day. It could be something as simple as a surprise late-night serving of your favorite donuts or your groom getting up on stage to perform guitar solo, or as grand as a firework show. Planning some detail of the day that creates a memory for those that attend is always a good idea.

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12.04.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog, Wedding Planning

Simple At-Home Photo Session

When she is a food photographer and he is the owner of a successful craft coffee shop, you can be sure that their home will be filled with tantalizing scents and delicious edibles. In their photographer’s words, Beth and Matthew “share a giddy, joyful love and a deep, abiding care for each other.” They chose to have their photos taken in their own home, and in their favorite environment: the kitchen.

More from the photographer, Abigail Bobo:
“She explained to me, as she dashed about the kitchen whipping up scones while Matthew coordinated Brash Coffee’s second location launch in Atlanta just over in the living room, that slow living is not about a tempo so much as a mindset. By consciously and constantly choosing people over things, your life will take on a natural and unforced pace.”

Photography: Abigail Bobo Photography | Clothing: Elizabeth Suzann

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12.03.15 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Romantic Farm Wedding in Minnesota

Everything about this farm wedding in Minnesota is so perfectly lovely. There is a sense of romantic simplicity; of comfort, ease, and happiness. The farm setting contributes a beautiful atmosphere, and with the natural world around the couple fully bursting in green foliage, this real wedding seems so peaceful. Wood harvest tables, eucalyptus foliage garlands running the length of the tables, a petal covered aisle, and flowing silk ribbons are just a few of our favorite things – that, and these amazing images from Once Wed Preferred Vendor Geneoh Photography!

Read on for more sweet words from the bride:

“Wes and I met at age seventeen and have been smitten with each other since. We saw a lot of wedding trends come and go through the many seasons that we were together, and when it was finally our turn to tie the knot, we wanted our wedding day to be as timeless, intimate, and relaxed as possible. We didn’t want to get married at a typical wedding venue; we wanted something more personal and homey. 
We stumbled upon a beautiful backyard that two middle-aged sisters used for an event, and we decided to investigate. After endless research, I found a cell number to one of the sisters who was named Barbra. I dialed the number and was warmly answered by, “Oh hello! You’re calling about our backyard? Well, I’m in my PJs drinking coffee, but I love talking to brides! Tell me your love story!” 
Our wedding day was full of earthy neutrals (because the earth never goes out of style), classy suits (because of all days to feel your best, it should be your wedding day), and the twinkle of Italian lights (because we would be leaving the next day to honeymoon in Italy). We couldn’t have imagined anything more us. To be honest, we enjoyed the decorating and styling of our wedding day, but we loved our wedding day because of the beautiful company, complete peace, and the many many tears.” 


Photographer: Geneoh Photography | Venue: Rosebrook Farm | Floral: Whimsy Design | Ribbon: Silk & Willow | Dress: Sarah Seven | Bride’s belt: The Hushed Commotion | Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN & FreePeople | Wes Suite: J Crew | Food: Chow Girls | Rentals: Ultimate Events

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12.02.15 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Romantic Outdoor Wedding in California

Here at Once Wed, we simply adore outdoor weddings. And for Wynn and Scott, the number one thing they dreamed of was having their entire wedding outdoors. With just 31 guests in attendance, the pair were wed in the gardens at San Isidro Ranch under a romantic floral arch (we’re big fans of the simple color palette here!) and afterwards, their intimate group of loved ones dined al fresco in a private corner of the ranch. Small posies filled with lush, ruffled grade roses lined the length of the table in light tones of white, caramel, and mauve.

Looking for more outdoor wedding inspiration? Find sophisticated California ideas here, and gorgeous garden inspiration here.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: San Ysidro Ranch | Wedding Planner: Twine Events | Bride’s Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Hair & Makeup: Team Hair & Makeup | Groom’s Attire:Prada | Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Bell and Bird | Florist: Honey of a Thousand Flowers | Invitations & Paper Goods: The Bride’s Sister, Thornwillow Press, Ltd. | Catering & Cake: San Ysidro Ranch | Rentals: Small Masterpiece, La Tavola Linen | Favors: Isabella Gourmet Foods | Photography: Ivy Reynolds of The Gold Collective

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12.01.15 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog