Whilst I was planning our wedding, a comment I frequently heard was that the “details don’t matter” or that “your guests won’t even notice”. This was often combined with reminders that it is “just one day” and concerns about the time and cost involved in the plans I had in mind.
There are dozens of articles listing the things your guests do and don’t care about, arguing that your invites will just end up in the bin, guest books are pointless and all that matters to guests is free booze. Then, on the other hand there are articles listing details that “will take your wedding to the next level” or “details you shouldn’t’ forget“. This conflicting advice can be overwhelming.
Yes, your guests are there to celebrate your marriage with you. Their main concerns will be enjoying a thoughtful (but not too long) ceremony, whether good food and drinks are available throughout the day and whether there will be some awesome music to dance to the evening. However, should you say goodbye to all the little touches and plans you had in mind?
I had a vision for my day with styling details and some extras to try to make my guest’s weekend more enjoyable, that I didn’t want to forget about. Whilst I am sure these comments and articles all have the best of intentions, I found them quite disheartening.
I weighed it up, I wasn’t spending any significant amount of money on any of my ideas and I had the time available to do it, so why not? My job, whilst challenging, doesn’t enable me to be creative, so I relished using the wedding as my creative outlet. If none of my guests noticed it wouldn’t matter too much.
My husband and I created our own escort card board to fit with our “secret garden” theme. This involved deconstructing a mirror, gluing moss to a wooden board, screwing in dozens of hooks and writing name tags for each of our guests. Whilst this did take up time over a few of our weekends, we enjoyed it! Each guest name tag then had a key attached and one key per table opened a small wooden box filled with chocolates, to act as our favours.
In the weeks running up to the wedding we trekked around Ikea picking up candles and other bits and bobs for the day. I bought mini toiletries and plasters for a box of goodies in the Ladies bathroom. My husband and I also collected treats and painkillers to go in “morning after the night before” bags in the hotel rooms at our venue, to help guests with sore heads the next day.
The day before the wedding I was wide awake at 5am, already in the kitchen and painstakingly cutting up homemade rocky road and lemon drizzle cake, placing them in cellophane bags and tying them with ribbons. These were later loaded onto the coaches transporting our guests back to our reception venue after our ceremony, together with bottled water and a “how well do you know the newlyweds?” quiz.
These touches did take time, effort and money. Therefore every time I heard or saw that they “don’t matter” my heart would sink and I started to wonder if I was crazy to carry on regardless.
However, when I left our wedding reception on the evening before the wedding after setting up, I was content in the knowledge that it looked exactly as I planned and all the details that were in my head were there.
During our wedding breakfast my husband and I loved watching guests pass around the favour boxes on their tables and trying their key in the box. We were able to watch friends who had never met, laughing and interacting, which is a great memory for us. The children loved the boxes and spent the remainder of the meal collecting things and locking them inside.
The box in the ladies bathroom was empty the following day, so I am assuming that it all came in useful! Snapchat stories indicate that the “morning after” bags were a help to guests…
However, most interestingly (and importantly) to me, a few weeks after the wedding, once we had returned to reality and I was sitting reminiscing with a friend, she said how lovely all the little details were. This took me aback, as I had been fully expecting no one to notice! She explained how grateful everyone was that there was water on the coach, as it was such a hot day and that the treats were great, especially considering they hadn’t eaten in hours. She explained that the quiz was a brilliant ice breaker, helping them interact with guests they otherwise wouldn’t have spoken to. I was thrilled!
Reflecting back, I am so pleased I persevered with the DIY projects and little touches that I had in mind. My guests may not remember their escort cards or even the nibbles on the coach in years to come, but hopefully they will remember the conversations it sparked.
This isn’t to say you should rush off and commit to every DIY project you find or have a meltdown because a name card isn’t placed in the correct position, but if you have little touches in mind that are important to you or you would really like to do, then don’t let others convince against it!