Ive had a busy day today. I've met lots of new people and met up with some old friends that I haven't seen in a while for catch ups. The one thing that was common about meeting all of these wildly different people is that they were all fascinated by what I do for a living. I had lots of questions about what types of events I've been planning and what kinds of themes are around at the moment through to who was the most demanding customer. (No I didn't reveal that) But the one thing that nearly all of them asked is what is the most important part of a wedding or any other type of event? Is it the dress, or the venue, the flowers or the cake they all asked, eagerly waiting for a response.
From my point of view the most important part of any event, are the guests. If you are inviting someone to any event, surely it's because you think enough of them that you want them to share in your celebrations? As a good host or hostess you will want your guests to enjoy themselves, feel comfortable, relaxed, be entertained and leave feeling happy. So for me the comfort and entertainment of your guests is paramount.
Most people will be delighted that they have been invited and feel excitement and anticipation about attending. They will invest significant resources into attending (especially if it's a wedding) and if they are met by a hosts that haven't put any thought into their enjoyment of the day and focused entirely on their own, what does that say about them? If you are not bothered whether your guest are enjoying themselves then why invite them in the first place?
This may sound harsh, I know, but I feel that it is simply bad manners not to consider the comfort and entertainment of your guest no matter how large or small your budget may be. You do not have to spend a fortune it's about being welcoming and making them feel that you value their presence.
A few years ago I was a guest at a really lavish wedding of a friends Daughter, no expense was spared for their cherished only child. She had the designer gown, an abundance of flowers, a marquee, a Daimler to take her to the church and reception, 10 bridesmaids. The reception was held on the lawn of a stately home and the food was delicious. Sounds lovely doesn't it? Well although it was lavish I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the wedding of a colleagues daughter who only had a fraction of the budget to spend.
The first lavish wedding was all about the Bride and what she wanted, everything she asked for she was given, she had no interest in who attended, only what they had brought as gifts. She or her new Husband made no effort to thank anyone or to ask if they were having a good time. Guests were left to their own devices while the Happy Couple flounced around in their own little world (the Bride threw a couple of tantrums too because the waiting staff did not tell her how lovely she looked. Honestly!) the rest of the wedding party, including the 10 bridesmaids and Ushers, (yes there were 10 of them too did I not mention that?) looked uncomfortable and unhappy as did the majority of the two hundred guests. The Bride and Grooms parents, looked uncomfortable and embarrassed at their children's ungratefulness as to how many people had come along to help them celebrate, only to be ignored.
My colleagues Daughters wedding in comparison was a lovely day. The couple could not afford the expense of two separate parties so they decided to get married as late as they could and invite everyone to a party that started at 6.00pm. The reception was in a local pub, the food was basic party fayre, there were no fancy cars and the only flowers I saw were the ones the Brides and her one Bridesmaid were carrying.
However, from the moment we arrived at the venue, the Bride and Groom took the time to thank us for coming, they both looked happy and radiant. Both sets of parents were keen to make sure that everyone had a drink and a place to sit, we were introduced to everyone around us and throughout the evening we were asked if there was anything that we needed, was the music OK, was the food to our satisfaction, could they get us anything else. They were extremely attentive hosts and we were made to feel extremely welcome and part of the overall celebrations It could not have been more different to the first, no expense spared, celebrity style wedding.
So you see it doesn't matter how much cash you flash, if it's all about you and your guests do not enjoy themselves they will be talking about your celebrations for years to come but.... for entirely the wrong reasons!