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5 Things Your Guests Won’t Tell You

By August 28, 2013September 5th, 201310 Comments
5 Things Your Guests Wont Tell You - Alan Berg article

Here's the article wedding couples don't want to hear... but they need to

I recently had an article published in Beautiful Bride Magazine entitled “5 Things Your Guests Won’t Tell You”. As most of you know, I don’t usually write for wedding couples, rather for wedding and event professionals. These articles give me free reign to speak my mind, as I would advise someone I know that’s getting married. I have to say I’m usually pretty direct with my advice, but fair. From telling them why they should have professional video or needing a wedding planner, to just recounting advice from a happily married man, I’ve touched on a lot.

This time I reached out to you, the wedding and event pros, for tips on how to avoid some common mistakes, as seen from the eyes of a guest (or you guys in the wings). Here’s the article. If you’d like to get a copy of the PDF or to share this on your site, please email me and I’ll send it over. Thanks,

– Alan

5 Things Your Guests Won’t Tell You

By Alan Berg, North America’s Leading Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events

I remember hearing Colin Cowie speak to a group of Wedding Planners in NYC. He said that he tells his couples (who are spending millions on their weddings) that it’s not really their wedding. It’s their first chance, as a married couple, to host a party for their friends and family. That surprised me as we always think of weddings as being for and about the couple. The ceremony is definitely for and about the couple. The party that follows is a celebration of that marriage, with your closest family and friends.

If you accept that perspective, what would you do differently? If you’ve been a guest at one, or more weddings, what would you have liked to have told the newly married couple, but you couldn’t (or you and other guests just told each other, quietly at the table or afterwards)? Here are 5 things that your guests won’t tell you (unless they’re brutally honest or blunt).

  1. Your guests won’t thank you for making your Mom, sister, best friend or maid of honor work on your wedding day. They’re not wedding planners, they’re your closest family and friends. Let them mingle, dance and enjoy the day.
  2. Your guests won’t thank you for making them wait while you take pictures. Sure, they’ll eat, they’ll drink, but if it takes too long they’ll start wondering where you are. They were invited to celebrate with you.
  3. Your guests won’t tell you that you put way too many things on your wedding registry. Make it easy for them to buy you the things that you really want. It’s hard for guests to know which things you really want (like a beautiful honeymoon, fire pit or down payment on a house), when there are 250 items on there. Give them the option to contribute dollars towards your registry so you can choose how to use it. Also, understand that a gift should not be required. You invited them to share your wedding day, not to necessarily have to pay for the privilege. If they want to give a gift, make it easy.
  4. Your guests want to see, and hear your ceremony. Ask them to stay in their seats so everyone else can see. If you’ve hired professional photographer and videographer (real, experienced pros), and you share the photos with them (easy enough to do with online proofing these days), they’ll all be able to see and hear you taking your vows. Have someone ask everyone to turn off their ringers as well. You don’t want to hear a phone ringing on your wedding video. Everyone has a camera phone, but that doesn’t make them professionals. Don’t let them get in the way of the pros You’re investing good money in professional photos, let them do their job and they share it with your guests.
  5. Your guests won’t thank you for hiring the cheapest wedding vendors. They don’t care how much you paid, they only care about the end result that they see. An iPod is not a DJ. Your uncle is not a professional videographer and won’t know where to stand to not be in everyone’s way. That Craig’s List vendor you hired is cheap for a reason. Don’t hire cheap. Hire the best value, and that often means spending more. Just follow your priorities and invest in them. You won’t be happy when the photos aren’t what you wanted or the dance floor is empty.

What I’m trying to say here is that you know what it’s like to be a guest at a wedding, just try to remember that when making your choices. If it’s summer time, make sure there’s shade for your outdoor ceremony. Make sure there’s air conditioning. Don’t just pray that it won’t rain, or won’t be 110 degrees… have a real plan for it. Put yourself in the shoes of your 100, 200 or more guests and have them raving to you about how great everything was. You don’t always get kudos for doing it right, but you almost always lose points for doing it wrong. I wish you, and your guests, a very happy wedding.

If you’d like to use a copy of this on your website or blog, please email me. All I ask is that you give proper attribution to me and my site as follows:

This copyrighted article was written by Alan Berg, professional speaker, author and business consultant – North America’s Leading Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events, and published in Beautiful Bride Magazine. To find out more about Alan Berg visit  © 2013 Alan Berg

If you’re looking for content like this, a website review or other business consulting, or a speaker for you next conference, association, group or company meeting, please email Alan or call 732.422.6362, international phone 001 732 422 6362

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • A terrific article. Point 5 certainly resonated with me. But overall each made perfect sense. Delighted I have been diverted to this site.

  • Very interesting article and point 5 resonated loud and clear for me. Unfortunately we do not get too many million dollar weddings here in Australia, but the principle is the same regardless.

  • Great to finally meet you at the ADJA show. Thank You!

  • Linda Smith says:

    Alan, point number 2 I really relate to! I have played piano background for a number of cocktail hours and when the guests have to wait more than 30 minutes they begin to get a little bit irritated. They came to, as you say, “celebrate WITH the bride and groom!”

    • Alan says:

      As a piano player myself, I can relate to that. At a certain point you start wondering what to play to keep them entertained… or at least I would as I’m not doing this for a living as you are. Just keep smiling and playing.

  • Lisa Werth says:

    I love tip number one, because this is a comment that relates to what I hear about who is watching the kids at the reception. And, it makes me grateful for my own parents who did kinda plant the seed a long time ago for the company when they did ask me to find a sitter for my toddler nephew for a family wedding instead of us being childcare instead of attendees at the reception.

    • Alan says:

      Let’s face it, the kids don’t know what’s going on anyway and don’t want to be there. At least you give them a safe, fun outlet, so their parents can enjoy the day.

  • Kate Patay says:

    Great article, Alan. Spot on, as usual.

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