Yes. I’m going there!
Don’t deny it. You’ve know you’ve been to more than one.
The type of wedding you spend most of your time clock-watching and stifling a yawn (oh, the disrespect!) The type of wedding you cannot wait until the first dance, so you can make your excuses and leave, (if you make it that far).
The type of wedding with about as much atmosphere as a room full of politicians discussing diversity.
The type of wedding that features the longest, driest wedding ceremony and speeches known to mankind.
The type of wedding that entails forced conversations around the dinner table that feel like pulling teeth.
The type of wedding with a guest list as dull as your tax return.
Yup. One of those.
I always try to encourage you, to tailor your wedding to reflect you and your beloved’s personality and taste and I stand by that. However, if you want your friends and family to have a great time, you also need to think of them and if you’re not bothered about ensuring your friends and family are looked after and have an awesome time, I’d recommend you elope!
We received this message from two guests a year after our wedding day;
You often go to weddings which are quite generic or formulaic, and whilst nice, you know that day is going to be replicated a million times over for other happy couples. This was not the case for yours. It had you two written all over it. Elegant, yet energetic, it was a fun-filled day and I don’t remember seeing anyone not enjoying every moment. We all know how weddings can drag!
Don’t laugh. But the one thing I remember is the fact that I wasn’t bored all day and felt part of your day!
A fantastic wedding, is not always about having lots of people you know there.
I was invited to a wedding as Mr Nu Bride’s +1 and I knew absolutely NO-ONE there, yet it was one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to. Why? It was the atmosphere; everyone was so welcoming, there was a great energy. The main successful ingredient? (Aside from the people) It was organised with precision and had a brilliant flow throughout the day and that’s what Mr Nu Bride and I hope we achieved for ours.
If you’ve been to a boring wedding, you’ll recognise the couple haven’t set out to purposefully ensure you have a dull time, but you will be able to pinpoint why it was boring and what you can do differently for your own wedding day.
Some readers share their most boring wedding moments – the most common gripes? 1. Lack of atmosphere 2. Long wedding ceremonies and / or long speeches and 3. waiting around for photographs;
“The bit between the service finishing and when food is actually served. Unless you have your friends there, it’s awkward! I tend to go for walks lol”
“Long wedding ceremonies an hour or more!”
“I’d say the service (experienced in a Catholic wedding only) is too loooong whether you’re religious or not! Then the waiting game for the evening reception – there are never enough nibbles for the crowd gathered. This is the bit where I feel like I don’t belong.”
“Early ceremony times = long day = risk of boredom” “Father of the bride speeches that sound like he’s reading off his daughters CV!”
“Wedding ceremonies with no energy, no focus on the couple and dreary over-regurgitated readings and hymns”
“Personalities of the families. Everything had to be quiet, no one joked or laughed! So awkward! Weddings are celebrations! Should be filled with laughter…this one was all about money status!!”
“The drinks reception – I always feel like a spare part!”
“A LOT of waiting around caused by disorganised hosts.”
“When the room is being re-arranged and evening guests are arriving and nobody knows who is who and day guests are a bit steamy and new guests feel uncomfortable..And then the wedding ends at midnight, just when I’m having the best time, they send me home!!”
I beg you. Please do not leave your guests unnecessarily ‘hanging around’ !
I remember attending a wedding where I hadn’t even finished eating my dessert and we were asked to go outside onto the terrace (no alternative room), while they turned the room around ready for the evening reception. This turnaround took over 1.5 hours. The DJ was also doing his sound check during this time. It was cold and I was NOT happy that I had been turfed out and had not even finished my food.
The same wedding had a 12pm ceremony (re; lunch time), an hour later a few of us were starving and couldn’t see how we would last until the 5pm wedding breakfast, so we went to get some lunch! The reception was also quite a drive from the ceremony, so guests arrived in dribs and drabs and then of course, photographs – which felt like they took an eternity and you could see guests were bored and for those who didn’t fill their bellies in-between the ceremony and the drinks reception, were most probably starving.
I knew after attending this wedding that I did not want my guests feeling the way I did.
I had a friend who attended a wedding where the couple didn’t drink alcohol, so they chose not to serve any alcohol (at all) and there was no music, not even a CD. Needless to say, the room emptied out fairly promptly and they didn’t stay long.
Mr Nu Bride and I were keen to keep guests well hosted and fed. We had a 2pm ceremony, kept our drinks reception (and photographs) down to 1 hour 15 mins, kept our ceremony at a max of 45 mins. We also had guests who were diabetic and while we know it’s their responsibility to manage their diet – we didn’t want to keep them starving all day, so factored this into our timings for serving food.
We all want a wedding with a great atmosphere and the type of day that leaves friends and family buzzing the day after, and STILL reminiscing several years later. This type of wedding doesn’t necessarily mean it has to cost a fortune, or that you have to throw all your money at lots of entertainment, but it’s about logistics, timing, making your guests feel welcome and a part of your day, coupled with personal and considered touches throughout.
Don’t leave your guests waiting
Get organised NOW. Plan ahead and work on a solid timetable. Minute-by-minute. What will you be doing? What will your guests be doing at that time? Where will they be? How long will they be there for? Can that wait time be reduced or avoided?
The most common part of a wedding where guests have reported they feel like a spare part, is the drinks reception, when you are off having a jolly with your photographer. Make sure your guests are hosted and entertained while you are having your photographs. This is ESPECIALLY important to consider if you are holding your reception in a separate venue to your ceremony. Travelling in packs is like herding sheep. This all takes time and needs to be anticipated, guests will become irritable if they are ‘hanging around’ and getting hungry.
Be on time
A slow start to the morning will have a knock on effect for the rest of your day. Pre-plan and allow for unexpected delays especially when getting ready in the morning (hair and make-up!) and allowing plenty of time for your journey to the ceremony. It’s just not cool to be late and keep your guests waiting.
Consider yours and your guests arrival and end time.
Consider your ceremony time. If you are having an early ceremony over lunch time, make sure you have canapés or nibbles included in your drinks reception. Hungry guests, are miserable guests. If you can’t afford canapés – push your ceremony time to after lunch, so guests have less time to wait in-between ceremony and dinner.
Try to communicate your timetable to your guests before the day if you can to manage expectations and guests know to feed themselves before coming if necessary.
Ensure your photographer and / or cinematographer know the timetable of your day and duration of your drinks reception, so they know how long they have for photographs. I would recommend you keep your drinks reception to an hour an a half at the absolute maximum and try to have your wedding breakfast no more than 3-4 hours after your ceremony start time.
Don’t forget your evening meal or nibbles – if you’ve had an early wedding breakfast, chances are, after all that alcohol and dancing, people will probably start getting hungry again around 3 hours later. Consider having some nibbles in anticipation for them and any evening guests you are inviting.
Keep it flowing
I cannot stress this enough! The most important way of ensuring you have a well organised, wedding, is to plan your transitions! Where possible, have the room for your evening celebrations pre-set (full or partially) during the day to avoid disruption to your guests. Or enquire about the possibility of having a separate room for your evening celebrations, so you can flow seamlessly from one aspect to the other.
If you need to turn the room around, this is another potential ‘lull’ moment, so think about what you can you do with your guests while this happens. E.g: A photo-booth, sweet station, create a lounge area? Have a short magician act?
Interactive entertainment can be a great ice-breaker for guests that don’t know each other.
It is especially helpful to have entertainment during your drinks reception while your guests are getting to know one another and you are having photographs. Anything from surprise singers, lively gospel choirs, steel bands, musicians who have experience as street buskers such as Stephen Ridley via I Can Create, (are great at engaging audiences), Marryoke…the options are endless.
Too much formality was another common contributor to boring wedding days. You can have tradition without being over formal.
Create a day that reflects you both and that includes your guests so they don’t feel like spare parts. Your guests are most relaxed when they see you being yourself and happy.
What type of ceremony do you want? One where guests can relax and simply enjoy watching you get married, or one where you want them to participate and joyfully sing old hymns? Consider personalised favours. Perhaps by incorporating place names with a picture of you all together – a great memory for them and a talking point at the table.
Night & Day
If you are introducing evening guests, WELCOME them as you would your day guests with drinks. Ensure they are greeted in a separate area to your wedding breakfast in case your dinner runs over.
Consider asking your band / DJ to welcome them as they announce the start of the evening celebrations and your first dance. Little touch, acknowledges them.
Consider your guest list
Need I say more! lol!
To conclude….DO add your own personality, your finishing touches. DO be realistic and consider your guests. E.G: If you don’t drink alcohol – it doesn’t mean you have to enforce your taste on your guests. Give them options. Always consider where they will be when you are elsewhere and how they can be hosted. The key to a perfect flowing, boredom free wedding is; organisation, relaxed guests, creating atmosphere and planning your timings with your venue, suppliers and ceremony conductor well in advance.
Have you been to a boring wedding? Would love to hear your experiences!
Photography: Rabbit and Pork Photography