Wedding Inspiration | 7 Ways to WOW Your Guests
By Kim Moody, The Estate at River Run
We know you’re spending a ton of spare time browsing through Pinterest weddings. Are all the pics starting to look the same? Everyone wants their wedding to be unique. One way you can achieve that is by picking a venue with that “WOW!” factor! Here are some tips to help.
- Choose a wow-factor venue! Consider all the various ways you hope guests will experience the day. The property will dictate what guests see, feel, smell, touch, sometimes taste, and experience. Will they be comfortable in all temperatures? Are there ample restrooms for the headcount? Are the restrooms up to the standards you expect for the type of event you are having? Is there natural light for photos?
- Offer a welcome beverage before the ceremony or immediately following, before the guests line up in a bar line for a drink or a bathroom break. This will be such a pleasant surprise for them and really elevate their experience. It will significantly support the bartending team as well. They are extremely busy in the hour that follows the ceremony so serving a welcome beverage is an incredible support to the service team.
Bonus tip: Select an attractive bookcase or display and have the florist do a little styling. Perfect for the photo album!
- Provide transportation for as many guests as the budget allows, especially for those who have traveled out of town and are unfamiliar with the area. If heavy drinking is expected, shuttle that group as well, especially at the end of the night. The safety of the guests is of the upmost importance, and since the COVID pandemic, ride services like UBER and LYFT can be unreliable. Many of the incredible venues are in more rural locations where it is harder to get a taxi or on call vehicle service. Charted transportation is the way to plan!
- If it fits your venue, consider doing a ceremony/cocktail hour/dinner/dancing all at one facility, or without guests having to drive between sites. The shuffling between various locations can add so much stress and unexpected issues such as travel delays, traffic jams, and parking headaches. If important relatives are stuck in traffic, you will not want to continue the event without them, and it will affect the entire wedding day timeline and ultimately detract from the celebration timeframe.
- Create a budget. It’s always better to invite the amount you can afford to “host well”, rather than a massive number of attendees because you feel obligated. Being a guest at a wedding is such a treat, make decisions that help the guests feel special and cared for. It’s better to host 80 very well than 180 in an inadequate way.
- Serve late night food! So much of the take away from the memorable guest experience will be related to how they feel when they leave. If their tummies are full – they will remember your event fondly. Reception food choices can be fun and should reflect your personality! Popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, chicken and waffles, gelato, cheese sticks, a pretzel bar – you name it, the options are endless! Choose something fun and unique for a memorable wow feature.
- Hire the best event planner you can afford. This will buy the best peace of mind you will need to be able to relax and enjoy the weekend of the event. If you’ve engaged with a seasoned professional, they will be able to guide and lead the process to a successful event. The guests will notice how smoothly everything runs and how relaxed you and the family are. Many families say that a skilled event planning team is one of the best investments of their wedding weekend!
Kim Moody is a Proprietress and Director of Events at The Estate At River Run, the area’s newest luxury venue in Goochland. Kim is also the Lead Wedding Planner at the award-winning Kim Moody Design™, a multi-planner design studio (since 2004!) that offers services exclusively to clients at The Estate at River Run. Learn more at TheEstateAtRiverRun.com
(last photo by Hayes and Fisk)