You may have hoped to keep your guest list neat and concise, but if you or your partner has a rather large extended family, sometimes planning a bigger wedding is inevitable. If your numbers have expanded overnight to 250+, these quick-fire tips are sure to come in handy at some point during your journey to the altar. Spreadsheets at the ready!
Number Your RSVP Cards
I know what you’re thinking, this is totally anal right? Whether you’re totally chilled or a complete bridezilla, numbering your RSVP cards will save you from gaining some serious frown lines when finalizing your guest list. People are by nature unpredictable, and you may be surprised to learn the amount of guests who will respond to your invite and forget to put their name on the card! By etching a teeny number on the top of the card, and keeping track of the corresponding names on a spreadsheet, this unnecessary drama will never catch you out.
Capacity To Host Everyone Comfortably
During your initial search for the perfect venue, ensure it actually has the capacity to host all of your guests comfortably. Whether you have opted for a hotel, marquee or country manor, each venue will have a strict capacity policy in accordance with health and safety regulations. So if their main banqueting suite can only seat 200 guests, they won’t be able to simply squeeze in an extra 50 people at your request. Similarly, your church may not hold the same volume as your reception venue. You may need to think outside the box when resolving this issue. For example, you could choose to hold a more intimate ceremony for family members, and meet everyone else after you say ‘I Do’.
We strongly recommend you research online reviews from past wedding couples when knuckling down to plan a larger wedding. If you have a friend or family member who has attended a wedding at your prospective venue, even better again. Nothing beats good old-fashioned word of mouth! Investigating thoroughly will allow you to evaluate the venue’s past experience of dealing with larger numbers. For example, will the kitchen be able to cope preparing a sit-down meal for 300+ people? We all know how important the food is at an Irish wedding. A lengthy service or cold main course certainly won’t impress.
Layout Of The Room
Be realistic when it comes to the practicalities of the suite’s layout. Don’t be afraid to ask your wedding coordinator as many questions as possible. Is the dance floor big enough to accommodate the band AND your numbers? Will round or trestle style tables suit your numbers best? How far apart will they be placed and what number can be comfortably seated per table? Is there a suitable setting where your guests can hang out when the room is being prepared after the meal?
Timing Is Everything
Prepare a rough timeline of the day in order for everything to run seamlessly. Plan like a pro to allow ample time for guests to travel from your ceremony to your reception. It’s also wise to flag your large guest numbers with your suppliers when booking them for your big day. For example, when creating a shot-list with your photographer, mention specific people you may want to get photos with. Knowing everything is in hand will keep you stress-free and help you to avoid chaotic scenarios.
Host A Pre/Post Wedding Party
If you’re hosting a big wedding, the chances are your time will be limited on the day itself. Try not to worry too much about getting around to chat with everyone, it’s your special day and people will understand that you need to relax and enjoy every precious moment. Why not ease the pressure by organising a pre or post wedding party? This will give you more time to mingle and thank your friends and family personally. It can also be a lovely way to spend an extra stretch with out-of-town guests.
Image Credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography.