Let them ham it up. Give your guest a wonderful memory and keepsake by renting an open air photo booth, suggests Allongo. "Unlike their traditional counterparts, open air photo booths (like the CapturePod Razzi) allow for guests to watch each other in the photo booth, jump into each other's photos and can be placed virtually anywhere. Its sleek design is also appealing to those couples looking for a photo booth that's elegant and modern without being obtrusive."
Think about seating. There's a reason why the seating chart can be a real pain, but it's important to not rush through this part of the wedding planning process. "Couples should really think about their table arrangements so they can limit awkward conversations between guests," says Liz Taylor, owner of Etiquette Principles.
Give clear direction. Don't leave guests guessing--provide plenty of beautiful wedding signage that flows with your wedding theme. Give guest directions on where to go for cocktail hour and reception, signs for what's available at the bar, dinner menu options, etc. "When all these coordinate, not only are guests informed but see the event as a cohesive theme," says Allongo.
Offer plenty of activities. Dinner and dancing are not always the main attraction for all of your guests, and if that's all there is to do, you can leave a lot of people hanging out at their tables. Opt for a special seating area where guests can gather and chat over coffee after dinner, garden games (amazing for weddings with outdoor/patio space) or activities like a photo booth or creative guest book activity so everyone enjoy the event, says Erika Fraser, owner and designer at Bueno Market.
Nix the guest book. Instead, use a Mad Libs-type alternative, says Isadora Martin-Dye, owner of Rixey Manor in Rixeyville, VA. "On the back of the programs, or menus have a wedding mad-lib where guests fill in the blanks with their name, favorite things about the couple, and helpful advice--they can be sweet, sentimental or funny. Guests enjoy comparing answers, and it gives the couple something to laugh over the next day."
Welcome them with some swag. For out-of-town guests, be sure to have a welcome baskets at the hotel with items such as delicious chocolates, gourmet cookies, snacks, bottled water and a thoughtful welcome letter including things to do around the city, says Taylor.
Keep kids occupied. If you're having children at your wedding, think about how you can make sure their parents have a good time. Preparing kids' packs with coloring books, puzzles or even a scavenger hunt for kids to participate in can really help them have a great time, and allow the parents to have some fun too, says Fraser. "A really thoughtful and affordable idea is to hire a babysitter (or more, depending on how many kids you have) and have a supervised kids area/table so that parents can take a break and have some fun too!"
Mix it up at the bar. Instead of the usual cocktails, opt for a Mixology Bar, says Gillett. Think hand-crafted cocktails, like bourbon bars, spike it stations, or fresh takes on classics available for every event. If you and your groom love beer, you can also feature options from the different places you’ve traveled to as a couple.
Flower Power. How's this for a special touch? Give each person (or lady) a fresh flower stems at valet or on their way to the car, says Martin-Dye. "You can buy the flowers in bulk and have them in buckets! And use staff to hand them out. It's super inexpensive way to wow them!"
Send them home with a special treat. Surprise your guests with send-off snacks, says Annee Gillett, regional director of catering for Kimpton Hotels in Alexandria, VA. You can even choose a theme, such as sweet treats, like "Milk and Cookies" (ginger bread cookies and Kahlua and cream, shots of baileys, or actual milk) or a late night drive-through (sliders, mini milk shake shots (spiked or not) and cone fries).