If you focus a lot of your energy on your guests experience rather than just your own on your wedding day everyone is more likely to enjoy the day more.
You want your guests to feel relaxed, enjoy what you have put together and make them feel involved. So I have some things for you to consider to really help that feeling.
Give them a role
The obvious way to make a guest feel more involved is to give them something to do. And I don't mean palm off all your tasks on them! Before the wedding day you will have chosen your wedding party and you may have your closest family helping you on the day. But consider what other guests could do for you, it could be as simple as asking a friend to pick up your flowers on the morning of your wedding day. Or asking a neighbour if you can stay over the night before the wedding. Just something small is all it will take to make them feel like they contributed in some way.
Choice of menu
Food is a big deal, making sure your guests enjoy the dinner is key to them enjoying the day. It's one of the most important things to get right, because if your guests are still hungry, they won't be too happy! If you are having a formal sit down dinner, it's nice for your guests to have choice. You can organise this before the day with menu options for them to choose ahead of time. This way you know they are going to enjoy it. Having one choice is a risk, as not everyone likes the same thing. Or your wedding style may be less formal where a buffet is more appropriate and guests can help themselves.
Ask your guests what songs they would like to hear. Whether you add a place at the bottom of their return RSVP card or you ask them at the wedding reception you can pass this on to the DJ. This is a guaranteed way of making sure you guests get up on that dance floor once their track comes on.
If you are seating guests next to others they have never met before then think about having a mix of personalities on one table. To create a chatty, relaxed vibe you could add a questions sheet on the table 'How well do you know the couple' to help ease guests into talking. Sitting guests next to people they know will make them feel more comfortable so do this as often as you can.
When delivering your speeches, remember to include your family and friends that were part of a story you want to share with everyone. By acknowledging them it will make them feel more part of the day. Remember to include your thank you's to anyone there who did something for you for the day. It's important to be mindful of the length of your speeches too. Guests may be waiting for there dinner so don't make them too long!
This will be more relevant if you are organising the bar yourselves, so remember to include drinks your guests are fond of. If you don't know, my advice is to find out by asking family members or ask them directly. This way you will be prepared with there favourite tipple. Also offer something new for them to try with cocktails or a signature drink that you both love to keep it interesting.
Consider what your guests will be doing when your having portrait and family photo's taken. Some guests will be happy to mingle but others especially those with children will need a bit more entertaining. Consider adding fun games to play, where they need several players.
Make sure there is plenty of seating for older members that can soon get tired when there on their feet for too long. And if it's a hot day make sure there will be plenty of shade and refreshments to look after your guests. Ensure your guests are prepared for the time of year, if you want them to be outside, provide blankets and umbrellas in case they need them.
Something to consider is to make sure your guests know exactly what is happening and when it is happening too. Appoint one of your wedding party to make any announcements and make sure guests are where they need to be. Or better still include an order of the day card or sign so they can refer to as the day unfolds. Being clear will make sure there is no confusion and guests won't feel left out.
Who doesn't love a suprise? A sure way to keep your guests attention is to keep adding little surprises they won't be expecting. This blog post has some great ideas on this topic.
Make sure it flows
There is nothing worse than a wedding that drags on in certain areas. I'm sure you have been to weddings where you are hanging around while photos are being taken. Your hungry because the food is taking ages to come out and you feel like the speeches are never going to end. Be mindful of how long things take so you can make it more seamless, therefore more enjoyable for everyone.
Your guests have come to celebrate with YOU, they want to see you and spend time with you. So make sure you do this with your guests. You don't have to spend a whole 30 minutes chatting to all your guests individually, take photos with them in a photo booth, play games, have a dance with them, or have a drink with with them. They will be more opportunities than you think to do this.
Your guests want to be able to say how much, they throughly enjoyed it when you see you next and actually mean it!! You will know the difference because they will rave about most of it instead of just one particular thing!
Good luck with planning!