Before we even put flower to vase or linen to tabletop, our goal is to educate our clients on the importance of being a host/ess. The following is the quintessential start to any Table 4 Decor event – if the following items aren’t handled, it doesn’t matter how pretty the decor is or how fabulous the food is – once a person is uncomfortable, discomfort becomes their priority.
- bathrooms – i know this should go without saying, but it is the unglamorous details in planning that are often overlooked.
If you are having an outdoor wedding in the park, make sure there are bathrooms close by – not more than 50 steps away. Remember, someguests will be elderly, have children, take medication etc. If you are having 200 people at your home, don’t rely on your home bathroom and get at least 4 porta potties and 2 hand washing stations. which reminds me – don’t forget the handwashing stations. Very chic brides even offer a tray of toiletries near the portapotties for their guests.
- food/drink – if you invite people out to anything, they will expect to be fed.
I love food so I am easily bribed with a decent steak sandwich or a good bottle of whiskey but that’s just me. Social engagements revolve around food and drink. That does not mean you have to feed them a bollywood style feast but food and drink is always implied. There needs to be easily available water, coffee and hopefully punch or tea available. The food should coordinate to the time of day. If you are on a budget, invite people out for an early afternoon wedding followed by a dessert buffet (served around 3:00 in the afternoon). If you invite people out for a 5, 6 or 7:00 event, expect to feed them a full dinner.
- comfortable environment – we harp on this a lot in client consultations. no doubt
about it, outdoor weddings are amazing. they have a backdrop painted by Mother Nature and a charm that can’t be duplicated.but never forget it is still outdoors. the variables are great and unpredictable. just because you have always dreamed of an outdoor reception in Spearfish Canyon, your guests are mostly there for a party. Your guests need shelter from the sun and weather. They need heat when the sun goes down. They need adequate seating and space to move.
- safety– Offering a safe environment to let your hair down is any host/esses job. First there are the basics – sound structures, adequate lighting, clean and useable kitchens/bathrooms/entrances.
You don’t have to go so far as creating a whatever happens in vegas stays in vegas type vibe, but creating a sense of personal security for your guests is easy and expected. Use reputable vendors with reputable inventory and insurance. This especially includes food and beverage purchases; dj and lighting; decor. It can be easy to exchange an unlicensed kitchen or a green designer with very little carpentry experience for a lower price tag. But reputable vendors will be able to provide you with any certificates, licenses and proof of insurance. And don’t forget to provide well lit parking areas and pathways for guests.
- Expectation of behavior – or as the adults like to call them – rules. Never underestimate a guests discomfort when confronted with many other adults they don’t really know but are suddenly related to.
Are you doing food stations, having a line dancing seminar, expecting people to go around inside for the bathrooms – then TELL THEM. This is such a vital key to a successful party. Most of the ideas we hear are great in theory but bad in practice – due to poor planning. Most people have gone to many weddings in their lifetime – they all essentially have the same flow – with small variations. So when they get to your event and you wanteveryone to take off their shoes and have a formal Japanese style tea service (very awesome idea, btw) – you need to TELL THEM. They have a preconceived expectation of behavior and you are expecting them to act in a manner different than what they expect. Don’t get discouraged – people really love new ideas – they just need to be told how to expect to behave when they participate. It doesn’t matter if you are 3 or 30, knowing how to behave in any situation is key to not getting spanked.