Sign the guest book and find a seat. Do you think this is all your guestbook attendant and ushers will do on your big day? When your guests arrive, who's the first person they see? Usually, it's the person, or people, helping you with your guest book or gift table. If not them, it might be your ushers. Give this some thought. Your guests likely have never been here before. Get inside your guest's head for just a minute. They arrive on your wedding day, usually early because they aren't sure about the location or parking, etc., and as soon as they walk through the front door what's going through their minds?
Since our venue is a ceremony and reception space, your guests will walk into an area that's set up, at least partially, for your reception if they come inside first. Often times we have an Oscar-style wedding ceremony inside (guests seated at dinner tables) and that can be confusing to guests when they haven't been to an event like this before. Imagine that you're them. Do you sit down at a table? Do you try to find the restroom first? Where is the restroom? Do you sit upstairs or on the main floor? Is there reserved seating? Why are there only two rows of chairs near the stage? And on, and on. You can't assume that your guests know "the plan". They don't. They deserve a warm welcome, some simple instruction and a polite usher to guide them to their seat or direct them to the outdoor ceremony site.
So, who have you chosen to host the guest book area and gift table? Do you think one person can handle the greetings and questions from your guests as they arrive? Will your coordinator or planner help with this? If you're thinking the guestbook is a great place to include your shy, 12 year old niece in the wedding day, you're mistaken. She could certainly assist and we love the idea of your family being included. However, you need someone that can give instruction in a polite but authoritative tone. You need your outgoing friend from college to welcome people, your bossy aunt to give some polite instruction and then your niece to remind guests to sign the book (or whatever momento you're incorporating). These "first impression" people need to know an overview of the wedding timeline and be aware of how you want your day to flow. Your coordinator or planner can help facilitate that all of this happens correctly and at the appropriate time.
Now, once the guests leave the foyer or walk up to the outdoor ceremony space, where should they sit? Your ushers are important people too. They need to know an overview of the day's timeline because, even though you've printed cute timeline programs, your guests will ask them questions. Your ushers help your guests feel at ease, guide them to their ceremony seating and, ultimately, give them an impression that you'll want to be a good one.
All of that to say, choose the appropriate people to be the first ones that your guests encounter and inform them about all the pertinent details. Your guestbook and ushers are very important to the flow of your wedding day and we advise that they be in place at least one hour before ceremony start time. Get them a special little gift or signify who they are with a simple corsage or boutonniere and they will feel appreciated and represent you well.
The photographs highlighted in this blog post are Rebecca Allen Photography from Columbia, MO at the wedding of Ryan + Anjanette Smith. Wedding Coordination done by D-Zines by T of Macon.
Photo by Kelsi Kliethermes Photography