Guest Concerns You Haven’t Thought Of

by Sarah Macdougall on April 19, 2013

before the wedding: guest concerns that you haven't thought of! a must read for anyone planning their wedding

I’ll try and keep this brief, since I know cakes are way more fun to think about.

Noise

You’ve done everything to prepare for your big day. You have the dress, the food, the stationery, the guests, the cake, everything is all set up. You also probably have a band or DJ booked. Let’s talk about that. I went to a wedding once that was an absolute blast. Everything was perfect, and it was for my best friend, so I had even more fun than I otherwise might have. The ONLY complaint I had was the DJ. The music itself was good, but the volume, not so much. I had trouble hearing the people next to me, let alone the people across the table. If you find that this is an issue for you, consider asking the DJ to turn it down a tad. If you’re having trouble hearing, chances are, Grandma Betty over there isn’t much better off.

1. The Rule

When you feel like you have to raise your voice to talk to someone at arm’s length, it’s possible that 8 hours of exposure to that sound level can cause hearing damage. For a two hour reception, the tolerable sound level is slightly higher (about 86 dB). It’s important to consider these things because while this is a big day in your life, it’s not necessarily worth permanent damage to you or any of your guests. A point worth mentioning again is that older generations have sometimes already suffered from hearing loss, so it’s likely that they won’t be able to hear ANYTHING over the music.

2. Handling the Sitch

There are free apps out there that allow you to measure sound levels (try dB). While smart phone microphones aren’t entirely accurate, they provide relatively decent estimations, which can help you determine if you should be taking any additional steps to protect your ears. You should consider avoiding the area directly in front of any speakers in the room. As I mentioned above, you can request that the DJ turn it down a little (this is harder if there’s a live band). Another option is to have earplugs available. These won’t do much good in terms of hearing conversations, but it would be beneficial to use these if you’re out on the dance floor twisting the night away and not talking much (or avoiding that one crude groomsman). A good plug to use is the EAR Classic Yellow ear plug. $25 for 200 plugs isn’t too shabby. To get the most out of the plug, roll it down as thin as possible (it should still be a cylinder) and stick it in your ear canal. You’ll get the best fit by following the diagram on the container it comes in. After it expands in your ear (this takes about two minutes and is not painful), it shouldn’t be extremely obvious that you’re wearing a plug. The end should be just next to your tragus. Louder-than-necessary sounds will be muffled enough to not cause damage, but still loud enough for you to justify doing the Cupid Shuffle and shaking what your mama gave you.

Handicap Accessibility

This might not make a huge difference to you, but will probably mean the world to people who have to ask over and over again. If you’re inviting people who have specific physical concerns, it would be prudent to ask the venue about handicap-accessible elements. Most places have handicap bathroom stalls anymore, but it’s not always guaranteed that you’ll find a ramp everywhere you go. As much as Grandpa likes to crowd surf, there’s no guarantee that your guests came ready to do any heavy lifting.

Food Sensibilities

While this is ‘Murica, and beef is what’s for dinner, and pork is the other white meat and all that jazz, there are some people who prefer the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Another thing to consider is shellfish allergies. While lobster is super fancy if you’re into things that swim, there are some people who just explode (physically, not mentally) if the same spatula is used for more than one food. Typically, caterers and venues are informed about this type of thing and know how to handle the food prep, but if you have a lot of guests attending, it might be wise to just avoid the seafood. There’s no way to accommodate every single food preference in existence, and it’s not reasonable to provide a calorie count or Weight Watchers points, but make sure to consider your guests when picking out food. Chicken and steak are delicious, but think of vegetarian alternatives, or providing something that’s gluten free. It’s always thoughtful to offer alternatives for people with special dietary preferences or needs.

OMG, Shoes

Dancing is fun, but unfortunately, guest attire and dance attire don’t always overlap. That said, it might be a nice little take-away for your guests if you were to get a few pairs of flip flops in several different sizes. These are easier to dance in, they can be used over and over, they’re comfortable, they come in a lot of colors. You can’t lose.

What guest concerns have come up for you during wedding planning… and how have you dealt with them?

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