One of the major factors in planning any event is making sure that your guests are comfortable. While you may think hiking up 100 stairs to a lookout point for your ceremony is a great idea, a few of your guests may not agree. Not that it should deter you from doing it there, just make sure that there are no huge surprises on your wedding day that would make some guests miserable.
Here are some typical situations, and ways to avoid any problems:
* As stated above, if you are going to have to hike, bike, jog or walk through horse manure, please inform your guests. This doesn't need to be on the invitation itself, but in some other correspondence, like a wedding weekend itinerary, welcome basket or website. If they know in advance, they can prepare, or let you know they will be meeting up with you at the reception.
* If your wedding is going to be outside, and the temperature can fluctuate (as it does here in the Bay Area), it is best to let guests know that they should layer appropriately. While the beginning of the day may include a ceremony in a park where it may be warm, and the reception could take place much later when it really cools down. It is nice for them to know that they will not be inside, and to plan for that. Another way to make them feel comfortable in the cold would be to have a basket with pashmina's or blankets that they can wrap themselves in. To avoid the problems in the sun, make sure to have parasols or market umbrellas to cover all guests, and offer refreshments before the ceremony begins.
* Getting married on a farm or the like? Let guests know to not wear heels! It can be a recipe for disaster, and they will thank you later for the warning.
* If you are not serving a full meal when a full meal would be expected, make sure to signify that on your invitations. If you start your ceremony begins at 3pm for instance, and cocktails are at 4pm, guests would expect to be eating a full dinner around 5:30 or 6pm. If that is not the case, make sure the invitation states what the food service style will be.
* There are many venues and locations that are difficult to find, park near or even get a cab out of at the end of the evening. Spend the extra money and provide a shuttle service for your guests. I go into this topic in another post here, but truly, it is well worth the money not having stranded or lost guests. Just make sure you have ordered buses larger then what you think you need and always post a schedule somewhere at the wedding.
* If you are having a loud band playing music through the evening, try and make a more relaxed lounge area somewhere close to the rest of the reception, but far enough that if someone is wanting to have a conversation, they can still enjoy themselves in the lounge. It isn't something that is too expensive if done on a small scale, and tends to be a big hit.
* Do assigned seating. Period.
* If you are having a large group of children coming, it may be worth your while in looking into a nanny service. Most venues have a smaller space where we can build out a children's room full with a kids buffet, juices, bean bags, crafts and a movie to watch as it gets later. Parents appreciate it so much, as they are then left to enjoy your wedding, and don't have to worry about leaving too early or watching their kids during an elegant four course meal.
* This last tip is regarding food. Please, by all means, if you are only serving meat, or only serving a vegan menu, etc., let your guests know. While you may enjoy certain foods and want to share those with your guests, that is fine. Do it on a smaller scale where it can maybe be during the cocktail reception, or just one part of the main course options. When there is only one meal choice, and you get a group of vegetarians at a reception with a pig roasting on a spic, it may not go over too well.
While your wedding is supposed to be a reflection of the couple, it is just a nice touch to have thought of these things during the planning process to make sure that everyone enjoys themselves as much as you will!