You’re on top of everything...or so you thought. The best events are ones where guests don’t have to think. Their basic needs are met, they’re at ease, and able to enjoy themselves. There’s so much to take into account when selecting a venue, creating your floor plan, and establishing your guest list. Being aware of, and prepared to make accommodations for, guests with special requirements will make you a wedding planning rock star!
Here are five of the most commonly forgotten accommodations your guests will grateful you’ve considered:
MOBILITY / ACCESSIBILITY Mobility challenges aren’t reserved for the elderly. Ask yourself: Is my venue wheelchair accessible? Are there stairs leading up to any of my event’s locations (with no elevator) that would exclude guests from participation? Is there a place where elderly or differently abled guests can be dropped off close to the ceremony / reception location without having to walk long distances? Is there any terrain that would be difficult for someone unsteady on their feet or using a walker? Remember to let your planner know if any guests need priority access to entrances/exits. Or, if they use a wheelchair. We’ll be sure to pull chairs from the place settings at dining tables where that guest will be seated.
WEIGHT Ask yourself: Will any of my guests require additional space to be seated comfortably? Can the chairs we’ve chosen accommodate their weight (yes, chairs have weight limits) without causing an embarrassing collapse? Your planner can help find beautiful, functional solutions to ensure your guests are comfortable without feeling singled out.
SENSORY Ask yourself: Are any of my guests sensitive to noise, light, touch, or other sensory elements? For example, if you have epileptic guests the DJ should avoid strobe lighting and your photographer may need to be conscious of their flash usage. Guests on the Autism Spectrum might be averse to loud music or surprising sounds (e.g., fireworks, air cannons, sound effects). Elderly guests may wish to be seated further away from speakers so they can carry on a conversation. Your planner and vendors will be instrumental in providing alternative service methods and/or you can make guests aware when potential triggers may occur and they can choose to avoid those moments.
DIETARY Beyond the boilerplate vegetarian, vegan, gluten free - allergies are a serious thing. Encourage guests to share with you any sensitivities that could be of concern. Your planner will address this with caterers and bar staff to avoid cross-contamination. Label foods, and list as many specific ingredients as possible so guests can make informed choices.
SOBRIETY / ABSTENTION We know to avoid politics and religion, but for whatever reason, people never see the impropriety in asking / pressuring another person about their drinking habits. Beyond religion, there are any number of reasons guests may choose to abstain from consuming alcohol. A few examples include: addiction recovery, unannounced pregnancy, mental health, side effects of medication, or just not liking the taste. Guests may not (and you can’t expect them to) feel comfortable sharing this with you. It’s a personal choice, and frankly, none of your business. So set your guests up for success and plan ahead to provide non-alcoholic options that will allow guests to enjoy the celebration without inviting unsolicited questions. You’ll stand out as a stellar host by incorporating the options into your event without being asked.
So tell us, how many of these things were on your list already? Did we miss anything? How did you go the extra mile to make guests feel cared for?