As a documentary wedding photographer who is non-intrusive to the events I cover, I don’t have large amounts of personal interaction on the wedding day. I blend in with the guests the best I can. I think that makes everyones’ experience more genuine and enjoyable. So, I do a lot of observing to wait for the right moments to photograph, without my orchestration. It’s noticing people and emotion. While you are planning your own wedding, think about what wedding guests are telling you without them saying anything to you. Have you been to other weddings and thought certain things, or noticed how others responded? This is what I’m talking about.
Your wedding day should be about you and enjoying your experience. Of course having great memories captured as well, without that taking over your event. But also your guests experience. The wedding reception is a way to thank your guests for coming. Providing them a proper meal and drinks will make for happy guests. Be a good host. That makes great photos too.
Indicators of bored or unhappy guests-
-By dinner time, they’re hungry. they don’t care about the china plates or crystal flutes. Their experience is something they will remember and talk about. Inviting too many guests and skimping on their experience will show signs, even if they don’t say anything, to you that is. They often leave soon after the reception starts if they’re not having a good experience.
-Inactivity or mass exodus because of poor entertainment or organization. This is where a band or DJ comes in. This way guests know what you want them to do. They help create energy and pilot the event. People stay longer when there is good energy, interaction, and dancing. Low energy and bored looks / more people playing on their phones are not a good sign.
In the end, body language tells all. Thankfully most weddings I photograph, I see happy and content guests. When it goes bad, it could be a look of surprise, dissatisfaction, guests not participating, or leaving sooner than expected. What wedding guests are telling you is a complete sentence even without speaking.
Most common causes of poor guest experience –
-Crowded conditions / over capacity. Or uncomfortable temperature.
-Not being served proper meals or long wait times / lines.
-No inclusive alcohol
-Disorganization or lateness
-Lack of direction and entertainment
-Disruptive or unprofessional vendors