If there’s one thing that weddings are good at it is bringing people together. Not only is your wedding the point at which you and your significant other become joined in matrimony, but it is also a chance for two families – and two sets of friends – to come together in one big celebration.
Combining these two groups of people that may never have met before can be difficult. So, how can you ensure your guests get along while you are beginning the next chapter of your life together?
Start before your wedding day
Finding a chance to break the ice before the big day will ease your worries and ensure everyone has someone to talk to. Engagement parties, stag and hen dos and pre-wedding get-togethers are a great opportunity for family members to meet one another, and for you to make your introductions. Without the intense pressure that weddings tend to inspire, you will no doubt find groups of people forging natural friendships.
Find common travel connections
When it comes to guests’ travel arrangements investigate the possibility of laying on transport or organising lifts between friends and family members who may live within easy reach of one another. Do you have any single friends who would otherwise be travelling alone? Could you arrange for a minibus to ferry groups of people from one place to another? Transport is always a great conversation starter, so get that ball rolling.
Mix up the tables
The most common way to encourage guests to mingle is to plan your seating arrangements carefully. Group your guests regarding age and interests, rather than worrying about whether they have prior knowledge of one another before hand. Maison Talbooth in Dedham, Essex, is the perfect intimate wedding venue, enabling smaller groups of people to get to know one another in comfort and style.
Get them talking
Consider the minor details and themes that are likely to get your guests talking. Are your centrepieces particularly spectacular? Have you chosen a theme that requires dressing up? By choosing to add such details to your wedding, you’ll be providing guests with an instant topic for discussion. Think of your wedding as speed dating for your guests. Perhaps there’s even a dedicated room for mingling that you could allocate between the ceremony and reception.
Choose ice-breaking games
Mixing up the tables is only half of the battle. Consider ice-breaker games that will not only encourage your guests to interact but demand their cooperation. The beautiful Hutton Hall in Brentwood, Essex, lends itself superbly to treasure hunts, although any of our wedding venues in Suffolk and Essex would oblige.
If all else fails, remember that people will rub along together when required to. So, your cousin hasn’t made any new friends, and your colleagues kept themselves to themselves; has that hampered their enjoyment of your big day? Probably not. It’s wonderful when the two sets of people that mean the most to you get along famously, but please don’t worry if there’s still a palpable divide by the end of the evening. The chances are your guests have had a great time anyway, and will continue to play their roles in your lives.