Home Family & Relationship Couples Care More About Their Guests than Their Budget When Wedding Planning, According to Experts

Couples Care More About Their Guests than Their Budget When Wedding Planning, According to Experts

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The latest annual National Wedding Survey commissioned by Hitched.co.uk reveals that the biggest priority for couples was their guests’ happiness on the big day more than anything else – including the overall cost of the celebrations.

Guest satisfaction and entertainment were the most important factors for three-quarters of last year’s newlyweds, while the overall cost and wedding budget were front of mind for almost two-thirds. More than half of couples said that getting the overall look and vibe of their wedding just right was the most important thing to do. The food and drinks on offer were then another crucial factor.

To make wedding celebrations as easy to get to as possible, the majority of couples chose venues and locations that were within 30 miles from their homes, with only 1 in 10 opting for a venue more than 120 miles away. Then on the day, the majority of couples made sure guests weren’t required to shuffle between venues by choosing to host both their ceremony and reception in the same venue. The most popular wedding venue type in 2023 was a barn or farm, with more than a fifth (21%) opting for a rural venue for their ceremony and more than a quarter (26%) also having their reception in a barn/farm.

Guests were further considered by many couples through the addition of both human and canine carers on hand to babysit during the big event, with 5% of couples employing a dog chaperone for the day and an additional 2% making sure child care was sorted for younger guests.

Guest entertainment

When it comes to keeping guests entertained while at their wedding, more than half of couples (59%) opted for a DJ for their musical entertainment, while more than a third (38%) picked out specific entertainment and games to keep their guests busy on the day. Nearly a third (29%) of couples in 2023 employed live musicians (string quartet, saxophonist, etc.).

Photobooths remain a popular choice with couples, with a third (33%) of last year’s couples electing for the fun group photo option on the big day, an increase of 5% from the previous year when just over a quarter had a photobooth at their wedding. Last year saw a decline in dry weddings, with 93% of couples providing alcoholic beverages for their guests compared to only 89% the year before.

Award-winning entertainers

More than 23,000 wedding businesses participated in the coveted Hitched Wedding Awards this year, where the opinions of the couples who use Hitched to plan their weddings in 2023 were assessed and compiled to highlight the highest rated and reviewed wedding vendors across the UK.

Over 100 entertainers received awards this year, from magicians to singers, live illustrators and more. Here is a taste of the type of entertainment available for maximum guest satisfaction.

  • Kirstybowks Bespoke Live Drawings. For guest entertainment that’s a little bit different, Kirstybowks is an illustrator providing real-time entertainment at weddings and other special events. This talented artist sketches live during wedding celebrations, documenting the big emotions as well as the day’s quiet, intimate moments. Kirsty’s unusual entertainment offering has earned her a Hitched Wedding Award this year thanks to her consistent 5-star reviews and positive feedback from happy customers.
  • Singing Waiters UK. We’ve all seen the viral videos of seemingly ‘normal’ waiters crashing to the ground only to pop up with a microphone in hand, with fellow waiting staff now transformed into backing singers. Well, the two-time Hitched Award-winning Singing Waiters UK team love fun, and they work tirelessly to bring it in spades on your special occasion with their signature, inclusive approach, making them a wonderful ice-breaker for all demographics and age groups.
  • AndyMagicman. Magic can prove to be a great icebreaker to get everyone engaged and entertained. Performing a wide variety of magic using sleight of hand, mind reading, and suggestions, this award-winning magician can make your wedding celebrations all the more memorable. Andy will mingle amongst guests as he goes from table to table during the drinks reception or wedding breakfast. He can even do so during the photoshoot to elicit some really lovely candid images.

Leading wedding expert and editor of Hitched.co.uk, Zoe Burke, sid: “I love seeing that guest experience is now the number one consideration for couples as they are wedding planning now, rather than cost. Though this is still obviously a major factor, making sure the day itself is enjoyable, personalised for the couple, and above all else, FUN, is really what weddings are all about.

“When it comes to considering your guest experience, there are a few simple ways to do this. Firstly, think about where your wedding is; it doesn’t mean you can’t get married somewhere further away, but if you choose to, how much notice will you give your guests, and will you help them with the transport?

“If guests need to stay overnight, can block-booking discounts be applied, and can you provide anything in their room to welcome them? And on the day itself, outside of food and entertainment, you could ensure you have baskets of toiletries in the bathrooms, for example, for their convenience. Little things go a long way when it comes to a guest’s wedding experience!”

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