You tried on dozens of dresses before finding the right one. You poured over invitation samples and sealed every envelope with a kiss. You even got a stomach ache from trying all of those delicious cake samples.
As brides- and grooms-to-be go through the seemingly never-ending steps to plan a wedding, they consider their own tastes and style, hoping that their wedding guests will leave saying, “What a lovely wedding for a lovely couple!”.

It can be hard to remember that you and your spouse-to-be aren’t the only ones whose preferences should be considered. Many now-married couples will tell you that the most likely source for worry or even drama is realizing too late that you didn’t make a special consideration for a guest.

You’ve spent so much time and effort to plan to the perfect wedding. At the end of the day (or weekend), you just want everyone to leave happy. But that won’t happen if you overlook a guest’s needs or even offend them. So here are five commonly overlooked considerations that every bride and groom should discuss before finalizing their wedding plans.

Gluten or Lactose Free Guests

Many brides and grooms have been embarrassed by forgetting a guest’s food intolerance or allergy, leaving an aunt or cousin with only an undressed salad to eat. If your wedding is small, you probably know about the dietary restrictions of your guests. But for larger weddings, or if you aren’t sure, many couples choose to add a line to their RSVP card that reads “Dietary Restrictions” and leaves room for the respondent to comment.

Caterers and restaurants are adept at meeting the needs of various dietary restrictions, so be sure to talk with them ahead of time. Even if you aren’t certain of the needs of your guests, chefs can always recommend dishes that satisfy the most common food intolerances.

Handicap Accessibility

Most venues are required to meet handicap accessibility standards, but during your walkthrough of the building, ask about how your guest in a wheelchair or walker would fare. Is there parking at a different entrance that would put them closer to an elevator? If you’re hosting a buffet meal, ask a guest seated at their table to help fill a plate.

Sober Guests at an Open Bar Wedding

If you know a friend or family members is committed to living a sober lifestyle, consider where they are in their journey. Tell them in advance that you will have an open bar, so they can consider their own triggers and risk factors. Ask if there’s anything you can do to support them, like seating them with other members of your family or circle of friends who won’t be drinking. It is very common for families to make considerations for recovering alcoholics.

Religious Expectations

Many families think of weddings as religious occasions with a great party afterwards. If you choose to marry in a ceremony of another faith or in a non-religious ceremony, you may risk offending more observant members of your family. Have an open conversation ahead of time, explaining why you decided to do things a certain way. If you and your spouse are marrying in a religious ceremony and many of the guests in attendance are not religious, ask your minister to take the time to explain the different parts of the ceremony so everyone feels involved. You could also print explanations of the ceremony so guests can easily follow along.

Guests with Kids

It’s hard to cater to all of the needs of children, but there are a few basic considerations that can help parents feel welcome and at ease at your wedding. When booking a block of hotel rooms, one with an indoor pool, nearby arcade or other kid-friendly activity will score major points with parents. When picking the menu, make sure there are some basic kid-friendly meal options, beyond the cake and desserts.

Don’t expect kids to turn into mini-adults – be flexible enough to allow for running around during the reception and some dance floor antics. If you’ve invited a breastfeeding mom, you can ask your venue where they suggest moms go for a private, clean place to pump breastmilk. Taking these steps ahead of time will mean the world to your guests, and it means you and your spouse-to-be can savor every moment of your big day!

Image by Scott Webb