MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
Making sure your guests know what to expect is the key element in having a wedding that people enjoy. Are both the ceremony and reception on grass or rocky ground? Let people know so that they can choose their footwear appropriately. This is also true when it comes to temperature. For example, in coastal Cornwall it gets cold almost every night, even if it’s ninety-degrees during the day. So if you have a lot of guests coming from out of county, they’ll need to be informed ahead of time to bring a jacket.
Formality level comes into play here too. While you shouldn’t dictate exactly what your guests wear, very few people like showing up either extremely over- or under-dressed for an event, so giving a heads up on the general dress code is appreciated, whether that’s black tie or totally casual.
Beyond weather and what to wear, it’s nice for guests to know what you’re going to want them to do. Need help breaking down tables at the end of the night? My experience is that if you tell people ahead of time, they will be there with bells (or stocking feet) on. But spring this on them right before they grab their bags to get on the shuttle home? They’ll probably still help, because they love you, but some grumbling is also pretty guaranteed. I mean, I can break down chairs until the cows come home, but if I find out I have to do it after I’ve already started preparing myself to go home to take a bubble bath?
The enthusiasm level is going to be on the waning side. This goes doubly for your family and your wedding party—the more you let them know in advance what your expectations are, whether that’s, “We really did want you to just be guests and enjoy yourselves,” or “We’re going to have a ton of things we’ll need help with and would appreciate all hands on deck,” the more people are going to be in the right mood and mindset to both act and enjoy themselves accordingly.