How to Honour VIP Wedding Guests (without inviting them into your wedding crew)
(for video version, skip straight to bottom)
Those little nods of thanks to the people closest to you would have to be one of my favourite parts of a wedding. It’s the little moments, often subtle, where you really connect with someone and thank them for everything they’ve done in your life so far, everything that’s brought you to this point of marrying your best friend, everything that’s meant the world to you and also, everything that you’re sure is yet to come.
One of the most common ways to honour somone special is to invite them to be in your wedding crew, to be a bridesmaid or man, a groomman or maid… or whatever term it is that you want to use to refer to that crew of people standing up there beside you. But what happens when you can’t offer that position? Maybe you have too many people to honour, or you’re trying to keep the number of people in your wedding crew the same for both you and your partner? Maybe that person you want to honour is shy or anxious and would hate nothing more than to stand up there in front of a crowd of people they don’t know. Or maybe there’s some politics around inviting some people and not others.
Whatever your reason, not being able to invite someone to be in your wedding crew certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t honour them at all. Here’s my method for identifying alternative ways that you can honour those people in other, equally as meaningful ways.
Write out a list of all of the things that you might need help with on your wedding day and haven’t yet assigned to anyone, professional or other. These could also be tasks that you know you’ll need some help with before or after your wedding day! – it doesn’t have to be limited to that 24 hour time period. From something as large as baking a cake or decorating a space to something as small as handing out confetti or monitoring a spotify playlist, you’ll probably be amazed at just how much is yet to be planned, executed and ticked off that dreaded “to do” list.
Now write down a list all those people that you’re hoping to honour, all of the VIPs and guests that you really want to make feel special, to thank for their endless support. What is it that makes them unique? Why do you want to honour them? What are their unique skills and talents? What really makes them come alive and show off their true colours? Write it all down and be super clear with yourself about the details.
Compare the lists. Where do the talents, skills and personalities of your VIPs align with the things that you need help with?
Why do I ask? Well, the best way to make someone feel honoured, special and like they’re truly making a difference is to offer them a task. Nothing too major – if they miss out on the entire party they’re hardly going to be thanking you for it. But also nothing to minor that they feel they’ve just been given the task to distract them for a bit. It needs to be something that they can really truly see the benefit of, understand the need for and as such, get that true sense of satisfaction and pleasure from being asked to help.
When you’re offering tasks to people you’ll also want to be very sure that you are offering and not pressuring. It’s more of a “if you’re interested we’d really love for you to help us out with [insert task here] we don’t know anyone who’d be more suited to it!” than a “we really need someone to do [insert task here], any chance you could help?” I guarantee you, if your task and personality matching is on point, many of those VIPs will be absolutely stoked that you’ve thought of them and asked.
Here are a few of my favourite (and generally universally required) ideas:
Witnesses to your wedding as so, so, so important! You literally can’t get married without them. What better way to honour someone, than to ask them to sign your marriage certificate?
Master of Ceremonies (MC)
A little trickier and not for the feint of heart, this is a role destined only for the most comfortable and organised of public speakers. From keeping your wedding on time, to entertaining guests while they wait it’s a high pressure and intensely varied role but that doesn’t mean to say it can’t be an honour. The key is not to underestimate it, and if you aren’t too sure then it’s probably best to give this one to a professional – the last thing you want is to be adding stress for yourselves or your VIP.
Or, if you’re like me and you’d rather all the guests got a chance to throw confetti (eco-friendly and biodegradable of course!) at you as you walk down the aisle, then confetti distributors might be a more appropriate title.
Throwing confetti doesn’t have to be reserved for a young girl – I mean come on – who doesn’t want to throw confetti at the newly weds or about to be weds? If you have a friend (or friends) who you think would rock this role, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t offer it to them.
Another option is to have a few baskets made up with hole punched leaves and/or dried flowers and herbs that your VIPs can take around for guests to grab handfuls of as you sign the registry. It’s a super fun role for people who love to chat and meet other guests and it keeps everyone that little bit more entertained while you take care of the oh so important paperwork.
Many people will have their celebrate read letters from guests who couldn’t make it, or poems that loved ones have picked out. Why not ask one of your VIPs to stand up and read something personal themselves? It could be a poem or verse, a story from your past, a letter they’ve written to you, or something on behalf of someone a little less confident. Ceremony’s are pretty meaningful and there’s nothing more special than having someone you care about read a verse directly to you right before you officially tie the knot.
I mentioned it earlier but oftentimes people are resorting to Spotify playlists they’ve collated themselves to save a little money and keep that reception a little less formal. Playlists aren’t going to run themselves! Someone needs to hit pause for speeches, modify the volume as required and keep an eye on that all important phone battery level… Why not ask someone special if they could take this task and make it theirs?
Or if you’re lucky enough to have some close friends or family who are also talented musicians perhaps they’d be interested in recording something in advance for your walk down the aisle, or your first dance. Maybe they’d even be happy to perform live – there’s certainly no shortage of need for music at a wedding, though you’ll want to make sure their style aligns with what you’re looking for.
The key with this one is to be careful about just how much you’re asking and to be genuine when telling them they can turn the role down if they aren’t too keen. Playing or recording music can take up a huge amount of someone’s time, energy and resources so keep in mind that they’d probably like to be guests and actually enjoy being at your wedding too!
When assigning roles to VIPs think carefully about who you match to what role, how much of their time, effort and money are you asking for, and to make sure they’ll actually enjoy not only the task you’re offering, but also the chance to still be guests at your wedding. People (particularly those close to us) absolutely love to help, so if they can see that the task is really truly something that will help your wedding to run smoothly and perfectly, chances are they’ll jump at the opportunity to lend a hand (and they’ll feel pretty special to be the one you asked too!).
And to break one final myth before I sign out… just because someone isn’t in your wedding crew doesn’t mean that they can’t attend your prenuptial events, get ready with you on the morning of your wedding, or even wear a coordinated outfit and come along for the professional photos.
It’s your wedding – you get to make the rules!
What roles are you thinking of using to honour VIPs?
Drop them in the comments below!
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Emerald and Ebony – Planning Eco-friendly weddings in Taranaki and beyond.