Surprising Wedding Items That Guests Don’t Really Care About

Quinta das Riscas, Venue | Montijo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Weddings are days full of love, happiness and lots and lots of planning. Couples work hard to make sure every part of their big day is just right. But sometimes, they include things they think guests will love when in reality, guests don’t pay much attention to them. Let’s check out some of these things couples add to weddings that guests might not care about as much as the couple thinks they do.

Individual Menu Cards

Couples want their guests to feel special and know what’s happening. Putting a menu card in front of each guest might seem like a nice idea to let everyone know what delicious food will be served. But, do you really need them? Having separate menu cards might not be super important for a few reasons:

Extra Money: Making and printing individual menu cards can cost a lot. Your wedding budget will thank you if you skip this expense.

Guests Might Not Pay Attention: Guests are too busy having fun at the wedding. They might not even look at the menu card in front of them.

What can you do instead?

Menu Boards: Place big boards near the entrance or on each table. It’s a clear and cool way to show what food will be served without having individual cards.

Digital Menus: For a modern twist, think about digital options. You can send a digital menu to your guests before the big day or show it on a screen at the venue.

Quinta Palácio Dos Antónios, Venue | Aroeira, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Expensive Cake 

Couples often choose fancy wedding cakes to impress guests and make the reception look beautiful. But having an expensive cake might not be needed for a few reasons:

Quality Matters More: Sometimes, couples care more about how big and pretty the cake is rather than how good it tastes. Guests might get a slice that looks good on Instagram but doesn’t taste as good.

Cost: Wedding cakes can be quite pricey, especially if they are fancy, have unusual and delicious flavours, and must be taken over to the wedding.

Guest Tastes: Even though a fancy cake can look nice, not everyone likes cake. Some guests prefer other desserts or don’t like sweet things at all.

What can you do instead?

Cupcake Tower: Instead of having a big cake, why not try cupcakes? They look nice when arranged in a tower, give your guests different flavours to choose from, and are super easy to serve.

Small Cake: Think about getting a simple cake design or buying one from a local bakery. It’s a cheaper but still delicious option. That way, not only do you save money but you still get a tasty and pretty cake.

Fake Layers: You can make the cake look big and fancy using fake layers. Then, have a smaller real cake for cutting and serving.

Quinta das Riscas, Venue | Aroeira, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Wedding Favours

Couples usually like to say thank you to their guests by giving them cute little gifts. This could be candies, chocolates, small bottles of liquor, or personalised trinkets. Everyone likes getting gifts, right? But are these really necessary?

Waste: Some guests like wedding favours, but many of them are left behind or thrown away. After a big party, guests might forget to take them home.

Cost: Wedding favours can be expensive, especially if you have many guests. Consider the price per guest, personalisation fees and packaging.

What can you do instead?

Personal Notes: You can write thank you notes to each guest. Tell them how much you really appreciate them being on your special day. Personal messages can mean a lot more than a physical gift.

Interactive Fun: Plan some fun things for your guests to do at the wedding, such as a photo booth or other kind of cool activity. This way, they can make memories to remember.

Yummy Treats: Give out delicious treats like homemade cookies or local honey jars. People are more likely to enjoy these, and they won’t end up in the trash.

Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Guest Book

Many couples have guest books at their weddings. They hope to collect sweet messages from family and friends. But nowadays, they might not be as important as before. Here’s why:

Fewer Signatures: Weddings are busy with lots of things going on like dancing and talking with people. It’s easy for guests to forget to sign the guest book. Therefore, only a few people end up writing in it.

Same Messages: Guests usually write pretty much the same things as “Congratulations” or “Best wishes.” This can make the guest book feel repetitive and not very personal.

What can you do instead? 

Fun Displays: You can have cool displays or photo booths where people can leave video messages or take fun pictures. It’s more exciting and special.

Digital Guest Books: Make an online guest book where friends can leave messages and share photos. You can use a special wedding website or app for this.

Unique Keepsakes: Think of fun and unique things that show who you are as a couple. For example, a tree where guests put their fingerprints or a puzzle where everyone signs a piece. There are lots of creative ideas besides the usual guest book.

Quinta de São Miguel, Venue | Palmela, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Wedding Programs 

Many couples create wedding programs to share the details of what’s happening during their ceremony. But, they may not matter much anymore. Here is why:

Cost: It is expensive to make wedding programmes, especially if you invite many people. Probably would be better to spend that money on other areas of the wedding or save it for later.

Guests Might Not Use Them: Most guests only look at the program for a second during the ceremony and then forget about it. They usually throw it away later.

Ceremonies Are Easy to Understand: Most people already know what happens at a wedding ceremony, like saying vows and exchanging rings. They don’t really need a program to tell them.

What can you do instead? 

Signs: You can have nice signs or a chalkboard at the entrance of the ceremony that tells everyone what’s going to happen.

Digital Programs: Make a wedding website where guests can find all the details about your big day, including the ceremony schedule.

Verbal Announcement: Your officiant can just tell everyone what’s going to happen during the ceremony. Then you don’t need printed programs.

Quinta A Lendária, Venue | Barreiro, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Elaborate Centrepieces 

Couples want their tables to look really nice. They think fancy decorations will impress their guests and make the party extra special. But maybe those decorations aren’t as important as you think. Here’s why:

Cost: Fancy centrepieces can be expensive. You might end up using a big part of your budget with materials, labour, and transportation.

Table Space: Fancy decorations take up lots of room on the table. So, basically, it means there won’t be as much room for food and drinks. They can also block guests from seeing each other and make it hard to talk.

Practically: Moving around these centrepieces is a nightmare. After the wedding, what do you do with them? Most of the time, they just toss them out, and that feels like a big waste.

Guests Don’t Notice: A lot of guests don’t even notice these fancy decorations. They are more interested in having a good time with friends and family, eating good food, and enjoying the party. Sometimes all the effort and money you put into things for your wedding might not get noticed as much as you would like.

What can you do instead? 

Keep it Simple: Choose simpler decorations that still look nice. A few candles with some leaves or a small bunch of flowers can be just as pretty.

Useful Decorations: Choose centrepieces that can do more than just look pretty, like using wedding favours or table numbers as part of the decoration.

DIY: Have fun making your own centrepieces. It’s a cool way to make your wedding feel more like you and less like everyone else’s.

Quinta Palácio Dos Antónios, Venue | Aroeira, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Place Cards 

Couples use place cards to make sure their guests feel welcomed and know where to sit at the wedding. It also adds a fancy touch to the table. Anyway, these cards don’t seem to matter too much for the time being. Why? 

Extra Stress: Making or printing place cards takes a lot of time, especially with a big guest list. You already have a lot to do for your wedding. Do you really need more work?

Guest List Changes: Sometimes, guests change their plans. People might say they can't come at the last minute, or someone who couldn’t come suddenly can. Fixing the place cards for these changes is hard.

People Move Anyway: Most guests like to sit with people they know. They might move around even if there are assigned seats, making place cards less useful.

Casual Weddings: For some more casual or smaller weddings, place cards may not be needed at all.  Guests usually prefer to choose where they sit.

What can you do instead?

Open Seating: Give your guests the freedom to choose where they sit. This is fine if you’re having a tiny wedding where all your guests already know each other.

Assign Tables: Don’t tell your guests where to sit. Just simply tell them which table are they in. That way, everyone still has a place without needing place cards.

Use Signs: Why not use signs with table numbers telling people where to sit, rather than having place cards?

Quinta A Lendária, Venue | Barreiro, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Customised Napkins, Napkin Rings and Coasters 

Most couples usually choose customised napkins, napkin rings and coasters to give their table setting an elegant yet personal touch. But do you really need them?

Price: They can cost a lot, especially if you have many friends and family coming. The expense of designing and printing adds up fast. Since they are only used once, this might not be the best way to spend your money.

Used Once: Most guests won’t take these items home. They can use them during the meal and then leave them behind or throw them away. It’s a lot of money for something that’s only used for a short time.

Guest Might Not Notice: Many guests might not even pay much attention to what’s written on them. They care more about the food and chatting with others.

Setting Up Takes Time: Putting out all the special decorations takes a lot of time and can be hard for you or your wedding planner.

What can you do instead? 

Simple, Elegant Napkins: Use good quality, plain napkins that match your wedding style. They are classy, cheaper, and still work perfectly.

Cloth Napkins: Pick cloth napkins that you can wash and use again. That way, you don’t throw them away and you save money.

Simple Folds: Folding napkins nicely can look just as good as using rings.

Ribbon Ties: If you want to add a little decoration, tie napkins with a ribbon in your wedding colours. It’s also cheaper.

Plain Coasters: Use simple, nice coasters that match your theme but don’t need to be customised.

No Coasters: Depending on your venue and the tables they have, you might not need coasters at all. Some venues give you coasters, or the tables might be okay without them.

Quinta A Lendária, Venue | Barreiro, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Elaborate Invitations 

Couples pick fancy invitations to wow people. These invites give a hint about the wedding and how the couple is. They let the couple share their personality and ideas. But, do you still need them?

Cost: Fancy invitations are not cheap. From creating the design, printing them and then sending them can be expensive – why spend this money when it could instead be spent on better food or decoration?

Take Time: Making wedding invitations takes a lot of time and hard work. Sometimes, it can even make your wedding planning feel a bit stressful because there’s so much to do!

Guests Don’t Always Notice: Some guests might like fancy invites, but most will just look at them quickly and put them away. They just want to know when and where the wedding is, not how pretty the invite is.

Guests Might Not Keep Them: Even if some guests like the fancy invites, many won’t keep them after the wedding. They will probably end up in the trash.

What can you do instead? 

Simple Designs: Choose a simple and nice design that has all the important info. They don’t need to be fancy to look good. Simple designs are cheaper and still classy.

Digital Invitations: E-invites are getting more popular. They are cheap and can look just as good as paper invites. Also, guests can easily keep track of them.

DIY Invitations: You can find templates online to help you make nice invites on a budget. Adding a handwritten note or photo can make them special without needing anything fancy.

Invitation Card: Simplify with just a single card containing all wedding details.

Sesimbra Natura Park, Venue | Sesimbra, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

So there you have it! The point of your whole wedding day is the celebration of your love and commitment. It’s not to try to impress people with things that aren’t needed. The most important thing is that you have your family and friends around and that you enjoy every moment together. Don’t stress about having fancy things. Just create happy memories that everyone will remember. You should keep everything simple and after just enjoy your day!

I am so grateful that you came on this journey with me. If you liked what you read and are interested in more of my work, please check my portfolio here. I want to know what you think. Thank you very much for your valuable support!

Pedro Cruz

Wedding photographer and videographer from Lisbon, Portugal. Here is Pedro Cruz's short bio.

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