INDIAN WEDDINGS: HOW TO MAKE YOUR GUESTS FEEL WELCOME?
One of the most defining characteristics of Indian culture is the hospitality. People in India love to regard and honor their guests. A common saying is “atithi devo bhava,” meaning, “Guests are forms of God”. We, as Indians are genotypically trained to treat our guests well. So when they come to greet and bless the couple during wedding time, wouldn’t we go all the way to make sure every bit of the function was perfect? (And also that the guests don’t have anything to say to the world behind our backs!)
So here you go! This article focuses on the various possible complaints that we’ve heard the most, and suggestions to overcome them.
WHICH WAY TO GO?
You might have the best decoration at the most lavish venue. But you will still have your guests complaining if they do not know which way to go, or where to take a seat and so on. (You might even put up sign boards saying “this way” and “that way”, but they prefer to be TOLD where to go).
You and your extended family might already have their hands full taking care of various other necessities at the venue. So we suggest you ask your wedding planner to higher some men for the day to politely guide your folks across at the venue to various locations. That would also make them feel warm and welcome. If you have friends who offer to do this job, that would be great too!
GET THEM COMFORTABLE
So, now that your guests are ushered to the stage and seating area, another problem is where to make them sit. (Because once somebody sits down, it is extremely impolite to ask them to shift to another seat) In the present day scenario, majority of the people love to host their functions with a table seating arrangement system. It not only looks good, but it makes people feel more comfortable talking to each other and breaking the ice, instead of the monotonous “row after row” arrangement. It works well if everyone at the table is of the same wavelength and is acquainted with each other. What if nobody knows anybody at the table though? Things could get really uncomfortable.
We suggest that if you plan to do a round table type of seating arrangement, (with many little tables across the audience area) you need to sort out your guest list according to which table they sit at. (Who can know your guests better than you?) This could be based on factors like a common work place, a common profession, a common city, a common language, so on and so forth. In order to bring waves of comfort into your program, make sure that at every table, every person knows at least one person.
SPEECHES THAT GO ON FOREVER!
Studies say that however, good you may be with your words you can only capture the attention of an audience for a period of 14 minutes. Beyond that, they are either bored, distracted, listening half way or some people might get even irritated. In class rooms, people are forced to pay attention for various academic reasons. But come on, you are not going to award the audience with a degree. So have mercy on them!
Many people who are asked to speak at the wedding are those who are emotionally attached to the bride and groom. Their speeches often take the couple on a long trip down memory lane. The couple needs to keep smiling on stage, thanks to all cameras focused on them. But surely if the speech gets too long, you might see very irritated expressions on the faces in the crowd. So politely ask your speakers to keep a check on the time, when you approach them to speak at your wedding.
There is usually a gap between the wedding and reception (if you plan to have it on the same day). You can even relate to this time gap, between ceremonies or when the girl goes to change into another set of clothes during the ceremony. If this gap is for a short time, your guests might just turn around and find somebody to talk to. But that grace period holds good only till a point. What if your make up takes longer? What if the bride groom spilt coffee on his trousers? Well these things happen without notice and when they do we must not only be prepared to face the consequences of running a little late on our program schedule but also face an impatient crowd.
It is a wise thing to take the crowd’s eyes away from their watches by getting someone to sing/dance (Please, no speeches) and entertain the crowd. You can arrange for professionals or even let your friends do the honors.
A RIDE ALONG
Your guest list will probably include people from out station too. If your event ends sometime late at night, you might leave your poor guests worried about how to reach their place of stay.
Arranging transport to various places is a necessity. Hire a mini bus facility around your town and give your guests the comfort of travel.
As we said, there is only a certain extent you can do things until. When guests complain about the time and season of the wedding, incompatibility of the couple, gossip about the financial status of the family and other unnecessary issues, we suggest you pay a deaf ear, wear a broad smile on your face, fold your hands together and say “Thank you for coming” because you are a true Indian by heart and you respect your guests.
January 24, 2016