Let’s start off with the fact that mistakes will happen. However, with careful planning at least common ones can be avoided. Plan, Pray and hope you have a great wedding.
1. Running Late
Desi Time, Arab Time, Muslim Time: It comes in many names. There is nothing more annoying than seeing on the invite for Nikkah and Reception (Please be on time) and then the host, bride, groom(or whoever) is running totally late. If you expect your guests to be on time, you as a host have to set a good example.
2. Boring Wedding Speeches by the whole entourage
For you as a bride or groom, it may be very sentimental to have all your siblings or all your close friends give a speech. Especially when the speeches precede dinner, there is nothing more frustrating than having hungry guests bored out of their minds listening to endless speeches which are only of interest to the bride or groom. If you still insist on having them at least overlap them with dinner
3. No Agenda
Both for Muslim guests and Non-Muslim ones it creates anxiety when they don’t know what is coming up and when. Besides a printed agenda, it is the job of the M.C. to follow the adage, “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.
4. Unprepared Father of the Bride or Groom Speeches
For an event that is so important for their son or daughter it is surprising how many fathers or family members will go in saying, “I was just told I have to give a speech”, “I didn’t have time to prepare.” Really? Consider how much time and money you will invest in the wedding. If you’re not a toastmaster and or comfortable in public speaking, it doesn’t cost much to get help with your wedding speech.
5. No Wedding Rehearsal
Although wedding rehearsals are common in American weddings, they are less so in Muslim weddings. We’re not advocating having a Nikah rehearsal. At least the receptions main entrance and farewell should be thought about.
In one particular wedding, the bride and then the groom’s families made the entrance, the bride and groom were announced about to enter, and income to an elderly uncle with a walking stand (true story). Yes, stuff happens but with just a little coordination, major gaffs can be avoided.
6. Cutting Corners and Cost on Catering
Every Parent and host wants to offer truly amazing food at their son or daughter’s wedding. However, not every wedding’s food is that great. Why the gap? When you meet with a caterer, you will request certain dishes and possibly do a tasting.
Unfortunately, when food is prepared en-mass it is not always to the same level. If you start to negotiate with a caterer, the caterer may cut corners. Eg including less meat in a dish or rather than using boneless meat, just using bony meat which doesn’t sit well with guests. If you are working on a budget, it is better to cut on another area (eg the number of guests) rather than on the menu.
7. Free for all Food Lines
In a large wedding, there is nothing worst than when finally it is time to eat, everyone is told: “dinner is available.” Guests get stuck in long buffet lines. Manage the lines by announcing one table at a time.
8. Mixing up Cuisines
Although it is tempting to accommodate guests from different backgrounds, it is better to stick to one theme. Most caterers have one specialty. Imagine going to a restaurant where they serve Afghan, Pakistani, Nepalese, and Chinese food? An exaggeration but hope we make the point of having a focus.
Too many dessert choices
The choice is nice, but too much choice actually works against you as a host. We have experienced this at multiple weddings where the hosts have generously offered eg multiple types of cupcakes, mini-deserts, etc.
Rather than picking just one, not knowing which one they are going to like, guests fill their plates. They end up eating possibly one, wasting the rest, and worst of all leaving no dessert for the guests at the tail end of the line. Keep it simple and avoid too many choices within a category. For example cupcakes and fruit is fine as they are two different categories.
Not Acknowledging Guests and Hosts
It is human nature that we like to be acknowledged. For hosts, it is important that as guests walk in they are greeted. Once the reception is in full play it is a nice gesture if the bride and groom walk around the tables and thank the guests. The alternative is for the parents to do it.
Similarly, there is a lot of work the bride and or groom’s family put into the planning of the wedding. It only behooves us as guests to thank the hosts and recognize somethings you really like about the wedding, eg the decor, food, venue, speeches.