60 guests and no Macarena: The formula for perfect wedding, revealed

What makes the perfect wedding? Your dream venue, the perfect guest list, no dietary requirements, an open bar… 

A new survey of 1,000 wedding guests from the UK, carried out by OnePoll in conjunction with the BBC’s Ultimate Wedding Planner, has revealed the venues, traditions and food options that would make up the ideal wedding.

Apparently, the ideal number of guests is 60 and people want to pay around £50 for a wedding gift. 

The perfect wedding venue

In terms of venue, the majority of guests (30%) said a castle would be the best, with just 27%, 20% and 15% opting for a stately home, a beach and a church respectively. 

Wedding planner and expert Raj Somaiya, a judge on Ultimate Wedding Planner, the BBC Studios produced show currently airing on BBC Two, said: ‘It’s not easy planning the perfect day. You have guests from different generations from all aspects of life, from grandparents to school friends, and everyone needs to be entertained.

‘Weddings have evolved so much over the years and they’re constantly evolving, so it can be hard to please everyone.

‘That being said, our research has thrown up some interesting results, with the traditional church wedding only the sixth most popular venue for guests – behind a castle, stately home, beach, hotel and even a botanical garden.’

The ideal wedding meal

For food, an all you can eat buffet was the top option, with half of guests preferring a buffet over a sit down meal. In fact 35% said a traditional three-course meal was outdated.

Some 30% of guests said they’d like to sit outside and eat options from different food trucks, while those who would rather have a sit down meal said they would prefer a Sunday roast (35%), fish and chips (23%) or a BBQ (17%).

Home or away?

While some people always dream of a destination wedding, they prove to be divisive for guests, most likely thanks to the costs involved.

Only 34% of wedding guests were in favour of attending one outside the UK.

Those who would attend a destination wedding chose Italy (21%), the Maldives (15%), Greece (14%) and Spain (13%) as the top spots. 

To theme or not to theme

From fairytale weddings to full-on Disney-themed weddings, choosing a theme can be fun and make your wedding memorable.

However, guests seem to prefer a more casual or traditional wedding. 

According to the survey, more than one in 10 people would be keen to attend a vintage themed wedding, while 10% would attend a Christmas wedding or a fairytale wedding. 

Around 8% would attend a 1920s themed wedding.

Embracing modernity 

While weddings are traditional by nature, since the pandemic many people have been thinking outside the box and moving away from extremely traditional weddings, and survey respondents seem to agree.

There are a few traditions guests were happy to reject, such as not inviting the entire extended family (58%), getting married in a church (53%), only letting the men give speeches (49%) and giving the bride away (36%).

The survey also revealed some songs that should be blacklisted by wedding DJs, including Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, YMCA by the Village People and Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.

Guests even voted to ban the Macarena by Los Del Rio from the wedding playlist.

The key components of a perfect wedding

While it’s true weddings no longer need to fit neatly inside a little, traditional box, it’s also true that your wedding is your big day — no one else’s. So do whatever you want!

‘Now more than ever we’re seeing couples really thinking about the overall guest experience and coming up with their own unique approach to their day,’ said Raj.

‘However, trying to please everyone else on your wedding day could be a slippery slope — the research shows not everyone will agree with what you do.

‘The most important thing about the whole day is the person you’re marrying — make sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important.

‘Planning a wedding can be overwhelming but the most important thing is your love and your future together. This is the first day of the rest of your life!’

Ultimate Wedding Planner continues on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC Two and is available on iPlayer.

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