In recent weeks I have been baffled by the actions of a few wedding guests. Honestly, on more than one occasion I was rendered speechless…and left wanting to reprimand the patrons on their poor behavior and seemingly total lack of respect for the couple, I might add…but alas, this doesn’t fall into my “coordinator duties” so its a fine line one must walk.
We all know someone on the guest list who…to put it nicely…has a particular trait that could lead to a sticky situation come the wedding day. Now, I’m not certain that these folks are blind to the commotion they are causing. So, in regard to those guests who have the potential to draw attention away from the bride and groom, to those that proper wedding behavior mysteriously eludes…here are a few tips to keep the wedding rules un-broken.
THE LATE COMER: We all know this guest…the one who haphazardly barged into your cousins wedding 15 minutes late proclaiming loudly “They’ve already started??” ((No joke, this happened at my wedding last night.))
Tip to the Bride: If you’re concerned about guests possibly interrupting your nuptials ask someone from the venue to guard the door. Have a designated spot for guests who show up late so the ceremony isn’t disturbed. *If your venue is small and intimate…guests who can’t manage to make it on time may just have to wait outside!
THE HEAVY DRINKER: For some an open bar is an invitation to get crazy. Sometimes this is your uncle Earl or your sorority sisters…sometimes…it’s the groom’s mom. No time, is this ok.
Tip to the Bride: Yes, you may be hoofing the bill for an open bar…but you absolutely do not want sloppy drunks at your wedding. People will remember this and it can often over shadow the good things about your day. Leave explicit instructions for the bartenders to cut off anyone who appears to have had too much to drink. You may also want to tell them not to pour shots.
THE ONE WHO MUST HAVE A DATE: I’m not sure when it became taboo to show up to a wedding alone…but some people literally can’t seem to muster the strength to attend an event without a date. Whether invited or not you’re likely to have someone who thinks it is ok to bring someone.
Tip to the Bride: Set a standard early. If your numbers are tight you should spread the word that no dates are allowed. If a couple is engaged…yes, you’ll want to invite the fiancée. If someone insists on bringing a flame (b/c some people think it’s ok to make demands) tell them they must pay for their guest up front!! If your food is $25 a head…you should have no qualms making them pay for someone you don’t know!
THE IMPROPER DRESSER: I’m often pretty bemused by this person. Itty bitty skirts and six inch heels, does not a good wedding outfit make! This is especially problematic if the skin shower is in your bridal party.
Tip to the Bride: Tell your colorful friend to cover it up! If you must attend fittings with her, do so. If you can’t…be sure she sends you pictures! If you don’t want your girls in stilettos you may have to ask them to wear matching shoes. If the person in question isn’t in your bridal party…send a friend to go dress shopping with her. Also this is NOT a gender specific problem…I see men in jeans all the time. Eeek. Fellas…no no no.
Do not hesitate to be blunt with people. If it is your 16-year-old cousin…tell her mom. (The truth is she may not even know and would appreciate the heads up her daughter is dressing like a hooch!)
It is absolutely ok to put a “dress-code” tab on your wedding website. In fact lots of guests would probably appreciate not having to guess how formal/informal to attire themselves.
THE NON-GIFTER: You’ve spent thousands of dollars preparing for this special day…you’ve likely spent hours deciding what to include on your registry. It’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes when someone shows up empty handed to your wedding or shower. Let’s be honest…the people who often commit this wedding foul are your young friends who aren’t married yet. Why? Because they’re typically broke.
Tip to the Bride: I will admit I hate to see a registry where the cheapest thing is $60. Brides, please be thoughtful of your guest and understand that not all of them can front this sort of money. Be sure to include some items that are affordable to your underpaid friends. It is ok to register at Pottery Barn…but you should also register at a store that is 1.) More accessible 2.) Cheaper. If not, you run the risk of getting more items you didn’t register for. *Also, you may want to leave out a “Honeymoon Fund” jar at the reception. Some people would prefer to just give you cash!
THE DEBBIE DOWNER: She’ll sit in the corner and complain that her chicken wasn’t hot enough, and that the music is too loud. She’ll ask obnoxiously why there isn’t an elevator when there are only 3 steps to ascend. This guest is in my opinion, one of the worst. They’re incapable of just enjoying this free night of food and entertainment.
Tip to the Bride: When doing seating charts be sure to sit this person with their close family. None of your unsuspecting guests should have to endure the negativity this person flings upon those nearby. You do not have to cater to this person and it may be best to evoke a practice I call “Invite and Avoid”. No need to scope them out during the reception. Let your parents do it!
THE SOCIAL MEDIA JUNKIE: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo…How many pictures can one person post? This guest may be shooting for a new personal record…no problem, unless of course they’re photo bombing all your professional photographers’ photos!
Tip to the Bride: Some new trends are emerging thanks to Pintrest…cute signs asking guests to put away their cell phones and enjoy the evening… OR…signs asking them to hashtag all the photos they take. Whether you are condoning social media behavior or not…ask your wedding coordinator to be on the lookout for people standing in the aisle trying to get photos. She will be able to tell your guests when they are in the photographer’s way.
Happy planning. May your days be drama free!