How to Deal with the Worst Kinds of Wedding Guests

Since your wedding guests are presumably the people you and the groom are closest to—family, friends, coworkers, neighbors—everyone should be on their best behavior. Wrong! At every wedding there's one or two that cross the line into bad-behavior territory. Here are a few types we've seen and how to tame them.

Contributing Writer
Photography by: New Line/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Bad guest: The Drunk Uncle

How to deal: Whether it's another relative or friend, a partygoer who's inebriated and out of control can ruin a wedding. Chances are, this person's drink history will be well known before your wedding day arrives, so be prepared by prearranging a safety net around him, namely, two of your beefiest (but compassionate) guests who can be called on to quietly escort the fallen fellow out and direct him to a strong pot of coffee or an Uber ride home.

Bad guest: The Woman in White

How to deal: On one hand, it may seem petty and old school to be bothered by a guest wearing white to your wedding but, on the other hand, how dare she! Everyone knows the bride owns that color! Still, in the immortal words of Frozen's Elsa, "let it go." Focus on having all your loved ones around you. Think about your awesome new husband, your first dance as a married woman, your new life together. The guest's dress? Who cares? She may be wearing your color but there's no way she'll be wearing your glow!

Bad guest: The Longwinded Toaster

How to deal: Three minutes is tops for giving a toast; after that, guests stop listening. But for some chatty congratulators, they consider three minutes just a warm up. Their speeches go on and on (like the toast competition in Bridesmaids) and don't have a point or a punch line. When you notice the crowd is snoozing, have the emcee or best man cue everyone to start clapping, at which point the toaster will pause, giving the best man enough time to grab the microphone, thank him and yield the floor to the next speaker. In extreme cases, have someone surreptitiously unplug the mic (if it's the wired type) from the outlet and you can then blame the sudden silence on "technical difficulties." 

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Bad guest: The Complainer

How to deal: One of your guests thinks the food is flavorless, the service too slow, the music too "grandma," and she doesn't hesitate to share her complaints with anyone who has a pulse and two ears. While you planned your wedding in the hopes that guests have a good time, you don't owe this grump a thing. Don't personally try to appease her—you're the bride, not the crisis manager, and it probably wouldn't make a difference anyway. Chalk up her grievances to jealousy, and ignore her—with any luck, she'll leave the reception early on her broom.

Bad guest: The Uninvited Plus-One

How to deal: Though she rsvp'd that she was coming alone, this single makes it a double by showing up with a plus one. Alert the caterer that there's another mouth to feed—they're used to this type of thing and always have extra food on hand for such situations. If another chair can't be added at the single guest's table, move the twosome to another, emptier table even if they don't know their seatmates. That's much better than closing the door in his face!

About the Author

Nancy Mattia

Though Nancy has been writing about weddings for years, she admits that watching a bride walk down the aisle—even on TV—still makes her tear up. The New York-area writer's other favorite wedding moments are when the groom sees the bride for the first time, hearing the toasts, and when she sees a waiter with a tray full of hors d'oeuvres walking towards her. 


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