Guests Behaving Badly – How To Make Sure They Don’t Derail Your Day!

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Hello everyone – it’s great to be back on Love My Dress and today, I’m here to talk about guests. However, this isn’t a feature about trimming your guest list and neither is it about those awkward guests who seem to think that your RSVP date just doesn’t apply to them.

No – this is a feature about guests behaving badly and it’s packed with advice to make sure that they don’t derail your day, whatever happens.

I’ve written before about imperfectly perfect weddings and I know from first-hand experience that you can have the best, most wonderfully planned wedding but the minute that you add guests, things can, and frequently do go wrong and quite often it’s because of your guests.

Someone might be incredibly late, rude, get drunk, get overly (drunk) emotional or do something that you’d never ever expect that they’d do in a million years. You’ll find yourself facing a guest that’s acting like a diva or isn’t happy with their seating allocation or your choice of menu. In short, someone will always be grumbling about something.

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Disclaimer: The images used in this article are of a set of very polite/well behaved guests and has nothing at all to do with the advice in this post. Image at very top of article by On Love & Photography, Image above by Photography 78

For so many reasons, lots of people simply don’t seem to think that normal rules apply on a wedding day. Everything comes to a head, emotions are heightened and being in a relatively confined space with so many other people can result in a pressure cooker atmosphere that can bubble over at the worst possible moment. Guests can also see your big day as an opportunity to totally kick back and, whilst we love relaxed guests, this can go too far too quickly, and all of these issues can cause problems that you don’t need to worry about on your wedding day.

How to manage guests behaving badly

Guests who ignore your timings

You’ll find that as soon as you announce dinner, half of your guests will go to the toilet, decide they need another drink or head off to take photos. The same can happen before your speeches or when you’re waiting to hit the floor for your first dance. So, as long as the missing guests aren’t VIPs, you need to plough on regardless because you just can’t wait for everybody. Make sure that you’ve got ushers or groomsmen on hand to help with the movement of guests and allow a little extra time in your schedule so that when people do disappear to the toilet, your wedding day schedule isn’t completely blown apart.

Guests who drink too much

Again, this is a very common issue and it can easily spiral out of control. If you’ve got guests who you know are big drinkers, tell your caterers or bar staff in advance and ask them to stop serving the guests in question when they deem it’s necessary. Make sure that there’s plenty of water and non-alcoholic options on hand right through the day and remember that evening food is not only great for giving you a boost of energy later in the day, it’s also very useful for soaking up a day of drink. To minimise the potential for problems, don’t give any heavy drinkers a big role in your day and it’s also helpful to nominate someone who can keep an eye on things and help if things do go awry. A parent or an uncle is usually a great choice here because these people automatically carry respect. Brief them ahead of time and try not to let someone’s drunken behaviour ruin your day.

Guests who are rude

It might shock or disappoint you to hear that guests are often rude to wedding day staff and it’s unnecessarily happened to me on more than a handful of occasions. Bar staff and caterers will often get the brunt of this, but anyone can catch a dose of wedding day rudeness. Now most suppliers will often not make a fuss unless guests become aggressive or if they feel threatened but please remember that all suppliers have a limit and they also have every right to work without having to deal with this kind of behaviour. If you find that a member of bar staff is refusing to serve someone, there will be a reason. If you’ve got guests who you even think might behave like this, make sure that someone is briefed and ready to manage this on your behalf because you need a buffer to make sure that this rudeness doesn’t affect you and ideally doesn’t come to your attention.

Guests who are overly emotional

I’ve mentioned that emotions run high so tears often flow at weddings and they’re not always happy ones. Please remember that you’ve not organised this day to spend it counselling your friends in the toilet or listening to the ins and outs of someone’s failed marriage when you should be celebrating your own. Make sure that your wing-person / team have got your back here – they need to lead you away and get you back into your happy place before making sure that whoever is upset is ok.

Guests who don’t like what you’ve planned

This is the one that you absolutely must step away from as soon as possible and ignore as much as you can. If you hear comments or catch those looks, step away from whatever is going on and let it go. Someone might not like where they’re sitting or that the vegetarian option includes mushrooms, but this is your wedding day and you don’t have to deal with this. Again, your brilliant wing-person should have your back on this and take you away from the situation as soon as possible so that you can be surrounded by positive vibes that lift you up rather than negative vibes that drag you down.

If you’re really honest with yourself, you can probably guess in advance who the ‘problem’ guests might be and there are two ways to handle this. If you’re feeling brave, talk to the guest in advance – you could even explain in a roundabout way how scared you are that someone will ruin your wedding day and how much this would upset you. That might be enough to just remind them to behave appropriately. If you can’t do this or even if you have this conversation but then aren’t sure that the message has got through, make sure that you’ve got people on your side who know what might happen and know what to do if it does.

Ultimately, do everything you can to make sure that you have a great day. You don’t need to worry about these guests and if anyone’s crying, kicking off or slumped in the corner in a drunken stupor, let it go. You can be sure that they’ll regret their behaviour in the cold light of a non-wedding day so just make sure that you don’t regret yours.

Have the best day that you can and remember that no one has the right to upset your wedding day or make you feel that it’s anything less than fabulous.

Love Katrina x

Katrina is a national award-winning wedding planner who specialises in timeless, understated and naturally elegant weddings throughout the UK. Katrina is a regular contributor to Love My Dress, the resident wedding planner for Coco Wedding Venues and co-founder of Coco & Kat, a creative consultancy for wedding venues and beyond.


Katrina View all Katrina's articles

I’m a planner, strategist, designer, thinker, doer, perfectionist, artist, creative, partner, friend, and I’m passionate about supporting the incredible community of Love My Dress readers by sharing my knowledge of weddings and wedding planning via regular, HONEST and practical planning features. As part of the Love My Dress team, I love having the opportunity to explore different aspects of wedding planning and since 2015 have covered everything from learning how to embrace imperfection to pressures, worries and wobbles. You can find out more about who I am, what I do, my style, my approach, and the wedding planning support services I offer at Katrina Otter Weddings.

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