- I’m a professional wedding planner and I’ve seen problems when guests arrive for the big day.
- I wish guests would stop mistreating wedding vendors and giving unsolicited advice.
- But I think more participants should have fun and celebrate both people in pairs.
If five years as a wedding planner has taught me anything, it’s that weddings bring out the strangest things in people. Bad behavior and high bars aside, some people lose all sense of self as they navigate the event’s emotional, financial, and social landscape.
Here are three things I wish wedding guests would stop doing and three things I wish they would do more.
I wish guests would stop asking the same old questions
In a world that isn’t always so fun to talk about, weddings can be fun to talk about. And the people we care about most often have the most questions.
However, engaged couples are often inundated with the same questions about wedding planning, and it gets old real quick. I believe we can do better.
Instead of asking “What are your colors?” Try “What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?” Exchange “What are you wearing?” for “What has been the best part of planning your wedding so far?” And instead of saying, “When’s the wedding?” Ask, “How was the wedding planning different than you thought?”
I wish guests would stop treating vendors like “the help”.
I know Wedding Vendors operate in the service industry where the customer is (allegedly) always right. But that doesn’t mean we’re not human.
Please save yourself a lot of embarrassment – and of course the risk of making someone else unsafe – and be nice to the provider team.
If you’re not sure what that means, consider how you would treat a professional in their place of work. Although this wedding is a party for you, for us it is a place of work. That means using the same kind of professional courtesy you would show any expert.
You might even be surprised at how much better the service gets right away.
I wish guests would stop giving unsolicited help and advice
We all know the typical story about weddings. It’s about the couple – it’s “her day” and “her vision” and “her happily ever after”. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. If it were, so many people wouldn’t have so many opinions about it.
Rather than unpack the entire human psyche, I offer guests this gentle reminder: This is not your wedding. I know you’re trying to help by offering the couple this unsolicited opinion, but honestly, not asking specifically will do more harm than good.
That doesn’t mean shutting up completely. It just means that before you send that text or forward that email, or annoy the couple in any way, please ask yourself if the action is benefiting you or them.
If you are the answer, that’s fine. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Maybe you were just looking for a way to connect with the people you care deeply about – that’s beautiful and important.
But these people are adults who will tell you what they need when they need it.
Your job as a wedding guest is not to tell them what you think they need. Your job is to listen and, when prompted, to offer your perspective. Believe me, you will have ample opportunity.
On the other hand, I wish guests would start thinking about how much weddings cost
One of my biggest annoyances is when I overhear a guest saying something like, “Wow. I really can’t believe the couple didn’t [insert something expensive].”
Admittedly, this kind of admission usually comes after a few visits to the pub, but I still find the comment rude. Isn’t the guest aware of how much it all costs? Did I miss the part where this person intervened? Was there a cover on the door that I missed?
The answer to all of these (admittedly scathing) questions is no. What most guests don’t realize is that the average cost of a wedding in the US is around $30,000.
Should we show some leniency to the rude guest because that person has likely spent a fair amount of money on travel, lodging, gifts and/or other wedding-related expenses? Sure, yes, that seems nice. But if you don’t have anything nice to say, please save it after you’re gone.
I wish guests would remember that 2 people get married
As guests, there’s not much we can do about how gender-biased the wedding industry is, but we can challenge ourselves to do better.
If there’s a bride at the wedding, don’t just talk to her — ask the groom questions too. And if the couple is LGBTQ, don’t give in to the bias and assume the partners fulfill “traditional” roles.
Instead, let’s focus on that one specific couple, not the archaic cake topper floating around in our heads.
What does this special couple want from this big life change? What do we know about the two before they got engaged? Let these answers guide your interaction with them at their wedding.
I wish the guests would start having some fun
In my experience, a guest’s biggest fear is that they will screw up the wedding.
It doesn’t happen as often as some people seem to think. In fact, a much more common problem is that guests are so afraid of screwing things up that they forget to enjoy themselves.
If you’re not ready to let go and have fun for yourself, then do it for the couple. Really, they want you to do it — it’s the #1 thing couples tell me when planning their wedding.
I wish couples would actually say that their number one goal for their wedding is “We want to get married.” But they didn’t, so do them a favor and enjoy the party they put so much time and effort into planning.