- I’m a professional wedding planner and I’ve seen issues arise as guests arrive for the big day.
- I wish guests would stop treating wedding vendors poorly and giving unsolicited advice.
- But I think more attendees should prioritize having fun and celebrating both people in the couple.
If five years of a wedding planner has taught me anything, it’s that weddings bring out the weirdest things in people. Beyond bad behavior and high bar tabs, some people lose all sense of self as they navigate the emotional, financial, and social landscape of the event.
Here are three things I wish wedding guests would stop doing and three things I wish they’d do more often.
I wish guests would stop asking the same old questions
Weddings can be a fun thing to talk about in a world that isn’t always so fun to talk about. And the people we care about most often have the most questions.
That said, engaged couples are often inundated with the same wedding-planning questions, and it gets old really fast. I believe we can do better than this.
Rather than ask “What are your colors?” try “What are you most excited for on your wedding day?” Exchange “What are you wearing?” for “What’s been the best part of planning your wedding so far?” And instead of saying “When is the wedding?” ask “How has wedding planning been different than you thought it would be?”
I wish guests would stop treating vendors like ‘the help’
I know wedding vendors are in the service industry where the customer is (supposedly) always right. But that doesn’t mean we’re not people.
Please save yourself a lot of embarrassment — and, of course, the risk of making a fellow human feel unsafe — and be nice to the vendor team.
If you’re not sure what this means, consider how you would treat a professional in their place of business. Although this wedding is a party for you, it’s a workplace for us. That means using the same kind of professional courtesies you would extend to any expert.
You may even be surprised at how much better the service immediately gets.
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 “their day” and “their vision” and “their 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 this gentle reminder to guests: This isn’t your wedding. I know you’re trying to help by offering the couple that unsolicited opinion, but honestly, it’s going to do more harm than good unless you were specifically asked.
This doesn’t mean shut up entirely. It just means that before you send that text or forward that email or bug the couple in any capacity, please ask yourself if the action is benefiting you or them.
If the answer is you, that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Perhaps you were just looking for a way to bond with the people you care about very much — that’s lovely and important.
But those people are adults who will tell you what they need if 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 called upon, offer your perspective. Believe me, you’ll have ample opportunity.
On the other hand, I wish guests would start thinking about how much weddings cost
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I overhear a guest saying something along the lines of, “Wow. I really can’t believe the couple didn’t do [insert something expensive].”
Granted, this type of admission is usually made after a few trips to the bar, but I still find the remark rude. Doesn’t the guest realize how much this whole thing costs? Did I miss the part where this person pitched in? Was there a cover at the door that I missed?
The answer to all of these (admittedly snarky) questions is no. Most guests don’t realize that the average cost of a wedding in the US is around $30,000.
Should we give some grace to Rude Guest because this person likely spent a fair amount of money on travel, accommodations, gifts, and/or other wedding-related expenses? Sure, yeah, that seems kind. But if you don’t have something nice to say, please save it for after you’ve left.
I wish guests would remember that there are 2 people getting married
As guests, we can’t do a lot about how gendered the wedding industry is, but we can challenge ourselves to do better.
If there’s a bride in the wedding, don’t just talk to her — ask the groom questions, too. And if the couple is LGBTQ, don’t give into bias and assume the partners are fulfilling “traditional” roles.
Let’s focus instead on this one specific couple, not the archaic cake topper floating around in our heads.
What does this particular couple want out of this major life transition? What do we know about these two from before they got engaged? Let those answers guide your interaction with them at their wedding.
I wish guests would start letting themselves have some fun
In my experience, a guest’s biggest fear is that they will mess up the wedding.
It doesn’t happen as much as some people seem to think. In fact, a much more common problem is that guests are so afraid of screwing up that they forget to enjoy themselves.
If you aren’t willing to let go and have fun for yourself, then do it for the couple. Really, they want you to — it’s the No. 1 thing couples tell me as they plan their weddings.
I wish couples would actually say their No. 1 goal for their wedding is “We want to get married.” But they didn’t, so do them a favor and enjoy the party they’ve spent so much time and effort planning.