by: Erica

Hi everyone! So today, let’s talk about something that will make up a large portion of your wedding- wedding guests! Ultimately, yes, the day is about you and your honey getting married. But if you’re including guests in your celebration, you will also want to consider things that will make their experience memorable. So if you want to be gracious hosts for your wedding guests, you may want to steer clear of the following faux pas, in no particular order…

6 Things Your Wedding Guests Will Hate via

1. An inconvenient date.

Before you choose a holiday weekend or a day in the middle of the week, double check with those that are most definitely mandatory to attend. Nothing is worse for a guest than having to take extra days off work, or having to miss their favorite holiday traditions to make your wedding. Also keep in mind local area event calendars, you wouldn’t want it to be impossible for your guests to get a hotel room or complicate your wedding by adding extra local event hustle and bustle to everyone’s schedules.

2. No Seating Assignments.

Groups are like sheep. They need direction. Your planner will definitely help provide day-of herding, but it will make everyone’s experience more enjoyable if you direct them where to go. Nothing is worse than all your guests standing at your reception entrance with a blank stares and nowhere to go. By creating the (sometime dreaded, and yes, semi-complicated) seating chart, you’ll 1) save on the number of tables you’ll need to have (If you are having unassigned seats, you should increase your number of seats by 15%, as people will inherently sit with the people they know and will not fill up some of the tables)  and 2) give your guests some direction and provide them with a little fun while seeking out their designated seat. Remember to make sure there aren’t too many people per table… you want to prevent elbow knocking and uncomfortable closeness between you guests.

3. Bad food and/or not enough food.

The thing that most guests remember from a wedding- the food. And remember that one bad food experience you had that just made the evening awful? We’ve all had one. Make sure you taste the food you are planning on serving- simple enough. And when you’re working with your caterer, please, oh please trust them when developing your menu by considering options that hold up well in chaffing dishes, or need to be served on time if you chose a plated option. Caterers know what they’re talking about based on experience and it’s a simple fact that some foods just don’t hold up well in banquet situations. The second part of this equation, is to make sure that there will be enough food to sufficiently feed your guests. No one wants waste, and that includes your caterer, so listening to their suggestion on the quantity to order would probably be a safe bet.

4. Cash Bars.

Yes, open bars are expensive. So if you’re working with a limited budget, it’s completely ok to sponsor just beer and wine, or a specialty drink and offer the rest of the bar on a cash basis. This is what my husband and I personally did to manage our costs, and it still gave our guests a way to enjoy a beverage without exponentially increasing our budget. You could also set a dollar amount on an open bar and switch to cash after reaching that limit if you don’t want to limit your guests choices. But requiring your guests to have to pull out their wallet is just a hosting party foul. Especially if it wasn’t communicated before hand that they’d be required to pay for their libations.

5. Never-ending toasts and/or photo montages.

Avoid them. I have worked a more weddings than I can count that have had the most long winded- and if I’m being frank- boring toasts… which ends up being pretty annoying for your guests. Prevent this from happening to you by telling your toast-makers they’ll have 3 minutes (or however long) to give their toast or have your DJ cue the music when their time is up. I would also strongly caution you from allowing an open mic – you never know what people will say, and how long they’ll take to deliver the message. If there are other important people that would like to offer you a toast, invite them to do so during rehearsal dinner or at your engagement party. And don’t get me wrong here, photo montages are great. Just not when your guests are required to sit through 20 minutes of you and your sweetie. If your Aunt Mary and future Mother in Law spent time creating one, offer to show it during cocktail hour on loop so your guests can watch it at their leisure and depart when they’ve had enough.

6. Disorganization and Lulls.

Some of the biggest complaints I have heard from guests come when there are extended lulls in between events and your guests have to wait for time to pass. We all know you’ll be busy with pictures and other bride and groom duties, but your guests will get incredibly bored, tired, and cranky with nothing to do while they’re waiting for you. This rings true if you have also selected ceremony and reception locations located far distances apart, or if you have an elongated break of multiple hours between the two. Disorganization equals confusion and disjointed events. Hire a planner. We are specifically experienced with organizing (and managing) big events, it’s our professional career. And chances are that you have not planned a wedding before, so quite simply, you couldn’t possibly know all that is encompassed in executing a wedding.

Just keeping these few things in mind will exponentially increase your guests’ enjoyment and make it not only a perfect celebration of your love, but a slamming party too!

Happy Planning!



How are you planning on ensuring that your guests have a great time? Or have you ever been to a wedding where there was something that you absolutely didn’t like? I’d love to hear!

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6 Things Your Wedding Guests Will Hate via
A serial party planner for family and friends, Erica turned her passion for parties into a professional career. When she's not busy planning weddings, Erica spends her time outdoors enjoying the beautiful landscape of Colorado with her new husband Craig, and playing with her two dogs, Sadie and Murphy.

21 responses to 6 Things Your Wedding Guests Will Hate

We love your comments, but please remember to keep them kind and positive, as this is a place for inspiration and sharing information. We have the right to remove or not approve any negative or harmful comments.
  1. Elizabeth (just curious)

    I can’t tell you how much I love this post! I feel like so many brides/grooms/families say “I don’t care. It’s MY day!”, and if that were the case, then you should have eloped. If you invite anyone to any event whether it be a small dinner at your home or a large wedding, you are playing host and bride. Be gracious and remember that you in fact chose to extend an invitation to every single guest at your big day. Etiquette isn’t about being a snob or raising your pinky while you sip your tea; it is about being conscious of your guests needs and feelings. I will step off my soap box now, but this is one of my pet peeves! Gracious! I need to go take a breath. : )

  2. Michelle Joy Dulay (a Vendor)

    This is pretty helpful! :-) thanks for sharing it! :-)

  3. Esther (just curious)

    This will go on my November links list, such good advice!

  4. Gian Carlo (a Bride)

    I love your little insights, they are awesome and worth sharing. Happy Weddings!

  5. Sara (just curious)

    Totally with you on the cash bar thing. It’s pretty tacky to have one. If you can’t afford it I vote have a brunch wedding!

  6. Van De Steene Photography (a Vendor)

    These are great tips and well written. I will be sharing this on my page. Thank you!

  7. Lily (a Vendor)

    Totally agree with all the points above cause so many couples though wedding organizing is as easy as going for a family gathering :)
    In fact so many items should be well prepared in order to make everyone happy and have good memory of the special day.
    Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I’ll inform my brides about this for sure :)

  8. Mary (a Bride)

    I recently attended a Caldean wedding! The wedding was at 5 with reception “to follow”. We arrived at the hall around 6 but couldn’t enter the actual room until 6:30! The bridal party did not get into the hall until 8:30 or 9! We didn’t eat dinner until 10!! No wonder the grooms family (Caldean) side weren’t in the hall until bridal party showed up! They knew the tradition! We were all very frustrated & tired by time we ate!! I pray that I never have another wedding like that again!!

  9. Katelyn (a Bride)

    My wedding is going to be EXTREMELY small. I’m talking ball park 40 person guest list. Do you still recommend a seating chart regardless?

    • Lauren

      Katelyn, it would depend on the other elements of your wedding- food, ambiance, etc. If you’re doing a plated meal, I still recommend assigned seating, as meal selections are often indicated by escort cards/place cards. If you’re doing a buffet or stations, you could get away with no assigned seats. However, a large point of assigned seating is to keep things organized and prevent people from having to dilly-dally, deciding on where to sit. Have you ever been faced with the question of where to sit at an event, dinner party, etc? I myself hate it, so I’d save everyone that pain and assign tables/seats. :)

  10. Katelyn (a Bride)

    Thank you so much! I completely forgot to put myself in their shoes and you’re right! I always hate having to scope the area.

  11. Megan (a Bride)

    It isn’t about what other people think. A wedding isn’t about impressing other people or throwing the “best party on the blocke.” The purpose of a wedding is to celebrate love and family. The people who truly care about you won’t care if there is a “lull’ between dinner and dancing. Anyone who does mind is clearly missing the point. May your MARRIAGE be more beautiful than your WEDDING. Focus on things that will actually matter in the long run.

  12. Casa Fantastica, Costa Rica (a Vendor)

    All good tips and great reasons to splurge on that wedding planner. A great planner is that neutral party that can get you to see the wisdom in this advice.

  13. Donna (just curious)

    I have attended over 100 weddings & receptions. It is never ok to have guests pay for drinks— EVER! If you can’t afford a full bar, do a beer & wine bar. If you can’t afford that, trim your guest list to what you can afford. Expecting guests to pay for drinks is the height of bad taste.

  14. Julie Herman (a Vendor)

    Well said! Tip jars are tacky enough but a cash bar is worse. If you can’t afford the alcohol, then just eliminate it altogether. Client’s think I’m out of my mind when I insist on seating charts not matter how small their event is. Great tips in your article!

  15. Michelle (a Vendor)

    To the brides who think that a wedding is *just* about a marriage, this is only partially true. If you don’t care about the reception then you should have a ceremony only with no reception. If you CHOOSE to host a reception – that is the point – you are then a HOST of a party. These things, like manners and etiquette, matter. You don’t have to spend a fortune to be a good host. Prioritize and at least have the basics covered (I.e. Don’t splurge on a lounge area if you can’t at least host beer and wine!) and a properly-flowing timeline out together by a professional is a must.

  16. Lisa (a Bride)

    It’s worth noting that the (forced?) provision of a free bar is largely an American thing. It’s totally appropriate in the UK.

  17. Melli (a Bride)

    Cash bar is also pretty standard in western Canada. Being judgmental is pretty tacky in all circles.

  18. Cindy (a Bride)

    We will be having a wedding ceremony in the afternoon and then the reception will follow in the evening, leaving approx. a two-hour “lull” in between. For those out-of-town guests, what do you suggest?

  19. Larry mclendon

    Small Children Running wild on the dance floor. Although cute for first 15 seconds, entertainment is expensive …. Small children should be kept from running all over the dance floor.

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