These 12 Things Annoy Wedding Guests & Are Surprisingly Common
Last weekend, my BFF texted me, "Kimmy — we have a crisis situation here. There was a storm. There's no power, no showers, no flushing toilets. Wedding in like three hours." I call this friend a professional wedding-goer, because she can't stop getting invited to weddings. Couples invite her to their weddings at other peoples' weddings. She's been to 16 weddings in three years, and she knows things that annoy wedding guests that I've never even had the chance to experience. (PSA to my friends' partners: will one of you put a ring on it already?)
Obviously, the storm that ravaged the wedding my friend attended last weekend was NOT one of those wedding annoyances — it was completely outside of anyone but Mother Nature's control. In fact, this particular wedding sounds like it was executed perfectly. The hosts even bought a ton of generators as soon as the power went out. (Spoiler: the power came back on just in time for the wedding, and all the guests were magically able to shower and get ready in the hotel spa bathrooms prior. HALLELUJAH!)
However, there are other wedding crises that do not take much planning to avoid that guests can spot a mile away. I don't mean intend to throw shade at friends and family whose weddings I have attended, but I do think it's smart to plan a wedding that minimizes disruptions to your guests' lives. (For my opinions on Friday weddings, see Number Five below.)
So, to that couple whose wedding I am mostly definitely attending: Yes, I am so happy you found love, but I also have a life. And financial responsibilities. I know you are spending a pretty penny on each invited guest, but I am also spending money on a gift, bachelorette, travel, a hotel, a dress, and more. I'm truly more than happy to do that, but I really appreciate an organized, well-planned wedding upon arrival. I don't care if you have $700 centerpieces — I care that everyone can relax and have fun!
I considered my own personal wedding pet peeves, and of course, consulted with my wedding expert BFF to compile this list of no-nos when it comes to inviting people to celebrate your love. And now if I ever get married, I have an internet-published list of things I hate to hold me accountable for throwing a good wedding. (Didn't exactly think that one through...)
1. Destination Weddings That Require Multiple Forms Of Transportation
A flight to Mexico City and a cab ride? That's fine, because I committed to your destination wedding and that's the same amount of transportation it would take if I was flying to Mexico for vacation. But a flight to Vermont where I need to rent a car and then drive two more hours to a faraway farm? That's rough. (And also, sorry, not Mexico.)
But before I whine too much, I'll say that there is a very easy way to resolve this: just organize that bus from the airport for your wedding crew, or let us know ahead of time that there won't be Ubers available to take us from the airport to Tiny Town, New Hampshire. Information is key.
2. Two-Night Hotel Minimums
I recently received a save-the-date that listed one lodging option that required a two-night minimum at $450 a room, with one night's stay deposit. I said "hard pass," and did my own Airbnb search. I definitely understand that it can be tricky to arrange lodging for all of your guests, but providing information about the different options is extremely helpful. I don't care if it's a Holiday Inn — just tell me where to look! Especially if you're not getting married in a major city.
3. Lack Of Bars Or Bathrooms At The Reception
After a long ceremony, and an even longer trip, the last thing your guests feel like doing is waiting in a massive line for the bathroom or cocktail hour bar. Choosing a venue with ample bathrooms and bars is key. The best solution to this I've seen in action? A self-serve frozen margarita machine bar. (And that was a black-tie wedding. Yes please.)
4. Having A Destination Wedding With No Friday Plans
If you are asking the majority of guests to travel to your wedding — even if it's just a four or five hours — understand that they'll probably want to settle in the night before, so that they can enjoy their Saturday morning pre-wedding, and start looking fabulous, so plan something for them.
No, you don't need to invite everyone to your rehearsal dinner because it is 2018, but organizing welcome drinks for people to get to know each other is the right move here.
5. Having A Wedding On A Holiday
I completely understand that weddings are expensive, and that some couples are on a budget. I would tell those couples to go to City Hall, and then throw a really great party afterward. Taking up someone's Fourth of July, Memorial Day, or even Labor Day just feels a bit self-important.
Arbor Day? St. Patrick's Day? Go for it! I'm even OK with a Friday wedding — if it's a destination wedding. You're probably traveling Friday AM anyways, and then you have Saturday to hang out in Chapel Hill at a Brewery with the bride and groom (shout out to my friend's wedding that fully converted me on Friday weddings). Taking up a holiday, however, is a rough look, no matter what day that holiday falls on.
6. Having A Shower And A Bachelorette And An Engagement Party
I love you, I do, but I can't buy a gift for every darn party you invite me to. I think having a bachelorette and a wedding is a great in between. Especially since the rule is that you should send a gift to a shower even if you can't make it. (Tacky!) You don't want your friends buying three presents and a flight to Nashville all in the name of your love.
7. No Plus-One For The Bridal Party
These women are probably buying dresses, presents, flights to Nashville (see above) and more. Even if your bridesmaids are single, give them a plus-one. I promise they won't take you up on it with some random from the dive bar, and the gesture is classy. And if you really can't swing it, be sure to sit her next to the cutest single groomsman.
8. An Unclear Dress Code
When there is no dress code clearly listed on an invite, you are doing both yourselves and your guests a disservice. If you're throwing the wedding, you are going to field one million texts from guests to clarify, which sucks. Plus, then your more polite guests who don't want to bother you might end up over or underdressed, which is never a good time. Pick a traditional and clear dress code like "formal" or "cocktail attire," place it on the invite, and let them Google for clarifications from there.
9. When You Have A Destination Bachelorette And A Destination Wedding
Again, I sound like Scrooge, but asking guests to spend an arm and a leg on multiple flights for destination wedding events is a lot. Especially because they're probably going to quite a few more weddings this summer. It's wedding season, which is fun, but expensive. Remember how you once felt as a guest!
10. A Buffet Dinner During The Speeches
I know that buffet dinners are sometimes unavoidable, but I hate waiting in a line for rapidly cooling food while craning my neck to watch the heartfelt speeches (my favorite part of a wedding). I want to be able to toast! Try to organize the food timing ahead of time.
Flood my mentions, but I don't love children at weddings. These are adult affairs, especially if it's an evening wedding, and screaming children just don't exactly fit the mix. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule: if the couple has children already, family members, and so on. But I would highly consider adding a "no kids" disclaimer to your invite.
12. A Cash Bar
I would rather have a 20-person wedding with an open bar and oysters than a 150-person wedding with a cash bar. It's just wrong. People are spending money on you, the least you can provide is an open bar.
This is harsh, but this is how I feel. It's your special day, and the more fun your guests have, the more fun you will have. Happy guests will make for a more memorable wedding day than custom chocolates shaped like the bride and groom as party favors. I promise.