How to deal with difficult wedding guests

Have you been at an event where somebody was drunk and you wished their family or friends would save them further embarrassment? Or even worse, have you been at a wedding when a couple hijacked the celebrations to announce their own wedding? 

You have thoughtfully planned and carefully prepared your special day, only to have a moment ruined by a guest. Don’t expect good behavior just because it’s your wedding. You can avoid these horror-filled moments with careful preplanning and a significant support team on your wedding day.

We have seen almost everything at hundreds of Zion Spring weddings, and we want to share with you some of the high flyers and how to handle each situation. 

In this article we look at:

  • support network for my wedding
  • drunk guests
  • gatecrashers 
  • unexpected guests
  • picky eaters 
  • hecklers during speeches
  • wedding guests announcing their engagement
  • feral children 
wedding guests dancing

Who should I include in my support network for my wedding?

Gather a team of family and friends who are your support team.  They are in place to divert problem guests and resolve issues without having to involve you and your partner. 

Wedding planner

Wedding planners are well-versed in dealing with demanding guests and can objectively handle emotionally charged situations. Their professionalism and experitise mean they can objectively defuse any awkwardness without issue.

Your Wingman

You need somebody who will protect you from misbehaving guests and serve as your designated point person. They could be your maid-of-honor, best man, family member, good friend, and even your wedding planner. You can also ask that one friend who you wanted to have in the wedding party, but numbers just didn't work out for all.   These folks are your support network

Maid-of-honor and best man

Your bridal party is probably very familiar with your wedding plans. If a problem arises, they can handle it without involving you and your partner. They can work in tandem with the wedding planner to help solve minor problems.

Family and friends

Tap in those relatives and siblings' other halves to help you out and keep your dream day seamless. This is also a chance to have a diplomatic friend step up to handle issues with grace.

Have a predetermined action plan and discuss it with each member to ensure that things run smoothly and that they understand their role.

How do I deal with a drunk wedding guest?

The drunk guest takes many forms, from mildly amusing to outright abusive. You can start by offering them coffee or water and something to eat. Take them to another room where they can gather themselves before returning to the party. Sometimes, a little time out is all they need.

Have a word with the bar staff and request they delay serving the guest or water down the drinks. For those who are further down the imbibing pipeline, bothering other people, or getting sick, you can call on your more intimidating support network. 

You may want to have a standby team member to take guests home or to their hotel rooms if they don’t have a partner who can handle this. Make sure you confiscate the car keys if the guest anticipates driving home.

If you feel it’s feasible, you can also have a prior word with the guest you anticipate might get drunk and ask them to be respectful of your wedding day.

If you know you are inviting people who are party animals, you might want to consider providing guests with drink tokens that are handed to the bartender. Once they run out of tickets, there are no more drinks. Serve wine and beer only, thus limiting the choice of alcoholic beverages.

How do I deal with a gatecrasher at my wedding?

Gatecrashers are people not connected in any way to the bridal party. Anybody who has seen the 2005 film Wedding Crashers is familiar with this concept. While it was amusing entertainment in the cinema, it is an unwelcome intrusion for a wedding couple. 

Usually, wedding receptions are the only event at a facility, but you might want to ensure that no other rooms are booked simultaneously. A few guests might wander in on your party if you are at a venue attached to a public restaurant or hotel. Talk to your venue staff to help monitor this problem. 

If you have a particularly large reception, you can always consider wristbands or the like to identify your party members. If you are in a public setting, you could face difficulties managing people just wandering into your celebrations. Have a word with your family and friends to help keep an eye out for unfamiliar faces sidling up to the buffet. They can ask questions that verify if the person is familiar with the bride and groom or their parents.

Avoid posting wedding reception details online, and keep the social media announcements generic if your profile is public. You don’t want to announce your party's time and place to everybody. If necessary, send paper invitations to your wedding guests, and for an extensive guest list, it can double as their entry card. 

How do I handle unexpected wedding guests?

Although your invitations were very specific about who was invited, somebody might slip in a plus-one at the last minute. Or it could be the couple who never bothered to RSVP to the invite yet showed up in their glad rags for your wedding day. 

If you can squeeze them in on a table and add an extra plate, then maybe it’s okay to let it go. If you have limited seating and plates and must abide by your guest numbers, you could ask them to rejoin you once the partying begins. 

How do I deal with a picky eater at my wedding?

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There is an increase in food allergies and dietary restrictions, and it is now essential to check with your guests prior to your wedding to accommodate their needs. 

You can include a note on your invitation asking them to inform you of any requirements. 

Your reception should not be the time for them to alert you that they are deathly allergic to the entrée, but if they didn’t let you know in advance, check in with your caterer to see if there is an alternative. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. 

How do I deal with a heckler during wedding speeches?

Speeches are prime real estate for the heckler who thinks they are a Comedy Club top-billing comedian. But this is your wedding, and people are here to celebrate you and your partner, so they are probably not wanting to hear somebody trying out their routine on the guests.

If you know there is a chance that one of your guests might interject their incessant comments, let your speakers know in advance so they are prepared. Actual comedians have clever responses to hecklers, so a quick internet search can provide some humorous comebacks. 

Forewarned is forearmed. If you know they tend to disrupt special occasions, consider sitting down with your heckler prior to the wedding and ask them to be respectful. 

How do I deal with squabbling wedding guests?

If you know two guests absolutely do not play nicely together, separate them as far from each other as possible. Let disagreeing parties know well in advance that you expect their arguments to be tabled for the day, and ask them to be respectful and gracious. 

Just for one day.

Make sure that the parties are not seated near one another during the ceremony and reception.  This can get tricky especially if they are parents or siblings.  If possible, place other family members in between them.  It is important that neither party feels slighted.

How do I handle a wedding guest announcing their engagement?

Multiple horror stories float around on the internet about couples hijacking a wedding with a momentous, life-altering broadcast of their own nuptials. The best response is to remain calm if possible, even though a nuclear reaction is totally understandable, say “Congratulations” and move along very swiftly. 

Most of your guests will probably be horrified at the gauche mistiming; others might respond enthusiastically.  Rely on your support network to guide the focus back to you and your partner.

How do I handle feral children at my wedding?

Children at a wedding can bring a youthful vitality to the occasion. Exhausted, bored, and overwhelmed children can terminate the jubilant festivities with unparalleled speed. 

If you plan on including children at your wedding, prepare to have entertaining activities to keep them occupied and engaged. You can’t always rely on their parents to keep a tight rein on their energetic offspring. Pack mentality doesn’t apply to just dogs when multiple children of a certain age gather in confined spaces. 


Am I prepared for all types of wedding guests?

You are concerned with dealing with difficult guests at your wedding. Being aware of what sort of guest issues you can face will help you solve them before it becomes a problem. Organization and careful planning can prevent many issues with hard-to-manage guests. 

Create a support network, use code words to communicate problems, and let them handle it. Rely on your wedding planner to defuse awkward situations objectively. Lay the ground rules for guests you suspect might cause a problem. You don’t want to and don’t have to focus on other people’s problems. It is your day to celebrate and share the joy with your family and friends. 

While we couldn’t say everything we had on our minds, we have said a lot already. So if you’d like to learn more about planning your wedding, you can check out our other articles.