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The Wedding Guests You Never Knew You Didn't Want

When it comes to weddings, we invite three tiers of guests. Tier I: your lovely friends and family. Tier II: the people your bank rollers force you to invite, like your mom’s BFF, or your mom’s nemesis, or your mom’s hair dresser. Tier III: the people who pop back into your life out of nowhere and ask for an invitation; or the people that your friends and family somehow guilt you into inviting. You may, for example, wake up one day and realize you have given your step-cousin-in-law permission to bring a plus one when he, himself, was low on the guest list. All your guests hold different places in your heart, sure, but we promise they have one thing in common - the ability to make you raging mad. Yes. It's true. Whether it is your BFF trying to hitch a ride with you to your own wedding, or an anonymous date complaining about the food, nearly everyone is going to get under your skin at some point. Truth be told, the beautiful cocktail of wedding stress, nerves, excitement, and overwhelm will aid and abet your desire to hit absolutely everyone in the face.

If you follow us on Instagram (, you were able to participate in our “guest drama” poll to determine which types of guests would most piss you off. Below you will find a detailed list of our poll results; plus, we’ve got tricks and tips for avoiding the bullshit! No RSVP. The ways in which a guest can anger you start the moment you send out the invitations, if not before. Love it or hate it (and who would love it?), you may have to deal with some people refusing to RSVP - reasons unknown. Suggestion: Have an RSVP deadline. When you ask a guest to respond by a specific date, it actually helps them remember to do it. It also gives you permission to start cracking skulls and calling people after a certain date. Questions, questions, questions. There will be several guests who, despite your beautifully curated wedding website from Zola or AppyCouple, need to hear event details straight from the horse’s mouth. And guess who the horse is? You. Most of the questions will regard information that isn’t on the invitation, but is on the website - What hotel should we stay at? Are kids allowed? What is the dress code? Etcetera. Some other super special guests will ask you questions that Google could easily answer - How do I get to the venue? What is the weather going to be like? Suggestion: Have a polite but firm note written up in your phone that you can easily copy & paste via text or email. Something like “The answers to all your questions and more can be found on our wedding site! *insert website*. I hope you can check it out!” Unsolicited Advice. Is unsolicited advice ever welcome? No, by definition, it is not. Is it ever fully avoided? Not really. When it comes to your wedding, people will try to live, or relive, vicariously through you. Same goes for any big event in your life. Suggestion: Hopefully, you have created some coping strategies that work best for you in situations like this. Surely, this isn’t your first rodeo with unwanted opinions. If you don’t know how to handle this, it’s time to hit the books! Or talk to a friend or family member. If all else fails, may we suggest a burn journal, or screaming your lungs out in a soundproof chamber of sorts?

Tardiness. Most of our pollers said they wouldn’t mind a guest being late as long as the ceremony was over. Showing up even moments late for the ceremony, however, is a hard no. And guests who just don’t show up at all? Well, they are dead to us. Suggestion: Other than a kind remark on your wedding website asking guests to please be on time, we don’t really have any ideas. It is a no-brainer to be on time and/or RSVP appropriately. People who show up late, or not at all, know what they are doing.

Dress code. Most of our pollers expressed a heightened state of displeasure at the idea of guests dressing inappropriately. This could be anything from wearing white, dressing too informally, dressing too formally, or dressing too sexy (Hello, Kendall Jenner). Suggestion: Have the dress code for each event clearly stated on your website. Be sure to also include which color schemes guests should avoid! Most guests would feel embarrassed to accidentally match the wedding party. However, regardless of what you post on your site, know that some people may dismiss it. The best thing you can do is mentally prepare for it to happen. Preparation will make it easier to inhale deeply and let it go. Short of kicking people out or having a room full of emergency replacement outfits, that is really all you can do. Phones & Cameras. Most people said they would prefer guests to put their phones & cameras away during the ceremony, but others said they wouldn’t mind. The one thing everyone can agree on, however, is that guests better not post pics of the newlyweds before the actual couple gets a chance to - this is one faux pas that can ruin lives.

Suggestion: If you don’t want pictures snapped, we strongly encourage the use of signage and/or programs to send the message. Our smartphones are like a 5th limb, it’s always with us, so if you don't want your guests on them, you need to be explicit. A simple “Please, no phones or cameras” sign placed at the entrance should do the trick for most people. You could also have your officiant make an announcement right before the ceremony begins. The more ways you spell it out, the higher success rate you’ll have. If you WANT pictures, the same idea applies - be explicit. A lot of people will not know if cameras are OK or not, and you don't want to lose your amateur photographers to uncertainty. Requesting Photos. You’re the celeb for the day, and everyone wants to get a pic with you. Some might feel overwhelmed by this, while others might be in their glory. It really depends on the type of person you are, and hopefully your guests know you well enough to navigate that. Suggestion: Take the picture. Doing so will end up taking less time than explaining why you don’t want to. Plus, you will be happy to have it later on. On the other hand, if you want pictures with all your guests, don’t be shy to ask them. They are probably just waiting for the right time to ask you anyway! You can also drag your photographer around with you and get professional photos with everyone - it’s your day!

Song requests. This isn’t typically the worst thing, but it can be. We once had a guest not only ask the DJ to play only Beyonce for the remaining 2 hours of the reception, but also seek out the bride to complain after his request was denied. Another guest requested a special slow dance for his wife, which seemed harmless, if not sweet, until we learned that the song was 11 minutes long…11 minutes!

Suggestion:Ask the DJ or band ahead of time not to accept special requests. It is as simple as that. If it isn’t that black and white for you, you could provide them with a list of songs or genres that are off limits.

Wallflowers. A surprising number of pollers said they would be disappointed to find guests not dancing. Turns out, if we front the money for music, we want you to dance. Naturally, not every single person is going to get on the dance floor; age, physical ability, and personality play a large part in that.

Suggestion:If you want people to dance and let loose, we suggest an open bar…just kidding…kind of. There are other ways! Be sure you are playing dance music fairly consistently. Breaking up the fun with too many slow songs or announcements can affect the vibe. Another way to get people boogying is with the lighting. If the room is too bright, people might feel too self-conscious to dance, so go for a darker lighting option. Go ahead and throw in some strobe lights, fog machines, or glow sticks to really seal the deal. Ask your DJ which special effects they can provide in your package!

Dismissing Favors. It can feel like a huge slap in the face to see the favors you spent your hard earned time and money on being left behind. Generally speaking though, this isn’t a malicious act on the part of your guests.

Suggestion:First and foremost, choose favors that guests will enjoy. Their excitement over the gift will help them remember to bring it home. Second, have the favors located in an obvious place where everyone can see and access them easily. Next, create signage so guests know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are meant to take the favors. Putting the favors at each dining table can help ensure guests see them and know to take them. Finally, if the favors aren’t at each table, you can have your wedding coordinator, or whoever you wish, do their best to make sure everyone leaves with a favor. Have any more drama you want to share, or tips on how to avoid it? Leave us a message in the comments!


The KE Team


Photo Credit from top to bottom: Jenn Bakos Photography and Rebecca Love Photography

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