Ensure your friends and family have a great time on your big day by avoiding these common gripes from real-life wedding guests!


An inconvenient date

Your dream venue is yours for the taking… on New Year’s Eve. It’s a tricky one. Your wedding day is the most important day on the calendar for you, but you’ll need to consider date clashes with big events. Naturally, you can’t factor in every birthday, christening or anniversary but when looking at venue availability, do bear in mind major events that affect large numbers of people – like Christmas, Easter and milestone birthdays.

Depending on the majority of your friends and family’s children’s ages, you might also need to think about school-day problems posed by a midweek booking, as well as whether people might be unable to get a day’s holiday from work to attend. The best way to resolve all this? Send out your save the dates super early!

Not saying thank you

No matter how dismissive you are of some of the conventions surrounding weddings, there are certain givens you’ve got no excuse for ignoring, and they’re the ones relating to good manners. Nobody expects you to engage in lengthy conversations with each guest on the day, nor to laboriously write thank you letters in your bridal suite or while on your honeymoon, but you should definitely make the effort to exchange a few words with every guest after the ceremony and aim to have formally thanked your guests for their presence – and presents – within six weeks of the event. Whether a generic thank you or an individual personal message, your guests will appreciate being acknowledged.

Plus ones

As we all know, weddings aren’t inexpensive affairs, so budgeting where possible is entirely sensible, but forcing your unmarried friends to come and revel in your happiness without a hand to hold isn’t your best cost-cutting avenue. Equally, it’s tough on your guests when their invitations don’t make it clear that they’ll be welcome to bring a ‘plus one’.

You needn’t necessarily issue an open plus-one for an acquaintance who has a reputation for short-lived flings, but if a friend has a significant other, it’s good form to clearly welcome them to share in your day, even if it’s just for the evening.

Expensive drinks

Weddings are costly for the bride and groom, but factor in gifts, accommodation, outfits and transport and they’re also fairly pricey for the guests, too. One aspect of your day that will inevitably be expensive is the drink. Ensure your guests are catered for on the table with plenty of wine and water, saving them money before the evening.

No guest will expect a free bar, but let them know in advance whether or not it is cash only, otherwise you could have guests leaving the ceremony to try to find a cash point!


Long-winded speeches

There are so many reasons why these are a bad idea! Expecting guests to stay quiet while various people speak is reasonable, yes, but only for a short time. Beyond that, they’ll likely become restless and distracted. This is particularly important if you have children as guests – if a toddler gets irritable, their parent will have to miss out on the speeches by taking them to another room.

If you know they may drag a little, keep guests interested by putting betting cards on each table, so they can try to guess how long the speeches will take. Fun, cheap and gets everyone on the tables talking to each other, too.

Lack of food

Not enough food means low blood sugar and rumbling tummies. Not exactly the recipe for happy guests, which are a major contributor to a fantastic party! Add alcohol and a long day and it’s fair to say you need to feed your guests, and feed them well!

Whatever the style of your main reception meal – whether a three-course meal or a more relaxed buffet – it’s wise to provide canapés to keep guests going. This is especially important if your wedding ceremony is around lunch time and your guests won’t get to eat until mid-afternoon.

No facilities

The question of whether to welcome children at a wedding can be a thorny one, but if you’ve decided to have younger guests share your day, make sure that they’re reasonably provided for. A separate, earlier dinner, child-friendly meal options, an entertainer, bouncy castle, a lucky dip stuffed with colouring books and pens… Anything that keeps little people happy and occupied will mean a better, more relaxed time for their parents, and you, too!


Extreme weather conditions

No, we’re not suggesting that you’re responsible for the weather on your wedding day! However, the best parties are the ones where the hosts cover contingencies to ensure their guests’ comfort and enjoyment, in preparation for any weather. So consider providing relief from blistering heat (readily available water and orders of service that double as fans, for instance) or shelter from potential rainfall. Heated lamps are also a good idea if you have the budget for it. But remember, come rain or shine, your day will be wonderful, and your guests will have fun no matter what!

One type of music

Grumbles over this one are often similar to the ones about the speeches: music can be like an ‘in joke’ that no one else gets. Devising a playlist that incorporates all of your old favourites, and including a few tracks that cause your bridesmaids to shriek and fling their arms around you is only natural, but indulging your passion for, say, heavy rock music, from the reception’s start to finish will only alienate guests and ensure a deserted dancefloor.


Variety is the spice of life so think of your guests – visualise an enthusiastic throng of dancers and plan your playlist accordingly. The Grease and Dirty Dancing medleys may seem a bit too cheesy, but you can guarantee your guests will love it, and after a few glasses of Champagne, you and your rock ‘n’ roll groom will probably get in the spirit, too!

Check out more great wedding planning advice here, or chat to real brides on our Forum to see how their planning experience is going!