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mistakes guests make

10 Major Mistakes Your Guests Might Make

The 10 biggest mistakes wedding guests make -- and how to deal when they happen to you.

Photo: Heather Kincaid Photography

Buying a Non-registry Gift

What they did: Some guests feel that buying a present from the registry is impersonal. Instead, they go and purchase a gift with a little more -- er, imagination.

How to deal: Shopping off the registry can result in a pleasant surprise, or leave a couple cringing. You cannot, however, be anything but gracious for any gift you're given. While they're typically expected, wedding gifts are technically not required from a guest. If someone has eschewed the registry and bought you a present you know you won't use (or, even worse, they've given you a gift you know you'll have to hide), check whether they sent it with the receipt. If so, they may have realized their gift might not be your style, and it's fine to return the present. Otherwise, write a thank-you note for the thoughtful gesture, and keep the gift for as long as you can stand having it around.

Stop the cycle: Register at an off-the-beaten path store that offers unique gift options like a local museum shop or a boutique home store. That way, the guest can get you something a bit more personal that you actually love.

Showing Up Late

What they did: You know how some people show up late to movies because they know there will be 20 minutes of trailers? Some guests
may have a similar notion for your ceremony. We know one maid of honor who saw a late guest stroll in directly behind the bride as she walked down the aisle with her father!

How to deal: For those who are really late, ask an usher or your day-of coordinator to hang out near the rear of the ceremony site so they can make sure your processional goes undisturbed, and to have them help any late guest quickly and quietly find a seat.

Stop the cycle: Give yourself a slight buffer for your friends and family who are never quite on time. If your invites say the ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m., plan on walking down the aisle about 15 minutes after that.

Bringing a Big, Heavy Gift

What they did: It doesn't sound so bad: Someone brought a huge gift to the wedding. While you really can't complain about receiving presents at your reception -- or, at all for that matter -- it can be a pain to lug them home.

How to deal: Ask one of your attendants to store all the gifts in one place -- preferably a locked, separate room in your reception space -- so that nothing gets left behind. At the end of the evening, that attendant can account for all the gifts and then take them to the most convenient location (probably your home rather than your honeymoon suite).

Stop the cycle: Online registries have made it easier than ever to send gifts wherever you want. Promote this gifting tool by including links to your online registries on your website.

Giving Unexpected Toasts

What they did: Weddings can be emotional events, and the toasts are an opportunity for your closest friends and family to share sentiments with the rest of your guests. Those same emotions (and maybe too much alcohol) can do funny things to any otherwise reliable guest, and some may feel compelled to grab the mic when they weren't asked to toast. Embarrassing stories, offensive anecdotes, and rambling rants have all worked their way into wedding toasts.

How to deal: Unfortunately, you need to just grin and bear it. If the toast seems like it will never end, have the best man signal the band or DJ to carefully cut in. The other guests will appreciate the gesture too.

Stop the cycle: Head off unexpected toasts by making sure the emcee of the evening (your DJ or bandleader) has a list of approved toasters. Tell them not to give the mic to anyone who's not scheduled to speak, no matter how persistent their plea for the microphone.