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Wedding Guests: Real Guests Tell All


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Honest guests reveal the best and worst about weddings -- you'll want to take note.

Photo: Todd France Photography

Think you're planning the perfect party? Not so fast. We know what guests really think about cash bars, waiting for the bridal party to arrive, late-night drinking, and seating arrangements. To spare your friends and family the kinds of things that make guests grit their teeth, some veteran wedding-goers graciously agreed to tell us what you need to know to make your wedding rave-worthy.

Receiving Line Traffic Jams

"I hate long receiving lines. I once went to a wedding with over 300 guests and I sat in the last row of the church. Therefore, I was also the last row to leave the church. I had to wait for more than an hour to get to the receiving line and to exit the church."
--Heidi, 25, Blacksburg, VA

"I dread those receiving lines with about ten people in them, including the entire wedding party. I suppose it's great for the very few guests who know the bride and groom's families and all of their wedding party pals. But most of us just want to congratulate the couple and their parents. Unfortunately, you always get stuck making chitchat with a stranger in a bridesmaid dress who doesn't particularly care who you are, either, while the people in front of you hug the bride."
--Margaret, 42, Sarasota, FL

"I don't like long pauses between the ceremony and reception, as it is terribly inconvenient for out-of-town guests."

We're Not Going to Maui Tomorrow

"My wife and I recently went to a wedding on a Sunday evening, and we had to be at work the next day. The ceremony was at 5 p.m., the reception wasn't until about 6:30, and dinner wasn't even served until 8. The meal was finished around 9:30, and most of the guests were not from the area where the wedding took place. We left before the reception was over, and still didn't make it home until midnight."
--John, 35, New York, NY

Shall We See a Movie?

"I don't like long pauses between the ceremony and reception, as it is terribly inconvenient for out-of-town guests."
--Jocelyn, 27, Austin, TX

"If your ceremony ends at 5 p.m. and the reception starts at 6 p.m., you can assume that guests will be heading for the reception hall immediately following, so maybe it's best to book the location from 5:30 on. It's so awful to feel like an eager beaver and just be waiting in the reception hall lobby until the party officially 'begins.'"
--Amy, 25, Middletown, CT

A Little Mystery Never Hurt

"One thing I didn't like was seeing the bride before the ceremony. It was totally anticlimactic when she came down the aisle."
--Sarah, 24, Brooklyn, NY

"I hate when people decorate the pews and altar in their church after guests are already seated. I have been to two weddings where I watched the attendants or friends attach flowers and bows to the pews and set up candles at the altar while all the seated guests watched. It looked so disorganized and informal."
--Danine, 46, Miami, FL

"I hate it when the bride and her dad or the bride and groom stop halfway down the aisle for a photo op."
--Frank, 31, Ann Arbor, MI

Nowhere to Run

"I don't like it when there is no place to sit during the cocktail hour. My family tends to eat a lot of hors d'oeuvres, and they need a place to set down plates, drinks, cameras, purses and gift envelopes.

Also, I went solo to a friend's casual wedding in Atlanta, where I didn't know anyone but the groom. Since there were no table assignments, I had literally nowhere to sit. All the seats were in use or were 'reserved' with jackets and bags."
--Domenica, 27, Kinnelon, NJ

Am I a Cheap Date?

"Guests should never be expected to pay for drinks. You would never host any other private party and expect your guests to pay for their own alcohol."
--Elizabeth, 25, Frederick, MD

"I hate cash bars. It's like sending your wedding present COD."
--Susan, 28, New Fairfield, CT

"I'm sorry, but limited bars are generally a bummer. Ditto for wine drawn from a tap."
--Liza, 25, Cincinnati, OH


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