The Top 5 Wedding Guest Complaints (and How to Avoid Them)

Planning Tips
wedding guest complaints

Photo: Jose Villa

As much as you'd like to think your guests will love every single aspect of your wedding, the truth is you really can't please everyone. Here are five of the most common wedding-guest gripes, along with tips on how to pre-empt them!

1. "The date was inconvenient."
Getting married on a major holiday weekend, like Thanksgiving, Labor Day, or even Super Bowl weekend, may seem like a great idea (automatic three-day weekend, right?). However, some guests may not feel the same way — people often make plans for these occasions far in advance and, let's face it, no one likes having to rearrange their schedule.

How to avoid it: Talk to your closest friends and family members before you set the date and see how they feel. And if you really want a Labor Day-weekend wedding then you just need to be prepared for some grumbling.

2. "There was too much time in between the ceremony and reception."
If your ceremony and reception are being held at different locations, make things simple for guests by keeping the time in between as minimal as possible. However, sometimes circumstances don't make that practical or possible — churches often have time constraints, which can impact the timing of your wedding day. But when guests have too much time on their hands between the ceremony and reception, they'll either starve (and get cranky) or find a nearby cafe and stuff themselves. Ideally you want your guests to eat and drink and be merry at your reception, not at a bar they found along the way.

How to avoid it: An hour or hour-and-a-half is the perfect amount of time between the wedding and reception. If a longer time gap is inevitable, ask if your reception venue can be opened earlier for waiting guests. Also, ask if your caterer can prepare a light snack for guests who will be waiting. You could also set up a hospitality lounge, with drinks and snacks, at the hotel where your guests will be staying (you can include information and directions in the ceremony program). Your main goal is to make sure nobody's left in the lurch with nowhere to go and nothing to do.

See More: 4 Things All Parents Love at Weddings

3. "I had to sit with complete strangers at the reception."
Figuring out where to seat everyone during the reception is definitely not an easy task, but creating a well-thought-out seating chart is very important. Imagine sitting at a table where everyone knows everyone else — except for you.

How to avoid it: Try to make sure your guests are seated at a table with at least one person they know.

4. "There were way too many speeches."
Wedding toasts are great and all, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Never-ending speeches full of too many inside jokes will quickly bore the majority of guests.

How to avoid it: Limit the number of toasts to three or four, and ask each toaster to keep their speech under three minutes. Encourage them to write everything down beforehand, and alert your DJ to signal a musical cue if it's time to wrap things up, just like the Oscars.

5. "I never even got to talk to the bride!"
Many couples these days skip the traditional post-ceremony receiving line because it's time-consuming. However, if you decide to skip the tradition, it's important to really make an effort to personally greet each guest at some point during the reception.

How to avoid it: Block out time during the reception to pop by each dinner table for a quick hello. Or, for a more personal touch, you could hand-deliver the wedding favors as you make your rounds — it's a perfect way to catch everyone. Just make sure to keep moving and don't get held up at one table for too long. Otherwise, your reception will turn into one long receiving line, the exact thing you were trying to avoid.

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