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You are the bride and groom. You are the "guests of honor" at your wedding, but you're also the de facto host and hostess. Even if you hired a wedding planner to coordinate all of your events, at the end of the day, you are going to be financially responsible for what happens at the actual wedding.
I have talked to my colleagues in the wedding planning business and we universally agree that receptions have gotten rowdier and more out of control in recent years. Not just destination weddings, but even country club and hotel weddings. Guest are simply drinking more alcohol than ever before.
Let me assure you, nobody in charge ever wants to have to cut somebody off at the bar. Anybody who is so drunk that they shouldn't have another drink may get angry and aggressive if they're told they can't have more. At weddings, especially, we're trying to avoid any needless drama that could take away from the overall experience for the bride and groom. The problem is that some guests may forget that it's not Spring Break.
Who is responsible for the behavior of wedding guests? The bride and groom are. It's your event, you signed the contracts, and you invited these people to the wedding. With the rare exception of an off-the-wall, plus-one invite behaving in a surprising way, most of the time, brides and grooms know exactly who they are inviting to their wedding and what kind of people they are.
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If you have previously seen this same group of friends act up at somebody else's wedding, it's time to step back and seriously consider whether you want the liability of having them as guests at your own. And I don't mean just legal liability — I mean do you want to take the risk that someone could ruin your wedding reception by having a few too many drinks? If you have close friends who consistently fight at social gatherings, including weddings, and get out of control with an open bar, do you really want them there?
Take a close look at your invitation list. Identify potential problems and talk to them about their behavior before the wedding. If they get upset that you're asking them to maintain a certain level of sobriety and dignity for your big day, you may want to re-evaluate whether they belong there at all.
When something gets broken at a wedding, the bride and groom pay for it. When staff are harassed or assaulted by drunken wedding guests, something will be done about it by the planner or venue, and you will certainly have a bad memory or a huge bill to pay when everything is over. Is that the way you want to remember your biggest day? I didn't think so.
You are responsible for the behavior of the guests you invite to your wedding, so remember to think carefully before you mail the invitations!
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.