Photo: New Line/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
Brides and grooms know if they have a VIP guest who might behave badly at the wedding. Most of the time, I'm warned in advance because I ask and because the matter is discussed in our client handbook.
I'm not looking for gossip when I ask; I'm trying to make sure that absolutely everything will be flawless on the wedding day. Sometimes that means gathering intel ahead of time so that if (or when) something inappropriate does happen, I already know how the couple would like the matter handled.
We've had all kinds of "special" VIP guests: fathers who get too friendly with all the ladies after a few cocktails, moms who try to get back together with ex-husbands in front of their new wives, and even a developmentally-disabled adult sibling who liked to think he was in charge and turned nasty when he drank too much.
When we know we may have difficulties in advance, we can be prepared for it. If it's a big wedding, we'll discreetly double security. We warn the service staff if it's something unavoidable (like the brother mentioned above), and our wedding planning staff is alerted to potential problems and will keep an eye on that guest specifically. The goal is to head off — in advance! — anything that could cause public embarrassment for the wedding couple on their special day.
The advantage to having an emergency plan before the wedding is that you don't have to interrupt the bride and groom's fun to solve the problem. Most incidents occur outside the view of the bride and groom, and the best case scenario is to remove the problem without the couple even being aware anything happened.
We've had two occasions with fathers of the bride, who had the habit of getting naked and passing out when they've been drinking. This has happened twice in the staff room because it's the most readily-accessible quiet spot at the wedding venue. While it's certainly not ideal (especially for the staff member who finds them), at least dad is embarrassing himself behind a closed door. In both cases of naked father syndrome, we discreetly asked the bride's brothers for help getting him dressed and out of the venue. The brothers were both happy to assist to avoid mortifying their families. We knew what to do because the brides had warned us in advance that something could happen.
We've handled a variety of situations in that way — knowing who our point-person was if we required assistance during the reception to help make everything go as smoothly as possible, under the circumstances. I can't change the way a couple's VIP guests behave, but I can do my very best to make sure their misbehavior doesn't ruin the night for the bride and groom.
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.