Weddings are an amazing opportunity to bring loved ones together, but when you get so many people in one room (and add alcohol in the mix), it's inevitable that some drama may arise. What happens if you have a family member that's known for taking it a bit too far and might actually cause a scene at your wedding? Well, that's when you might need to take some extra steps to prevent things from going south. In the new Amazon Prime movie People We Hate at the Wedding starring Kristen Bell, Allison Janney, and Ben Platt, disasters definitely ensue thanks to the arrival of the bride's half-siblings. The bride, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, must handle her difficult family members and some seriously major disruptions they cause at her wedding events.
With the release of the movie today, we chatted with Addai-Robinson about how to navigate having family members that might cause a scene at your wedding. Read on for her etiquette intel.
Lay Down Ground Rules
When you know a family member or close friend might cause a riff at an event, Addai-Robinson says it's best to chat with them ahead of the wedding to set boundaries for the night. "I love rules," she exclusively tells Brides. "So, I think it's perfectly acceptable to make everything clear, knowing that you will probably still have some rule breakers. But, at least you can say that you you did set a bar from the start. So, if anyone needs to be kicked out, you can say, 'Well, I did tell you in advance.'"
You should also think about any topics that might be a catalyst for any arguments when you come together with your family. "Weddings are these really heightened situations with heightened emotions. When you have relatives, or even old friends, present, a lot of stuff tends to come to the surface," Addai-Robinson notes. "I would say try to anticipate any issues and maybe have some of those important friend and family conversations in advance so that you don't end up having it on the dance floor, drunk and yelling."
Of course, the star advises to always have these conversations with diplomacy and grace. "You want to take people's feelings into consideration," she says. "You don't have to be harsh about sort of explaining yourself. Being honest, but also being sensitive, go hand in hand and are helpful to navigate all of the complexities of a wedding."
Prepare Your Reception for Success
While it's good to chat with possibly rowdy guests ahead of time, there are also ways you can structure your wedding to prevent any hiccups. "I feel like table arrangements are crucial," Addai-Robinson advises. "You definitely want to make sure whatever your seating chart is, you don't want to put the wrong combination of people at a particular table. So, if you're worried about certain individuals, perhaps you make sure that whoever their seat mates are, they people that will kind of either keep them calm and grounded or maybe even bore them with conversations. This can help you make sure that it doesn't get too too rowdy too quickly."
The bar is another place where you can monitor guest behavior. "As is often the case at weddings, alcohol can often be the thing that gets the party started, but for some it might tip the balance another way," Addai-Robinson says. "So, if you know that people are getting a little rowdy, maybe you want to monitor the drink situation, and don't give them a heavy pour on the liquor."
Revoke Invitations If Needed
While disinviting a guest is a very difficult decision, it also can be a necessary act to help your wedding go smoothly and prevent even more hurt feelings. "It's obviously very uncomfortable," shares Addai-Robinson. "Oftentimes, just generating a guest list, in general, is very stressful. There are probably some people that are not going to make the cut, or people that have to be invited, and you're already worried about them being there."
"But, if somebody has done something to to really deserve being disinvited, then by all means do it. More than likely that person probably understands why they're being disinvited," she says. "It's meant to be your day and you don't want to have added levels of stress."
Delegate a Crisis
If something bad does arise at your wedding, Addai-Robinson recommends to hand off the responsibility of taking care of the situation to someone you trust. "As much as a wedding is for all to partake in and celebrate, for the happy couple, it really should be an opportunity for them to be present. If you're lucky to have a wedding planner, definitely have them take care of things. Or, delegate a trusted lieutenant to take that off your plate. Obviously, your mind is thinking about a million things when you're getting married."