Nightmare Scenario: A Drunken Brawl Breaks Out at Your Wedding

Here's to handle it if someone's throwing punches when you just want throw the bouquet

Updated 06/26/17

Every couple hopes their wedding day will be full of love and laughter, but when you mix an open bar with high emotions, you never know when an altercation might turn into something more serious. We would never recommend breaking up a fight in your wedding gown, so here’s how to handle it if a wedding guest starts throwing punches.

A fight is the last thing you want to see at your wedding, but as much as your big day is the perfect setting for romance, it can also be the perfect storm. Here’s how to keep things cool, and what to do if they get out of hand.

First things first, if you know you have guests coming who are prone to drinking a little too much, let your planner and caterer know. They can keep an eye out, and your bartenders are trained to cut a guest off if they’ve ordered a few too many vodkas. Most guests will begrudgingly accept that they’re done for the night, but this could also be a catalyst if they’re sure they need one more glass of champagne. If you notice someone getting belligerent, your staff should contact the venue’s security and calmly remove the guest in question, helping them find a safe way home.

Do you have a few relatives or friends who don’t get along? Before the wedding, let them know who else will be in attendance so they’re not surprised to see their nemesis at the next table. Beyond that, there’s not much you can do to prepare: They are adults, after all, and the most you can do is hope they’ll behave as such. If things do get heated, do not intervene! Ask your planner or a family member or friend to try to stop the disagreement, and focus on enjoying your wedding day.

In the event of a physical fight, the last thing you should do is insert yourself in the situation. Start by turning to the venue’s manager, who may have security staff available to help diffuse whatever is happening. Trust their judgement—they’ve most likely dealt with this before—and let them decide how to proceed. See if the guests in question can be moved elsewhere, whether it’s outside of the venue or another room, so the rest of your guests aren’t put in harm’s way. Worst case scenario, your venue’s manager or your wedding planner may decide to call the police. Remember that the safety of your guests is more important than whether or not the authorities get involved.

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