There's so much to love about attending a wedding, from the amazing party and meeting new people, to enjoying the unique wedding food and celebrating together - no one is denying how much fun being a wedding guest can be. But, and there's a big but here - there are a number of things that annoy wedding guests.
We've all been at a wedding we'll never forget, but sometimes it's for all the wrong reasons. If you want to know what your guests are secretly complaining about, we've rounded up 18 annoying things wedding guests moan about, by asking our Instagram followers for the things they find the most annoying when they attend a wedding.
But here at Hitched HQ, we're all about the solutions, so along with the things that wedding guests hate, we've also come up with some easy fixes and helpful solutions to ensure your wedding is one that guests remember for all the *right* reasons...
18 Things Wedding Guests Hate... And How to Deal With Them
From going hungry and having to re-mortgage just to attend, to long journeys and temperature issues - here are 18 things that really annoy wedding guests - and some simple solutions on how to fix it.
1. Being Hungry
The Problem: When we ask the Hitched users for their wedding day bugbears, we are always inundated with comments around being hungry at weddings. Eating is literally a human being necessity, and it always surprises us just how many guests go hungry at weddings.
Amongst the replies, guests commented on a range of hunger bugbears including a lack of choice for those who have dietary requirements and waiting a long time for food between the wedding ceremony and breakfast, and between the breakfast and reception.
The Fix: To ensure your guests are well fed at your wedding, planning your wedding day timeline is essential. Think about what time your guests are arriving at the ceremony and how long it would have been since their last meal.
Ensure that your guests are never without food for more than 3-4 hours. It’s also really important to communicate food information with your guests, especially if you have some coming for just the evening reception. A lot of guests will arrive at your wedding reception having not had dinner and if you’re not able to provide substantial evening food, they need to know before they arrive.
READ MORE: Our Complete Guide to Wedding Catering
2. Waiting Around
The Problem: A lot of wedding guests find attending a whole day’s celebration tedious when there are long periods of waiting around. These moments often occur when a couple’s ceremony is late to start, whilst you and your partner are signing the registry and during the formal wedding photography.
The moments between your ceremony and wedding breakfast, and then your wedding breakfast and reception can also become static moments for wedding guests.
The Fix: The best way to ensure your guests aren’t waiting around aimlessly at any point on your wedding day is to plan the order of events with this in mind. Something as simple as playing some recessional music while you’re signing the register can make that moment feel less static.
Discuss this with your wedding venue as well, often your wedding coordinator will have ideas on what you can do to reduce waiting time and ensure your guests are entertained.
3. Being Forgotten About
The Problem: There’s nothing worse than booking your hotel, buying a new outfit, making the journey and attending a wedding, than that gut-wrenching feeling that you’ve been forgotten about. This is a reality for a lot of wedding guests with some form of additional need or requirement.
Whether it’s a dietary requirement that has been forgotten, or an accessibility issue that makes it difficult for them to move around the venue, or the fact that they have young children who have been invited and then not catered for - being forgotten about or having your needs pushed aside is not a nice feeling as a wedding guest.
The Fix: You, more than anyone else, know your wedding guests. When you put together your invitation list, it’s important to go through and highlight any vulnerable guests or those who may need additional provisions and ensure that you can actually accommodate this. See how to put on an accessible wedding here.
If you have elderly guests or those with mobility problems who aren’t able to access stairs, check that your venue has step-free access and that your day doesn’t involve a lot of standing around or walking. If you’re inviting someone with a food allergy or intolerance, check that your caterers can accommodate this.
If you’re opening your wedding to young guests and even newborns, have you considered children’s menus and a place for new mothers to nurse and change their babies? It may seem like a lot of admin, but putting yourself in your guests shoes, the last thing you want them to feel is like they were a lost thought.
4. Spending a Fortune
The Problem: Attending weddings can be a really expensive occasion for wedding guests. From buying a new outfit and accessories, to paying for travel and accommodation - it can really add up. No one is saying that attending a wedding should be spend-free, but especially during high wedding season between May and October, some wedding guests will be attending numerous weddings and that can have a big impact on them financially.
Costs as a wedding guest increase even more when attending a wedding overseas, one that lasts multiple days or one that requires them to take time off of work - especially for those who are self employed and don’t have paid annual leave.
The Fix: To help cut the cost of your wedding for your guests, it’s worth considering how many pre and post wedding celebrations you host. Attending an engagement party, hen or stag do, wedding shower, pre-wedding dinner, the wedding itself, breakfast the next day and a post-wedding party yep, that really is a thing) can be a lot for guests to pay out for.
Couples should also consider negotiating discounted prices with local hotels for your guests if you can guarantee a high number of bookings. No one is saying that you should pay for everything, but considering your guests’ expenditure is something that will be highly appreciated.
RAED MORE: 25 Really Common Wedding Planning Mistakes
5. Lack of Organisation
The Problem: When attending a wedding, it’s never a nice feeling when the whole thing seems a little disorganised or chaotic. As a guest, no one likes feeling like they’re not in the right place or they don’t know what’s going on. It can be very unsettling to have absolutely no clue what time something will finish, what’s happening next and where you need to be as a wedding guest - people just like to know what’s going on.
The Fix: Appoint a wedding coordinator who is visible to your guests so if they have any questions about timings or plans, they have so. Another way to help communicate plans with your guests is by hiring a toast master to help add structure to the day. On top of that, we would always recommend having an order of the day visible to your wedding guests with some rough timings so people are aware of how the day will be structured.
6. A Lack of Information
The Problem: When wedding guests receive their wedding invitations, it can be really frustrating to not have all of the information needed to make arrangements. As well as the date and location of the wedding, it’s really useful to know how long the day will last, start times, finish times, dress code, menu information, whether there’s a car park and anything else you deem to be relevant.
Even if your wedding is over a year away, people like to be organised and make arrangements with enough time to do so. No one is ever going to complain that you gave them too much information - trust us.
The Fix: When you send out your wedding invitations, try to include as much information as possible on them. If you don’t want to put everything on the invite itself, consider linking to a wedding website where you can host information and update it regularly.
It’s fine to not have all of the details straight away, but communicating things with your wedding guests is really important. It’ll also stop you from being bombarded and overwhelmed with questions from guests if you provide all of the information for them in the first place.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Wedding Websites
7. Long Speeches
The Problem: Sitting through long speeches can be a real bug bear for many wedding guests. Filled with insider jokes that no one else understands, and never knowing when it’s going to end can lead to your wedding breakfast becoming a little drowsy.
The Fix: Having wedding speeches are really important to a lot of couples, and no one is saying don’t have them. To break this up, you can spread your wedding speeches out to have a couple of people conducting readings or saying a few words during your ceremony, a couple doing speeches during the wedding breakfast and then another speech or two during the reception.
By spreading these out, it stops wedding speeches from feeling like one static chunk of the day and makes them more enjoyable. It’s also worth having time slots and limitations on how long speeches should last for. Don’t be afraid to tell family members that 3-4 minutes is the perfect amount of time to give a speech for.
8. Inconvenient Locations
The Problem: Picture this… You get an exciting-looking envelope through your letterbox, you see you’re invited to your best friend’s wedding (yay!), it’s beautiful, you open it up, begin to read it and suddenly realise it’s going to cost you an absolute fortune to get there because the wedding venue is in an incredibly inconvenient location.
The Fix: With family and friends scattered all over the country, and sometimes even the world, there is no location that will be perfect for everyone - and that’s something wedding guests will always understand. But there’s a few things you can do to ensure minimal inconvenience.
Firstly, try to ensure your wedding venue is accessible by public transport. People who don’t drive don’t want to spend a fortune on taxis because they can’t commute to your venue.
Next, if you’re planning destination wedding abroad, try to ensure it’s allocation that people can explore outside of your wedding. Destination weddings are expensive for guests and it’s always nice when they can extend their trip and double it up as their annual holiday and this can only be done in certain locations where people would be happy to holiday.
Finally, give plenty of notice. If your wedding is located in a tough area for people to travel to, or if they have to fly there, they may need some time to save up or plan travel arrangements and a matter of months just isn’t long enough for a lot of people.
9. Sitting With Strangers
The Problem: There’s nothing more awkward than attending a wedding, looking at the seating plan and realising you don’t know anyone that you’re sat with. Wedding breakfasts tend to last 1-2 hours - that’s a long time to sit on a table full of strangers - especially ones who all know each other.
The Fix: Whilst it’s impossible to make sure everyone is sat with all of their friends (we get table plan drama), it’s important to try and make sure that every one of your wedding guests has at least one person on their table that they know or have met before.
If you have guests attending your wedding who don’t know anyone at all, try to introduce them to some of your friends at social events before the wedding, or assign someone to buddy up with them so they have a partying partner on the day.
10. No Seating Plans!
The Problem: If there’s one thing worse than a bad seating plan, it’s no seating plan at all. Laid-back couples plan great weddings - guests love when things are low maintenance and stress-free. But having no seating plan whatsoever is taking the laissez faire attitude one step too far.
By not having any form of table plan, it means families could end up being separated and drama between guests could begin to emerge. Anyone doing this is just asking for chaos.
The Fix: Actually have a table plan. It’s as simple as that! A bad table plan is better than none at all…
11. Long Queues (Anywhere!)
The Problem: Whilst us Brits are known for just joining a queue, whatever it’s for, no one wants to do this at a wedding, whether it’s queuing for the bathroom, to get into the ceremony or even worse - for a drink!
The Fix: Consider your guest ratio to things like bathrooms, bars and reception spaces. It’s also important to have a coordinator or member of your wedding party informing guests of where things are. Brits’ habit of joining a queue rather than looking for an alternative bathroom can be solved if someone kindly reminds people that there’s another one upstairs.
READ MORE: Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Venue
12. Being Too Hot or Too Cold
The Problem: Hot and sweaty, or shivering and freezing guests is not something you want at your wedding. Body temperature is something which can really ruin a day - even more so at a wedding when you’re in an environment where changing your outfit or shoes is not the done thing.
The Fix: If you’re getting married in the height of summer, or in a notoriously cold month, consider things that will ease the impact of extreme weather. For summer weddings, hydration stations, lots of shade, fans and ventilation are all things that should be considered.
For weddings in the colder months, consider the level of heating your venue provides, your dress code and potentially having things like pretty throws and blankets for the evening.
READ MORE: Planning a Wedding in a Heatwave
13. No Drinks at The Breakfast
The Problem: If there’s one thing that really brings the mood down at a wedding breakfast - more than the long speeches - it’s having to get up mid-meal and queue for a drink at the bar.
The Fix: Providing a free bar for the entirety of a wedding is a debate that’s long been had and it all depends on your budget, the size of your wedding and a number of other variables. However, providing drinks for your guests with their wedding breakfast meal should be non-negotiable.
If it’s out of your budget to include guest drinks into the meal, it’s worth considering how you can save in other areas.
14. Evening Guest + Long Commutes = Unhappy Guests
The Problem: Lots of couples split their wedding guests into all-day guests and then ones that are just invited to the evening. This is absolutely fine and wedding guests generally never take issue with this, but one thing that really grinds a wedding guests’ gears is being invited to the evening of a wedding, and having to travel a long way, or even abroad, for it.
The Fix: When deciding who will be your day guests and who will be just evening guests, take into consideration how long your guests will have to travel to be there. A good rule of thumb is, if the guest has to travel for longer than they will actually be at the wedding, it’s not good wedding etiquette to have them just for the evening.
This has much more to do with where your guest is traveling from, than where you are traveling from. It may not be a destination wedding for you, but it might be for them.
15. Useless Wedding Favours
The Problem: This is a lose-lose for both the wedding guests and the couple who are getting married. Spending money on wedding favours that serve no purpose to your guests whatsoever is not useful for them, and it’s also not a sensible way to spend your wedding budget.
The Fix: Consider what the purpose of your wedding favours are versus the cost of them. There are lots of useful and meaningful wedding favours you can give your wedding guests which act either as memorabilia from your wedding day, or are a practical gift such as candles, seeds to plant or drinks.
16. Unnecessary Waste!
The Problem: Watching things go to waste at a wedding can be difficult for your guests. Whether it’s food being wasted, decorations being chucked in the bin or wedding cake left at the venue - no one likes watching things being wasted.
The Fix: If you have wedding decorations, flowers or trinkets at your venue that you know you don’t want to keep, assign someone from the wedding party to offer these things out to your wedding guests. People will be so flattered that you thought of them and who doesn’t love a freebie?
Evening wedding food, dessert tables and wedding cake always lead to leftovers. Ask someone from your venue to pack up anything that wasn’t eaten in tupperware. This can be handed out to guests at the end of the night, or donated to a food bank the next day. Also consider your wedding suppliers - a few treats from the doughnut wall are a nice way to say an extra thank you for all of their hard work.
17. Not Getting a Plus One
The Problem: Not getting a plus one to a wedding can be frustrating for guests who are in relationships and want to spend time with their partner. It can also be hard for single wedding guests who are attending a wedding where they know they won't know very many people.
Attending a wedding is always more fun if you have a partner in crime to dance the night away with and can also help cut costs as wedding guests because you can share the expense of a taxi and accommodation.
The Fix: When you're creating your wedding invitation list, it's sometimes impossible to give everyone a plus one - it's expensive and we totally get it. What we'd advise is try to be consistent with your plus one rules - that way wedding guests will have more of an understanding of the 'why' if they're not getting a plus one.
For example, if you have friends from university coming, and one is allowed to bring their partner but the other three aren't, and you have a similar relationship with all of them, that can cause friction. The other piece of advice we'd give is to be upfront from the get-go - don't allow someone to think they're allowed to bring someone and tell them last minute they aren't.
18. Pricey Gift Lists
The Problem: As we've already touched on - attending a wedding can be expensive. So too can buying wedding gifts if everything you've selected on your wedding gift list is super expensive. This can make your wedding guests feel pressured to spend more than they can afford to, or guilty for buying a gift that's outside of what you've asked for.
The Fix: Ensure that if you are having a gift list, there's items which range in price to suit a number of different budgets. Even if you've done this, it's important to be clear that wedding guests don't have to buy from your wedding gift list.
If all of the affordable items have already been bought, your guests should feel comfortable knowing that you are more than happy for them to choose a different gift. A little disclaimer will make that really clear and put people's minds at rest.
READ MORE: How to Create Your Wedding Gift List
It's not just the couple who can make mistakes at the wedding - there are also lots of things that wedding guests do wrong as well. Take a look - how many of these mistakes have you made as a guest?