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The Only Three Things That Really Matter to Your Wedding Guests

When you throw a wedding and a hundred or more people show up, the fact of the matter is, some of those people are going to grumble about something, and in all likelihood, you’re going to hear about some of it. That sucks, because you’d think those people could be understanding about minor inconveniences or disagreements for one day—especially this day—but, some of them just can’t. or won’t.

Whatever the case may be, you’ll have a better time on your wedding day if you decide now not to sweat it. You know, a haters gonna hate kinda thing. But, also, it’d be a good idea to make some plans to help avoid most of it from happening in the first place. After all, even the most patient and understanding friends and family can start complaining if the circumstances are right enough. Or is it wrong enough? Whatever, you get my gist.

In my experience, across hundreds of weddings, there are only really three things guests tend to complain about, and they almost always play off each other. It’s rare to see otherwise reasonable people start complaining about one of these things, without first feeling frustrated by one of the others.

The temperature

People get cranky when they are too hot or too cold. Mature adults will usually tolerate an uncomfortable temperature for as long as they need to, but not any longer. Outdoor weddings when it’s too hot or cold tend to end right after the cake is cut. Indoor weddings where the climate control is out of whack tend to see guests socializing outside and ignoring the reception hall.

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding for a time of year which will have temperatures somewhere between tolerable, and too hot, or too cold, then make it casual, and tell your guests to dress down. If you don’t, when the day arrives, if it’s too hot or too cold, some guests will dress how they feel is appropriate for their comfort. But some guests, in an effort not to offend you, will dress in their formal wear, regardless of whether that’s appropriate for the temperatures. Those people are going to have a bad time, and are going to grumble. Better to plan to go casual than leave a big open hole for complaints you don’t want to hear.

If you’re planning an indoor wedding anywhere, make sure your venue is willing and able to adjust the climate control on demand.

While most adults can keep their discomfort to themselves for as long as they feel obligated to stay (hint, it’d be great if people weren’t staying out of obligation), they’re a lot less likely to do so if they’re hungry.

How hungry they are

In some ways, we don’t change that much from when we’re kids. Kids get cranky when they’re hungry and adults definitely do too. Especially adults who are overheating or shivering from the cold.

Guests who are uncomfortable and hungry are starting to tell the people around them how they feel. Their feeling might not be one directed at you, but a lot more people are starting to vocalize it at this point. They’re kicking themselves. “Why did I wear the long dress? why didn’t I wear a coat? why didn’t I grab something to eat before I left the house?”

You’d be amazed how much more you guests will enjoy your wedding if you have some light fare available before the ceremony—Think cheese and crackers type options. If they’re one of those people whose about to spend the whole ceremony too hot or too cold, they’ll be quietly thanking you in their head for making sure they’re not hungry, instead of complaining to their neighbor about their plight.

But, unfortunately most couples don’t do this, which leads us to the complaining guest’s last grievance. How punctual your wedding day is.

Whether you’re on time

See, the first two items on this list are both things that are theoretically in your guest’s control. They can dress however they want to stay comfortable—it’s not likely your wedding will have bouncers turning people away who aren’t following the dress code. They’re free to eat something before they leave the house. Ultimately, your guests are bringing these unpleasant experiences on themselves. But, you have influence over those experiences. For example, providing a little food as soon as guests arrive, and making it clear from the start that formal wear is optional.

But this last thing on the list—that’s all under your control. And your guests will feel that. They’ll sense that they don’t have any control here. Feeling uncomfortable and hungry, while waiting for a wedding that is starting late, or a wedding party to finally get introduced to the reception, the energy in their frustration with themselves gets redirected toward you, or other guests, or the venue, or the wedding vendors. People start vocalizing their complaints much, much more when they feel like it’s someone else’s fault. And if your guests are uncomfortable and hungry, there’s a very good chance you will be that someone.

The best thing you can do is have a good plan, have a good backup plan, and work with qualified professional vendors. Especially those vendors who have a major influence over your wedding day timing: photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, wedding planners. Delays do happen at weddings though, and sometimes they are unavoidable. That’s why it’s all the more important to help address your guest’s first two complaints before your timing becomes something they whine about.

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