How to deal with problem wedding guests as an event planner

Dealing with Problem Wedding Guests

When it comes to the day of the wedding, your primary role as a wedding planner is to make sure the bride and groom are well taken care of! But there’s more than planning the wedding to worry about. You could be faced with a wedding planner’s worst nightmare: problem wedding guests!

From petty high school friends to a surly relative, you never know who could get out of hand! That’s why you need to know exactly how to handle problem guests during a wedding. Your job as the event planner: know how to diffuse the situation and remove any irate guests calmly and quietly. After all, you don’t want anything ruining the big day for your clients.

So what should you keep an eye out for? Use this guide to learn the right approach for handling problem wedding guests!

Upset bride and groom on the wedding day—problem wedding guests

What Would the Bride & Groom Do?

A good starting point for dealing with problem wedding guests: talk to the bride and groom before the big day arrives!

Once you know how the couple expects you to deal with guest issues, you’ll know what you should do when a problem arises. Trust us, it will be so much easier for you to handle! This will also save you from any wedding day tension with your clients! Try to learn about the couple and to get a sense of how they like to deal with issues.

Be open and tell them how you would handle a guest situation and what you’re comfortable with. They will be impressed by your preparedness!

Stay Calm

If you find yourself confronting a belligerent guest you have to take control of the situation as smoothly you can. Stop an incident from escalating into a full-blown situation by remembering to do one thing: remain calm!

If a guest is getting aggressive, quietly ask them to remove themselves from the spotlight! Once you get them away from the other guests, you can communicate exactly what the issue is. Have the wedding couple make a call on whether the guest will be welcomed back or not.

Just be careful not to raise your voice—this will cause more of a scene! Allow the guest to calm down outside the venue. An event planner should not be involved in a yelling match at a client’s wedding! That definitely falls under the category of unprofessional behavior.

Wedding planner using a checklist and directing wedding guests

Address Inappropriate Behavior

Whether it’s an unwelcome comment or a larger confrontation, you need to address potential situations. And FAST.

After you try to diffuse the argument (by staying calm!), you’ll need to decide the best course of action. Sometimes problematic wedding guests just need a calm heads up that they are behaving inappropriately. However, you know when a guest is crossing the line. If a guest is making others uncomfortable, you’ll have to think fast. You should confer with your clients before taking drastic action—but don’t hesitate to address the situation.

On that note, make sure to be polite and remain professional. Although dealing with a rowdy guest can be stressful, your job is to make the event special for the happy couple. Let them know the situation has been handled so they can continue celebrating!

Wedding party uses and what groomsmen can do for the wedding day

Warn the Wedding Party

The best support you have is from others involved in the wedding—so recruit help in case an issue comes about!

If the couple is already aware of problem wedding guests, make sure the wedding party is in the know as well! You’ll have eyes all over the event to look out for escalating situations. No, the wedding couple should not have the added stress of having to act as security detail at their own wedding. But if they have approached you about a possible unwanted guest (or something dramatic happens with one of their guests), they need to know to about it.

Many venues have security on staff. So ask for their help.

Hire Professional Bartenders

Your clients might think that asking a friend to bartend for their wedding day is a fun and budget-friendly idea. But your job as the wedding planner is to keep the event safe and professional!

There are a number of issues when it comes to hiring friends as bartenders: they’re more likely to overserve, they might not know warning signs of inebriation, and they might even dive into the champagne themselves—yikes! Encourage the couple to spend a little extra on trained bartenders to ensure the safety of their guests. It’s crucial that guests aren’t overserved and are under the watchful eye of a professional bartender.

Celebrating is one thing…abusing the bar privilege is another.

A helpful hint: If a client would like to hire a friend with bartending experience, draw up a standard contract for the gig and ensure they act professionally throughout the event!

Bad wedding guests and wedding nightmares

Hire Security

If there’s existing guest conflict or if you just have an anxious couple, consider hiring a security guard for the wedding.

Having security available will ease tensions and let the bride and groom celebrate stress-free during the reception! It’s also comforting to know that you won’t have to break up an altercation if one occurs. Let’s face it, stepping into physical fights is NOT part of your role as a wedding planner. You could be injured or lose your credibility as a wedding planner—not worth the risk!

Security guards will stop uninvited people from sneaking into the wedding as well. If you’re hosting a high-profile wedding, consider professional security to save yourself from any big problems!

Keeping a professional attitude is a key factor in dealing with issues at an event. When it comes to problematic wedding guests, remember they’re the friends and family of your client. Yes, they may be acting inappropriately, but you still need to be mindful of the occasion.

Just stay alert and you’ll be ready to tackle any problem that comes about (not literally of course)!

You’re not finished yet! Be prepared for these 5 things that no event planner training can save you from!

2 responses to “Dealing with Problem Wedding Guests”

    You made a good point when you said that hiring security for a wedding would help the bride and groom stay stress-free during the whole day. My best friend is getting married this March. She has not invited her mom to her wedding because of their complicated, volatile relationship. She’s anxious that her mom would show up uninvited at her wedding, so I’ll suggest she hires a security guard for the big day. Thanks.

    Sarah-Lynn Seguin says:

    Hi Levi,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read, and for sharing your thoughts. We’re very sorry to hear that your friend is currently experiencing such a complicated and stressful situation. We’re glad that the tips in this article gave you some ideas. We hope your friend’s wedding goes off without a hitch, so she can simply relax and enjoy her special day. 🙂

    All the best,
    The QC Team

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