Planning for less-than-favorite wedding guests with new best friends and other tactics.
Every wedding and reception has the odd uncle, the weird cousin or the loud someone-or-other who simply has to be on the guest list. Anticipating a positive RSVP from each one gives you the opportunity to exhibit your own brand of PR skills and tact, as well as plan seating and arrangements in advance to minimize any unfortunate impact on the day.
Over imbibing is an attractive option when the booze runs free, and the bar is open. If you have a dear friend or relative known to tip the glass excessively, consider appointing a sane and sober wedding guest or trusted relative to be his or her new best friend for the day, inconspicuously of course, seating them at the same reception table. Alert the bartenders and ask that they enforce a limit “per instructions” at an appropriate time. Serving only wine and beer will help in the budget department as well as the hard core drinker realm. If you know the person’s favorite wine, beer or bottle, do not offer it. If there’s a significant photo shoot planned after the ceremony and before dinner, plan heavy hors-d’oeuvres, so no one is indulging on an empty stomach.
This is that 4th cousin thrice removed you barely know, but whose mother has been your mother’s best friend since childhood and wants to get to know you better … starting with attending your wedding. Though a phantom for most of your life with a sleazy reputation for skimpy clothing, you have to include her. Make a new best friend for her as well. Find a person about the same age or with similar interests or geography (someone who lived once in the state where she now resides, for example) to stay connected with during the day. The Phantom could even be an oft-absent parent or stepparent. You are getting married, so you are big enough to be big, to take the high road, to smile warmly as needed.
This is the guy or gal who hates weddings, funerals, functions of any kind — think: bookworm or nerd or techno-whiz kid or super jealous cousin who’s just gone through a bitter divorce. There’s not a new best friend out there for this one. Alert a few of your good buddies to chat with the downer-type, even dance once or suggest she or he choose a song for the DJ, some moldy oldie favorite. You might ask in advance if the Disagreeable prefers hanging out around a table with singles or older relatives or loves kids. Do your best, smile often and thank her for coming and let the chips fall where they may around her.
The Beach Bum
This guy or gal isn’t likely to don a suit or suitable dress for the occasion, possibly showing up like Jimmy Buffet in Bermuda shorts and flip-flops. Let’s hope not, but just in case, be sure to position the wanna-be surfer dude or dame, fresh off one of the pristine Florida beaches, at the end of any photos, providing you with potential crop-out ease. On the other hand, if you need a little splash of color in your pictures, call him or her over to say cheese. Unless you indicate a dress code, just smile sweetly and say how glad you are s/he could leave the beach on such a pretty day … for your wedding.
The Precocious Child
Okay, she’s been spoiled to the hilt, not yet 10, and perceives herself the perfect center of attention at every family gathering for the last nine years. She’s loud, bold and not even all that cute … to you. Well in advance of your wedding day, hire a teenager or offer to pay a teen relative to babysit on the sly, keeping children amused with simple games and dancing of their own in a corner of the reception hall.
Here’s an old friend, your maid-of-honor’s new boyfriend or long lost cuz who never learned that you can’t grope, touch, handle, hug, kiss and maul just anyone who strikes your fancy. It helps if he comes with a date of his own, but you can alert your single friends to not step in too close or stand sideways and never carry a full drink, so they can move quickly and deftly out of arm’s reach.
The Wedding Suppliers
You need to feed the masses, and this includes the photographer(s), wedding planner, pastor or official and maybe some caterers or musicians. Assuming none of them are connected to the bridal couple, an out-of-the-way table at the edge is perfect. They won’t exactly be sitting around or dancing much anyway, so having a place for them to eat and rest is sufficient. Let each one know in advance if a date is acceptable, so you know and they know if their day is all work and no play and if they have to be stag or solo for the event.
There may be others in your family or circle of friends with unique personalities and quirks that accompany them everywhere, even to your wedding. With a little foresight and planning, you can head off any disastrous faux pas and enjoy yourself every minute. Smiling warmly and often at everyone.