How to Deal With Out of Control Wedding Guests

Follow this expert advice for keeping unruly guests from getting out of hand.
by Carrie Anton
Crazy wedding guests
Julie Wilhite Photography

Rowdy wedding guests were the inspiration behind the recent movie Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Sure, this story of two twenty-something brothers known for ruining all family events with antics such as a drunken booze luge and bottle rocket fires may be a bit exaggerated, but the reality is that good guests can go bad. While Mike and Dave's parents believe finding respectable dates will help the brothers tame their frat party ways in time for their sister's wedding, you'll likely need a different strategy for your own out-of-hand guests.

Slow Down the Spirits

Even though invites were sent to beloved family and friends, people can be unpredictable. As a wedding photographer, Stephanie Yonce of Stephanie Yonce Photography has seen this firsthand. "From my experience, one of the largest contributing factors is alcohol consumption," she says. "Having an open bar for six hours straight, for example, is a recipe for misbehavior." One solution is working with your caterer on beverage guidelines to allow you to keep the bar open without a bunch of wasted guests.

"Avoid serving shots, doubles and anything resembling a drinking game," Yonce says. "Also, have ample water stations so guests don't have to wait in a line every time they want something nonalcoholic. For longer receptions, consider having late-night snacks, especially ones that can be passed around so guests don't have to leave the party."

Busy the Little Ones

Adults aren't the only ones who can be the spectacle at a reception. Kids, as cute as they are, can get a little wild when off their normal schedules and hopped up on sugar from wedding cake and other sweet treats served at the reception. The hope is their parents will keep them under control, but it's better to plan for the worst than hope for the best when it comes to an event you'd like to go off flawlessly.

Yonce recommends planning kid activities that help them feel included while also keeping them too busy for mischief. "Hire a reputable child care service that can provide entertainment for the young ones," she says. "You could also set up kids' tables and instead of traditional centerpieces, place bowls in the middle of it and fill it to the brim with toys and activities."

Doing the Dirty Work

Even with all the precautions taken, unruly guests happen. The good news is you don't have to deal with it directly. As the newlyweds, you should be enjoying your day, not policing guests. "Let the professionals handle it, be it a wedding planner or an on-site venue representative," Yonce says. "Most should have experience in this arena and can help mitigate any issues. If that's not possible, have a designated contact on your behalf—be it a parent or trusted friend."

Up Next
Ceremony program
What Should Your Ceremony Programs Include?
From important details to sweet touches, here's everything you should consider putting in your ceremony programs.
by The Knot2 min read