12 Shocking Facts About Your Wedding Guests

In all of the frenzy, don't lose sight of one nontrivial constituency: your guests.
by Jeff Wilser

Fact: They'll like the wedding that you like

The best weddings are the ones where the bride and groom did it their way. Formal and ritzy? Great. Casual and festive? Also great. Do what you want. Your guests won't judge. Okay, some will. But remember what you learned in kindergarten: If they judge you by your cake display, they're not your real friends anyway.

Fact: They want you to register

You will have many difficult decisions in life. (How many kids? Rent or buy? Public or private school? Ground or whole-bean coffee?) Opting for a gift registry is not one of the hard decisions. Trust us. Your guests want it. By registering, you get exactly what you wish -- no duplicate gravy boats -- and spare your guests confusion. Easy call. Plus, it's easier than ever before: You can now use your iPhone as a scan gun, sip champagne if you're registering in store (you can do that at home, too, but it's free at the store) and put anything, a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g on your wish list as long as it's sold somewhere on the Internet. As for the coffee, you're on your own.

Fact: They'll think whatever you do is adorable

Stressed about your vows? Worried you'll cry too much? Relax. Here's the secret truth about weddings: It's basically impossible to screw up. By definition, whatever you say or do will be greeted by a chorus of "Awwwwwwww!!!!!" and women dabbing their eyes.

Fact: They want to watch the Super Bowl

And the World Series. And the Final Four. You know what else they want to do? Spend Christmas with their families. Ditto for New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving and all the other first-tier holidays. Yes, it's your big day, but you will court resentment if you muscle them into ditching their vacation. Let them live their lives. Don't be That Couple.

Fact: Most won't RSVP on time

Just face it, accept it and don't lose sleep about it. You'll be wrangling and hounding and tracking down your guests -- especially the guys -- because when it comes down to it, at heart people are just lazy. Also? For you, your wedding is the most important thing since the invention of TiVo. For your guests, the RSVP is just one of 37 tasks they need to tackle. So don't be surprised when replies trickle in late. This will happen. (It always happens.)

Fact: They like to dance

Disclosure: This love of dance isn't entirely true. To be more precise, women like to dance, and men like to impress women, so they pretend they like to dance, even though they hate it. Regardless, your guests need dancing. Make it happen. Your first dance should be more than just a token waltz; enlist your groomsmen and bridesmaids to cajole others and get the party started on the dance floor.

Fact: They like free booze

Many of your guests are buying plane tickets, renting cars and paying for hotel rooms. Throw them a bone. Provide an open bar. There's nothing more awkward than having your guests whip out their wallets and argue over who buys whom a drink. Complete buzzkill. You don't have to spring for Johnnie Walker Blue Label, but you should give them something -- basic beer, wine and bubbly for the toast are enough -- to keep the party lubricated.

Fact: If they don't give you a gift, it doesn't mean they hate your guts

Nongifters, skipping the gift is impolite and bad form. But some people just aren't wired for decorum. It doesn't mean they're trying to snub you or hold a grudge. It only means they're flaky or do not fully comprehend the holy maxim of thou must get a gift. Cut them some slack and don't let it poison your friendship.

Fact: They don't go to bed at 8 p.m.

Look, they've blocked out their day for you. They've hired babysitters, turned down dates, skipped football games, and they don't have any other plans. So if you end the festivities too early, they'll awkwardly look at their watches and wonder what to do next. Have a plan. There's no need to splurge on a reception that rages until midnight. But have a designated venue -- a friend's house or a bar, say -- for an after-party.

Fact: They want to eat cake

For the first time in the history of weddings, we're going to compare wedding cake to the plot of Rocky V. Stay with us: The film's writers decided to mix things up by having Rocky not fight for the heavyweight championship but street brawl in a gutter instead. A disaster. They avoided a cliche but left us disappointed. Likewise, your guests don't want scones or something you think is out-of-the-box -- except for cake lollipops, apple pie or brownies, which are totally fine. Don't stray from a formula that works: Give them wedding cake. Give them Rocky in the ring.

Fact: They like music that doesn't suck

Love, togetherness, matrimony, family -- forget all that for a second. Let's be honest. At the end of the day, your wedding is a party. People want to have a good time. Do your homework and get a competent wedding DJ or wedding band. Read: This is not the place to cut corners.

Fact: They'll get hungry after dinner

The best way to score points with your guests? Surprise them. This is your coup de grace: a light "bonus meal" that's served hours after the dessert. (Think: hamburger sliders, pizza, late-night munchies.) It absorbs the alcohol and fuels them for dancing. Works every time.

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