How to Treat Your Wedding Guests Right

wedding guests in italy
Written by T.E. Wing

It’s easy to ignore them or, if you’re stressed, to order them about on your big day, but don’t do it. Here’s how to treat your wedding guests the right way …

If you were going to make a list of the most stressful type of party to plan, weddings would be right up there.

Funerals are more stressful, sure, but no one is going to mistake a funeral for a party, not even if it’s an Irish Catholic wake.

But here’s the thing: It’s easy for couples to focus on one another at their wedding, and it’s even easier for them to totally  lose sight of the other guests. Make no mistake; a wedding should definitely be about celebrating the love that exists between the people getting married, but there should be room for the wedding guests to celebrate with you.

No wedding guest wants to feel like they were invited simply because the bride and groom are looking to snag more presents from the registry.

During the ceremony

Most weddings have some sort of wedding party. It could be just a maid of honor and best man standing up at the altar with the couple, or it could consist of a dozen people on either side. It’s up to the couple to decide how big or intimate they want their wedding party to be.

But once you’ve asked people to be in your wedding, don’t treat them like an endless supply of free labor.

If the bridesmaids want to plan a wedding shower for the bride, then that’s great. But it’s not fair to expect the bridesmaids to come in at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to place elaborate decorations all over the wedding venue. Remember that being in a wedding party typically comes with some associated costs as well, especially for women who are expected to buy fancy dresses and pay for trips to the beauty salon.

One survey found that it costs an average of almost $1,700 to be a bridesmaid. Think about those costs before announcing that you want your entire wedding party to fly thousands of miles for a lavish bachelorette party in another country.

Just because you went shopping for engagement rings in Brisbane doesn’t mean that you should demand your friends pay the cost of a ticket to Australia.

If you really want them to do something like that, offer to offset at least part of the costs. You can do plenty of fun things without asking your friends to take out a personal loan just to be part of your wedding.

At the reception

It’s up to you and your intended to decide what traditions you do and don’t want to be part of the wedding day. Your family members may want you to perform a garter toss at the reception, but it’s more than fine to opt out if that’s simply not your style.

A bouquet toss isn’t mandatory, either.

Some of your single friends may think it’s a lot of fun, while others may think it’s embarrassing. Unless you’re having a really small wedding, though, you should strongly consider inviting at least a couple of people to give toasts at the reception. They don’t have to be long or elaborate, but there will be people who will no doubt want to express their support for the new spouses.


When the reception is winding down, consider giving out a few presents to members of your wedding party and/or certain family members, although you can also save that for a possible post-wedding brunch the next day.

Think about it a little, and you should have no trouble coming up with some ideas.

Maybe the sister who served as your maid of honor would love a canvas printing made from a photo of the two of you as teenagers. And that new father-in-law of yours might be thrilled to receive a gift card to his favorite steakhouse.

It’s the thought that counts, so make sure to put at least a little thought into these gifts.

Cover image: