in this issue
Nobody’s perfect, and if you’re like most, your family is certainly no exception. You’ve heard the horror stories of drunken siblings, embarrassing speeches, and cat fights on the dance floor. So what can you do to help your wedding day go without a hitch? Think ahead. Before your guest list is even finalized, begin laying out your plan of attack for operation “Big Day.” Take the time to think up potentially sticky situations before they arise. Here are some of the most common examples:
The divorced duo(s)
With divorce rates on the rise, you’re sure to have this problem. The size of the dilemma depends on the relation of the couple. If the pair are friends, but not close, you may be able to get away with inviting just one or the other. If they’re relatives, you’ll probably need to invite both and seat them creatively–at separate tables and across the room. The real chaos comes when the parents of either the bride or groom are divorced. Obviously you’ll be inviting both to the wedding. Start by talking with each parent, make sure they understand how much you love them and want them to share in your big day. Ask them to declare a truce for the day and then sit them at separate tables with their own families. Remember that they are adults, and if they care about you they shouldn’t want to make a scene. Treating them each with respect will show them just how much you’ve grown and in the end they’ll probably have a great time enjoying your precious moments with you.
Just about every family has one, a dispute that seems to be ongoing or a member who is easy to enrage. Whatever the situation in your family, handle it gently. Seat known disputers away from each other, don’t put your argumentative uncle at a table with a liberal friend. Speaking of friends, remember to nip any brawling in the bud by not inviting someone’s recently stormy ex. If it seems like an issue may come up, talk to the people involved. Again, they are adults and should act accordingly on your wedding day. If you’re still worried, appoint a bouncer – someone who’ll step in and take any arguments outside so that you can simply enjoy your special day in peace.
Drunk & Disorderly
Weddings are a time of joy, celebration and, for many, partying. It all starts with the champagne toast, then a drink at the bar, someone buys a round for the table and things can start to get out of hand. An open bar presents the most obvious problem as people tend to over imbibe on your tab. If you want to avoid embarrassment (on your and their behalf) think ahead to minimize consumption. You can achieve this by having a sparkling cider or grape juice toast, nixing wine with dinner, having a cash bar, only serving beer and wine, enforcing a drink limit, seating known drinkers far from temptation, closing the bar early, or having a completely dry wedding. The extent to which you cut back is entirely up to you, but should be based on your preferences and with your guests’ enjoyment in mind. Remember to have cabs ready or hire a shuttle vehicle to make sure guests get home, or to their hotel, safely.
SpeechlessFor many, speaking in public is a highly avoided fear. There will likely be several speeches given at your wedding by the fathers, mothers, groom, best man, maid of honor, and, yes, you. The best man’s speech is the most infamous and can be the most tumultuous. The very nervous (oftentimes slightly intoxicated) friend stands up in front of a crowd of family and recounts a long, embarrassing story involving an ex girlfriend and some stolen property before professing his love for his best buddy and admitting that he was the one who ran the groom’s underwear up the flagpole that time in college. No one wants to hear this speech. The good news is that no one has to if you prepare ahead of time. Plan all speeches early and keep time allowances short (3-5 minutes max). Talk with any speech makers ahead of time, remind them of the tone of the wedding and perhaps make suggestions of favorite poems or scripture passages to recite. Especially make sure to note things that you don’t want: swearing, rowdy stories, babbling, singing. You might even have them run their script by a trusted friend or family member, you definitely don’t want them “winging it” in front of everyone.
You can’t plan for everything, so when it all comes down to it, plan to enjoy your day. The important thing is that you’ve professed your love for the man of your dreams, so let the little things roll off your back and have the time of your life with your family, friends, and new husband.