How To Prevent Bad Guests From Ruining A Special Day
I just finished reading the brand new New York Times bestseller, Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead -- a perfect novel for summer that takes place at a New England wedding where the guests’ inappropriate behavior overshadow the bride and groom’s special day and nearly ruin the entire affair.
While the book takes place during an era when people were expected to be polite and well mannered, bad guest behavior always seems to stand the test of time. In fact, it got me thinking about the major affairs that I've planned during my lifetime (my wedding and my daughter's Bat Mitzvah) where our guests put a damper on the big day.
If you're in the midst of planning a special family event, be rest assured that someone -- be it a long lost relative, the caterer or your florist, will inevitably let you down. Here are some tips to avoid being disappointed:
1. Call Out the Guests Who Don't RSVP on Time: When they've already passed the deadline on their RSVP, send them an email informing them you're assuming they're not coming -- that'll get them to respond pretty quickly.
2. Avoid Toxic Guests at All Costs: Either don't invite them or don't indulge them when they start complaining about how bad their life is. You're about to celebrate an amazing milestone. It's too bad they’re down in the dumps, but you don't have to be brought down by bad vibes on your big day.
3. Don't Let the People Who Leave Early Let You Down: There's always going to be someone who has to be somewhere to go other than your affair. In fact, I’ll never forget when one of my bridesmaids had to leave my wedding early because her husband had an interview early the next morning. Incidentally, he didn’t get the job. Make sure your guests tell you in advance that they've got to leave before dinner. That way, you can save on their meal by not including them in the seating arrangements.
4. When Devising Your Seating Plan, Think Like a Matchmaker -- Don't just sit your 98 year old aunt next to your 22 year old cousin. Sure that might sound like a simple approach since Aunt Tilly might need help getting to the ladies room, but think about who your cousin might want to meet or whether your aunt would mix better with your 97 year old widowed grandfather. The perfect seating arrangement could actually lead to a match made in heaven while bad ones can cause everyone at the table to want to head home early.
5. Don't Let Your Vendors Get You Down -- So the florist forgot to include the hydrangeas you requested for your centerpieces (true story) or the wait staff began clearing people's plates before they even got a chance to eat (also true), or your DJ pulled a bait and switch and gave you a guy you didn't even ask for as the party host (true again)...at the end of the day, if everyone had a great time, who really cares about those minor mishaps? You'll be the only one stewing long after your guests have gone home.
If you’re not planning an affair at the moment but would love to dive into a great vacation read, then check out Seating Arrangements -- here’s an excerpt and enjoy the rest of your summer!