My Wedding Guests Were Terrible

AAPW: How do I forgive the bad behavior and move on?

Q: I’m having problems forgiving some people who were at my wedding, which was one month ago.

We planned our wedding to be fun, very practical, and easy. It was a laid-back California affair, with a taco truck, open bar, and beautiful location. The problem is that some people are fussy and have told me in the month since our wedding that they did not like certain things about our wedding.

Just last night, at a party, a guest of ours said, “People did not like standing around on the grass waiting for their tacos… they were complaining.”

I’m sorry—what???

My grandmother was one of the most difficult people to forgive. She came up to us, during our sunset pictures and said, commanding and exasperated, “Listen, people want to go home. Don’t you think you should cut the cake, so that people can go home already?” It was only 7 p.m. My dad was so flustered that I had to convince him to do the father-daughter dance with me, because he wanted to skip it and appease my grandmother. We rushed through the cake cutting right after that.

I would be lying if I said that it didn’t ruin the day for me, just a little bit, to be told that people weren’t having a good time and that they wanted to go home. Even if that was according to my eighty-five-year-old grandmother.

Many people left our favors behind, or didn’t eat our cake (we had the entire bottom tier left). We made zoetrope toys for our tables, and despite our instructions, no one could figure out how to use them.

We had a very modest, but very colorful and beautiful wedding. My dad has been jobless for quite some time, and my husband and I both have massive student loans. My parents live very far away and it was a tremendous joy and hardship for them to come out to our wedding. Many of our vendors were friends. Many of our flowers were paper. We had a saint-like friend offer to coordinate our day-of activities, from the ceremony to the bouquet toss, because we could not afford a professional one.

My wedding was the best day ever for my husband and me. Nothing could change that. But the idea that our wedding was somehow a mess, or not classy enough, or inconvenient somehow for our guests, is a really difficult pill to swallow.

I showed a friend the Mexican paper flowers we were planning to use, and she wrinkled her nose and said I should give them away to homeless people. I can’t even imagine saying that to another bride.

How can I move on? I almost wish we had invited fewer people, because I feel like people have rained on our parade, and what I want to remember are the beautiful, intimate moments between my husband and myself, and the friends and family who thought it was magical too.



Dear Anonymous,

I know you’re really hurt and disappointed by your guests, but here’s what I want you to think about. Most people are thrilled to be at your wedding, are excited for you, and want nothing more than your happiness. And even these people aren’t going to love everything about your wedding.

I’m thinking specifically about your taco truck complainers. Maybe it really was irritating to stand around waiting for tacos. Maybe the truck was taking forever to serve people, or there was a hold-up of some kind, or it was pumping out some funky smelling beef exhaust, or who knows. These sorts of things happen at every single wedding. The bread is stale or the bathroom is sort of grimy or the DJ’s mic feedbacks with a sharp squeal. No wedding is perfect. That doesn’t mean that you planned a terrible wedding, or that your friends are jerks. It’s just the way it goes. Sometimes, sure, some of it is avoidable or foreseeable. But not everyone is an event planner, and even folks who are really trying to be guest-conscious can miss major details. (Also, lots of weddings end with loads of favors and tons of cake leftover! Don’t let those things bug you.)

Most people realize little snags like taco lines and cruddy DJ’s are just part of the package of going to a wedding. You’re signing up for whatever quirky choices someone else makes—choices that maybe you wouldn’t make yourself—and any of the little inconveniences that happen as a result of (or in spite of) those plans.

Your friends were very possibly overjoyed to be at your wedding, while also simultaneously irritated with the line at the taco truck. They might have felt both ways at the same exact time, even. I’ve been to beautiful weddings for beloved friends where it was painfully frigid outside. It was really so wonderful to be there for them and with them… and also the weather was really annoying! (And unforeseen, so not their fault!) Sometimes you can absolutely love something, while also hating a tiny bit of it. (Put a pin in that thought, because we’re coming back to it.)

But of course there are other kinds of people. People who, instead of being mostly thrilled for you, are actively looking for things to be inconvenienced by, and to complain about. It’s possible Grandma is this kind of person (I don’t really know, I haven’t met the lady.) I try not to stake too much of my opinion of someone on how they behave during the weird, stressful, expectation-laden wedding times. But, maybe the way some folks behaved during this wedding were just super concentrated expressions of who they are and who they always have been.

Getting that kind of insight into someone’s character leaves you with two options. You could step back and see that this problem impacts way more than just the wedding day, and tells of a larger friction in your relationship. Or, you could recognize that this is just one little flaw in an otherwise sparkling person, and forgive it the way you’d forgive any other misstep.

Frankly, now might not be a good time to decide where you fall on these friends (though, I’ll be honest, I’m voting to ditch the paper flower lady). It’s only been a month! Just a month! The emotions of the whole wedding are probably still raw and maybe still coming down from all of the anticipation and build-up. Give it some time.

So, I know. You’re patiently waiting for me to tell you how to get over this, how to just shake off these bad feelings and let it all go. Unfortunately, I can’t. While it might seem nice to think that the amazing, happy, important central parts of the day should cancel out the icky and petty parts, they really don’t (at least not for awhile). Even now, nearly six years after my own wedding, I can think of a few things that people said or did on that day that hurt my feelings. It doesn’t take away from the joy of the day. It just… coexists, sits beside it. Like your friends who, in all likelihood, loved being at your wedding even though the taco truck thing wasn’t their bag, you can super love your wedding day and still also really be bugged by tiny bits of it. That’s probably more normal than loving the whole thing.

If you would like to ask APW a question please don’t be shy! You can email: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off! 

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