How to Handle Unexpected Guests at Your Wedding

Outside wedding reception at night with chic bright lights.

Photography by Anna Kuperberg

Whether it’s wedding etiquette questions, info on the latest styles and trends, or timeless advice, our in-house wedding designer William has the answers.Have a burning question about your big day? Send it to us at: or tweet it or Facebook us!

How do you handle unexpected guests who show up on the wedding day?
– BrideonaBudget (Twitter follower)

Dear BrideonaBudget,

Assuming your surprise guest is truly unexpected (rather than unwanted), I would apply the “Golden Rule.” Strive to greet this person as graciously as your expected guests. The most polite thing is to simply accommodate this guest kindly and without any dispute.

If the scenario is one in which the seating and meal are maxed out, suggest to the newcomer that they return after the meal to enjoy the dancing portion of the evening.

Now if the guest is truly unwanted (such as a bitter jealous ex-boyfriend or delusional third cousin once removed) then your best bet is to let someone else handle the situation directly. The bride and groom should choose either the planner or caterer (or even the best man) to handle the situation. In a worst-case scenario, the facility manager or security should handle the matter.

No matter what, an unexpected guest should not ruin your day.

about the author
William Being an event planner isn’t what William does, it’s what he is. That’s why he tirelessly challenges himself to top the last thing he just did. It’s why he frequently travels the country, and the world to stay on the cutting edge of fashion, food, art, design, and innovative décor.

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