7 Embarrassing Scenarios That Could Happen at Your Wedding Reception (And How to Handle Them Like a Pro)

You rented out the wedding venue. You hired the DJ, caterer, photographer, and videographer. Everything is all set up, and even then, you may find yourself on the receiving end of an embarrassing situation at your wedding reception.

Whether it’s your sister drinking one too many glasses of Champaign and sharing some too personal childhood stories. Or your neighbors bringing their children to your adults-only wedding and wedding reception.

While you probably want to either close your eyes and hide or scream, you can do one better; you can handle these situations with tact, not letting them spoil your big day. Read on to learn how to handle 7 potentially embarrassing wedding reception scenarios like a pro.

The Drunk Toast

You’ve seen it in movies. You’ve heard about it in stories from friends. But you never expected to encounter it at your own wedding reception.

Yes, we are talking about the stereotypical drunk toast. It’s the speech that starts out loving and endearing—perhaps the man of honor shares a fond childhood memory about the groom or gushes about how much he supports the couple.

But, eventually, the story snowballs into a blubbering mess. Whether it’s the man of honor, maid of honor, or another friend or family, it is bound to turn your face red.

How to Handle It?

First off, get a sense of who likes to drink at parties. To spare the drunken babble, don’t have those individuals give a public toast.

If they insist, perhaps have them toast you and your new spouse at the wedding rehearsal or in private. You can also notify the man of honor to interrupt any drunken toasts with a “thank you for that inspiring toast, now let’s give someone else a turn.”

Ripped Wedding Dress

You are dancing at your reception, only to hear a rip and see a tear on the hem of your dress. You’d never guess this would have happened, and are speechless. What do you do? You want to run off the dance floor, and wish this never happened.

How to Handle It?

To prevent this scenario from happening, stash some safety pins in your purse and ask your maid of honor to keep them with her—you never know when they’ll be handy.

Depending on where the dress rips, you could continue the reception with the tear, briefly casting it as a joke with a simple “oompa.”

If the tear needs to be covered and you don’t have safety pins, excuse yourself and see if your maid of honor has a spare top or skirt. (If you changed at the wedding venue, you always have the option of changing back into the clothes you originally wore.)

Family Feud

Weddings bring people together, and sometimes this is for the worst. Upon first glance, you can already tell from those relatives the amount of drama that will ensue.

Or perhaps you don’t catch the slights at first. But then on the dance floor, an argument explodes. What do you do?

How to Handle It?

Similar to the drunk toast, understand family dynamics. Talk with your soon-to-be spouse to see if he or she has family members who aren’t fond of one another.

To prevent a fight from erupting, strategically assign their seats at the opposite ends of the reception hall. That way, while they may exchange passive aggressive glances, it is less likely that they will talk to one another.

If you think the family members may argue at your reception, talk to them individually before the big day. Explain that while you’d like them to attend the wedding and reception, you don’t want a big fight to break out. And that you would appreciate it if they remove themselves should they feel like it will.

Running Late…to Your Own Wedding Reception

For whatever reason, be it traffic, wrong directions, or a flat tire, you aren’t going to make it to your wedding reception on time. We aren’t talking about 5 or 10 minutes late. More like an hour, if not two. You’re nervous. Who’s going to entertain the guests?

How to Handle It?

Call or text your maid of honor (if you are the groom, contact your man of honor). Have them stall for a few moments. If it looks like it’s going to be an hour or so, and it’s around dinner time, text your maid of honor/man of honor to bring out the appetizers and, if it’s really late, the entrees.

Hopefully, by then, you can make your grand entrance. We recommend a small joke—such as “only a few minutes late” to break any awkward tension.

Wearing a Hawaiian Shirt and Sandals When You Aren’t in Hawaii

Uncle Matthew walks in…wearing a Hawaiian shirt, jeans, and sandals. Everyone else is in formal wedding attire and the wedding venue isn’t beach themed or set in Hawaii.

Your Uncle greets the family and friends, acting like his attire is no big deal—for all you know, it isn’t (to him). However, you catch some longer looks and feel annoyed at the lack of dress code awareness.

How to Handle It?

Again, a little friendly humor goes a long way. (However, make sure the joke doesn’t go too far.) Then shrug it off and enjoy the rest of your reception.

If it particularly irks you, you can always talk to him by himself for a second, explaining what the dress code means to you, and asking if he could wear a blazer (borrowed from another family member or friend).

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this or aren’t’ that close to him, perhaps ask another family member to kindly nudge him to put that blazer on. At the end of the day, don’t let a shirt and a pair of jeans ruin your day. If you can, laugh it off, do it, and focus on the rest of your evening.

Drunk Guest

Aunt Lucy drank five too many tequila shots. Slurring her words and barely capable of walking straight, she’s drawing a lot of (unnecessary) attention. And yet she insists on another shot. What do you do?

How to Handle It?

If you know of a few family members or friends that take advantage of an open bar, consider not having one. While they can liven up the reception, it isn’t a requirement. (And we guarantee you’ll have just as magical of a night as you would with one.)

At the same time, Aunt Lucy is an adult. Hopefully, if she does become intoxicated, the bartender will kindly deny her that extra shot. If things start to get too out of hand and you can foretell a fiasco happening, quickly have someone escort her from the reception.

The Waiter Drops the Wedding Cake

It happens. You and your significant other are about to eat your wedding cake, when the waiter trips on the carpet, and there it goes. The frosting and cake are everywhere on the ground. The waiter apologizes profusely. But the damage has already been done.

How to Handle It?

If traditions are especially important to you, see if any of the cake is salvageable. Perhaps there’s some untouched cake you and your significant other can cut symbolically?

If that’s not the case, ask if the catering company has other desserts. That way, you can still “cut the cake,” and preserve the long-held wedding tradition.

Final Thoughts

Whether it is drastically or mildly embarrassing, a situation may occur at your wedding reception that makes you blush. In most cases, you’ll be able to laugh and shrug it off. If the disruption continues, ask the guest to stop the behavior.

And, depending on the situation, you may have to ask the guest(s) to leave. Nonetheless, don’t focus on it for too long. Instead, relish in your special day, focusing on what really matters: celebrating the love you and your significant other have for one another.

Missed Something? Here’s a Summary!

  • Drunken toasts are what people think of when embarrassing wedding reception situations come up, however there are several more to watch out for
  • Have the maid of honor or man of honor kindly transition the toast to another guest
  • Or have individuals who believe will make these types of toasts, give you one at the wedding rehearsal instead
  • When family members are on the brink of fighting, strategically sit them across from one another to reduce the chances of this happening
  • If you find yourself very late to your wedding reception, call or text the maid of honor or man of honor to bring dinner out
  • Always bring spare safety pins in case the wedding dress catches a snare
  • If a guest comes inappropriately dressed, ask them to put a jacket on. Or, if it isn’t that big of a deal, laugh and shrug it off
  • For drunk guests, leave the job to the bartender. If the guest is very disruptive, have someone escort them out
  • And, if the waiter drops the cake, ask if the catering company has another dessert on hand

For comments and questions about wedding venues and wedding receptions, contact us.

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