Cue the urge to leave a wedding; bathroom break, anyone? These moments are ones brides, grooms, guests and wedding planners told us they encounter with a roll of their eyes. Among their most dreaded ceremony or reception moments:
Cake cutting: Jennifer Harrup of Jennifer Laura Design (www.jenniferlauradesign.com) in Houston says some of the brides she works with nix things like a big, showy cake cutting, not wanting another moment of all eyes on them. “Private cake cuttings have become pretty normal with my clients,” she said. “They do an intimate cake cutting with the photographer but don’t announce it to the entire room.” We won’t even get into that part where the bride and groom smash cake into each other’s faces.
Reception speeches: “Too many speeches and toasts can be disruptive to the overall flow of the evening, as guests end up spending more time in their seats than on the dance floor,” said Jess Levin, founder of Carats & Cake (www.caratsandcake.com), an online source for hiring local wedding vendors.
Bad toasts: Omaha, Neb., photographer Phil Jarrett (www.phelixphoto.com) on toasts: “Hands down, the single greatest source of dread for me as a guest and as a regular hired hand at weddings is the toasts. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard best men bring up ex-girlfriends, fathers wax poetic about the importance of outdated gender roles and bridesmaids mention that they Googled how to give a toast.”
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Clinking glasses for a kiss: Of course, you’ll want to kiss your brand-new spouse, but “no one really enjoys being put on the spot,” said Kellee Khalil, founder of wedding planning site www.Lover.ly.
Why aren’t you married? Male and female guests alike, if they’re unmarried, can expect to hear this at least once, Khalil said: “So when will this be you?”
Bouquet toss: Many single women dread the moment they’re called to line up and attempt to catch flying flowers. Deborah Simmons, wedding planner at event organizer Signature Occasions (www.signatureoccasions.com) in Ridgeland, Miss., said brides often scratch the bouquet toss. Instead, she said, “some casually toss the bouquet as they are getting in the car.”
Garter toss: Harrup said the garter toss is awkward. “If you think about it, it really is strange that the groom is sticking his hands up the bride’s dress in front of her grandmother.”
Hours between ceremony and reception: Some weddings include lag time between the ceremony and the reception. Many might use this time to catch up with friends, but other guests say it’s a huge drag and stalls festivities.
Being asked if you’ve eaten anything: Khalil added that brides dread being asked, “Have you eaten anything today?” “Chances are she hasn’t had time, and having other people bring attention to that fact can make her full-on ‘hangry.’”
Cash bar: Arriving at a reception to find you’ll have to pay for your drink can be added to the list of wedding bummers, many guests told us.
Dollar dance: This tradition, in which guests give cash to dance with the bride or groom, strikes some as a little uncomfortable. Kayla Henson, planning her wedding in St. Louis, said she and her fiance decided against it. It seemed like another excuse to ask for more money and gifts.
Deejay calling everyone to the dance floor: No one likes being forced to dance; that’s why it always looks awkward. So the DJ asking all the “single ladies” to come up might not work. “I’ve been at weddings that were so coupled up that when the song came on, only two girls went up to dance,” Khalil said.
Hours of photos: The bride, groom, family and wedding party often spend hours away from the fun, being snapped.
Presentation of the bride: Some brides don’t want the spotlight or the pressure of a huge, must-be-perfect moment at the beginning of the day. Washington, D.C., bride Hannah Romero opted to be present instead with her husband to mingle with guests as they arrived for their wedding. “There is so much pressure on the entire day already, and so much weight in what the wedding stands for, that I did not need the extra pressure of everyone gasping at me when I appear,” she said.
Receiving line: What if you’re the plus-one who doesn’t know anyone at the wedding? “Being that guest who’s obliged to congratulate total strangers can be super-nerve-wracking,” Khalil said.
Small talk: On the flip side of knowing no one, having to force conversation with someone you haven’t seen in years or – worse – didn’t get along with in high school is never fun, Khalil pointed out.
Line up and dance! Chicago bride Christina Collison Burns was determined to avoid songs like the group-dancing slides, whether the cha-cha or electric version. Her husband picked every song played at the reception. “We banned all line-type dances,” she said.