Brides & Grooms: Read These Nightmare Tales from Wedding Guests So You Don’t Make the Same Mistakes These Couples Did 

Illustration by Melissa McFeeters

Illustration by Melissa McFeeters

PARTY FOULS: Sadly, nearly everyone’s got a story about going to that wedding. Heed these tales of wedding-guest woe gathered from local party-goers to make sure that your nearest and dearest don’t suffer any of the same fates.


We went to a wedding where the bride and groom were from pretty wealthy families. The place was really pretty, and there were tables and chairs, a live band, and lots of hors d’oeuvres, but I didn’t go crazy on them because I thought the dinner would be amazing. There was no dinner. There were sit-down tables but no sit-down food. The guests literally sat at their tables waiting for dinner, but none ever came. It said nothing about this on the invite. We had to leave the wedding early and go to Chipotle, because we were starving. We found out later they spent nearly their whole budget on the band and had no money left over for food.

The wedding was in a plastic tent—with sides—in late June, and it was pouring. There was no ventilation of any kind. I would say we baked, but that suggests that there was air inside that heated up; there was no air, there was only moisture. We were sous-vide. Every picture looks like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark—people’s faces are melting off.

The reception was a buffet, and dinner was running very late, so a guy got up—it was an Indian-Pakistani wedding—and did about 30 minutes of comedy and “games” in a language that many of the guests didn’t understand. Once dinner was ready, there was no table-order calling or anything, just literally a stampede.

My friends had what was easily the most fun and memorable wedding I’ve ever been to. Everything was spectacular, except for one thing: For more than 200 guests, there were only five tables and a handful of high-tops scattered around. Which meant the delicious Indian buffet was really a challenge to enjoy, because there was nowhere to put your plate.

I went to my college girlfriend’s wedding, and not only was it a cash bar—they carded. I didn’t have my ID on me, and the bartender refused to serve me, as if I was a college kid at a dive bar instead of an adult at a wedding. All night, my friends had to sneak me drinks.

My boyfriend’s friend got married last year, and the ceremony involved a lot of anecdotes from friends about when the couple first met and how they knew it was love at first sight and all that. The awkward part? It was incredibly well known that the groom had been engaged to someone else while his romance with the bride started up. So all that “love at first sight” and “bonding instantly” stuff was a little uncomfortable for those of us who are still friendly with the ex-fiancée.

The officiant was a friend of the couple, and she began to cry the moment the ceremony began and did not stop crying. She choked it out between sobs. I truly expected her to fling herself at the couple’s feet and scream, “I can’t do this!”

The food was good, but there were two stations: pasta, and meat on a stick. No tables were called, and there was no discernible order, so with only one chef working it, the pasta line quickly became a 30-minute wait—and the other one eventually did, too, because everyone turned to it while waiting for the pasta.

There was one beleaguered, overworked bartender and a group of about 40 people who quite literally did not leave the bar area the whole wedding. It was easily a 10-minute wait whether you wanted a Coke or a beer, and it was the only way to get drinks. For 130 people.

This article originally appeared in the fall/winter 2014 issue of Philadelphia Wedding.

Like PW on Facebook | Follow PW on Twitter | Sign up for the PW newsletter

Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.