Skip to main content

10 Awkward Wedding Moments—And How to Gracefully Handle Them

With a little improvisation, your guests will quickly forget these minor mishaps and remember your wedding for the incredible day it was.

couple sitting at table and laughing

couple sitting at table and laughing

Your wedding is going to be full of amazing moments—your first look, saying your vows, the first dance, and more. But there may be a few less-fun incidents during your otherwise fantastic day. These slightly awkward (but pretty common) situations are not catastrophes by any means, and if you handle them with grace, charm, and a little improvisation, your guests will quickly forget these minor mishaps and remember your wedding for the incredible day it was.

You’re called by the wrong name.

A lot of people will be announcing your name during your wedding—your officiant, DJ, bandleader, and more. There is a possibility that one of these people will get mixed up and call you or your almost-spouse by the wrong name. Not ideal.
How to handle: Before your wedding, be sure that all of your vendors have a wedding-day timeline both in email and hard copy. Your timeline should include your and your future spouse’s names, with pronunciation assistance if needed. If a mix-up occurs at your wedding, quickly and clearly correct the speaker.

An uninvited guest shows up.

It happens more often than you’d think. Your cousin brings her kid. Your college friend brings her new boyfriend. Some people just don’t understand the meaning of an RSVP and feel like they can bring anyone they want to your wedding.
How to handle: There’s not much you can do, but don’t—under any circumstances—make a scene. Instead, be gracious and let your wedding planner or a wedding party member try to accommodate the additional guest. Move on and enjoy your day.

Your flower girl refuses to walk down the aisle.

Your flower girl throws a tantrum right before she’s about to walk down the aisle. Everyone is trying to calm her down (and/or totally bribing her), but nothing is working.
How to handle: You may have had visions of the adorable little princess walking down the aisle with a big smile on her face, but that’s clearly not going to happen. Don’t force her to walk down the aisle, and let the ceremony commence on without her. Make sure a parent or close relative is watching the little one, and can bring her in to the ceremony if and when she’s ready.

Guests are walking in late to your ceremony.

You’re standing at the altar, staring into your beloved’s eyes when you hear chatter and rustling—latecomers. Everyone’s heads turn to the back of your venue as a group of guests come in.
How to handle: Assign close friends or relatives to be ushers. The ushers will stand at the entrance to your venue during the ceremony and escort latecomers to their seats—at an appropriate time.

A phone goes off at an inopportune moment.

You’re about to say your vows when you hear that familiar guitar strum ringtone. The room goes silent and everyone starts shifting in their seats.
How to handle: Include a polite but direct request in your ceremony program or on signage that your guests silence their cell phones before the ceremony. Your officiant can also make an announcement at the start of the proceedings. Professional wedding officiants are pros at handling phones ringing and will probably be able to make light of the situation if it occurs. If not, and the offender is oblivious to their constantly pinging phone, a wedding party member can discreetly ask the person to turn it off.

The wrong song is played during your first dance.

You and your future spouse have been planning your first dance for months, but due to a miscommunication, the wrong song comes on during your first dance. You and your future spouse stand there, frozen, and unsure of what to do.
How to handle: Make sure someone in your crew (a planner or wedding party member) knows what your first dance song so that if the wrong song is played, he or she can ask your DJ or bandleader to switch tunes ASAP. If that doesn’t happen, just wing it! Your wedding is all about you and your future spouse having fun, so even if you’re not big dancers, enjoy yourself on the dance floor no matter what song is playing.

Your MOH mentions an ex in a speech.

Your maid of honor wants her toast to be a total surprise. But when she starts speaking, it’s clear things are going in the wrong direction. She starts talking about your past relationships in gory detail, and it’s getting, well, awkward.
How to handle: Your guests will likely look to you to figure out how they should react. Your best bet is to simply laugh and smile, and don’t let any negative feelings shine through—squeeze your new spouse’s hand and fake smile. You can complain to your new spouse after the reception about your MOH’s speech, but don’t make a scene at the reception. Your MOH probably thinks she’s being funny and hopefully is coming from a good place.

Your best man’s speech is Way. Too. Long.

Your best man’s speech has been going on for five minutes without any signs of stopping. Your guests are starting to get bored.
How to handle: Ask all of your wedding reception toast-givers to keep their speeches to around three minutes. Your bandleader, DJ, or emcee can also quietly signal to the speech-giver that it’s time to finish up.

Your great aunt asks, “So, when are you going to give your parents grandkids?” in a really loud voice.

Whether it’s the champagne talking or not, people may feel the need to ask you super-personal questions during your wedding—and always in a super-loud voice when the rest of the room is quiet.
How to handle: Keep your response lighthearted. “We’re not sure yet, but you’ll be the first to know!”

A group of your college friends get really drunk.

Guests may use your wedding as an excuse to get totally wasted, and that may cause things to get out of hand on the dance floor.
How to handle: A wedding party member can discreetly pull the drunk group aside and ask them to settle down, or distract them with desserts or a trip to the photo booth so they’re not making a scene. Make sure that there are transportation options so there’s no drinking and driving.