Love is at the core of any successful wedding but that doesn't mean the entire day is unicorns and rainbows (unless, of course, you've chosen to have a rainbow unicorn themed wedding). When you pair two different families together along with a combo platter of mismatched personalities, it's inevitable that a few wedding guests won't get along. That's just what humans do. The important thing is figuring out how to manage those guests that can't seem to put their petty squabbles aside as you commit yourself to your partner.
Luckily, there are a few strategies you can employ to keep the peace among your wedding guests and prevent your wedding day from turning into a fiasco.
The Wedding Coordinator Intervention
The first rule of thumb for any sort of altercation is not to get involved. It's your day. You don't have to worry about dealing with conflict of any sort. If you notice something awry, call the wedding coordinator over and ask them to deal with it. After all, it's their job to make sure everything goes smoothly on the big day. They should be used to handling wedding crises of any nature and know how to tactfully diffuse the tension so everyone can go back to doing the Macarena.
Deputize Your Bestie
There's another good alternative if you don't have a wedding coordinator or if they're busy putting out another fire. Pull aside a trusted friend and have them deal with the issue. While drama is an unwelcome guest at any wedding, it's more common than you may think. Deputizing a pal (for example, a maid of honor or best man) to help calm things down is a great way to handle the problem without getting personally involved. Usually an independent third party can help remind the riled up wedding guests that this is supposed to be a joyous occasion, not a brawl.
Separate and Isolate
If there's already been a flare up, it may be too late for a calm intervention. Instead, try to quickly find a solution that works for everyone. The easiest way to go about that is to separate the guests in question. Like a mother stepping in to regulate a fight between two warring brothers sharing a room, establish a dividing line in your venue and respectfully ask that each guest stay on their own sides. If you can maintain distance between the guests who don't get along, you'll have a much better shot at maintaining order at the wedding. Also, consider handling this in advance by strategically planning your seating chart and seating these guests far from each other.
Don't Invite Jerks
There's a chance you may know about some prospective issues when you're making your wedding guest list. If Cousin Chuckie always gets drunk and starts fights with anyone around, you may want to find a way to simply not invite Cousin Chuckie. This obviously requires a great deal of tact, but leaving troublemakers off the invite list can solve a problem before it even happens. The situation gets more complicated if there's no way to leave someone off a guest list (i.e. it's your brother, mother, best friend, etc.). In those cases, you may just want to have a talk with the person before the wedding to let them know you want a drama-free day and history makes you think that person has a tendency to bring drama wherever they go. That talk might cause more problems that it helps, but at least you'll know you tried.
Ask Them to Leave
The final option – and the one you'll want to avoid, if at all possible – is asking the wedding guests to leave if they can't get along. This is your day. You don't need to be dealing with anything beyond “I do” and cake. If people can't respect that, they have to go. The downside of this is that there will most likely be some grudges held long after the wedding. Kicking someone out is a last resort, but an effective one. If there's no other solution, have your wedding coordinator or a trusted friend/family member politely ask the people to leave. It's not a perfect solution, but it's certainly the most immediate.