You wouldn’t believe how often the most badly-behaved member of a wedding group is one of the parents of the brides and grooms. On the most important day, thus far, in their child’s life, some moms and dads just can’t control their mouths, their behavior or their drinking.

I believe it’s the combination of the three that causes drama. Sometimes they’re antagonizing a family member or a future family member, and sometimes they pick on the staff. But whatever they do, they’re saying and doing things that will hurt the overall ambiance of the wedding festivities.

Brides and grooms warns us all the time about their parents – more often than they warn us about problem friends. Fact is, they know their own parents. Some of them aren’t okay with their choice of a gay marriage, or even their sexual orientation in general, but they’re still invited. You have no idea how often we’re given the specific instructions “ignore anything my mom says about anything.” Or “expect my dad to bitch about the bar not being open before the ceremony and make nasty remarks about his gay son.” Half the time, they’ve chosen a destination wedding because they think it’s a more manageable way to get married with an unmanageable family. True life.

You know if you’re one of those parents – and you know if you have a family-wide reputation for drama. Don’t pretend you aren’t aware of your own personality flaws. Whatever you’ve done in the past, the upcoming wedding of your son or daughter is your chance to demonstrate you have the poise and self-control to show your child’s wedding day the utmost respect it deserves. And if, God forbid, you aren’t okay with their choice to marry someone of the same sex, you should seriously consider whether you even belong at the wedding. True, you may be doing long-term damage if you don’t go. But you might do lifelong damage if you attend and act unsupportive.

To make sure that you shine as the ultimate example of a good parent on the big day, please make an effort to avoid doing all 10 things that are listed below:

1) Never try to interfere with the wedding planning team on the day of the wedding if you weren’t a part of the original planning process. Whether you believe your sons or daughters – or future sons or daughters-in-law – have made some bad decisions in their décor planning is not for you to say at that stage of the game. Your job on the wedding day is to be supportive, look fabulous for pictures, and stay out of the way when it’s the best thing to do unless the bride or groom asks you to step in.

2) Don’t try to be the DJ at your daughter or son’s wedding – even if you hate the music. We recently had a dad with very specific taste in music. Unfortunately, his faves were all about 20 years older than what the bride and groom had selected for their DJ playlist. While we encourage our clients to let guests request songs, a parental unit parking his ass at the DJ table and trying to run the music for the party doesn’t work and gets very awkward. Especially when he can’t take no for an answer and continues to harass the DJ all night long.

3) Don’t get drunk and make a fool of yourself at the reception, or God forbid, before the ceremony. While we honestly find that wasted parents make some of best blooper videos (you should see them dancing – it’s classic), most of the time if they’re drunk enough to act a fool on the dance floor, they’re going to also act like an idiot when they’re chatting with guests. Know your limits parents – you should be old enough by now to know how much you can drink without ruining your child’s memories of their big day. To be honest, most of my guests still think my father was toasting in Spanish. He was speaking English. I was mortified.

4) Never tell the wedding planner or any other vendor “I paid for you” unless you’re the actual name on the contract. You shouldn’t treat the wedding planning staff like “the help” unless you’re trying to hurt the quality of their work at your offspring’s wedding. If your son or daughter chooses to behave abominably and do that, they’re the ones paying us – sadly, that’s their prerogative. But you are not the client and we aren’t going to listen to you if you’re rude or abusive. Even if you gave the brides or grooms the money to pay the wedding bill, if your name isn’t on the planning contract and we never heard of you before you arrived, we’re going to ignore you. Sometimes your children have even warned us about you in advance so don’t bother complaining about our services to them on their wedding day. It’s nasty and selfish if they’re happy and enjoying themselves and you’re just mad because we kicked you out of the kitchen when your drunk butt was getting in the caterer’s way.

5) Leave your camera alone during the wedding and reception – you are a VIP and honored guest and you should be in the pictures, not taking them. Nothing looks worse in ceremony pictures than parents in the front row holding up iPads and big cameras. There’s a reason the brides and grooms hire a professional. You’re actually getting in the hired photographer’s way, and often blocking the view of the unfortunate guests who are sitting behind you.

6) Don’t sexually harass the wedding planning or reception service staff at the wedding. Nobody wants to dance with you. I’m sorry, but it’s true. We’re all working. Not long ago, an inebriated stepfather of the groom did a vicious grind on a member of our staff at a wedding, during cocktails, even before the bride and groom had made their entrance. The mother of the groom apologized later on, saying “I’m sorry, he always does that.” Really? Really??? And everybody in your family is okay with that? We’re not okay with that.

7) If you are recently divorced and are not re-married, don’t bring a date to the wedding unless it’s a stress-free, copacetic relationship between your new significant other and your former spouse. If you know that it will upset your ex, you are setting yourself up to create a disaster at your child’s wedding. It’s just plain selfish. You don’t NEED a date. We’ve had situations where the mother of the bride cried off and on all weekend because her “replacement” was on the arm of HER daughter’s father. She held it together as best she could, and I must admit, I took special pleasure at the end of the night in telling her that the new girlfriend had just thrown up in the van on the way to the After Hours party. Classy, eh?

8) Bring your own support system with you if you need one – don’t plan on leaning on your children on their big day. If you know that you don’t like the person your son or daughter is marrying (or if you’re still having trouble handling the gay wedding itself) and dealing with the fiancé’s family is going to be a challenge, be sure your BFF is there to help get you through the entire ordeal. If your ex is bringing “the new wife” and you’re wishing you didn’t have to go, bring a solid friend along to prop up your ego, not a random date that will feel and look uncomfortable and awkward. You’re better off appearing alone and confident than looking desperate and pathetic.

9) Keep it to yourself if you dislike the other bride or groom’s mother or some other member of the wedding party. Gossiping in your room privately is one thing, but the minute you start expressing your opinion to any wedding guest, you’re opening yourself up to having the comment repeated. Should that get back to the target of your ire during the reception, you will create drama and completely unnecessary hurt feelings. If you’re at your son or daughter’s wedding, the deed is done and there’s no going back now so keep your opinions to yourself lest you be the cause of an unpleasant start to what might be a lifelong, happy marriage.

10) Keep the embarrassing and inappropriate stories about your son or daughter to yourself at the wedding and reception. Coming out stories are a no-no. But anything that’s mean or nasty shouldn’t be spoken at their most important day regardless of the subject matter. A number of years ago, I was a guest at a beautiful wedding where my childhood family friend was marrying a former Senator’s daughter. During dinner, the Senator visited all of the tables to chat with the guests. When he was at our table (consisting entirely of high school friends of the groom), he shocked us all by proclaiming loudly, “I didn’t think she was ever going to get married. You know, she used to be very overweight and unattractive and we figured she’d be single forever. We’re so glad she found your friend.” No lie. Swear to God that happened. Nobody replied – we were all speechless. It was silent for a few minutes after he walked away too while everybody tried to figure out what EXACTLY there was to say. A guy at the table broke the ice with “So how do you think the Redskins are going to do this year?” and everyone chuckled and moved on. But for real, what a malicious, mean, gossipy thing for a man to say about his own baby girl on her wedding day. I hated him immediately. He’s lucky I was a guest and not the wedding planner that night.

Do you realize HOW IMPORTANT your behavior is at your son or daughter’s wedding? Do you get that EVERYONE is watching you, and taking pictures and video from all directions? All the guests will LISTEN when you speak and you have to think about what comes out of your mouth if you have a tendency to put your foot in it.

Remember that no matter how stressed out you may get or how uncomfortable you feel, the day is not about you. It is all about helping your son or daughter to launch his or her new life on the best foot possible. And that means keeping your own act together and becoming an asset rather than a liability. You have no idea how much it will be appreciated in the long run. Trust me, you don’t want to end up as one of their lifelong wedding embarrassment stories.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!

Sandy

b2ap3_thumbnail_holding-crown

Sandy Malone, guest blogger with Pridezillas.com, is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. She and her team have planned and executed almost 400 weddings and commitment ceremonies in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004. Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra and Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm).

Visit her at: www.WeddingsinVieques.com and www.WeddingsinCulebra.com! And check out her new website at www.SandyMalone.com for more answers to the mysterious questions of wedding planning!