What to do when guests jeopardise your big day

In the course of planning a wedding, you're bound to cross paths with a guest or two whose inappropriate actions, odd requests or rude behaviour will appal you.

In the course of planning a wedding, you're bound to cross paths with a guest or two whose inappropriate actions, odd requests or rude behaviour will appal you.

Don't be shocked. While you might know the ins and outs of wedding etiquette, some of your friends and family might not be aware of what's acceptable. What can you do? Be proactive. Here's how to deal with gremlins.

l Not sending RSVPs.

What happens: Anyone who's ever planned a wedding knows the importance of a punctual RSVP - from plotting your seating chart to giving the caterer a final head count, it's hard to proceed without a firm grasp of who's coming. Unfortunately, some of your guests may treat the RSVP as a novelty rather than a necessity.

How to deal with it: Give it a week. After that, it's time to give them a call. Recruit your maid of honour to help you with phone duties if you're really struggling with missing RSVPs. Or, better yet, send out a group e-mail - use a blind CC - saying that you need to know by a certain date if they're planning on attending. Keep the tone nice, but firm. Then you only have to call those who don't reply to the e-mail.

l Sending RSVPs with extra guests.

What happens: The good news is that the guest has returned the RSVP. The bad news is that she's dragging along a person you did not invite.

How to deal with it: To avoid potential hurt feelings, you need to call the misguided guest to explain the circumstances. Explain the limitations, a small reception space or a tight budget, for the restrictions. Chances are that they will happily cooperate.

l Bombarding the bride.

What happens: As soon as they receive the invite to your wedding, the phone calls begin. Guests treat you like their personal concierge and bombard you with questions about transportation and accommodation.

How to deal with it: Make sure that every guest has all the information they need in their invitations and that includes the venue, the map and driving directions.

l Showing up late.

What happens: Some guests may arrive later, believing they are saving themselves and you the boredom of the nik-naks. We know of one maid of honour who saw a late guest stroll in directly behind the bride as she walked down the aisle with her father.

How to deal with it: For those who are really late, ask an usher or your day-off coordinator to be on the look out for late arrivals to make sure your processional goes undisturbed, and to have them help any late guest to quickly and quietly find a seat.

l Bringing a big, heavy gift.

What happened: It doesn't sound so bad. Someone brought a huge gift to the wedding. While you really can't complain about receiving presents at your reception or at all for that matter, it can be a pain to lug them home.

How to deal with it: Ask one of your attendants to store all the gifts in one place - preferably a locked, separate room in your reception space so that nothing gets left behind. At the end of the wedding, that attendant can account for all the gifts and then take them to the most convenient location - your home rather than your honeymoon suite.

l Giving unexpected toasts.

What happens: Weddings can be emotional and merry events. The emotions invoked here can make people do funny things. Some may feel compelled to grab the microphone when they weren't asked to toast. Embarrassing stories, offensive anecdotes and rants have all worked their way into wedding toasts.

How to deal with it: Unfortunately, you need to just grin and bear it. If the toast seems like it will never end, have the best man signal the band or DJ to carefully cut in.

l Requesting songs.

What happens: You've worked with your band or DJ to put together the perfect soundtrack for your wedding. All of a sudden, your ambience is interrupted by the sounds of Brenda's Vulindlela and it seems that your brother is the culprit.

How to deal with it: Requests from your guests might be inevitable and if your band or DJ think it's appropriate for the atmosphere, they might give requested songs a play. And it might be okay - you can't control everything about your wedding or reception.

l Drinking too much.

What happens: A few too many signature cocktails turned one of your guests from the life of the party into a bit of a mess.

How to deal with it: Don't try to stop them, they will drink anyway. Just make sure they are sleeping over, get them a taxi or ensure that their sober mate will be driving.

l Crashing your wedding.

What happens: In the middle of your perfect wedding, you notice a few unfamiliar faces in the crowd, and wonder, "Who invited them?" Your wedding has been crashed.

How to deal with it: Don't freak out. With tasty food, fun music and free drinks, it's no wonder some fun-loving people might want to get in on the action. If you spot a crasher, pretend you didn't. - MSN.com