Guests left early…

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
2052 posts
Buzzing bee

Oh no!  I’m sorry to hear about your wedding experience.

Hugs to you!

Post # 4
42117 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@smetivier26:  I’m sorry that this was your experience. I think it’s likely it was a combination of factors.  It was hot. Dinner was served awfully early. After dinner is usually when people dance and it would still have been too hot at that time upstairs.

Post # 5
1112 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Mine was pretty similar, but we werent too surprised since it was a morning ceremony and lunch reception. And, out of about 85 guests we had… I think 14 or 15 no-shows. We did our first dance, some traditional scottish dances, and then pretty much everyone left. We had a ton of songs ready too! But we stayed and danced with the few that stayed and had a great time.

Post # 6
679 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I haven’t been to that many weddings, but my observation is that a LOT of people leave right after dinner.

As a PP said, you had dinner very early and had an additional 5 HOURS of reception time.  The few weddings I have been to have had 3 or 3 1/2 hours tops after dinner.  You had a lot of time to fill.

I have been to weddings where there was not a lot of dancing.  It just really depends on your crowd.  My family is NOT a dancing family, where my SO’s is.

You said yourself it was hot.  I don’t want to dance if I’m already hot and uncomfortable.

I would not have realized that a mad libs paper that I was supposed to bring from the ceremony to the reception would double as a “guest book”.  I would probably have left it at the church or in the car.

I’ve also noticed most people don’t pay attention to the special dances.  I wouldn’t take that personally.

I’m sorry you felt like you had a bad time, but it honestly sounds pretty normal to me.

Post # 7
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

@smetivier26:  I’m so sorry!  I don’t think people left to be rude but they were probably just too hot to stay!  I only say this because it is VERY hot where I live and I have had to leave somewhere because I was just miserably hot and honestly felt sick to my stomach.  The heat affects some people like that and they just feel sick until they get out of the heat!  I never left somewhere to be rude, only because I was afraid I would throw up or something.  And 8 people not showing up is actually pretty normal I think.  Most of the weddings I’ve been to have lots of people not show up and there will just be a few empty tables or people will spread out more so it’s not as noticeable.  I’m sure your guests had a great time while they were there!  I wish they would have told you bye and congrats or something so that you knew people were leaving and could have done something to sway them to stay!   

Post # 8
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I’m surprised that the 60ish people you THOUGHT were hanging out downstairs just disappeared and didn’t even say goodbye to you.  That’s pretty rude.

Sounds like you did everything you could (warning people ahead of time, providing games, open bar, etc) to make it inclusive and fun.  I’m sorry!

Post # 9
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

Sorry that you’re upset about it, but I understand what your guests were thinking. I can’t tolerate heat, no matter how many cool drinks are available. I just can’t stand it. BUT, they should have said goodbye!

As far as the special dances, I’m not surprised about that. Generally nobody but very close friends and family are intetested in watching others dance alone. I can honestly say I’ve never watched a first dance, but that has nothing to do with how I feel about the couple. I just don’t find it interesting. 

Post # 11
394 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@smetivier26:  I’m sorry it didn’t go the way you imagined!

Though I must say….you say your cocktail hour started at 3PM, and you were expecting people to stay till 10PM?? That’s 7 hours!!!

It’s definitely rude that they left without saying goodbye, but if they left at 7PM, they were at your reception for 4 hours, which seems pretty normal. 

Post # 12
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

So the question was – Is this normal?

Unfortuately, I think the inattentiveness during the dances is pretty normal. If you’re justdoing the sway back and forth thing it gets boring pretty quickly. So I wouldn’t hold that against people.

And while it is super duper annoying, 8 no shows seems about average. I had 9.

The leaving early definitely sucks. I’m guessing that guests were maybe thrown because dinner was so early? Or maybe it was the heat? I can’t really say, but if you had good music and cornhole and an open bar, you better believe my husband and I would have stayed the whole night!

But, realistically, the day is over. Can’t go back and change anything. And I doubt it would make you feel any better to be bitchy to your guests who left early. So I would encourage youto try to focus on the good things about the day and not worry so much about what wasn’t the way you wanted it. Dwelling on the things that you’re upset about doesn’t help you in any way. So vent on the bee. And we can agree that your guests were total party poopers and it’ their loss for missing out on so much fun. But then you just have to get over it. And enjoy your marriage!

Post # 13
855 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

@smetivier26: It sounds like you had a very casual venue and then were disappointed when your guests acted very casually.

As other Bees have mentioned, I would never have guessed a handed out mad lib was supposed to serve as a guest book, and even if it had been printed on there, many would probably just glance at it and set it aside.

There was a large area for them to walk around and explore, so it kind of makes sense people would wander off, especially since the venue invited that.

As for the big thing—people leaving: I’m sorry, but the post-ceremony timeline was way too long for them to stay until 10.  From cocktail hour until the end of the reception is almost an entire workday’s amount of time.  Most receptions I’ve been to start having guests filter out around hour 2 and really start to empty after the 3 or 4 hour mark.  It’s rude that they didn’t say goodbye if they hadn’t spoken to you before, but with a venue that large and different areas in the barn, some may not have known where you are, or they may not have wanted to hurt your feelings since they were uncomfortable.

It’s unfortunate that it didn’t go as planned, but don’t let your unfulfilled expectations of others taint the joy of your wedding day.

Post # 14
2694 posts
Sugar bee

I think it’s strange to watch people slow dance at weddings. I never watch it unless it’s entertaining. Most of the time it’s not. 

I agree with PP, most people leave after dinner and especially in the heat. Even if I was naked, I wouldn’t want to hang out in the 90 degree heat. 

Truthfully, the last time I left a wedding that early was because it was boring. 

Post # 15
79 posts
Worker bee

Did you ask your husband if they said goodbye to him? From your story, it doesn’t sound like he was on the dance floor with you. 

I think that people may have felt uncomfortable interrupting you rocking out on the dance floor and that is why they didn’t say goodbye. I admit I tend to leave without saying goodbye, and it’s more because I don’t think the bride/groom would even notice if I left and I don’t want to call a bunch of attention to myself by announcing my departure. 


Post # 16
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

@smetivier26:  I agree with PPs not saying goodbye is rude, unless someone really needs to suddenly rush out for some reason.

Having the bar downstairs probably contributed to not having people in the same area.  Some people might not have known when special things were occurring.

Sorry it didn’t work out as you had planned.

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