Weddings

How to Handle a Drunk Wedding Guest

What to do when a wedding guest has had too much alcohol

By MiShaun Taylor

Drunk Man with Empty Shot Glasses
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The last thing you want to deal with on your wedding day is a guest who can't handle his alcohol and doesn't know his limit. In a perfect world, the best prevention method would be to not invite people who might abuse the open bar. In reality, you can't exclude a family member or close friend because he or she might drink too much. Read on to see how you can handle a drunk wedding guest.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Having an observant bartender and a crew of people to help you, can help stop inebriated guests before they make you or your other guests uncomfortable.
  • As the host of the wedding reception, you or your family may be legally liable for injury sustained or caused by a drunk guest.

Step 1:

Form a security team to deal with drunken guests. Talk with a few people -- before the wedding -- who you know will be able to handle drunk guests. Give them a heads-up on the people you know who are not able to handle their liquor. Your wedding planner also may help; a good wedding planner can usually spot right away when somebody has had too much to drink.

Step 2:

Instead of confronting the drunken guest -- who is likely to deny or underestimate the level of drunkenness -- grab a slice of cake and a cup of coffee. Ask her to sit with you, eat and have a conversation. Don't let her know your intentions are anything other than a friendly chat. Food will help slow the absorption of alcohol. While it won't completely sober your drunken guest, it will at least head off more drinking.

Step 3:

You or a member of your "security team" can try to lure the person away from the reception. Get him to go to the restroom with someone. Ask him to walk outside with you because you don't want to go alone. Tell her you found a really cool painting in the lobby that you think she should see. Tell her whatever you have to in order to get her away from the scene and to a quieter, less crowded place. If the guest becomes belligerent, at least he or she won't be creating a side show at the reception.

Step 4:

Recruit the bartender for help. The bartender is in control of handing out the liquor, so ask him to keep an eye on the guests and cut them off if they seem like they have had too much. Enlist the help of your security team to keep a guest from starting a dispute with the bartender. The wedding guest that's helping out can escort the inebriated guest away before he causes a scene at the bar.

Step 5:

Get the keys. The last thing you want to happen is for a drunk guest to become angry and speed off into the night. If you notice someone getting too smashed, take his car keys away before it goes any further. If he must leave, call a cab. If the guest refuses to hand over her keys, take them when she isn't looking. Convince her that she lost the keys. Ask someone who is a friend of the guest to talk him into handing over the keys willingly.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Call the police if you need a guest escorted from your reception.
  • If any of your friends or family members have a history of drinking too much or creating scenes at events, have a heart-to-heart conversation with them before the wedding and let them know how important it is to you that they stay on their best behavior.

About the Author

With more than 15 years of writing experience, MiShaun Taylor specializes in wedding-related articles.

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