Wedding Industry Workers Share Their Experiences With Predictably Doomed Marriages

From the sidelines of a wedding, as a person who is working rather than attending, it can be easy to see how in love the couple is with an unbiased perspective. Apparently, there are some telltale signs during the wedding planning stages and the wedding itself of whether a couple will last forever or if they are doomed from the start.

The stories below feature everything from bridezillas and absentee grooms to family issues and money drama. As it turns out, asking your people-for-hire for advice about whether or not you should get married might be the best idea when you really think about it. After all, they’ve probably seen countless weddings in their lifetime, so they have a huge backlog of observations to draw from.

Don’t forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 When The Groom Gets Violent, It’s Not A Good Sign

An inebriated gorilla-sized groom physically attacked us when we cut off the music after we had already gone over our contracted time. The mother of the groom got into the mix and pulled him back. The bride was in tears. The best man pulled out a Bluetooth speaker and kept the party going. We did not get a 5-star review and they only lasted a few months.


#2 Bridezilla Was Also Not Very Nice Outside Of The Wedding Either

I heard that on their honeymoon, the bride cheated on the groom, so the groom’s parents didn’t want the photos OR the video I had shot. Instead, they wanted me to sue her for the remainder of the money they owed me. I told them I couldn’t do that because they signed the contract, so they had to pay. The bride was totally mean to him all day at the wedding. It was no surprise she did this.

He was absolutely heartbroken. They sent me a check for the remainder, and I still have all the photos, developed and collecting dust in a pile still in the lab bag I brought them home in. I can’t bring myself to throw them away. The best part? The groom called me two years later to do his wedding photos and video because he was getting married again. I was all set to do it, and then the new fiancé pulled the plug. It turns out; she didn’t want any memories of the first wedding involved. I was fired as soon as I was hired.


#3 The Frat Wedding

Most weddings we shoot are fairly smooth. The couple is usually happy. The family cries tears of joy. There’s lots of laughter. We did film one wedding that seemed fine right up until the aisle walk. We captured the bride and groom prep. They had two suites—one for the ladies and one for the gentlemen. My partner and I were having an easy time running back and forth. Everyone was knocking back shots and living pretty carefree, upbeat, and ready to party, the bride and groom most of all. This is going to be the easiest wedding we film. Or so we thought.

Everybody got seated in the ceremony hall. The groom and all his men were in front with the officiant. The bridesmaids started walking down the aisle — all beautiful. The bride walked in with her father. At this point, I was filming the groom and his reaction. We got a wide shot because we can always zoom in during post. I saw the best man in my viewfinder pull out a flask from his jacket pocket, and the rest of the men do the same except for the groom. This was clearly planned.

The best man spoke loud enough over the music so that people turned to him away from the bride. He raised his glass high and shouted, “Here’s to the bride and groom, may you never disagree. But if you do…” He pointed at the bride with his flask hand and finished with, “SCREW YOU!” They all drank to their frat boy toast.

The best man handed the groom his flask, and he drank from it, laughing the entire time. I have never watched a video more than I have of the reaction of the bride and her father. My jaw dropped; I was speechless. Despite that little escapade, the ceremony went on. The officiant asked the bride, “Do you take groom,” yadda yadda… and she surprisingly, yet weakly, said yes.

The officiant asked the same of the groom, and instead of just saying yes, he screamed, “Heck yeah, I do!!” The bride just facepalmed herself in embarrassment. The look of disgust on her whole family’s face the entire night after that was priceless and highly awkward to film. I could go on with more stories about this wedding, but this is just about the bride and groom. Needless to say, I think that was a big red flag.


#4 They Didn’t Even Make It To Wedding Day

I had a couple fly us out to Iceland for their engagement shoot. Now, the first couple of days were fine, and everything looked okay, but in Iceland, some lodging options aren’t very luxurious. The groom chose to book what was essentially a tiny bunkhouse (the ones meant for those summer camps) and the bride completely lost it.

The next morning, things were pretty tense, and our team continued the shoot as planned even though it was incredibly awkward. Most of our plans fell through because they started arguing in front of a beautiful, solitary glacier. For two hours. Our team could hear them yelling at each other half a mile away because there was literally no one else around for miles. We finished up whatever we could of the last day of the shoot and awkwardly said our goodbyes. Later on, I learned that they broke up a month before the wedding.


#5 Leave That Tradition Behind

I swear that the couples who split up are the ones who smash the cake in each other’s face. Just my weird anecdotal experience. Maybe it’s a sign of respect for each other.

#6 It’s The Venue That’s Doomed

There is one particular venue that has a 100% divorce rate with our clients. It’s a state park, which I’ve dubbed Omen Meadows.

#7 We’ve Got Ourselves A Name-Caller

When doing the letter read, the bride at the end said, “Well, that was freaking stupid.” I cut that part out of the final video. The couple often read letters from their partner prior to the wedding. She just got done reading the groom’s letter and was talking about what he wrote. To be fair, what he wrote was not exactly Shakespeare, but still, it was a harsh response.


#8 An Uncomfortably Flirty Groom

The groom winked at both my assistant and me during the ceremony. He was not winking in the sense that he might have been tearing up or had something in his eye. There was a part during the ceremony where the couple sat down, and that’s when he’d lean his head back in his chair, look past his soon to be wife and wink at us over his left shoulder. It was bizarre.

#9 The Bossiest Bride

I try to get to know both people beforehand so I can work in their hobbies and unique traits into my product. A big red flag is when one person is clearly trying to change the other. I had one guy who loved poker, craft beer, hanging with his rowdy friends, video games, etc. I planned a cool shoot where I had all his friends in an Old West saloon, and he sees his bride-to-be, etc.

But she stepped in and declared, “Oh, he won’t be doing any of those things anymore.” Poor guy just sat there in silence as I awkwardly had to plan them a shopping trip for a Yorkie puppy instead. Halfway through post-production after the wedding, he called and said he was getting an annulment. I wanted to say, “Could have told ya so,” but I try to stay neutral.

#10 Incompatible From The Start

I had a couple come in for a tasting. The appointment was for 7 p.m., but he was late. During the first half hour, it was just her. She told me they met at a stable where they both kept their horses. Those horses were going to be featured at the wedding as the bride and groom would ride them to the site. She described in detail her self-designed medieval gown, flower wreath in her hair, embroidered shoes like some from a museum—it sounded lovely.

She wanted a cake like a castle, which was a specialty of mine. The whole wedding would be over the top, but not in a cringe way. Then he arrived. He barely said hi to her, sat down, and started telling me about his wedding. He’d ride in dressed as a riverboat gambler with a frock coat, brocade vest, string tie, big hat, gold pocket watch, and STERLING SILVER SPURS! He’s fine with the castle cake but wants to incorporate the watch, and a pair of mother-of-pearl handled pistols.

 I had already decided that I was not going to work with them. No way could I come up with a cake that would work for them. But they were there, so I brought out the samples anyway. For the next hour, they carried on two entirely separate monologues. They didn’t address or listen to each. I made no attempt to book them that night, and when they called later in the week, I told them their date had been taken. They were living in two incompatible and entirely self-contained fantasies. I doubt they even made it to the wedding day.


#11 Eye Rolling Is Not A Good Sign

I met the couple in a cafe to discuss their ideas and my services. The girl was very happy—she was very emotional and interested. The guy, however, was rolling his eyes and grunting at everything. I stopped trying to get him involved in the conversation after he ignored me twice. It made the girl very uncomfortable, and she was apologetic of his behavior. I don’t know what happened to them, as they apparently chose to reschedule their wedding and didn’t hire me in the end.

#12 What A Two-Faced Bride

I used to work in day-of wedding coordination, and I had a couple that I couldn’t wait to hear about the divorce. When you pay a wedding coordinator, you only pay for the things the coordinator orders: flowers, catering, the DJ and the coordinator fees. Anything else the couples buy is later added.

We estimated this to be a $500,000 wedding, easy. The dad was paying for all of it. The bride was a total sweetheart when I met her. The groom seemed quiet but was very easy going. It’s always nice to have a sober groom; he didn’t drink a drop during the day. Then the photographer and videographer left to take some venue shots.

The bride began berating everyone, myself included, on how her perfect day had to be capped out because no one wanted to give her more. My clothes were trashy, the DJ’s computer was a PC, the bar staff was wearing red vests, and she hates vests. Then the photographer came back, and she was an angel again.


#13 Bad Couples Play The Blame Game

I was a wedding photographer for many years in the ’90s. It was pretty easy to tell which couples were going to last and which ones would soon be divorced. The main behavior differentiating the two was whether they were on the same team, helping each other and lifting each other up in the face of the inevitable problems and stress that come with weddings. Good couples tackle problems together. Bad couples take sides and blame each other when something goes wrong.


#14 How Much Doubt Is Too Much Doubt?

Nerves are normal, but when one of the two start doubting whether they should go through with it way before the day of the wedding, you know something isn’t quite right.

#15 Avoid Country Hits As Your Wedding Song

I used to help a buddy of mine do wedding videos back in college. I found that the bigger the country hit they use for their wedding song, the shorter the marriage. Obscure songs seemed to last longer.

#16 Watch Out For The Bad Attitude

Constant apologizing for their partner’s behavior or attitude is a big red flag.


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#17 When The Groom Is An Inconvenience

I have played a fair few weddings as part of a band. I haven’t kept up with any of the couples, but I can tell you 100% which marriages would either result in divorce or the guy being miserable for most of his life. The big red flag is when the bride just completely steamrolls the planning, and he has zero input in anything. When she takes no interest in what music he wants on the day, and just generally treats him and his friends as a bit of an inconvenience, it’s probably not going to last.

#18 Wedding By Demand

It was the first wedding I ever photographed. I asked how he proposed, and apparently, he didn’t. The bride came home one day and was like,“We’re getting married,” and he was like, “Uh… alright.” The bride also RAN down the aisle to Beyoncé’s Halo. It was a sight. I believe they got a divorce a few years later.


#19 Hypocrites Are Not Fun To Be With

I’ve been a party bus driver for almost five years. Often, we would do the bachelorette AND the wedding party. All too often, we’d get a combined bachelor/bachelorette party, and those were the worst. Ninety percent of the time, it was the super controlling bride who didn’t want the groom out on his own with his boys.

When I was the office manager, I really tried to discourage this, as it seldom ended well. There would almost always be fighting and drama. We had a handful of ladies that we’d done two wedding buses for. Men, if your lady won’t “let you” have a bachelor party but wants her bachelorette party, that’s an enormous red flag.


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#20 The Minister Is At Fault

I’m a minister with a 100% divorce rate. I think the biggest red flag is me performing your marriage ceremony.

#21 The Bride’s Actions Can Say It All

I have been a wedding makeup artist for a decade. I don’t often meet the husband, so this is more my observation of the bride. Red flags: the bride already having too many mimosas at noon. The bride is ordering everyone around. The bride is having a meltdown about stupid stuff like seating arrangements. Mothers-in-law that refuse to even sit next to each other to get makeup done. The bride is talking badly about her hubby’s family. The bridal party fighting with each other. Caring more about spending a ton of money and being fancy pants than being kind to your loved ones.
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#22 Couples Should Be Able To Maintain Eye Contact If They Truly Love Each Other

I taught hundreds of couples their first wedding dance. I totally knew whose marriages would thrive and whose would crash and burn. When you work one on one with them over a period of months, it becomes crystal clear to everyone else too. A big red flag is couples who don’t look at each other in the eye or have trouble with maintaining eye contact past five seconds. I give those couples five years tops.

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#23 Money Can’t Buy You Love

The more expensive the wedding, the quicker the divorce.

#24 The Adult Toddler Syndrome

I’ve had a bride warn us not to rile up the groom and take too many pictures of him because he gets cranky easily. Your grown adult husband gets cranky; he has to take pictures on your wedding day? Good luck!


#25 Spend Within Your Means, People!

My friend is a wedding planner, and for her, the biggest red flag that a marriage will fail is when they spend a lot of money that they don’t have on a wedding.

#26 A Gloomy Groom

Typically, it’s a red flag when the bride or groom is super quiet. There was one instance where the groom barely said ten words to anyone during the ceremony or reception afterward. The bride and her mother were extremely loud and excited the entire time. The bride needed everything to be “perfect.” I dropped off the photo bundle with them two weeks later, and he was still quiet.

She, however, complained about all of the pictures because he wasn’t smiling enough. She wanted a discount because I couldn’t make him look happy. They got divorced about a year later. I know this because I did his engagement photos with his new fiancé about four years after his first wedding.


#27 If Your Guests Don’t Show Up, Your Marriage Might Be Doomed

Here’s a big red flag. The couple invites tons of people to the wedding dinner banquet (Chinese dinners are eight to ten courses and are quite expensive per seat), and there are tables empty when the banquet begins.


#28 “Hide The Wedding Pictures, Please”

I did some wedding pictures a few months back. Before the wedding, the groom asked me if my images were going to be on Facebook because he didn’t want them online. I said it was their pictures and they could do what they wanted with them. Well, two weeks after the wedding, the bride contacted me and said the pictures were beautiful, but she had left her new husband as he had a side chick. That’s why he didn’t want the pictures online… because the side chick would find out.

#29 Check Your Priorities

Red flag: they care more about the wedding than the marriage (often manifests as bridezillas).

#30 It’s All About The Quality Time

One of the simplest indicators I’ve seen is based on how much time do they spend together during the reception?

#31 A Lack Of Intimacy Is A Lack Of Love

Couples who don’t like touching or being ‘intimate’ with each other is the biggest one.

#32 His Family Wanted To Leave The Bride Out

I was an assistant photographer at a wedding, but a few days after the nuptials, the groom’s mom wrote the studio asking for a wedding album that DID NOT include any pics of the bride. Son and his family only. Two weeks later, she moved in with them to help out her son. The bride moved out less than six months later.

#33 A Bride In Hiding

I did a wedding where the bride hid in the dressing room all night. She made brief appearances for photos, dinner, the first dance and that was it. She refused to come out for anything else. It was a big, fancy affair, too. She just left the groom to entertain everyone.


#34 All About The Photoshop

I had a woman in for a quote for photography, pretty standard stuff. After we had discussed style, length of coverage and such, she said, “If you make me look fat, I will sue you.” I laughed, but she didn’t. “I’m serious. I have a lawyer on retainer. I need a photographer that will photoshop any photo that I look fat in.” I politely declined, and she left. I doubt that marriage lasted.

#35 Bad Vibes

I work at a wedding venue and there’s always a “vibe” in the building on the day of. Sometimes, it’s a very bad vibe and I know things aren’t going to go well. We deal with so much family and behind-the-scenes stuff so it’s really easy to feel palpable tension in the air from bride and groom as well as the wedding party and family members.

There was one couple in particular who we had some issues with leading up to the big day. Not uncommon, just some requests they made that we couldn’t easily accommodate. For that reason, I was really hoping the wedding would go seamlessly. When I walked in that day, I just felt bad energy in the air. All of my coworkers agreed.

The groom’s mom was nervous and worried the whole time, the bride and groom were both in remarkably bad moods. The biggest red flag was when the groom’s dad came in. The groom looked at him and said: “Hey how are ya?” The dad said, “Well, I’m here” with a shrug. The groom responded, “Yeah, I feel the same way.” That’s not the attitude you want on your wedding day.

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#36 The Fake Versus The Real Smile

I’ve done enough shoots to be able to tell who’s actually going to be together for a while and who won’t be. Couples that really do work are usually a lot more genuine and don’t need to fake a smile for the camera, it’ll just be natural. Couples that don’t work too well won’t have that happen too much.


#37 Even The Bridesmaids Needed Stress Balls For This Wedding

I filmed a wedding where the bride gifted stress balls to her bridesmaids. They divorced two years later.


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#38 It Should Not Be About Keeping Up With Appearances

Red flag: the couple seems rigid, more focused on keeping up appearances than, you know, enjoying their own wedding. During the reception, they’ll usually talk to their friends and only meet each other for the cutting of the cake and the dance.


#39 Practice Does Not Make Perfect Where Weddings Are Concerned

It was his second marriage and she was 18. When they cut the cake, the groom asked the bride how she wanted to pose. Her response was, “I don’t know, you’re the one who has done this before.” They lasted a few months at best.

#40 The Groom Was Clearly Out Before The Wedding Even Started

I was the assistant photographer at a wedding that took place in a 20-story hotel. I took the groom downstairs to meet his groomsmen for photos on the street, riding alone with him on the elevator. He had a couple of drinks with his groomsmen but was far from inebriated. On the elevator ride, he looked at himself in the reflective metal doors of the elevator and said, loud enough for me to hear, “What are you doing?”

I stayed completely still and didn’t say a word. We got off the elevator, and neither of us mentioned it. I have no idea if they’re still married. The wedding happened at least eight years ago, and I don’t remember their names. I was an assistant, after all, so I wasn’t responsible for client intake or anything like that.


#41 A Real Metaphor For Their Relationship

I was shooting a friend’s wedding years ago and witnessed a pretty serious red flag. To close the vows part, they did some sand mixing ritual where he had a vial of white sand and she a vial of black sand. They were to pour them into a tall empty vial together to make grey sand symbolizing their inseparable union. As they poured, they could not sync with each other at all. One would slow down while the other sped up and vice versa. They ended up pouring near perfectly stratified black and white layers. He nervously giggled, and she looked forlorn as the pastor and guests marveled at their zebra-striped creation. They lasted about two years.

#42 A Couple That Visits Tables Together, Stays Together

My folks did wedding photography for a long time. They always said that if the bride and groom visit tables together at the reception, they’ll last. If they split up and visit tables individually, it probably won’t work out.

#43 Telling A Joke

One of my clients, a few years ago, on their wedding day, told me as a joke: “Hey Mr. Photographer, if this marriage fails, can I get a discount on the 3rd? Buy 2 get 1 free?” Needless to say, I had to force an awkward smile.
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#44 This Couple Made The Wrong List

Assistant wedding planner here. I once worked at a wedding where a part of the ceremony consisted of the couple listing things they didn’t like about each other. They weren’t small, funny things either. There were some very serious ones like, “I wish you had more time for me.” I bet they didn’t last.

#1 A High Maintenance Wedding Means A High Maintenance Marriage

I used to work for a bartending and catering company. I always got the best vibe from the couples that just had a normal open bar and a relaxed wedding. Those that had “signature” cocktails and a set drink menu (high maintenance) had the exact opposite vibe.