THE BLOG
11/04/2013 06:04 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Sex Degrees of Separation in Your Wedding Party -- Do You Have Enough?

Have you ever sat at a wedding counting the different people around you who have slept together? Instead of focusing on the pretty bouquets and beautiful bridesmaids, were you smirking because the two bridesmaids on the end don't speak to each other because they've both slept with the best man -- recently? Have you ever snarked with a friend at a reception about the fact the bride and groom have both slept with multiple people on their guest list? Bet ya have. It's hard not to sometimes.

Remember the whole "Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon" game? Well, you can play that game at weddings too, usually with fewer degrees. Call it "Sex Degrees of Separation" in the wedding party. How do I know this? Wedding guests love to chitter chatter at the wedding planners and staff -- and the more they drink, the more fascinating it gets. Horrifying too, but thoroughly entertaining. I mean, I suppose it's better that they're dishing to us than some other wedding guest who will repeat it. We won't because we don't care -- we hear it every weekend. Literally.

Here's the deal -- we have a lot of brides and grooms who have been together for years -- sometimes since high school. Often they're under 30 and most of their crew is single. They have big wedding parties of friends who have all dated each other at some point or another. As you might imagine, on occasion, this leads to some drama during the wedding weekend because there's so much history between the key players.

I've had sobbing bridesmaids locked in the powder room because they felt slighted by a groomsman they used to sleep with (or slept with last night) who didn't ask them to dance. And because they've had a little bit too much to drink, and because it's a wedding and she's emotional and still single (it happens), she loses her shit completely when she sees him flirting with another guest. Never mind it's some relative of the groom's he's known forever, through her Vieques-Love-Martini-colored glasses, she's seeing green.

Unfortunately, this is never something that goes unnoticed by the other guests. The guys sorta huddle by the bar uncomfortably... and the target of her despair will either drink himself into oblivion or get pissy about the situation and make it worse (there are so many choices for how he can escalate matters that I won't even start a list here). At the end of the day, you have drama drama drama at somebody else's wedding. Not okay. Especially if it's your wedding.

This has happened at a couple of my gay weddings too. And hearing my grooms complain about their guests' behavior even inspired a blog about not treating a destination wedding like a gay cruise. All that hooking up going on in the days leading up to the wedding always leads to some kind of drama on the wedding night. And it takes away from the newly married couples' overall experience.

So the obvious question is, how can you avoid having this sort of embarrassing situation occur in the first place? You'd like to think that being asked to be in your wedding is an honor and they know how to behave properly, but that's just not how it is. We've all been witness to some emotional disaster at somebody's wedding or bachelorette party at some point and it's terribly uncomfortable for everyone. But you can't predict what will happen. And sometimes it's the girl who never drinks who becomes the drunken emotional train wreck.

Think carefully when choosing your wedding party. Don't choose a Maid of Honor and Best Man who already have a checkered mutual history. Avoid having a groomsman who has slept with four of your six bridesmaids. You may not be able to avoid having all of these people as wedding guests if they're all very important to you, but do you really need to have all of them in your wedding party? Really?

Seriously, sit down and draw out your group -- line them up the way you envision your wedding ceremony. Now draw connecting lines between any and all individuals who have sexual history (definitely include yourselves if it applies). If your paper is looking messy, maybe you need to step back and think for just a minute about 1) how it will appear, and 2) how much drama is likely to occur with this group of people as the center of attention and activity on your wedding day. Maybe that's how you want it -- and if it is, that's okay as long as you warn your wedding planner. But if you've been debating the size and makeup of your wedding party and find you have too few "sex degrees" of separation between your besties, you might take it as a sign. I'm serious -- play the game.

There are a million movies with just these sorts of scenarios I'm describing - why do you think that is? BECAUSE IT HAPPENS. Lots of sex happens at weddings -- and not just destination ones! There have been zillions of studies about how weddings affect people - and I've been witness to some of the most bizarre behavior ever since I started working in this business so I believe most of what I've read -- some people get emotional (good and bad), some get bitter, some get horny. Many of them act on these emotions resulting in all that drama I was referring to. And there's not a damned thing you can do about it because that's just how it is. But you do have some say in how you construct the wedding party that will be the focus of your special day. Do you have enough degrees of separation?

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

Sandy