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17 Signs a Marriage Won't Last, According to Wedding Planners

Wedding planners reveal the tell-tale signs a couple won't last forever.

Unfortunately, not every couple that says "I do" at the altar is headed for a lifetime of happiness. Even if the wedding itself seems to go off without a hitch in the eyes of guests, there are tiny red flags that can point to major trouble down the road. And who would know these signals that a marriage won't last better than the people who see it all: wedding planners? They spend the days and months leading up to a couple's wedding seeing how they respond to stress, how they make compromises for each other (or don't), and how their families mesh.

Maya Devassy Tarach, a wedding planner from Chicago, says, "Wedding planning is an exciting yet stressful time, since it's generally a long process that is both emotionally and financially draining on the couple." And that's when the true colors start to show, she notes.

Wedding planners know all the patterns that lead to bad days after the big day. And if you want to know what they know, check out these telltale signs a marriage won't last, according wedding planners.

The couple doesn't communicate effectively.

couple arguing on the sofa, rude behavior

It's highly unlikely that a soon-to-be-married couple will agree on every single little wedding detail, but it's how the happy couple talks through them that matters.

"A couple may not always agree on how the wedding details should be handled, but when ideas, updates, or changes aren't communicated properly, or if one party will only have it their way for the wedding and refuses to compromise, it's not looking good in the long run," says Tarach.

The couple is overly concerned with the little details.

couple planning their wedding

While it helps to be prepared and organized for your wedding, sometimes being too prepared can totally muck things up. Robert and Kristen Tesar, the North Carolina wedding photography and planning duo behind Rob + Kiersten Photography, find that couples who are too bogged down with the details don't typically last.

"If there is any glaring sign to us, it's when couples spend more time obsessing or agonizing over the details and physical parts of the wedding and making that the priority over the excitement of being together as a couple on the day, and after," Robert says.

Or the families are too concerned with the details.

family at their child's wedding

It's one thing for the soon-to-be-wed couple to be invested in all the details that concern their big day, but when either of their families are overly involved with aspects of the wedding, it's a big red flag.

"I had a bride absolutely fall in love with our venue and three months after booking, she told us the groom's parents made her cancel the wedding there because they wouldn't come," says Kendall Graham, a wedding venue coordinator for Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina.

One partner doesn't care about the details.

man bored about doing paperwork with his wife

While not being bogged down by wedding details may mean you're more focused on spending the rest of your life with the person you love, if one half of the couple shows absolutely no interest in the process, that might also be a bad sign.

"How your partner behaves in the planning meeting says it all," says Amy McCord Jones, owner of Flower Moxie in Oklahoma City. "I understand that discussing the merits of peonies versus garden roses may not be your jam, but staying engaged and supportive throughout the meeting says it all. Too often, guys roll their eyes, pull out their phone, and mumble, 'As long as there's beer, I don't care.' As a wedding planner, this makes me sad because it hurts my bride's feelings and makes her feel like her wedding day isn't important."

Or they're overly critical or negative about everything.

a couple sitting on their bed with one partner being too negative

Being disinterested is one thing. But, according to Eric Hunt, a wedding officiant from South Carolina, when a bride or groom is negative about the planning process, that's where things really start to go south.

"Sure, it is very common for the groom to be somewhat disconnected from wedding planning, but when they are exceedingly negative towards the process or complain, it can definitely indicate further underlying issues that will surface in the marriage later on," Hunt says.

One partner actively goes against the serious requests of the other.

women arguing about parenting things you should never say to a single parent

Weddings are often about compromise. So, if one party actively goes against some specific requests of their partner, that's a big sign that things aren't going to end well.

One wedding planner wrote on a Reddit thread about an instance in which "[the] bride warned [the] groom several dozen times—in my presence—if he smashed the cake in her face, they would have issues." However, when the groom's friends found out about the bride's one stipulation, they teased him for being "whipped." So what did he do? He smashed the cake in her face. According to the wedding planner, the bride had the wedding annulled.

The couple doesn't seem to be too concerned with the paperwork.

marriage certificate on the table with rings

No wedding should be all about the paperwork. However, there are a lot of things that go into making a marriage "official," and if the couple doesn't seem very interested in that aspect, they might not be the perfect pair after all. Most marriage licenses expire after a certain time period (New York's, for example, are good for only 60 days after date of issue). So, if you're not on top of getting things signed and filed, you may have to face going through the entire process again.

"[I] am a wedding planner, as well as an officiant," one Reddit user explained. "I forgot to ask for (and sign) this couple's marriage license—I sign and send them to the county for recording—so I texted the bride, and she said, 'Oh, no need, we haven't gotten our license yet,' and 'We'll do it legally a different day'… A few months later, she's with husband's best friend. And now they're engaged."

Someone continues to brag about how much the wedding costs.


When either a bride or a groom start to brag about how much their wedding costs, it's a clear sign their focus is somewhere other than a happy marriage. One wedding planner on Reddit recalled a "bridezilla" she worked with who told her guests they should be appreciative they were invited to her wedding because she paid a lot for the venue.

"And when it was time for the cake cutting, she grabbed the mic out of my hands—which she did numerous times throughout the evening—and told everyone to shut up," the planner wrote. "She started talking about how high-end the cake was and how people at this wedding should be happy to eat it… At that point, I knew this wedding was going to be off the rails."

Or they go into debt for the wedding.

bill passed due and debt

There's no reason you shouldn't have a high-end wedding, as long as you can afford it, of course. Going into debt just to have a "perfect wedding" might not be a wise choice for a successful future.

"It's extremely risky to spend money you don't have and go into debt over your wedding before you even start a life together," Emily Reno, a wedding planner from Nevada, told HuffPost. "Starting a marriage with $50,000 of debt is a recipe for disaster.

There's a little bit too much nervousness from either party.

Unhappy Couple doing taxes

It's not unlikely that a couple might get nervous before a day where all the eyes will be on them. But according to one Charleston-based wedding planner, who asked to remain anonymous, too many nerves are a sign that things aren't what they seem. "[It says a lot] when the groom-to-be is basically having mini panic attacks before the ceremony," she says. "One groom had to sit down and chug water to even be OK to walk. Perhaps that's an early sign your gut is telling you?"

They treat the wedding staff poorly.

wedding staff serving dinner

If a couple isn't kind to the staff planning or working their wedding, chances are, they're going to treat marriage poorly as well. One Reddit user recalled working with a couple he called "absolute snobs," who treated them "with little respect" and "always expected more," despite them planning amazing service. And when things went awry later in the night because of the couple, the bride and groom came in shouting at the staff. As for their marriage? "We gave it six months. They gave it four," the Redditor noted.

The couple is more focused on drinking than on the actual wedding.

a groom drinking at his wedding

Of course you should have a good time at your wedding—after all, it's your day. But for Kristina Savina with Wedding Forward, if either partner drinks too much on the wedding day, that's a telltale sign things might not end up working out. She says if you notice your partner "throwing back the cocktails" before the ceremony even starts, you should ask yourself one question: "Why?"

The families don't get along.

families at a wedding

Listen, not everyone is going to have a mother-in-law who loves them. But if it's clear that the two families don't get along, or that one of the families isn't a fan of the soon-to-be-married couple, it's not a good sign. Abeki Carter, from New York event planning company Chic Occasions, says there are a lot of family-backed conflicts that arise during a wedding that she and her colleagues note as red flags. It could be something as minuscule as meddling in-laws in the process of planning, or even sometimes, a family member exposing one of the partner's past secrets during the festivities. Yikes!

The couple doesn't make an effort to sit near each other.

wedding couple sitting next to each other at their reception

On Reddit, one former wedding coordinator said it all has to do with how closely the couple sits next to each other during the big day.  "I always paid attention to how closely the bride and groom sat next to each other during the speeches [and] dinner," they wrote. "The happy couples were always right on top of each other, sharing food, laughing, and just generally chatting. They were in their own world, while the rest of the wedding went on around them."

However, other times they would notice couples "practically on the other side of the table from one another," and if they don't "care enough to appreciate the presence of [their] spouse the very first time [they] sit down next to them, [they] have no chance once the real world takes over."

The couple divides to greet guests at the wedding.

wedding couple greeting guest separately

With any wedding, there are often a frenzy of guests to speak to and greet. Most couples do this as a pair. So if they choose to separate to greet guests, it may not be such a good thing.

"It's always a little heartbreaking to see couples completely separate while visiting with guests during the reception," wedding planner Kelly Dellinger told HuffPost. "As an extrovert, I totally understand working the crowd because so many loved ones are present to support you, and you don't see them on a regular basis. But some couples take this to the extreme, and there have unfortunately been weddings (like one where a groom explicitly ignored his new bride the entire night long to go chain smoke outside) with behavior that demonstrates a lack of respect and consideration for their new life partner."

An ex shows up to the big day uninvited.

ex planning and thinking about crashing her ex's wedding

There is no harm in your partner staying friends with someone they used to date, and there's no reason you can't extend a wedding invite to an ex if you're still friends. Maria Vella, a Toronto-based wedding planner, told The Globe and Mail that an ex can definitely be invited to a wedding, and she sees it happen all the time. But there is a caveat: "All three … have to be on good terms," she warns. If an ex of either new spouse shows up uninvited or without consent of both parties, it's a huge red flag that the marriage might be headed downhill.

The couple just looks unhappy.

couple unhappy at their wedding

With all of the effort and stress that goes into planning and executing a wedding, some couples might find that the big day is more of a relief than anything. And while that may be normal to an extent, if the bride and groom genuinely look unhappy, it's not a good sign. Our Charleston-based wedding planner says that if she notices her clients have "no loving gazes" or exhibit no "romantic gestures" towards each other on their big day, she can tell the marriage won't last long.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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