What Makes Guests Cry at Weddings

Grab your tissues!

Here are the most common moments that make guests cry at weddings.

Photo: Samuel Lippke Studios

Weddings tend to bring out emotions – not just for the couple and their immediate families, but all of the guests. We all know that one person who cries at the ceremony even when they’re the plus one and don’t even know the lovebirds. Luckily, these are almost always tears of joy, though certainly weddings are particularly tough on people who are going through a divorce or loss of a loved one. Attending someone’s nuptials is emotional when you know the couple getting married, but it’s usually when relating to your own life that makes the tears flow. Even if you normally don’t cry at weddings, now that you’re engaged yourself, don’t be surprised if you start to well up at the vow exchange of a colleague. Whether you hate crying in public and need a warning about when to steel yourself, or you’re handing out handkerchiefs at your own celebration and hope that everyone will be sniffling, you may want to know what the most common moments that make people cry at weddings are. 

why people cry at weddings, what makes people cry at weddings
Photo in Paul Barnett Photographer; Planning & Design by Victoria Weddings & Events

Here are the most common moments that make guests cry at weddings:

- The processional. Music has a strong ability to manipulate our emotions – ask anyone who works in film or television. The right song will make you verklempt as soon as the strings start, and the moment the bride enters will only drive the point home. 

- The groom’s face. Anyone who has seen 27 Dresses knows to check the groom’s (or the other bride’s) reaction when his beloved starts to walk down the aisle. The more emotion on his face, the more is likely to show up on yours. 

- The vow exchange. Personal vows can especially get the tears flowing, particularly if they refer to hardships the sweethearts have overcome, such as health issues. However, there can be something powerful about hearing the traditional vows as well, particularly for religious individuals who find great meaning in the covenant. 

- When anyone else cries. If the bride, groom, any of the parents, maid of honor, best man, etc. start tearing up, other guests are sure to follow. This could occur during the above ceremony moments, or even at the reception thanks to the toasts, first dance, and father-daughter or mother-son dances. 

Learn how to avoid crying through your ceremony and how to keep your emotions under control while planning.