Nobody plans on getting divorced when they get married, but let’s face it, it happens. Often.
Sometimes it’s honestly not even that much of a surprise. I’ve attended weddings that were so all-around uncomfortable that guests have placed bets on how long the union would last. Typically there are signs, however big or small, that the newlyweds are not going to live happily forever ever, like the way the bride and groom treat each other, or look at each other, or the way a person is accepted (or not accepted) into a new family.
A thread recently went viral on Reddit in which wedding and engagement photographers and other people with professions that involve weddings (cake decorators, party planners, and so forth) revealed the red flags that indicate if a couple is not going to make it. The answers are fascinating!
1. When one apologizes for the other.
When one is constantly apologizing for the other’s behavior or attitude.
2. When they’re critical of each other during the photo shoot.
Red flags: when one person is critical of the other during the shoot but then posts the photos with the caption: “about to marry my best friend and my soul mate”. Also, when they badly Photoshop themselves and their partners to appear ‘better looking’ than they actually are.
3. When one just won’t smile.
My husband and I are wedding photographers, and we once had to photoshop a smile onto the groom so that he looked happy during the ceremony. I have no idea if the couple is still together, but I would say not.
4. When the venue seems to be cursed.
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.
5. When they can’t agree on how the cake-cutting should go.
Photographer here: to me the biggest sign is the cake cutting. Some people like to smear the cake everywhere as a joke, some people don’t. Usually the couple is in sync about this. They know what the other would like and they don’t smush cake on the others face if they wouldn’t want that.
Sometimes one of them (usually the groom) will force cake all over the others face and embarrass and upset them. I’ve seen this happen a handful of times and all of those relationships that I have kept up with have ended in a divorce.
6. When one person doesn’t contribute much…
When there’s not enough input from one of them, or too much input from family members.”
7. …Or is absolutely silent.
Ex wedding photographer. Typically I saw red flags when the bride or groom is super quiet. I mean silent and just watching.
One instance was a groom who barely said ten words to anyone during the ceremony or reception afterwards. 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 the groom wasn’t “smiling enough”. She wanted a discount because I couldn’t make him look happy enough.
They got divorced about a year later. I know because I did his engagement photos with his new fiancée about four years after his first wedding. His engagement photos showed him much happier.
8. When the groom is totally lecherous.
At one wedding I shot, the groom kept winking at me and my assistant during the ceremony. He wasn’t winking like he had something in his eye — he was leaning back in his chair, looking past his soon-to-be wife, and winking at us.
9. When they’re rude to each other and other people.
I’m not a photographer, but I make engagement rings. I’ve found that if the couple is nice to each other, me, and my staff, they do well. If they’re short-tempered, rude, or pushy, it’s a sign that they don’t really want to be there.
10. When the cold feet start way too early.
Wedding Planner here: Red Flags – nerves are normal but when one of the pair start doubting whether they should go through with it waaay before the day, you know something isn’t quite right.
11. When the vows are too childish.
My red flag is when the vows are very fluffy or almost selfish. Like how you’d imagine an 11-year-old talking about their Prince Charming.
12. When the song the couple chooses is too mainstream.
I used to help a buddy shoot wedding videos, and I found that the bigger the country hit they dance to, the shorter the marriage. Couples that used obscure songs seemed to last longer.
13. When they take stress out on each other.
Photographer here. You can tell somewhat based on how the couple treats each other on the wedding day. If they are respectful toward one another (and toward me) during a day full of stress then I think that’s a good indicator of being able to deal with other problems that may arise during a marriage.
14. When everyone is obliterated.
I once shot a wedding where the best man raised a flask while the bride was walking down the aisle and said, ‘Heres to the bride, here’s to the groom, may you never disagree, but if you do, fuck you!’ Then, all the groomsmen drank from flasks…and the groom joined in.
15. When one of them is astoundingly rude.
When the bride read a letter aloud the groom had written to her, and she said, ‘Well, that was fucking stupid.’ I had to cut that part out of the video. To be fair, what the groom wrote wasn’t exactly Shakespeare, but it was still a harsh response.
16. When one member of the couple tries to change the other.
Wedding videographer here: I try to get to know both people beforehand, so I can work in their hobbies/unique traits into my product. A big red flag is when one person is clearly trying to change the other. I had one dude who loved poker, craft beer, cigars, 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 steps in and declares “oh, he won’t be doing any of those things any more.” Poor bastard just sat there in silence as I awkwardly had to plan them shopping for a Yorkie puppy instead. Half way 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.
17. When one is just downright critical of the other.
I’m a boudoir photographer, and once I had a bride who invited the groom to come to the shoot to help. Well, he spent more time criticizing her than actually being helpful, so we got a few mini bottles of wine to help the bride with her nerves. She declined, but the groom didn’t. Instead, he became more of an asshole with every gulp, sayings like, ‘Arch your back more,’ ‘Put your ass down — you look like a porno,’ and I kid you not, ‘Raise your face, I see your double chin.’
18. When one of them clearly doesn’t really want to be there.
I work at a wedding venue, and the biggest red flag I’ve seen was once when the groom asked his dad, ‘Hey, how are ya?’ The dad shrugged and said, ‘Well, I’m here.’ And the groom responded, ‘Yeah, I feel the same way.'”
19. When their ideas about the wedding are far too conflicting.
I’m a cake artist, and once a couple came in for a tasting. The groom was late, so the bride started describing the wedding to me. She said that they would ride horses to the site, she’d wear a medieval gown, a flower wreath in her hair, and embroidered shoes, and that she wanted a cake like a castle. Well, when the groom arrived, he barely acknowledged her, then began telling me that his wedding plan entailed him dressed as a riverboat gambler wearing STERLING SILVER SPURS! Oh, and he wanted pearl-handled pistols on the cake! I decided quickly I couldn’t come up with a cake that would work for them. They lived in two incompatible, self-contained fantasies, and they didn’t listen to each other at all. I doubt they even made it to the wedding
20. When the wedding involves fights.
I play guitar in a wedding band, and once the drunken groom physically attacked us after we stopped playing (even thought we’d already played an hour overtime), and his mother jumped into the mix to pull him back while the bride was in tears. Then the best man pulled out a Bluetooth speaker to keep the party going. The couple only lasted a few months.