Why Do People Faint At Weddings?

Fainting or “passing out” is more common than you think. Fainting spells make up about 3% of annual visits to the Emergency Room and 6% of hospital admissions.

Fainting also happens to be a common occurrence at weddings. There are entire internet forums filled with people talking about this problem. You can read harrowing stories of mortified bridesmaids or unfortunate brides and grooms who dropped to the floor in the middle of the ceremony.

What is Fainting?

Fainting is a brief loss of consciousness that is usually attributed to low blood pressure. A feeling of warmth, nausea, and light-headedness precedes passing out.

Fortunately, fainting is not usually a symptom of any underlying medical problems. However, the cause for the drop in blood pressure can be traced to several circumstances.

Situations That May Cause Fainting

It turns out that fainting is so common at wedding ceremonies because the situations surrounding them are a perfect storm.

Emotional Stress

A fainting episode can be brought on by anxiety or emotional stress. Since the big day is the culmination of months of planning and thousands of dollars of expense, it is no wonder that brides and grooms are feeling some emotional stress.

Even bridal party members aren’t immune from the expectations that might be placed upon them.


Dehydration can be another culprit for a fainting spell. Either not drinking enough water or consuming too much alcohol can lead to dehydration on your wedding day.

By all means, enjoy that morning mimosa with your bridesmaids. Just make sure that you are getting plenty of water and don’t overindulge.

If your wedding is outdoors on a summer day, look out for dehydration and symptoms of heat exhaustion. Consider having bottled water and shade for your family and bridal party.

Low Blood Sugar

Eating right is difficult to do on one of the busiest days of your life. However, if you don’t want to make a dramatic drop to the cathedral floor, be sure to eat meals regularly as the day unfolds. Low blood sugar can contribute to fainting.

Constricting Clothing

Formal wear is almost synonymous with restrictive clothing. A necktie or corset that is too tight can lead to decreased blood flow to the brain causing a fainting spell.

Take this into consideration when getting dressed. The groomsmen should consider a Windsor knot to avoid cutting off their circulation.

Knee Locking

Wedding coordinators and clergy will often tell the bridal party not to lock their knees during the ceremony. They have seen many fainters firsthand. Knee locking is another contributor to restricted blood flow, which can, again, bring on an episode of fainting.

What Does Not Cause Fainting?

Fainting in public, especially in front of a large audience, can be one of the most embarrassing moments to endure. People will be willing to blame it on almost anything besides the real cause.

Rest assured that it was not the smell of burning candles, incense, or aunt Nettie’s strong perfume that caused any bride or bridesmaid to swoon and slump. It was probably one or more of the causes stated above.