Months and months of planning have gone into this one, exceptional day. And regardless of how meticulous you've been, some things may and will go wrong. The first rule of dealing with wedding day disasters is to look at the big picture. At the end the day, you're marrying the love of your life, starting a new chapter, and are surrounded by people who love you and are important to the two of you. The rest is just stuff. Here are a few things that often go awry at weddings, and some simple fixes and tips to avoid them.
Hire Wedding Pros
A majority of wedding day disasters center around wedding pros, communication, and the flow of your wedding day. Start with hiring a professional wedding planner. Check their online reviews. Look for comments that focus on experience, attention to detail, and communication. This one team can connect all of the dots with the other people hired, make recommendations of capable pros, and keep any mishaps that do happen, off of your radar. Hiring friends might sound like a great idea to make your day special. However, when the rubber hits the road and something goes wrong, do you want to risk sacrificing your friendship?
Wedding Day Manager
If your budget does not allow for a full-service wedding planner, look at investing in a wedding day manager. They are typically part of a team of a full-service wedding planner, whose focus is on helping couples wrap up the wedding details, connect all of the service providers, and troubleshoot behind the scenes. These people are not only there to keep things flowing but are experienced in dealing with challenging wedding guests, solving problems ranging from a little stitching or pinning on boutonnieres to wrangling the wedding party! And, most carry an emergency kit, just in case.
Zits and Blotches
If there is one day you are going to wake up with a skin breakout, it will be your wedding day. Stress tends to do this and weddings can be stressful. Professional makeup artists who often work with brides know this well. The right product and application will keep everything under control. Leading up to your wedding, don’t try any new skin products and book any facials well in advance of the big day. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water.
Missing In Action
On occasion, something out of your control happens with one of your wedding pros. Flat tires or car accidents happen to people all the time, and wedding pros are not immune. However, most pros will have a backup plan. If, by chance, something happens and you don’t have a planner, don't worry just yet. The rest of your team has worked with hundreds of wedding pros and a few calls, texts, or social media posts may reach someone who is not previously committed to a wedding that day.
It's a more common occurrence than you might think: a single guest brings along a plus one, a family member shows up with their teen prodigy who's home from college, or someone whose RSVP "got lost" shows up. Let the catering manager know and let them do what they do best. Buffets are designed to accommodate a few extra guests and most caterers prepare for a few extra servings just in case. Let them deal with getting seats set up and getting the meal served. It’s something they've seen before. Having too many people trying to fix things will get a little hectic.
You Can’t Pick Your Family
Some of the most significant stress of a wedding comes from anticipated family drama. Not knowing about any possible issues is the biggest issue itself. Be sure to let your team know about potential challenges with family members such as divorced parents that might need to be kept apart or a loud uncle who is prone to grab the mic and make inappropriate comments. Your wedding planner or venue manager can keep an eye out for any issues. Your photographer needs to know to keep some folks apart during photos and the DJ needs to be aware of that uncle. Don’t keep things a secret. These people are here to help you have a great day. Most things you anticipate happening, don’t. No one wants to be seen as the bad guy in front of family and friends.
Wedding toasts have a way of taking over a wedding reception. When dinner service is late, it's more often not because of the caterer, but rather too many toasts that went way too long. Keep toasts to a minimum—a welcome by a parent, each of your honor attendants, and a thank you from you as the guests of honor. Be sure that each person knows their time limit and keeps it appropriate. Keeping toasts earlier in the evening is best, as too much time passed can mean too much drinking.
Pro Tip: The wedding rehearsal is the perfect time for the additional people who want to make a toast, give a speech, or reminisce.
Wherever liquor is being served, there will be people who overindulge. Having a professional bartending staff who's licensed and insured helps to control the flow of alcohol. They've got an experienced eye, are typically not permitted to serve shots, they've practiced their pours and are trained to go directly to a manager if someone may be beyond their limit. The key is to play by the rules. Too many couples in the excitement of the day push boundaries for people who are underage, ask for shots for their wedding party, or get upset when someone gets cut off. Liquor liability and the risk of endangering guests and staff are enormous challenges. In addition to the professional bar staff, you may consider providing transportation from the wedding venue to the hotels where guests are staying.
You can’t control the weather but having a backup plan is a must! Work with your wedding pros to create a plan that you're okay with. Whether it’s a chance of snow or rain, investing in a deposit for a tent, reserving indoor space, or detailing where things go if moved inside. It will save you time and a ton of anxiety if the weather reporter just happens to be wrong that day. Cross your T’s, dot your I’s, and be sure your team knows what the plan is. Be confident in making the call to go to Plan B if it feels like the right and responsible thing to do, and allow the pros to do their job.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Very few wedding guests are on "the inner circle." The ones who know exactly what time everything is to start, the order of your processional, your "must play" list, or even what shade of pink the linens were supposed to be. If you roll with the bumps and don’t discuss them, very few people will know anything was wrong. As the old saying goes, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." With so much detail, something is bound to go wrong on your wedding day. It’s how you deal with it that determines whether or not the experience lives up to the day of your dreams.
Hero Photo Courtesy of Brooke Courtney Video