As a wedding planner, you pretty much have to be able to take whatever comes at you and roll with it in order to make the wedding go smoothly. Some times that is easier said than done. Here’s a list of things no wedding planner ever wants to hear, but each of these really happened to me or a co-worker over the course of my career. 1. “You might want to call the courthouse because the groom for your wedding this weekend is already married. Here’s the case number.” That can cause quite a bit of stress a few days before the wedding. But more so for the bride than the wedding planner. Especially if this is news to the bride. Worked out really well for the former Mrs. though. He was willing to sign the papers and give her whatever she wanted to expedite the divorce. Timing is everything. 2. “The groom for this wedding is wanted by the FBI, and they plan to arrest him on the wedding day. But try and act natural.” Guess he should have used a fake name on the invite. Not exactly smart to print exactly where you’ll be and at what time if you’re wanted by the FBI. It was a bit nerve-wracking to have extra plain-clothes security on hand, but not as nerve-wracking as the large silver (i.e. bullet-proof) briefcase the father of the groom carried around all day. He wouldn’t let it out of his sight and wouldn’t put it down for anything. (Our source said later it was guns.) At the end of the day, both the bride AND the FBI got their man. 3. “You should have plastic cups in the bride’s dressing room.” This one sounds harmless enough, right? Well, until you know they wanted the plastic cup because the bride was having a hard time hitting the toilet with all those layers under her dress to hold out of the way. Turns out they used a glass candy dish that was sitting on a table in the dressing room. The mother of the bride was sure to mention that they washed it out really well in the bathroom sink and turned it upside down to dry. That’s real classy right there. Aside from the obvious WTF questions that arise with this one . . . I’m thinking the size of the hole in the toilet HAD to be a bigger and easier target than a small candy dish. Of course, someone held it to make it easier to hit. I’ve NEVER seen that on a list of Maid of Honor duties. And what if her bladder could hold more than the candy dish????? 4. “Is it possible to change the groom’s name on the contract but leave everything else the same?” Like, change his name as in a completely different groom and therefore a different name. Within a couple of months of the wedding day. With everything already booked and planned. Well, it’s a relatively easy change to make on the computer. But it speaks volumes about what kind of person you are, what this wedding will be like, and the statistical probability that this marriage will fail. 5. “My last wedding I had with you guys was great. Can we do all the same things we did last time? But let’s not tell my new bride I already did all this, okay?” Similar to #4, it’s relatively easy to do on this end, but it says a lot. 6. “I don’t think I can do this. I don’t want to marry him.” This would be awkward enough for a wedding planner during any point of planning someone’s wedding, but when I opened the door of the limo to escort the bride into the ceremony (where everyone else was already seated and all bridesmaids and groomsmen were already at the altar with the groom), it was more than a tad bit awkward. I don’t have the proper degrees or certificates on my wall to answer that question, but if you can ask it at that particular moment, that’s pretty much an answer in itself, dontcha think? (She went down the aisle. I think about her often and wonder how it all turned out.) 7. “Could you take a few pictures for me?” This one sounds harmless too, until you know that the bride asked the wedding planner this question while wearing only her veil and her heels. Maybe a garter. 8. “The power just went out.” Or “We missed the exit.” Or “I’m in the middle of a lake.” All three of these have been explained in an earlier post, but they had to make this list, so I rolled them into one to squeeze them in. 9. “The parents of the bride have decided that since they're paying for it, the bride is not allowed to make any decisions for the reception. They have asked me to share the information with you, but you can’t tell her what we discuss.” Awkward meeting with a catering manager when the bride (who hired you and signed your contract) is sitting right next to you when this is said. Family dynamics are wonderful to deal with when planning weddings. An equally awkward part of this catering meeting was the bride saying to me, “Can you at least make sure there is something on the menu I will eat?” (There wasn’t.) 10. This one requires a bit of set-up. The ceremony has started. The guests are all seated. The groom and his men are in place at the altar with the minister. The bridesmaids have all gone down the aisle. The maid of honor is headed toward the altar and I am headed over to the dressing room to get the bride so she can walk down the aisle. She is in the restroom. Says she may be a while. Says her stomach is upset. Not good news. I go back and motion for the organist to stall before starting the song for her big entrance. After what seems like an eternal pause, I head back over to the dressing room and ask if she is ready. And through the bathroom door I hear. . . “This is really embarrassing, but I’m holding up the dress with both hands, and I can’t reach to wipe.” You better believe I marched back over and got the Maid of Honor off the altar right quick-like. It probably made the groom nervous as hell after the long unexplained pause he just waited through, but there are just some things I don’t do for a bride.
People always say that being a wedding coordinator must be so much fun. And it can be. But it’s a strange position to be in. As the coordinator, I didn’t bake the cake; I didn’t play the music; I didn’t make the bouquets. But if anything went wrong, it was my responsibility. And if it all went right . . . well, sometimes that could work against me too. After all, there is no such thing as the perfect wedding. some brides can be less than charming, I did have weddings with great brides and grooms. Sometimes both families were just really nice people. The budget was ample and easy to work with. The vendors chosen were people who did quality work and were dependable, making my job easier. The couple’s ideas and themes were elegant and pretty. They actually cared if their guests enjoyed the event. And they were polite, respectful and genuinely appreciative of the work everyone was putting forth on their behalf. It would be like having everything you needed for planning the perfect wedding. And it could still all go to hell in a handbasket. Quickly. Continue reading "The Perfect Wedding Gone Haywire"
People always ask why I quit doing weddings. There wasn't just one reason. Part of it was that weddings just got out of hand. TV shows like Bridezilla and Platinum Weddings ruined them. Brides started to think they were supposed to yell , scream and stomp their feet to get what they were entitled to. Couples with a $7500 budget wanted $750,000 weddings, and they felt cheated if they couldn't have them. When you really think about it, every wedding is planned on a budget. Some budgets are just more generous than others. I always tried to get my brides to figure out what was most important to them; what was non-negotiable? What aspect of the wedding did she have to keep in the budget in order to make the day what she wanted it to be? It may be a certain photographer, an awesome band, or exotic flowers. A few had a dress or a cake that was the pinnacle of happiness. But usually if we could figure out the most important element for the day, then we could trim the budget elsewhere to make it come together. Of course, to do this, it helped if the wedding couple had some tiny little shred of common sense and decency. Something that was non-existent with a bride we’ll call “Toni”. Continue reading "Fried Chicken & Gravy on Satin"