The Worst Wedding

Sometimes, no matter how much time, money, thought and planning goes into a wedding its just not going to make a difference. I’ve learned that some people just have unrealistic expectations of what their wedding is going to be. Others, no matter how much you offer to help and attempt to go above and beyond to please them, just aren’t going to be  happy no matter what you do.

Now, I’m not one to typically throw a bride under the bus…but folks…the day has come that I feel its my obligation to other wedding industry professionals and the countless number of bridesmaids who have had to endure a bridezilla along the way to let them know the wedding nightmares aren’t entirely myth.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of coordinating a wedding that I thought would never end. My first red flag appeared during the rehearsal when multiple family members became agitated upon learning the officiant wouldn’t be in attendance. (Just so everyone is clear…this is not an abnormal occurrence. I do rehearsals all the time without the reverend, pastor, chaplain, judge, officiating guru and this isn’t a problem.) When the mother of the bride scoffed at me and questioned my ability to run an organized rehearsal, I knew then we were going to have an issue.

One smooth, organized and efficiently run rehearsal later we find ourselves at the rehearsal dinner. The bride and groom had BBQ catered in…maybe the only good choice made the entire weekend!

I spent an hour that evening with the monster mother of the bride trying to convince her that the venue wasn’t “jipping” her out of time and money. I reviewed the contract with her and the itinerary which the bride helped create. She insisted she was told the reception would be four hours…not the entire event. *Brides, be sure to read your contracts closely and make sure all the key players are on the same page well before the night of your wedding. This is NOT the way you want to begin your weekend celebration.

Day of the wedding…T minus 6 hours until we have total melt down…

The bride shows up 3 hours late to the venue. She (and her family, friends, bridesmaids) are responsible for set-up of all personal decorations not provided by the venue or vendors. This includes pictures, guestbook, candles, favors, seating charts in this case the centerpieces…anything provided by the bride! Due to her late arrival I was left guessing where certain items went or how she wanted them displayed. This will inevitably come back to bite me later….

I have little trust in men’s dress stores. Countless times they have incorrectly made orders and have set in motion a domino effect of bad events. No exception this time…we had a groomsmen show up late due to an incomplete tux order. You would have thought the world was ending due to the way the bride was yelling and snapping at people over the groom’s “stupid friends who can’t even be on time for a wedding”. She was incapable of seeing the fact that this was in no way the friends fault, but the store’s. He arrived at the venue precisely the time the ceremony was to start…

Ceremony starts 20 minutes late. The bride has, at this point, a permanent scowl on her face. She is seemingly entirely unhappy. Now, I have no idea if she smiled while actually walking down the aisle…but I genuinely hope she did…because it may be the only picture the photographer has of her pearly whites. As she makes it to the altar her 2 year old daughter, the flower girl, begins crying. She is uncontrollable, loud and inconsolable. She is clinging to the brides dress and no one moves to pick her up or move her. (Typically a family member will take the child to their chair or to the back of the room. Outside if it is necessary.)

They are pronounced husband and wife…they make their way back down the aisle and immediately upon exiting the bride barks at me, “You forgot my aisle runner. I spent hours making that thing.” She turns and speaking to no one in general says loudly “Could no one have contained this child.” I’m dumbstruck and speechless because remember it wasn’t my responsibility to put out the aisle runner…and more importantly…what mom talks about her child that way?

I put down the aisle runner so the bride would have it in her pictures. Before we can actually begin photos I am sideswiped again by her lack of sincerity and apparent character flaws. The grooms grandmother, who was as sweet as pecan pie,was sitting in her wheelchair near the area where pictures were being staged. The bride looks at her new husband and says “will you please move your grandmother.” Don’t be fooled by the please there folks…her tone was dripping with disdain. So much that the grandmother began to tear up! Needless to say I was appalled by the bride’s actions. The grandmother didn’t stay for photos and asked to be taken inside.

So begins the grand finale…

We finally finish  pulling teeth taking pictures. I bustle the dress because no one knows how. I get the wedding party lined up to be announced in and return to where the bride and groom are waiting. Before I enter I can hear them screaming at each other through the closed door. I wait…thinking surely they’ll stop as they can see me through the window. Meanwhile I can hear the DJ announcing the bridesmaids and groomsmen. A few minutes pass and I have no choice… I step into the room, put on my best I’m just here to help smile and launch into a monologue that would make a professional couples therapist proud. (They’ve stopped yelling so clearly something I said struck a cord…for a brief moment.) I get the bride some tissue and coax them out the door.

Meanwhile all the guests are waiting for the couple upstairs…I cannot imagine what they are thinking/saying at this point. A few snide comments, rolling eyes and a declaration of “I’m not doing this the rest of my life” later I get them to the door. Just a few more steps to go and I’ve done it!!!! The DJ announces the newlyweds, everyone claps…the applause fades as the couple doesn’t enter…they just stand there and I think this is the most awkward moment I’ve ever experienced at a wedding.

Scowl locked firmly in place the couple finally walks into their reception to limited applause. They begin their first dance which resembles a pre-battle war ritual.

Typically I will stay to party for a bit during the reception… I’ve never hightailed it out of a wedding so fast in my life! I don’t know how the night ended or if it went smoothly for the reception coordinator. In my book this is the wedding to beat…when couples down the road ask me about drama or bad experiences these are the highlights I will give them.

Here’s hoping I’ve met my quota for drama this year and there’s nothing but smooth sailing ahead.

I’d love to hear your wedding nightmares…please share them with me in the comments below!!

Have a great week and happy planning all you bride and grooms to be!

Jennifer

20140210-152725.jpg

Advertisements

Whip Those Guests Into Shape

In recent weeks I have been baffled by the actions of a few wedding guests. Honestly, on more than one occasion I was rendered speechless…and left wanting to reprimand the patrons on their poor behavior and seemingly total lack of respect for the couple, I might add…but alas, this doesn’t fall into my “coordinator duties” so its a fine line one must walk.

We all know someone on the guest list who…to put it nicely…has a particular trait that could lead to a sticky situation come the wedding day. Now, I’m not certain that these folks are blind to the commotion they are causing. So, in regard to those guests who have the potential to draw attention away from the bride and groom, to those that proper wedding behavior mysteriously eludes…here are a few tips to keep the wedding rules un-broken.

 

THE LATE COMER: We all know this guest…the one who haphazardly barged into your cousins wedding 15 minutes late proclaiming loudly “They’ve already started??”  ((No joke, this happened at my wedding last night.))

Tip to the Bride: If you’re concerned about guests possibly interrupting your nuptials ask someone from the venue to guard the door. Have a designated spot for guests who show up late so the ceremony isn’t disturbed. *If your venue is small and intimate…guests who can’t manage to make it on time may just have to wait outside!

 

THE HEAVY DRINKER: For some an open bar is an invitation to get crazy. Sometimes this is your uncle Earl or your sorority sisters…sometimes…it’s the groom’s mom. No time, is this ok.

Tip to the Bride: Yes, you may be hoofing the bill for an open bar…but you absolutely do not want sloppy drunks at your wedding. People will remember this and it can often over shadow the good things about your day. Leave explicit instructions for the bartenders to cut off anyone who appears to have had too much to drink. You may also want to tell them not to pour shots.

 

THE ONE WHO MUST HAVE A DATE: I’m not sure when it became taboo to show up to a wedding alone…but some people literally can’t seem to muster the strength to attend an event without a date. Whether invited or not you’re likely to have someone who thinks it is ok to bring someone.

Tip to the Bride: Set a standard early. If your numbers are tight you should spread the word that no dates are allowed. If a couple is engaged…yes, you’ll want to invite the fiancée. If someone insists on bringing a flame (b/c some people think it’s ok to make demands) tell them they must pay for their guest up front!! If your food is $25 a head…you should have no qualms making them pay for someone you don’t know!

 

THE IMPROPER DRESSER: I’m often pretty bemused by this person. Itty bitty skirts and six inch heels, does not a good wedding outfit make! This is especially problematic if the skin shower is in your bridal party.

Tip to the Bride: Tell your colorful friend to cover it up! If you must attend fittings with her, do so. If you can’t…be sure she sends you pictures! If you don’t want your girls in stilettos you may have to ask them to wear matching shoes. If the person in question isn’t in your bridal party…send a friend to go dress shopping with her. Also this is NOT a gender specific problem…I see men in jeans all the time. Eeek. Fellas…no no no.

 Do not hesitate to be blunt with people. If it is your 16-year-old cousin…tell her mom. (The truth is she may not even know and would appreciate the heads up her daughter is dressing like a hooch!)

It is absolutely ok to put a “dress-code” tab on your wedding website. In fact lots of guests would probably appreciate not having to guess how formal/informal to attire themselves.

 

THE NON-GIFTER: You’ve spent thousands of dollars preparing for this special day…you’ve likely spent hours deciding what to include on your registry. It’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes when someone shows up empty handed to your wedding or shower. Let’s be honest…the people who often commit this wedding foul are your young friends who aren’t married yet. Why? Because they’re typically broke.

Tip to the Bride: I will admit I hate to see a registry where the cheapest thing is $60. Brides, please be thoughtful of your guest and understand that not all of them can front this sort of money. Be sure to include some items that are affordable to your underpaid friends. It is ok to register at Pottery Barn…but you should also register at a store that is 1.) More accessible 2.) Cheaper. If not, you run the risk of getting more items you didn’t register for. *Also, you may want to leave out a “Honeymoon Fund” jar at the reception. Some people would prefer to just give you cash!

 

THE DEBBIE DOWNER: She’ll sit in the corner and complain that her chicken wasn’t hot enough, and that the music is too loud. She’ll ask obnoxiously why there isn’t an elevator when there are only 3 steps to ascend. This guest is in my opinion, one of the worst. They’re incapable of just enjoying this free night of food and entertainment.

Tip to the Bride: When doing seating charts be sure to sit this person with their close family. None of your unsuspecting guests should have to endure the negativity this person flings upon those nearby. You do not have to cater to this person and it may be best to evoke a practice I call “Invite and Avoid”. No need to scope them out during the reception. Let your parents do it!

 

THE SOCIAL MEDIA JUNKIE: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo…How many pictures can one person post? This guest may be shooting for a new personal record…no problem, unless of course they’re photo bombing all your professional photographers’ photos!

Tip to the Bride: Some new trends are emerging thanks to Pintrest…cute signs asking guests to put away their cell phones and enjoy the evening… OR…signs asking them to hashtag all the photos they take. Whether you are condoning social media behavior or not…ask your wedding coordinator to be on the lookout for people standing in the aisle trying to get photos. She will be able to tell your guests when they are in the photographer’s way.

 

Happy planning. May your days be drama free!

 Jennifer