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

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Holiday inspired “I Do’s”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, indeed! Have you noticed that everyone just seems to be happier around the holidays? And rightly so, I suppose. It’s a time for families and gatherings, food, twinkle lights, kisses under the mistletoe, presents, cuddling by the fire, carols and love. Thousands of couples will be getting engaged over the next two weeks. It is magical…so why not plan the party of all parties during the midst of it all?

A wedding during the holiday season can be simple perfection when planned right. There are a lot of factors that make this sort of celebration a bit tricky but most defiently not impossible. Lots of couples exchange vows during the month of December. If you’re pondering an end of the year wedding here are few things you’ll want to consider.  

Location: If you and your groom are from the same hometown and you’re not anticipating that many (or any) guest will have to travel from out of town to attend your wedding then this may be a great option for you! Asking your family and friends to spend money to travel during the holidays is a lot. Its very expensive and many of your anticipated guests may not be able to come if its going to cost them more than a tank of gas.

On the flip side…if all or most of your guests are from out of town then the holidays may be a good time to take advantage of everyone already being in a central location! A wedding close to Christmas or New Years may ensure a larger turn out if family members are traveling home. ((This may mean you having to plan a “destination wedding” for you and your groom…say you live in Florida but everyone is traveling to Ohio for Christmas.))  

Date & Time: December is easily one of the busiest times of the year for people. Between the family gatherings and trying to finish up their shopping lists on the weekends people become hard pressed for time. If you’re wanting to plan a wedding around the holidays be sure to give as much notice as possible. Also, you may want to seriously consider a Friday evening wedding. Saturdays in December are precious and few. (Again, if your guests are all local then Friday is a perfect option!) Also, the Sunday brunch option is ever popular this time of year. Nights are cold…and the sun sets really early. This time frame isn’t likely to conflict with any other parties and traditions they already have planned.

**If you’re planning a new years celebration time is key. Plan to start the wedding late around 8..so your guests aren’t pooped by the strike of midnight or start the celebration early around 6. This way they can leave around 10 and be home or wherever they prefer by the time the ball drops. Either option is better than planning a very lengthy reception. Anything over 5 hours is a bit much.

Weather: There is a reason December is considered an off season month for weddings. Its cold. Don’t be deterred if you’ve got your heart set on an outdoor wedding though. You’ll just have to make extra plans to make sure your guests stay warm. (Fire pits, heaters, blankets, hot cocoa bar, ect.) Lets be honest — the chill is pretty romantic after all. You’ll also have to make sure the venue you choose has a spot for some of your elderly guests who need to stay especially warm. Really, any time of the year you have to be prepared for inclement weather…so be sure your venue has a “Plan B” inside option you love.

The honeymoon: The tradition may be to say your “I Do’s” then to immediately hit the road for days of wedded bliss in a remote location. However, this is likely going to coincide with several holiday events you’ll want to attend. Think about how great it would be to get married…spend the holidays with family and friends…then emabark on an amazing honeymoon come January when everyone else is back to the grind at work. (I seriously LOVE this idea.)

The finances: You’ll want to be extra aware of the money flow when planning a holiday wedding. Final invoices and payments will be due right around the final date and this can be tough when you’re also buying gifts for loved ones. (If you spend the next year budgeting correctly though — this wont be a problem!)  

Balance:  So you’re planning a wedding around the holidays…does this mean Christmas music streaming from the DJ’s speakers and the smell of ham wafting from the caterer’s kitchen. It doesn’t have too. Just because you’re getting married 10 days before Christmas…its still your wedding. Most people will enjoy the opportunity to just get dressed up and have a fancy night out. No santa themed favors necessary! 

Can we talk about the great PERKS for just a minute too…

Price: Most venues offer discounted rates during these “off season” months. Its very likely you can pick an amazing location for the wedding at a much cheaper price. (Yes please!)

Decorations: Churches, hotels, country clubs, restaurants…just about every place you’d consider for your ceremony and reception will be decorated for the holidays. Which means money saved! So, If you’re ok with poinsettias and christmas trees as a backdrop for your photos…you’re golden! The holidays can be a super budget friendly time to say your nuptials. Take advantage!

 

Congratulations to all the couples who will be getting engaged over the next several days. This should be the most wonderful time…so soak it in! 

Happy planning,
Jennifer