Happy end of 2013 everyone! This year marked our “celebrating ten years of producing fabulous events“ for our little event planning business.
It’s been a wild ride … forging relationships with clients (we still keep in touch with so many of you), vendors and the nitty-gritty of producing weddings. So as I look back, I thought it would be interesting to post some of the “almost catastrophes” that we have dealt with and fixed over the past ten years. I know I am leaving out some good stories, I should have been keeping a list along the way. There are no names mentioned to protect the innocent, and the guilty.
Our crazy list of REAL wedding “almost catastrophe” stories & other juicy stuff:
- The flower girl choked on a piece of candy during the ceremony. Paramedics were called and she was okay. The bride wasn’t told until the reception.
- Ten minutes before the bride walked down the aisle, the wedding cake fell apart and onto the floor. Cleaned it up and didn’t tell the bride until just before she walked into the reception.
- Flowers didn’t come in the day before the wedding and the florist drove all over the place that evening and morning to find replacement flowers.
- Groomsman passed out during the ceremony. You really do fall like a tree when your knees lock up.
- Ring Bearer passed out during the ceremony. See above.
- Minutes before the processional started, the bride’s veil that had hand-sewn pearls on the edges, unraveled. Ping-ping-ping as they fell on the floor. We sewed it to stop the unraveling and went on with the ceremony.
- Grandmother had a heart attack the morning of the wedding. Re-arranged the timeline with all the vendors so the bride could visit her in the hospital for a brief moment.
- Torrential rain came down one hour before the outside ceremony was to start. Mother of Bride finally agreed to Plan B. We moved to location B (off-site), designers flipped decor and started 30 minutes behind schedule. Moving 400 people took a few minutes.
- One of our brides had a panic attack before walking down the aisle, we and family calmed her down.
- Groomsman disappeared at the end of the evening. Stole a golf cart and drove it two miles before abandoning it. (Okay we didn’t have anything to fix with this, but it’s still a funny story).
- A stomach virus swept through the wedding party starting the evening before and then moving to the Mother of the Bride the day of the wedding. Some well-meaning, yet ill-advised, a family member gave her Benadryl and she slept through her only daughter’s wedding reception.
- A truck carrying the cake broke down in 100-degree weather. The cake ended up on time, just a little more icing than normal. No one ever knew.
- The stage collapsed during setup for the band. Drummer/emcee hurt his arm, almost didn’t get to play but he pushed through.
- High winds and rain came down hard during the church ceremony and almost toppled the 5 tier, coconut wedding cake. Two caterers and one of our team members held the table as coconut flakes blew … it looked like it was snowing.
- While the wedding party was being formally announced into the reception, a bridesmaid slipped, fell, and twisted her knee so bad it was dislocated. Like pointing the wrong direction and she laid there screaming in pain! Luckily a guest was a doctor and popped it back in. She was sitting with ice on her knee for the rest of the evening. The next day she found out it was broken in several places.
- Gorgeous outdoor, classy private residence wedding reception — the first wave of storms brought quarter-inch hail, the sky to ground lightning, and a heavy downpour just after the salads were served. Band cords were submerged in water, however, the sound tech stayed to play music from iPod. Food was salvaged and served buffet. A double rainbow appeared (and during the couple’s honeymoon in South Africa, they saw another double rainbow). Still a GREAT wedding reception.
- The Rabbi’s flight was delayed on the day of the wedding in St. Louis. The couple only wanted HER to marry them, not a local one (because you know we already contacted one in case). We called in a car service to pick her up and drive her to the door. Since we were having cocktail hour before the wedding, she rolled in just in time and all was good!
- A car hit the back of the limo carrying the wedding party from the church to the private reception. Then it started a chain reaction on a two-lane, country highway. Ended up with two totaled cars, 2 ambulances, one fire truck, two sheriffs, and thank God everyone was okay.
- Divided bridesmaids and family members ended up in a brawl. Nothing really bad, thank goodness …
- Too many times to count dealing with heavy rain and tornado watches and warnings. It’s a wonder we are still alive.
- Numerous guests caught in the coatroom, bathroom, and bushes … being, um, intimate.
- Bride twisted her ankle wearing high heel shoes at the rehearsal dinner. The same Mother of Bride slipped and fell at the hotel, tore ligaments in her knee and attended the wedding in a wheelchair, and highly medicated.
- The night before the wedding, the DJ commercial building burnt down. We had another DJ lined up to loan equipment in one hour, however, luckily all the equipment was in the trailer and everyone was okay. DJ performed, as usual, the bride found out at the end of the wedding reception.
- The bridesmaid’s dress zipper came completely apart. We worked on it and were prepared to sew it, luckily the teeth of the zipper connected again and it zipped right up! The bride didn’t find out until the next day.
- We’ve redirected anger and frustration from numerous family members throughout the past ten years, sometimes taking direct hits from their pinned-up emotions. Weddings and funerals just bring out some raw emotions.
- Caterers did not have the correct number of staff and serious unforeseen problems in the kitchen to get the food out. We pitched in as we could and moved the timeline around so the guests and our mutual clients would not notice. (We all know stuff happens, it’s how you deal with it, and keep moving on as a team is what counts).
- We’ve sobered up more than twenty groomsmen, at least.
- Countless times that items, flowers, rentals did not come in on time and we made last-minute design changes to keep our brides happy. Most of them never noticed, nor cared at that point.
- Sewing kit, goo gone, zip ties, safety pins, binder clips, and more has saved thousands of mishaps throughout the years.
- The bride could not find her special purple wedding shoes. Planner drove back to the hotel to find an empty hotel room, then dumpster-dived to see if housekeeping had thrown them away. Only to find out they were misplaced in someone’s trunk.
- Saved personal written vows from being thrown away in the nick of time, by housekeeping.
- After having TWO face-to-face meetings with the restaurant for rehearsal dinner, formal written proposals, numerous phone calls solidifying all the details … I call on the day before the wedding, Friday at 3 pm just to see how everything was progressing for setup and the owner tells me, “Yes, we’ll see you tomorrow.” Um, no, you’ll see me and 50 other people in 3 hours. He had the day of the week wrong. I said fix it, he did and I haven’t patronized that restaurant since.
- Due to light last-minute rain, we delayed the start of the outdoor ceremony. DJ reset his equipment and it failed due to technical difficulties. We had the entire playlist on our phone for the ceremony music, so we plugged in and the wedding music happened off our iPhone.
- The groom and groom’s parents were in charge of the rehearsal dinner. After numerous times checking up with the family and me calling/visiting the restaurant to verify it was scheduled, my spidey sense told me to call the restaurant ONE more time three days before the wedding. I was informed the groom’s parents never sent in a payment and there was no rehearsal scheduled. (insert sigh) We fixed it with the groom, it involved a little bit of yelling on my part to numerous parties, and the bride was never told.
- We ALWAYS have problems with hotel reservations for guests, we just know it in advance.
- We are told LOTS of secrets by our clients and family members. Including,
- “I’m pregnant, don’t tell my mother.”
- “I’m not sure if I want to get married”
- At the reception, “We should have eloped, this is overwhelming”
- “My future father and mother-in-law are ruining my life”
- Secret: We can tell which marriages are not going to last.
- Secret: We had two weddings two days after my father died. None of the clients knew it happened.
- A bridesmaid got so drunk she passed out (deadweight). Only to wake up throwing up all over the guest table, down the hall, in the elevator, on her husband. (luckily it was at the very end of the evening)
- A groomsman got so drunk that he urinated in the ice behind the bar. IN THE ICE.
That was a fun list to remember, especially that last one.
It’s just a reminder that we have been our client’s advocate … through the good times and the bad, shielding them from problems so that they can enjoy their special day. That’s what we do. Tireless hours on your feet and under high stress, but in the end it’s all worth it.