“Disaster” is a subjective term. For one bride, if the color of her flowers is half a shade off, the whole day is utterly ruined. For another bride it would take a terrorist attack to ruin her wedding. I have seen just about everything there is to see at a wedding. Relatively few of those things will turn the day into a disaster. Many are endearing – or at least make for a good story afterward. Some, however, will detract significantly from the quality of the day. They are like a bad spot on an otherwise lovely piece of fruit. If you can ignore them, like cutting out the bad spot, and remember the rest of the day for the joy it held, then you come out the winner.
Guests and family members will often recall the “spots” for you, often as funny or endearing things that happened, adding color to memories of the day:
- The Best Man dropped the ring in the tall grass.
- The Flower Girl stole the show while she was walking down the aisle.(“Hi! I’m Shirley McDimple and I’m just too cute!”)
- The Groom had a bad case of the hiccoughs.
- The Father of the Bride couldn’t remember what he was supposed to say. (“What?! Huh?! What was the question?”)
- The Ring Bearer ran crying down the aisle… with the rings.
There are some things, however, which will leave a bad taste in their mouths forever:
- Waiting at the reception for an hour or more for the bride & groom to show up.
- A DJ who plays the music way too loud.
- Ceremony music from a boom-box, operated by the Bride’s 16-year-old cousin, who is unfamiliar with the music and the device, who was asked 20 minutes before the ceremony, given unclear instructions in a rush, and who hits the radio button by mistake just as AC/DC is playing the loudest part of their most acidic piece.
- A minister who (on the hottest day in August in a church with standing room only and no air conditioning) is determined to preach everyone into heaven because he has a captive audience.
- An inexperienced officiant who simply does not know what to do and who does it badly1.
- A groom who is drunk during his ceremony and makes an ass of himself.
- Bumbling or inexperienced photographers who take more than two hours to get the formal photos done.
Years later, family will continue to remind you of “the mess you made of your wedding,” and they won’t think it is funny at all. No… your wedding was not exactly a disaster. But it is not remembered because it was romantic, or joyous, or entertaining, or even because the food was good; but because something happened that was truly unpleasant or embarrassing or inappropriate.
By seeking and following the advice of truly qualified professionals, you will avoid most of the pit-falls that can make a mess of your wedding day or can result in a true disaster.
1During my years as a wedding photographer, I have seen more than a few embarrassed, even angry Mothers of the Bride and/or Groom sit with head in hands muttering, “Why couldn’t you just get a real minister?” I hear about incompetent officiants (friends from college, fly-by-nighters, bored judges, preachy preachers) from photographers and venue operators all the time. It is amazing, some of the things people will do – or NOT do – when all they have to do is smile and offer a decent wedding ceremony.