Things might go wrong.
Here are common big-day glitches and how to avoid them.
1. The schedule goes awry.
Perfect, on-time weddings only happen in movies and soap operas. Pastors are late, tents break, people have tantrums, limos get lost.
The solution: Be prepared by building in enough cushion time to ensure that your day flows flawlessly, and making sure all your pros get a detailed schedule of times and places.
2. Guests assume they’ll be having a full meal because you’re holding a cocktail reception at dinnertime
Many guests do complain about weddings they’ve attended where cocktails and light finger foods were served at the dinner hour.
The solution: If you’re planning a cocktail reception, be sure to hold it between the hours of five and seven, and indicate on your invitation that you will be serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Otherwise, you won’t be able to tell which is louder: your DJ’s sound system or the grumbling of your guests and their stomachs.
3. Bugs eat your guests alive at an outdoor event.
The solution: Use Tiki torches with citronella scents to keep insects at bay if you plan to be outdoors.
4. The neighbors become annoyed by the noise from your at-home reception.
The solution: If you are getting married at a private residence, notify neighbors. Send little gifts or even invite them to stop by for a drink. There’s nothing worse than having the police show up to shut down your party!
5. You blow a fuse at the reception hall.
The solution: Before hiring the hall, make sure that there will be sufficient power for your needs. Surprisingly, coffeemakers use a lot. You don’t want the lights and music to suddenly go off.
6. Your equipment breaks down.
The solution: If you intend to have a slideshow, do your homework ahead of time to ensure the equipment is compatible, and have a test run before the day of the wedding.
7. Bad weather ruins your destination wedding.
The solution: If you plan to marry in a faraway location, first find out when its hurricane season begins. Even if you think you’re safe, check out whether your venue has a full capacity generator. If they do not, request they rent one. It’s just as important that they have oscillating floor fans, pillar candles and battery-operated hurricane lanterns and flashlights on hand.
8. Your DJ and/or photographer turns out to be a bit obnoxious.
Nothing is more horrible than a loud, unpleasant DJ playing every song on your ‘do not play’ list or a rude photographer pushing your relatives aside to get ‘his shot’. Take care to choose vendors who mesh with your personality and vision and who do not try to take over your event. Check out your DJ before hiring him: Attend a function where he’s spinning the discs to see how he works; always get references.
9. There are so many details to worry about that you can’t enjoy your big day.
The solution: Assign each bridesmaid to a vendor on the wedding day. She should keep in touch with him — and on top of those particular details — so you don’t have to take time away from your reception.
10. A guest interferes with the band’s play list.
Sometimes an overexuberant guest or two may try to get the band to take requests.
The solution: Tell your bandleader or DJ in advance not to allow it. And if you don’t like the idea of unplanned speeches, also tell him not to hand over the mic to anybody!
11. Another event is going on at the same time as yours.
When choosing your date and venue, I suggest taking a look at community calendars to see if there’s a parade, a large athletic event or anything else happening that could potentially sabotage your experience. Don’t leave this to chance!
12. Playing music late at night is a problem.
Check those local ordinances. In some areas, music is prohibited past 11:00 p.m. You’ll want to know that in advance so that you can plan a start time that allows you plenty of hours to party!
13. A vendor gets sick.
Always have a backup plan in place in case a vendor becomes ill. This should be in the vendors contract, and if they are truely professional, should already have a back-up plan. Negotiate this into your contract, so that if your DJ suddenly comes down with the flu, you won’t be in a panic—the company will supply you with a substitute.
14. You run out of alcohol.
Allot some money to your caterer in case you find you are running low on alcohol in the middle of the festivities. Then he can provide more supplies so you can keep the party going.
15. It’s pouring rain on your garden ceremony.
When arranging an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, it is a must to always have an indoor backup space, one that is either already set up and at least minimally decorated or can be set up fairly easily at a moment’s notice.
16. Guests get chilly at night.
For outdoor celebrations have heaters on hand. The venue probably has a plan for this, but ask well before booking to be sure.
17. Guests are hot and uncomfortable during an outdoor summer event.
Provide umbrellas for guests to use to protect them from strong, direct sunlight. Hanging mini folding umbrellas from every other chair adds a unique touch to an outdoor ceremony, and they can even double as guest favors.
18. The tent catches on fire.
Nowadays the trend is to use butane candles — as opposed to real candles — for tented weddings, so do check with the fire marshal or tent company to see if these will make acceptable alternatives.
19. The ground beneath your tent is wet.
Order a floor. Even on a beautiful evening, shoes can be ruined, ankles get cold, and footing is unsure.
20. One of your guests has a food allergy.
Notify the catering manager if you are aware of any particular food allergies. Make sure to put Benadryl in a basket in the bathroom if you’re serving any kind of fish or shellfish.
21. Your buttercream wedding cake melts in the sun.
On a warm day make sure the cake is not placed in a sunny spot or in a window. You want it to be picture perfect! Another simple option is to use a fondant icing if your cake will be displayed outdoors.
22. Your feet are killing you.
Bring a comfortable pair of flats to store under your seat at the reception. Once your first dances are over, you can change into them and no one will be the wiser.
23. Your fingers swell in the humid weather, so your fiancé has a tough time getting your ring on.
During the summer months skin often swells up, and people may have trouble with the fit of the rings. I tell brides to put a little bit of lotion on their finger before they walk down the aisle.
24. You don’t have an accurate head count.
Don’t assume that those who did not respond are not planning to attend. Have someone call all non-responders in order to get an accurate count. Also, be sure to have a pair of extra chairs with place settings at several tables—just in case.
25. You have a panic attack on your wedding day.
If you’re a high-anxiety person, then stay away from caffeine, smoothie drinks with an extra kick or energy drinks, because they can make things much worse!