Saved by the Belles

Saved by the Belles | Spring and summer weddings carry their own threat of disasters but leave it to Charleston pros to save you from a scary scene

We had an outdoor wedding overlooking the marsh in May, and within minutes of the cake delivery, bugs were hovering all around it,” recalls Shannon Williams of Fête Planning.We had an outdoor wedding overlooking the marsh in May, and within minutes of the cake delivery, bugs were hovering all around it,” recalls Shannon Williams of Fête Planning.“Thankfully, we keep extra tulle in our wedding kit, so we created a canopy, affixed it to the tent ceiling, and then draped it loosely over the cake table. Those pesky bugs weren’t getting any sugar that night!” To protect your own confection from uninvited nibblers, make a personalized cake canopy in advance, pulling in your wedding colors or design elements. FIASCO: An accident occurred at an outdoor site miles and miles from civilization and quickly snatched the romance out of “remote.” “I was shooting a spring wedding on a private plantation,” remembers photographer Leigh Webber. “Everything had to be brought in—even the bathrooms—because there was just nothing out there. As the bride was dancing with her champagne glass in hand, it smashed and sliced her finger. She had blood all over her hand, and everyone was in a frenzy, looking for something to stop the bleeding.” Luckily, Leigh had recently started carrying a basic first aid kit in her camera bag. “All I had were a few bandages and some wipes, but those were enough,” Leigh says. “I doctored up her hand, and she didn’t even get any blood on the dress.” Moral of the story? Make absolute sure someone brings in-case-of-emergency supplies, especially if you’re going to be celebrating in the middle of nowhere. Those personalized cocktail napkins may be cute, but they probably won’t (ahem) cut it in a crisis. FIASCO: Infamous Charleston heat and humidity melted the bride’s makeup. “Always, always bring backup makeup samples with you,” says Rory Welsh of event planning firm Jubilation, who ran into a client meltdown when pre-wedding bridal pictures were taken on the Battery under a blazing sun. “Buy a few items like those the makeup artist used on you,” says Rory, “so you—or your planner—can touch up your face when needed.” After Rory’s crew had taken the overheated bride indoors and washed her face, they were able to start over with new makeup. “She looked beautiful and fresh as she walked down the aisle,” says Rory. “No one would have known she’d been standing in the hot sun for an hour.” FIASCO: Strong, hurricane-season winds wreaked havoc with anything that wasn’t tied down. “We once had a chuppah arbor draped in organza for a lawn ceremony,” says Katie Bell of Timeless Designs. “Midway through, a huge gust of wind tore it from its footing. Luckily, I’d mentioned the possibility to the groomsmen ahead of time, so they were prepared; each of them grabbed a pole and held it through the rest of the ceremony. The bride and groom got a great laugh, and it eased tensions all around. Be prepared and have a plan B!” Shannon Williams of Fête Planning has her own heavy words of wisdom when it comes to gusty sites: Sew tiny hidden weights into your veil if your ceremony is outdoors. “We’ve attached small clip-on tablecloth weights to the inside of a bride’s veil before to keep it from flying in her face,” Shannon recalls. “You’d never know that the pictures were taken on such a windswept beach.” FIASCO: The bride’s dress was too long. Given it was just one week before the big day the seamstress could only shorten it into a completely new style…one that the bride loathed. “Never let a bridal shop tell you to have your final fitting the week of your wedding,” says Cindy Zingerella of Engaging Events. “They’ll swear you’ll lose or gain weight right before the ceremony and that will change the fit, but at that date, it’s too late to fix any major issues.” In the end, Cindy’s bride opted for a new, handmade dress, which she had overnighted. Last words to the wise? “Have your final fitting two weeks before the wedding,” says Cindy, “and deal with any weight gain or loss that week—if either occurs.”