FIASCO: A rainstorm saturates the ground, making it impossible to put down a dance floor at an outdoor reception.
FIX: “The wedding was out at a vineyard on Wadmalaw, and the ground was totally soaked. Our tent went up Friday, but we couldn’t erase the damage already done,” recollects Kate Badger of Kate Badger Special Events. “We couldn’t put flooring down, so I had 60 bales of pine straw delivered to blanket the ground. It was a fall-themed wedding, so the pine straw fit in perfectly; it even contributed to the overall look and feel of the event!”
TIP: Outdoor weddings are susceptible to all kinds of mishaps, especially regarding the weather. Have staff or reliable friends on hand to assist with any last-minute arrangements that need to be made.
FIASCO: The air conditioning at the reception cannot keep up with the number of guests pouring in.
FIX: “I was working a large reception held in an historic building downtown. Because we had the maximum number of people allowed, and it was mid-summer, the A/C couldn’t keep the room cool,” explains Melissa Barton of A Charleston Bride. “Until it cooled off, we slowed the music and turned off the heat lamps on the food stations. We passed out glasses of ice water and other cold beverages, and before we knew it, everyone was comfortable.”
Tip: Having someone in charge—other than the bride or her mother—who can think on her feet is essential, as some unavoidable fiascos can be managed with simple suggestions.
FIASCO: The bouquets arrive and look nothing like the picture the bride showed her florist.
FIX: “I was hired to help the bride on the day of her wedding only and had no idea what her bouquets were supposed to look like,” recalls Sara Cavallon of Something to Celebrate. “The florist dropped off the bouquets two hours before the ceremony, but apparently they looked nothing like what the bride had ordered. So I chased down the florist and explained the situation. She redid all of the bouquets just in time for the girls to walk down the aisle.”
Tip: Always meet with your florist a second time to actually see the flowers that will be in the bouquets so if there is something you don’t like, changes can be made well in advance.
FIASCO: The photographer gets lost and arrives after the reception is over.
FIX: “I recently worked with a bride on a tight budget who decided to schedule her own photographer,” recollects Stacey Fraunfelter of Red Letter Events. “The ceremony was due to start any minute, and the photographer still hadn’t arrived.” Fraunfelter grabbed her own digital camera as well as several cameras left out for the guests to use during the reception. “The bride and groom were so thankful; even though they weren’t ‘professional grade,’ the pictures we took still captured the moment.”
TIP: Even on a tight budget, having your event planner work with all of your vendors is the key to a seamless wedding.
FIASCO: An out-of-town disc jockey hired by the bride is a no-show.
FIX: Melissa Barton recently had a bride who was very specific about her DJ and opted to hire one from out of town. “I tried to contact him many times to no avail,” recalls Barton. “Finally, on the day of the wedding I called a local DJ whom I work with all the time. Luckily, he sent a replacement in the nick of time.”
TIP: Always carry a few phone numbers with you; even if it’s not a vendor you are planning on using, you may need assistance in a crunch.
FIASCO: Instead of a traditional cake, the couple opts for a cupcake tree that is too wide to fit through the doors at the reception.
FIX: “The pastry chef assembled the cupcake tree in the administrative offices of the reception hall. There were layers of cupcakes as well as flowers decorating the stand,” explains Sara Cavallon of Something to Celebrate. “However, when the time came to bring it out, the stand was too wide to fit through the doors. We had to remove the bottom layers of cupcakes as well as the decorations in order to bring it out to the main hall. Luckily we did this while toasts were being made. Everyone’s backs were to us, and we had enough time to reassemble the whole thing.”
TIP: Non-traditional elements are special, but require more attention. Allot extra time to deal with unforeseen issues.
Don’t Leave Home Without It
Wedding planners offer a glimpse inside their “must-have” boxes for last minute wedding-day fixes.
- Umbrellas: “No matter what the weatherman says, I always carry a dozen white golf umbrellas with me,”says Melissa Barton of A Charleston Bride.
- Spools of satin ribbon in white and ivory
- Bug spray towelettes
- Deodorant and powder
- Snacks and bottled water
- A toolbox of tapes, glues, pins, lighters, scissors, fishing line, zip ties, etc.
- Aspirin/pain reliever
- Contact information: “I always carry the bride’s file with all the vendor info, as well as a phonebook for looking up last minute numbers—hotels, taxis, etc.,” says Kate Badger of Kate Badger Special Events.