I’d checked in with the bride and groom, signed the marriage license, reviewed all the ceremony details and all systems were ‘go.’ But there were still some guests who hadn’t arrived. These were close family members who were supposed to be picked up at their hotel by a bus service. It was all worked out in advance, complete with a clear, specific timeline. Weddings can be very detailed. But for some reason the service let them down. Was the driver lost? What was going on? As information trickled out, it was obvious that they wouldn’t arrive, through no fault of their own, for at least another 45 minutes. The couple, understandably upset, didn’t want to go forward without these special family members, who’d travelled so far to be with them. They wanted them there to witness and support them on this important day. But the other guests were all seated at the ceremony site. What to do?
Scheduling and timing mishaps are probably the most common wedding calamities. When this one happened I remember a few weddings where cocktails were served before the ceremony. This gave me an idea. I suggested the venue send some wait staff to the ceremony site with water, lemonade or drinks of some sort. They quickly agreed, even taking drink orders!
Once everyone had a drink in hand, and adjusted to the idea that we were waiting, the guests relaxed and started having a great time. The minutes passed quickly. When the missing family finally arrived we proceeded – a full hour after the scheduled start time. I thanked everyone for the patience and made a few light-hearted remarks about it – and it was all smiles and a beautiful wedding ceremony ensued.
Voila! You have to roll with it. Fortunately, the venue was relaxed about it, even though it certainly messed up the food preparation timeline.
When calmness is projected, people respond in the same. It’s human nature. Even if I’m upset or nervous inside, I never let my clients see me sweat. They depend on me to keep it together.
It’s not always possible for your wedding plans to go perfectly. That’s life. Stuff happens. It may rain, the cake may not show up, the bus might get lost. But how you handle it is what really matters.
Another common, but small glitch, is the swollen finger on a hot day, making the ring exchange a little difficult. I always anticipate this outdoors and am ready to calm the couple’s anxiety. In a heightened emotional moment a few seconds fumbling with the ring feels like an eternity. As Einstein once famously said: ‘Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.’
Another frequent occurrence is lost guests. Please be sure every single guest has clear directions, even if you have to print out a map with details and send it to them. Never rely entirely on a GPS, they are not perfect and there are places where you can’t get cell signal.
Marriage is about the long haul. It takes patience and flexibility, and learning to let go of anger and not sweat the small stuff. If you can handle your wedding that way, you’re off to a great start.
Thank you Lisa Rhinehart Photography for the gorgeous photos.