Preparation can make the difference between catching a wedding faux pas before it happens or becoming the next viral sensation on social media. If something does go wrong, don’t let it ruin your big day. Sometimes, you’ve just got to roll with it…and hope that the photographer and videographer recorded it all (because some day, this is going to be hilarious, right?).
Prevent: Your contract should state that you can review your invitation proof (an extra charge may apply), and that any printer’s mistakes will be corrected at no charge. Include the delivery date on your contract. Order invitations at least four to five months prior to the wedding to avoid rush-order mistakes.
Prepare: If it’s too late to fix a mistake, communicate to your wedding guests via email and on your wedding website to clarify any errant details. And as upsetting as this may be, try put it in perspective. Who knows? Your invitation faux pas could go viral and be one of the funniest memories of your big day.
Prevent: Buying a gown usually requires a minimum lead-time of six months and a 50 percent deposit. Confirm delivery for a few months prior to the wedding to allow for the unexpected. Use the manufacturer’s size chart when ordering to avoid unnecessary alteration charges. Remember that it is normally easier to alter a dress that is too big than one that is too small.
Prepare: The week of your wedding, have a bridesmaid pack an emergency sewing kit, safety pins, mild stain remover, double stick tape, tweezers and wax paper (great for un-sticking stuck zippers) to prepare for any dress mishaps that could occur on your big day.
Prevent: Taste everything before you decide. Request a sampling of the items on your menu. Sample cakes with your spouse-to-be. Confirm in writing that the same chef or baker will prepare the food, dessert and cake for your reception. Determine any additional charges such as cake cutting or corkage fees before you sign the contract. Have a member of your wedding party confirm delivery and accuracy the week before the wedding. And when in doubt, order slightly more food than you may need to avoid running out.
Prepare: At the reception, make sure your cake table is not in the flow of foot traffic where it could be bumped or jostled. You may also get input from the bakery providing your cake on the best method for for cutting your cake during reception photos.If the cake falls, and it certainly happens, salvage the moment and continue your cake ceremony with what’s left. Memories aren’t always be perfect, but they are still precious and meaningful.
Prevent: Meet in person with the photographer that you are considering to make sure that you are comfortable with him or her. Specify the name of your chosen photographer in the contract, and make sure that same photographer will shoot your wedding. Also make sure you have a backup plan should your photographer get sick or be unable to make it on the day of your wedding. Get the delivery date for digital proofs and finished photos in writing. Before taking any precarious photos on your wedding day, work out the details (like the weight limit of piers, decks and balconies). And if there is a shot you simply must have, avoid situations that could cause injury or ruin your attire or that of your wedding party until after the ceremony.
Prepare: Bring a sewing kit, mild stain remover and make-up to the photo shoot for last minute fixes. Keep a few vases of chilled water close by to store bouquets between group shots to keep flowers fresh. Have a small table of hors d’oeuvres available for your wedding party during the shoot to keep everyone in good spirits. Odds are, they (and you) haven’t eaten in hours.
Prevent: If you’re using a DJ, be sure to specify the name of your DJ/MC in your contract along with the duties they will perform. If you’re having a live band, be sure to watch them play live if you have the opportunity to do so. The contract should list the musicians by name, state the number of hours included in the price (one hour for cocktails and four hours for the reception is standard) and detail potential overtime charges.
Make your expectations known. If there are special songs you want to include or objectionable lyrics you want to avoid, make your requests clear during the contract negotiation. A popular crowd pleaser at one wedding may raise eyebrows at another, so don’t assume your musical entertainment understands your values or knows what you want. If it’s important to you, put it in writing…or risk hearing about it every Thanksgiving for the rest of your mortal life.
Prepare: Well ahead of time, find out what sound equipment is available at the venue and what cords you may need to connect to it. Have a wedding playlist on standby in case of equipment failure or your DJ or band is late or fails to show up. Music is a big part of the reception atmosphere. A solid Plan B is inexpensive and can keep your party going.
Flowers that Flop
Prevent: Inform your florist of the time of day and location for the ceremony and reception, so they can recommend flowers that will last throughout the festivities. A week prior to the wedding, confirm delivery time. A friend or family member should check that the flowers delivered on the wedding day are fresh and as ordered. If you are having a lengthy ceremony or getting married in the summer heat, consult with your florist and your wedding team to keep everything looking fresh for as long as possible.
Prepare: There are several floral preservation concoctions on the market that will prolong the life of your blooms. And your florist can talk to your team about trimming stems, putting flowers in chilled water and other tricks of the trade. For more helpful advice on what to ask your florist, here’s a checklist of 20 questions from our latest issue.
Wet Wedding Weather
Prevent: Well, there is no way to control the weather, but you can be prepared. When organizing your wedding, come up with a rainy day plan in advance. If you are getting married outdoors, find out if the venue has tents or a back-up venue available. If thunderstorms are likely to dampen your day, arrange to have back-up generators on site. The power may be out all over town, but your big day will shine on.
Be flexible on photography. You may not be able to take the outdoor photos you envisioned but you can still be picture perfect with a pair of rain boots and matching umbrella to introduce a little whimsy into your shoot. Purchase coordinated umbrellas for your wedding party to incorporate the weather into your photos. You can also provide umbrellas to guests to keep them dry on the walk from the ceremony to the reception. Bonus: they double as wedding favors.
Prepare: Make sure all electrical outlets and cords are properly protected from the rain. Have someone monitor the tents to make sure heavy rain doesn’t pool overhead and cause the tents to collapse. Lastly, consider purchasing wedding insurance. When you’re watching the wedding budget, this may seem like an unnecessary expense, but wedding insurance could save you thousands of dollars by covering things like vendors who didn’t show up, injuries, venue issues, and even major weather events (hurricane, earthquake, etc).
Do you have any unusual or heroic wedding stories you’d like to share? Tell us how you survived and we may include your harrowing tale on I Do Y’all and you’ll automatically be entered to win a t-shirt from our shop!