share this post:
Your wedding day will be magical, amazing, joyful, emotional and crazy.
But it will not be perfect. Everything will not go as planned.
And that’s totally ok! You’re not alone.
The things that go wrong will be the stories you laugh about and tell for years to come.
Just when I think I’ve seen it all, the unexpected happens. The ceremony gets delayed by a half hour because of rain, the tree planting ceremony doesn’t happen because no one grabbed the shovel and the veil blows into the grooms face right as they’re pronounced husband and wife and he has to struggle to free himself. Yes, all of that happened during the same wedding day and the couple laughed it all off graciously and it was one of my favorite weddings ever.
In this post, I’ll help you minimize the chance of things going wrong on your day and help you learn to roll with the punches when things do inevitably go wrong.
1. Be as prepared as you can be
Hire a wedding planner or at the very least, a day of coordinator. I know firsthand that weddings can be sickeningly expensive and this might seem like a good thing to cut to save money, but you’ll be so glad to have someone there worrying about all of the moving pieces for you so you can enjoy your day.
Throughout the planning process, when people ask what you need help with, find something for them to do so it’s not all on your shoulders. On the day of, have a personal attendant or 2 or 3 (I’m having 3!) and assign them very specific tasks for different parts of the day.
Make a spreadsheet for each person in the wedding party and for heavily involved family members as well with a detailed timeline so they all know need to where they need to be and when.
Build lots of buffer time into your timeline. At some point during the day, you will get behind. I have only photographed one wedding that has ever run early and it was a very strange thing. However, if you put enough buffer time in the schedule, you’ll be able to catch up easily.
2. Stay calm and laugh about it.
For my wedding, I am worried about trains. Yup. Trains. Tony and I found the perfect venue after a long and stressful search. The St. James Hotel in Red Wing was Tony’s brilliant idea and met all of my picky requirements. It was in a hotel which I didn’t want, but unlike all of the other hotels, the ballroom was on the top floor with huge windows overlooking the river valley. I grew up boating on the Mississippi and wanted to get married by the river.
The only downside to the St. James is that it’s all indoors and I really wanted to be outside. However, there’s a gorgeous park right between the river and hotel. We are planning on doing the ceremony and cocktail hour in the park and then guests can simply walk to the reception in the hotel. However, there is a very active train track between the hotel and the park and when I asked the city about it, they said they run every 30-60 minutes. So I am preparing myself to laugh as a loud train barrels through the ceremony since it’s totally out of our control.
3. Surround yourself with awesome
I was sitting at a coffee shop with Sam talking about all of her wedding details and helping her plan her day. We were figuring out how much time to give the getting dressed portion of the day and she said it wouldn’t take much time at all. Her dress simply zipped up so it would be super easy. We still added some buffer time just to be safe.
On her wedding day, she excitedly pulled her dress up and her girls went to work zipping it up. When the zipper stopped halfway up, they looked around nervously and tried to get it to go.
When it didn’t, they gently let Sam know her dress was broken and went to work calmly finding a solution. They called the town’s emergency seamstress who was able to come over right away and sew Sam into her dress.
The girls Sam had by her side were amazing at diffusing the situation and keeping her calm. When choosing your wedding party, make sure to choose people who can calmly solve problems and who don’t thrive on drama. In the picture below, Sam was half-crying and half-laughing about the situation as her girls surrounded her and made her laugh.
3. Remember that kids will be kids
If you’re having little kids walk down the aisle on your day, remember that there is nothing about a two year old that is predictable. Whether or not the officiant has to beg and plead to get them down the aisle as they throw a tantrum or they skip down it joyfully, it will be cute either way. No matter what kids do during the ceremony, the guests love it. They just just laugh and all say “awwwww!”
This flower girl was persistent during the speeches to get up and give her own speech. Her parents and the bride and groom kept telling her no until eventually she just went and grabbed the microphone from the best man when his speech was wrapping up. Everyone looked a little nervous because the reception was already running behind and they didn’t know what she would say, but her speech was adorable, hilarious and a highlight of the evening!
4. The weather might not cooperate.
The wind will mess with your veil at the most inconvenient times, like right during the first look or the moment you’re pronounced husband and wife.
And there’s always that chance of rain. I really hope our outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour get to happen in the park as planned, but I feel confident in our plan B, just in case. If you have a good backup plan for your outdoor ceremony, you don’t have to worry about the chance of rain. Any good photographer can make good portraits in any situation so the rain shouldn’t hider that part too much. Click here to read this blog post about handling a rainy wedding day.
5. The ceremony might not go as planned.
90% of weddings I’ve shot have had something go not as planned during the ceremony and that’s totally ok. Dwight and Lisa were so excited to be together that they kept kissing before the designated time to kiss and the officiant laughed exasperatedly and told them they had to wait.
Someone is always putting the ring on the wrong finger or fumbling over their vows. No matter what it is, it always results in lots of laughter and lightens any tension there is.
Whatever you do, just please make sure to say the right name during the ceremony…
The moral of the story is to laugh a lot, be goofy, be authentic, be yourself and enjoy the heck out of your day no matter what happens.
I still have a few dates open in 2017 if you are looking for a photographer who will make sure your day goes as smoothly as possible. I’ll help you through the whole planning process, help you come up with a foolproof timeline and make sure everyone sticks to it on the wedding day. I’ll be there to help bustle your dress, put on corsages and assemble last minute decor. Most importantly, I’ll capture authentic images that tell your story beautifully.