Be a Guest at Your Own Wedding

August 8, 2011 Weddings Unlimited, Inc.

For awhile now, there has been a lot of press coverage on the “Do It Yourself” (DIY) bride versus the “Professional”. Until this last weekend, I hadn’t really given it much of a comment, other than…”Of course, anyone can plan a wedding; but playing the dual role of  wedding coordinator and bride is  a major task.” My philosophy is that the bride, groom and their wedding party should always “be a guest at their wedding”.  

One of the service I offer with Weddings Unlimited, is to officiate at weddings. I don’t do it a lot, but there are circumstances that brings the couple to me. Most are brides that have planned their own wedding and are looking for someone to conduct the ceremony outside of a religious setting. During the course of the interview, I asked if they have a wedding coordinator to report to, and the reply is usually that a friend or the venue is taking care of that responsibility.

This past weekend I was asked to also participate in the rehearsal. Arriving at the designated time, I saw that another wedding ceremony was taking place in the space where our wedding would be the following day.  Another room had been assigned to my couple. About 15 minutes after we were to begin, I asked if all participants were present and ready to start the rehearsal. The bride replied that she was waiting on the venue wedding coordinator to join us. Second guessing myself that she would be busy with the other wedding, I suggested we get started and she could take over when she arrived. Guess it was a good thing that my real job is being the coordinator, because she never showed! Nothing had been pre-planned with the venue coordinator and we worked from scratch.  

Within the hour we were finished and everyone seemed to be pleased. I was invited to join them for the rehearsal dinner which is always a treat and a great opportunity to get to know the wedding party better.

The next day, I arrive about 40 minutes before the ceremony and am met by the venue coordinator (to which I had to re-introduce myself as the celebrant). She quickly tells me that the bride is all stressed out due to some vendor issues. Seems, the cake is not the right color (yellow shade) and sticks out like a sore thumb in a room of all white! The bride refused to use her all white topper, because she felt it would bring more attention to the cake.    The flowers were not what she ordered. They were beautiful, but the bride ordered tall vases and they were all in fish bowls.

Seems that instead of getting dressed and having photos taken, the bride was on the phone with heated conversations with the bakery and florist. All this lead to a total meltdown and make-up had to be re-applied. Not sure if any prenuptial photos took place.

I did what I could to calm and reassure her; but when I asked for the marriage license, she clouded up again. It was at home on her desk. I quickly and calmly told her it was OK and we would get it next week.  

I noticed that an amplifier cord was stretched out over a major walk-way to the ceremony, and asked if it could be taped for safety measures. I was told the venue did not allow that, but maybe they could find a mat to lay over it.   

I was to wear a cordless microphone. Testing it, it didn’t work well.  I was first told it may have a short, but maybe it was just the wind.  There was no attempt to replace it, so in the end, I  just did my professional thing, turned it off and spoke in a  louder voice. All went well and the couple seemed happy that the trauma was over.

An added note: The couple chose to write their own vows and the ceremony was short. Cocktails began before 7:30 and the dinner was scheduled to begin at 9:00. I left shortly before the reception and do not know what followed.  

Now, my questions to the professional wedding vendors, venues and brides out there. What would you have done in a three-hour time span? Or maybe longer, if the load-in was earlier before the bride arrived? Please comment.

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