The first thing you need to realize is, whatever happens now is out of your hands. There is nothing you can do to control everyone and everything around you so relax and enjoy the day - imperfections and all. Trust me, unless you watch the video every year on your anniversary, it's the mishaps that you'll remember longer, and, barring a major catastrophe, laugh at as the years pass. Let me tell you the story of my first wedding and you'll see that I am definitely writing from experience.
I live in Washington state, north of Seattle, and other than a day here and there, we really don't get much snow in the winter. So my fiance and I set our wedding date on December 30th, 1990. Naturally, it snowed - a LOT - the week before the wedding, and then froze, keeping almost a foot of snow on the ground for more than a few days. That was only the beginning.
The dresses I chose for the bridesmaids to wear didn't come in a junior size. Since I wanted the candle-lighters and flower girl in the same style of dress, we had to find a seamstress to copy the pattern and make the younger girls' dresses. I had three attendants and four candle-lighters, one of whom lived in Iowa and couldn't be fitted as her dress was being made. When she came out for the wedding, her dress was too tight. She could still get it on and zip it up, but it wasn't very comfortable to wear.
Figuring if that was the worst thing to happen, we'd be okay, I got my hair done and then headed to the church to get dressed and have pictures taken. In a previous blog post, I mentioned wanting my fiance's first view of my dress to be as I walked down the aisle, so we were having the bride and groom family pictures done separately beforehand with pictures together after the ceremony.
Getting ready in the church basement with my bridesmaids and candle-lighters, all of whom had long hair, the decision was made that they should have long, curly hair, which meant lots of hairspray. When we finished getting ready, we went upstairs for our turn with the photographer. Coming back downstairs to wait for the ceremony, I encountered one of the reasons of why getting dressed early was a bad idea - I had to use the restroom.
My dress was gorgeous. Floor length, full skirt complete with a hoop skirt and train; and absolutely impossible to use the restroom while wearing it without a lot of help. Fortunately, the ladies restroom just across the hall had three stalls, enabling me to use the middle stall, while my maid-of-honor and her mother stood on the toilets on both sides of me holding my skirt above my head. Ladies, use the restroom before putting your dress on or suffer the same fate.
Let's talk about the snow again for a moment. The church we were getting married in was, of course, on top of a hill. In addition, the road leading to the church had several corners. I didn't see this first hand, but I've been told people were parking at the bottom of the hill and walking through the snow up the hill in their good clothes. Not what you want your wedding guests to have to do just to get to your wedding.
The ceremony started with the candle-lighters lining up and getting their lighters ignited. One of the candle-lighters got a little too close to the girl behind her and, with all that hair spray in her hair, her hair went up in flames! Fortunately, there were several people standing close by that were able to leap in and extinguish the flames before she was injured. Actually, other than slight singed hair, she wasn't hurt at all thanks to the amount of hairspray the flames had to burn through to even reach her hair.
Instead of having a ring-bearer, we had a Bible boy. He was carrying my grandfather's Bible, which the minister was going to read from during the ceremony. Our Bible boy was three years old at the time and the Bible he was carrying was almost half his size. Halfway up the aisle, he spooked, laid the Bible down in the middle of the aisle, and made a beeline for his dad. Our minister had to come down and pick the Bible up from where it had been left.
My walk up the aisle, fortunately, proceeded without mishap and nothing further happened until the minister started praying after the unity candle ceremony. I heard a small commotion and saw the candle-lighter whose dress didn't fit, rushing out of the sanctuary. I later found out the poor thing had been so nervous, and upset about her dress, that she left in the middle of the ceremony and threw up all over the hall. (Some of my family made it worse on New Year's Eve when they discovered you could hear her on the wedding video and played it over and over, sound turned up, laughing uproariously.)
I've already told you about the person that came in while we were having our photos taken after the ceremony and asked the photographer how much longer he was going to be, and his subsequent reply. I neglected to mention that the person then decided to make the wait 'easier' by having the caterer start serving food. Which wouldn't have been a problem except for one teeny, tiny fact.
The caterer was a good friend of my grandmother's. Grandma had brought her to our house when we planned the menu and we had told the caterer that we were expecting almost 300 people. Apparently, on the way home after that meeting, my grandmother told her friend that there was no way that many people were going to show up to the wedding. Rather than double-checking the number of guests attending prior to making the food, the caterer took my grandmother at her word and only brought enough for 150 people. Yeah. My mother and I were pretty accurate on our count, so by the time we made it over to the reception, the food was almost all gone.
I don't know if any of you have thought about doing, or not doing, the whole smash-the-cake-in-the-face routine or not. I had, and was adamant that my new husband and I weren't going to do that to each other. We even talked about it before the wedding and agreed. Given the way the rest of the day had gone I'm sure you can see where this is going. He tried to smear cake on my face and, in revenge, ended up with frosting up his nose. If you feel strongly about not wanting to follow this particular 'tradition' talk to your groom about it and make sure you're both on the same page before the wedding.
You'd think that would've been enough mishaps for one wedding, right? Wrong. Fate had one more trick up her sleeve for us and, again, it involved the weather. A friend of my parents ran a limousine service, so we hired him to take us to our hotel after the reception. Remember me saying that after it snowed, it froze? Apparently it froze so hard it froze the garage door to the limo shut. We ended up riding to our hotel in the back seat of a friend's Toyota Celica.
As I mentioned, this was my first wedding. There are days that I think everything that happened at the wedding was Fate's way of telling me the marriage was doomed from the start. Most days, however, I look back on that day and just laugh. To me, it's an example that, no matter how much you try to plan life down to the last detail, you have no control over what ends up happening. You can either have a meltdown and let the mishaps ruin the day for you, or roll with it and enjoy the day, mishaps and all. Rolling with it guarantees that you'll be able to look back on the day with fondness and laughter, instead of bitterness and tears; and your life will be better for the laughter.
Do you have stories about things going wrong at a wedding or other event? Share it in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!