From the most tender moments to the horrendous, gasp-inducing mishaps and everything in between, wedding planners get a front-row seat to the wild ride of a client’s wedding. We wanted to hear all about their firsthand experiences as wedding planners and specifically—let’s be real—the gnarly stuff that they’ve seen and dealt with themselves. Here’s what they told us.
A Runaway Ring
Renee Strauss, internationally acclaimed wedding expert and the founder of Wedaways, had planned a rooftop wedding in downtown Los Angeles, and everything was going according to plan until, well, it wasn’t. “The ring bearer dropped the ring, and it fell down the drainage grate on the ground,” she recalls. “Maintenance was called to the rescue, chairs were cleared, power lights were brought in, and two hours later the ring was found! The reception was scheduled for the same location as the ceremony, and, needless to say, the guests enjoyed a (much) longer cocktail hour!”
An (Almost) Underwater Reception
“Years ago, I was working on Hayman Island in tropical North Queensland, Australia. For my very first wedding, I had to do a beach celebration and set all my tables up on the beach for the dinner that was to take place after the ceremony,” says Kylie Carlson, founder of International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning. “Having never done a beach wedding before, I had no idea that I was supposed to measure how far the tide came up that morning. Well, you can probably guess what happened. About 30 minutes before the guests were due, the water was getting dangerously close, and one of my team members turned around and said, ‘You did measure the tide this morning, didn’t you?’ We had to shift around 20 tables and 200 chairs pronto to make sure none of the guests were paddling! We did it by the skin of our teeth, and the bride and groom were beyond happy, but I was literally red in the face from the exertion of shifting all these round tables on sand.”
Surprise Snow Day
“One of my first outdoor weddings was a memory I will never forget. The week prior, the forecast showed a small percentage of rain, and as the week progressed, it looked more likely that we might receive some rain on their wedding day,” says Jacqueline M. Hill of Jacqueline Events & Design. “With the ceremony and reception outside, we ordered a tent for the reception. On the day of the wedding, the rain started in the afternoon, and we had to redesign the ceremony in a small room inside the venue. However, what wasn't ever noted on the forecast was the temperature drop, which resulted in snow! A nice spring day on Friday turned to a winter wonderland with inches of snow on Saturday night. The pictures of the couple in the snow were amazing, but there wasn't anything we could do to keep the guests from getting cold or wet. We all made the best of it, and they danced the night away in the chilly tent.”
A Bride With Cold Feet
“One of the more interesting and memorable wedding nights we have ever faced was when the bride was not willing to come out of the bathroom to walk down the aisle,” says Michael Hernandez of the Wedding Establishment. “It felt like a scene straight out of a Samuel L. Jackson movie where we had to negotiate a hostage situation! We explained to the bride that her nerves were getting the best of her, and we encouraged her to think and rethink the situation. After we got her to calm down and take some breaths, the bathroom door opened and she graciously walked down the aisle. The groom never knew what was happening, and it was extremely important we kept him at ease as well. Today, they have two beautiful kids together!"
“I am a pet lover, and I always say ‘No problem’ when a couple asks me if they can incorporate their pets in the wedding in some way. In this case, there was a beautiful ballroom, perfectly decorated in an elegant manner for the reception, and the couple wanted to make a grand entrance and have their two dogs greet them,” recalls Daniela Corti, a wedding planner for Wedaways. “Maybe it was the large group of people watching or the pups being overcome with emotion, but one of the dogs started to get squirmy. Just as the couple entered as newlyweds, he did his business in the center of the ballroom! The spotlight was on him and mouths dropped. It was quite horrifying for me and my assistants but definitely gave guests a good laugh. It will be an event that they'll always remember!”