"...and the whole thing had collapsed." : Tales from an On the Day Wedding Coordinator.
I cannot tell you how many suppliers, wedding guests and already-married couples tell me that they WISH they'd had a coordinator on their wedding day. We're sort of a new revelation for weddings, I definitely didn't have the option of one at my own wedding 7 years ago and trust me, wrestling a gazebo over a hedge in a wedding dress is not a great look. The day itself is the key moment for a couple; it's that chance to finally kick back and enjoy all of your hard work, but now and again things can go a little awry (trust me - I've seen it) which is why having someone on-hand to tackle any last-minute speed bumps isn't a luxury, it's an absolute must. Here I've popped together some of my own couples' near-misses, to show you how even the most perfect of days sometimes need a little push in the right direction...
The last-minute rule change
One of the first ever weddings I did threw me a curve-ball to dodge when, with 45 minutes to go before guests were to arrive, I was informed by the venue manager that the enormous helium balloons being inflated were, in fact, not allowed. Without finger-pointing there had obviously been a major situation of crossed wires with my clients and the venue, so suddenly I was left with a £200 can of helium and a rather bare-looking aisle! Instead, I rustled up some of the homemade flower arrangements dotted around the venue and used them to decorate the chairs and walkway, which I then whipped around and collected to put back where they belonged as soon as the ceremony had finished. My couple didn't even notice the balloons had been missing and the guests were none the wiser too - plus they got to return the enormous helium canister afterwards, so a budget-saving bonus!
The surprise guests
We all love a good wedding, which is why it's not unusual to find members of the general public stumbling upon an event, especially when it's in the middle of a city. At one particular wedding the ceremony was in full-swing when I spied two ladies having a peer through the glass door at the back of the venue; no harm done and normally as far as it goes once people realise the 120 guests staring goggle-eyed at them! Unfortunately, mid-vows, they opted to come in to 'see what was going on' (They said they thought it was an art exhibition - I'll reserve judgement on how believable that was) - a bit of silent dashing and enthusiastic mouthing of 'it's a wedding' from me and they bumbled out again, not a goggly-eye to be seen.
The speech that just kept giving
The absolute number-one event that can play havoc with a schedule is the speeches; I like to make a point of warning my couples in advance that they NEVER go for the length of time planned, but when someone's on a roll, you really can't swoop in and stop them! One guest had told me he was feeling really nervous, only wanted a couple of minutes and then would be happy to take a seat in time for the starters to be served; my couple were happy to let him get it out of the way so he could relax and so up he hopped with mic in hand, only to suddenly begin hosting an epic 30 minute long speech bonanza, complete with an en-masse singalong and which ended in 10 people gathered around the mic telling stories of the couple and making toasts (there were a lot of shots consumed in that window!) My job as a coordinator isn't to usher guests off-stage or put a stop to the fun, so instead I kept catering in the loop and made up the lost time later on in the reception, leaving everyone else to continue with the party... and the shots.
The collapsing table
The reality of marquee weddings is that they're not completely immune to the elements or terrain; last minute gusts of wind, torrential rain and uneven ground mean you've got to have a keen eye for anything blowing away/ leaking/ rolling down a hill(!) and it's not something you want to be chasing up in a wedding dress. With guests starting to arrive, I was giving the tables in the main marquee of one wedding a quick check-over, making sure names were in the right places and nothing was missing; as I turned from the final table ready to head off to check on the ceremony there was an enormous crash: yep, the whole thing had collapsed. I think if the bride had seen that moments before walking down the aisle it probably would've led to mass panic, so in the quickest rescue mission I've ever carried out, we had a new table, fully laid, up and ready to go in under 10 minutes; swish.
Obviously, I'm biased when it comes to wedding coordination, but I can't tell you how many guests, suppliers and married couples I speak to who tell me they wish they'd had someone there on the day to keep an eye on everything. This isn't a cause to panic, in fact if anything it's a sure-fire way to guarantee wedding-day bliss; almost every hurdle that crops up at a wedding is totally solvable, it's just you don't want to have to be the ones solving it!
Love, Kate x