As December is flying by and we will shortly be closing out the decade, I want to take a look back at some of my craziest and most successful ‘Act of God’ wedding stories – proving why you always need a wedding planner because sometimes there are things that you simply cannot plan for and without a planner you will be left to handle them on your own.
Have you ever heard or read the story about little 8-year-old Virginia who wrote to the New York Sun in 1897 wanting to know the truth about Santa Claus? A very kind and gentle-hearted editor wrote back to the little girl letting her know that there is indeed a Santa Claus. He told her that even if we can’t see him, it doesn’t mean that the magic of Christmas and the magic of Santa Claus isn’t real, it is in everybody’s hearts, if you only believe. This editorial piece went on to become history’s most reprinted newspaper article, appearing in books, movies, other newspapers, posters, stamps, etc.
Okay, that’s a very cute story Sydney, but why are you referencing it here, in a blog about wedding planning? Well, because the magic behind wedding planners is also a very real thing, if you only believe.
There are always hurdles in every wedding, it’s inevitable with so many moving parts. You may be thinking, ‘No way! My wedding was perfect. Everything was planned down to the last crumb.’ I am almost 100% certain everything went so well with your wedding because you had the ‘A Team’ backing you up, so if (and when) something did go wrong, you never knew about it – they fixed it before anybody noticed. Wedding mishaps are all about crisis management skills. You need a team of vendors who have calm, professional demeanors in front of your guests when handling any situation, big or small, even if in their heads they are scrolling through their alphabet of plans as fast as they can.
There are so many things you can plan for, but what about those things you can’t? Those are the times where a wedding planner suddenly becomes an invaluable part of your team. Do you want to be the one running around worrying about every situation or do you want to be able to continue enjoying your day and leave someone else you trust to manage everything? After reading these 3 stories, I hope you understand the importance of this job and maybe – just maybe – even give me a call, so I can be that person for you to lean on!
Act of God #1: Barn Fire
Having part of your wedding venue burn down is probably the very LAST thing on your mind as an actual possibility, but what if suddenly, in one afternoon, it became your reality… and what if it was just 12 days, 2 weeks, 1 month or 2 months before your wedding day? Unfortunately, for a few couples that is something they had to deal with, but lucky for them they had me on their crisis management team, so all was not lost! Yes, this was a tragic accident, but for this particular venue it was only 1 structure on the 10 acre property that was lost to the fire, so instead of telling these couples to find a new venue, the management team put their heads together and said ‘here is what we can do for you’ and ‘here is how we are going to make your wedding day absolutely spectacular’. Those amazingly patient and realistic couples continued to trust us with one of their most precious milestones and allowed us to pick up the pieces. Of course, the days following the fire, I spend a lot of time with these couples reassuring them and being as much of a ‘yes man’ as I could be. There was so much support from the community it was overwhelming. Everybody banded together and we got the property cleaned up and put back together to have one of the prettiest wedding I have ever been a part of, just 12 days after tragedy struck. Each wedding following that fire I heard over and over from guests how great everything looked and if they didn’t know there was a structure lost, they wouldn’t have known anything was different. Can you imagine going through something like that without a team of people to turn to and help guide you through?
Act of God #2: North Idaho Hurricane
If you are planning on having your wedding at an outdoor venue by water, please be advised that you will encounter some wind… it is almost inevitable. However, I would not expect there to be a little mini hurricane – especially in August, but for one couple that is what snuck up on us all. In the day’s leading up to the wedding it became clear that there was a high possibility we were going to experience some rain beginning in the evening of the wedding day, so that is what we prepared for. According to the radar there was also a wind advisory, but it was looking like that was going to miss us, unfortunately, that radar was incorrect. Everyone had just been seated with their dinners and suddenly, we were in the middle of a windstorm that felt like it was going to carry us all the way to Oz! Acting fast, my staff started putting down tables and chairs inside while I advised the couple to stay calm and continue to talk with their guests. Amazingly, 10 minutes later all 200 people were inside with delicious food, spirits high and watching the storm from the windows. Of course, it was not an ideal situation, but given the circumstances, we acted accordingly and tried to make the transition as fluid as possible. At the conclusion of the reception the couple was thankful nonetheless because they still ended up married and people were going to be talking about their wedding for quite some time! I even had one of the bridesmaids pull me aside to let me know that in an apocalypse, I was on her team. All I can say is that I can’t wait to see the footage of that storm from the eyes of their videographer.
Act of God #3: Snow in September
September weddings are some of my favorites here in North Idaho, but I may be bias because that’s when my husband and I got married. However, that month is typically when it is starting to cool off, most of the smoke from the summer fires is gone and it still stays light long enough to enjoy the evening air. What I have never experienced before is setting up for a September wedding in the snow. Again, as in the previous story, we were prepared for and expecting rain, but instead what we got about 2 months too early – was snow! After having a conversation with the bride, it was clear she did not want to compromise her outdoor ceremony, so I came prepared – heaters and blankets for everyone. (Side note… there is a reason that I always recommend a tent rental for any completely outdoor venue, because it is North Idaho and you never know what the weather is going to do… clearly.) The solution was simple, we would move the ceremony under the tent, give as many people as we could a blanket and a hot beverage (with alcohol for the adults) to snuggle up with and place heaters strategically in each corner. This brave couple absolutely embraced the elements of the day and ended up with some beautiful and very memorable pictures! The bride was able to completely enjoy her day – even if she was cold – while my team and I made sure everything was set up properly and comfortably to keep her vision of an outdoor wedding possible.
To restate what I said at the beginning, there will always be hiccups with such a big event because there are so many moving parts. Having a successful outcome all depends on attitude, response time and willingness to trust. All these things can be accomplished when you have an experienced crisis management team backing you up. These stories are exactly the reason I always recommend hiring at least a day of coordinator – it will truly be worth it in the end! If this blog post resonated with you, leave a comment below to head over to my contact page because I would be happy to discuss what I can do to make sure all your hiccups will be managed properly and efficiently, so much so that you will probably not even know they ever happened. And if you would like to learn more about the job of a wedding coordinator, consider reading my blog post, "Invaluable Tasks a Good Wedding Coordinator Will Perform".
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