You can plan and plan until every last detail of your nuptials has been accounted for thrice over, but any industry professional will tell you that something will always go wrong at a wedding. Of course, some mistakes are larger and better spotted than others – the key is to minimize the big issues and prepare for the small ones. With the help of diligent research and perhaps the aide of an expert planner, you can significantly lessen the possibility of large mistakes throughout your big day. If your worries lie mostly with the ceremony itself, you’re not alone: many brides and grooms tense up about the vow exchange, but feel more relaxed when it comes to the celebration of the reception. With this in mind, here are five common mishaps that may occur during the service and how you can handle them.
- The wedding-aisle stumble. Oftentimes, when we think about the issue of tripping down the aisle, we think only of the bride. In reality, any member of the wedding party could fumble on their feet during the processional. When all eyes are on you, it can be easy to get distracted and trip – no one wants anyone getting embarrassed during their special day.
How to deal: Secure your aisle. If you have a runner of some kind, we recommend inspecting it, or having your planner inspect it, to ensure there are no bumps or lumps. Be careful as you step on and off of the runner – this is where walking the typical slow pace of a processional is beneficial. If, despite your preparation, a stumble occurs, being able to shake it off is important. Thankfully, it is the very beginning of your nuptials as a whole, and people will likely forget. If someone is injured during the fall, their safety comes first – make sure they are alright before continuing.
- The kids are misbehaving. Your flower girl refuses to walk down the aisle, your ring bearer has removed his shoes to throw them at guests, and the music is already playing. You’re hoping for a miracle, but the kids just aren’t having it today.
How to deal: If they aren’t your children, it’s important to keep that in mind. Scolding or yelling will do very little by way of encouraging them to cooperate. If they’re available and time allows, grab their parent to see if they can make some headway. If the children aren’t swayed, don’t keep pushing. Never force their participation – if they’d rather sit in the crowd or need to be taken outside, don’t dwell on it. If the kids are your own, be a parent before a bride or groom and figure out the problem. You’ll most likely know what’s best in that situation and should make a judgment call quickly.
- The rings are not present. While the best man is a stand-up gentleman with an amazing speech prepared, in all of the excitement of the morning, he left the rings in the hotel room. He can even tell you exactly where they are – well, it’s either the bathroom counter or the pocket of his other pair of slacks.
How to deal: If you’ve caught the mistake with enough time, hopefully someone will be willing to run and get them. However, the realization typically comes once the entire bridal party is standing at the altar. If the rings happen to have been left somewhere in the vicinity of your ceremony, one of the bridal party members may be able to slip out to retrieve them, but if not, the show must go on. Take a few deep breathes, quietly convey to the officiant that you don’t have any rings to exchange, and have them proceed with the vows. Hopefully, they will edit out the “with this ring” aspect. You can feel out the vibe of the moment: if it’s funny, don’t hold back some playful laughter. If it feels devastating, remember how special this moment is – with or without jewelry. Continue with your vows, gaze lovingly into each others’ eyes, and get married.
- The emotions are getting the better of you. You’re a crier and you can feel a fit of tears coming on. Your nerves are kicking in and you’re starting to sweat. The room begins to spin a little and you feel faint. What’s a bride or groom to do?
How to deal: Come prepared and feel your emotions. If you know that you or your partner cries or sweats easily, make sure you have the necessities ready. You can stash some travel-sized deodorant at the entrance to your ceremony – or ask a member of your wedding party to carry it on them if you are unable to – and give some tissues to your partner or your officiant, just in case. Chances are, no one is going to notice your perspiration and your tears will simply convey your love for your soon-to-be spouse. If you feel as if you’re going to faint, listen to your body. Your health should come first. Sit or lie down wherever you are and ask for some water, juice, or a small snack – we recommend having these items handy as well!
- The vows are on your nightstand. Either you, your partner, or – what a coincidence – the both of you have forgotten the hand-written, heartfelt vows you wrote for the ceremony and you’re nearing that point of the service.
How to deal: Wing it. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a terribly romantic or creative person, your vows to your partner are your own. If you’d prefer to go first to get all of your sentiments out before you forget, signal your partner that you’d like to go first. If you’d rather take more time to gather your thoughts, allow them to go first. Don’t be too afraid of looking awkward; your guests are there to support you: you can admit to leaving your vows at home and speak from the heart. Light-hearted laughter and real human moments are details that make vow exchanges so perfectly imperfect and personal.
Opening photo by Karlisch Photography