This is not the usual photograph that we would choose to post the week after a fabulous wedding. But read on –it is one of the most important photos we could share. We absolutely loved being part of this wedding. The bride and her mother were wonderful and fun to work with, and we knew that the whole look of the wedding was going to be gorgeous. There was just one problem that cropped up and threw a curve at the best laid plans for an outdoor ceremony and a barn/tent reception – remnants of a tropical storm arrived right before the ceremony and during the evening light rain turned to a deluge of water plus thunder and lightning – it rained as hard as it could possibly rain. Fortunately they were a little north of the tornado warning area, but the storm was that wild. A disaster? No, not all. It was a wonderful, happy wedding for the bride and groom, their families and guests.
And the reasons for that leads to what we consider the three most important pieces of advice we could give to anyone planning a wedding.
- Hire a wedding planner – an experienced, professional wedding planner.They work behind the scenes, anticipating problems, readying Plan B for any situation that crops up. Stuff happens – the families never know because it is taken care of before anyone notices. A wedding day is one of the most important (and expensive) days of your life, and it makes sense to have a team on hand who insure that all goes as well as possible and who can make adjustments and real time decisions, as Elizabeth Bailey Weddings did at this wedding.
Just one small example we heard about of something the planner did that made a big difference: “When it began raining just before the ceremony, a big bucket of umbrellas magically appeared for groomsmen to escort guests to the tented ceremony area. When it stopped raining, they disappeared. Later, when the drizzle resumed, the umbrella supply reappeared just outside the reception tent for guests who wanted a little cover on their way to the portable bathrooms. It was a marvel!”
- Hire extraordinary vendors. They will not be the cheapest. But when you need an extra ordinary effort, they will come through for you. At this wedding, Loane Brothers, the tent company, had staff on hand at the wedding and worked hard to help keep everyone dry – that is not a service offered by many tent companies – you are on your own. The caterer, Linwood’s, persevered in non-optimal conditions. And the photographer – those are Jennifer McMenamin’s feet, who wrapped up her evening pushing her car out of ankle-deep mud. We know her and know that despite the weather, she stayed upbeat and got absolutely beautiful photos – she made sunshine where it didn’t happen.
- The last and most important – everything in the world can go wrong, and if the couple is happy and in love, like Libbie and Doug, and their families are warm and gracious, the wedding will be happy and memorable. Guests take their cue from the couple. If they are celebrating and having the time of their lives, the guests do, too. If they are uptight, anxious, complaining and upset, it throws everyone off. Enjoy and embrace whatever happens – most of the things that were not quite planned will become stories you’ll laugh about someday around the Thanksgiving table with your family.
So congratulations to Libbie and Doug and we wish them many, many years of happiness. They will surely have a story to tell about their wedding and the storm. But the wedding was perfect.