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Wedding Mishaps: Handling Them with Poise and Grace

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It’s the big day — you’ve been looking forward to this event for a very long time. Everything has been painstakingly organized and planned and no detail has been overlooked; however, even the best laid plans can fail us sometimes. Most likely you’ve been to a wedding where something hasn’t exactly gone as planned but you as a guest had no idea. Take comfort in this. And gain additional comfort from Mindy Lockard’s advice on how to remain calm, cool and collected should something go awry on your big day. A national etiquette expert, my dear friend Mindy is wise and sane in all life’s stickiest situations.

In a wedding setting like the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, the oldest circulating library in our country (1747), that can be a most welcome attribute. One piece of advice that bears repeating from an earlier wedding post…take as many photographs as you can before guests arrive. 

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How does one elegantly handle that someone who has shown up without having RSVP’d?
Life will be full of these moments and being gracious during these times is what matters. Should they have RSVP’d? Absolutely. Keep in mind, though, that graciousness is about extending care even when people don’t always deserve it. So pull out one of those extra chairs, blank placecards and place settings that you had on hand just for this eventuality and smile, pretending as though nothing had ever happened.

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We’ve decided to include children but we’re worried about them disrupting the wedding or acting unruly.
As dreamy as we hope our weddings are, we have to plan for the reality of what might be.  Plan for the worst and hope for the best. A great way to plan is through communication. Older children in attendance can often look after younger ones, or consider hiring a babysitter. Create an easy exit strategy for parents who are looking for a fast escape.

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We’ve all been to weddings where there’s one person who has clearly had too much to drink. How do we handle him… or her?
Weddings can be a breeding ground for “tipsy” guests. The most the important thing we can do is to help that inebriated guest  maintain their dignity. In order to avoid potential disaster identify someone ahead of time who will be “on watch.”  As a backup, have a car or cab service on call for those who need it.

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You left something important behind at home, the hotel…
I think it’s always nice to have a designated friend who can assist you in times such as these. Ask a friend or family member to be a runner so that if something does get left behind they can run out and find it or a replacement. 

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Can you share any advice for those who are having a DIY wedding?
A little DIY goes a long way; a lot can become a raging headache. My advice is not to sweat the small stuff. Many times these types of weddings take a lot of time and the small details tend to get overlooked. If you do decide to have a DIY wedding, choose within your skill set. Practice ahead of time and always be willing to abort the project if it becomes too overwhelming or expensive. Another option to consider is the DIWP – this way the DIY “Do It Yourself” becomes “Do It Wedding Party.” 

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Forgetting the words at the altar –
It’s amazing how our brains betray us in the most important moments of our life.  It’s the person standing in front of you that matters most. Take a deep breath and ask your officiant to repeat what you’re supposed to say. Marriage isn’t about perfection. We need to give ourselves grace in the imperfect moments and often those become your favorite memories!

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You’ve been dreaming about the perfect peonies, but the florist delivers the wrong flowers…
There so many details involved with wedding planning that it’s important to be as clear as possible because someone may interpret your plan differently from how you had envisioned it. Check in regularly…emphasis on regularly… to confirm that everything has been lined up. If something goes terribly wrong, enlist the help of someone in your wedding party to try to help you sort it all out. 

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Oh no! The photographer has a flat tire!
Don’t panic! Send an Uber or a cab to get your photographer, then breathe. There are steps that can be taken in the interim. Thank goodness for cell phones! Find the photographer in the group – it could be a friend, a member of the wedding party or even a member of the catering staff and ask him to capture some moments until your photographer arrives. (As we learned in this piece about what to look for when hiring a wedding photographer, most photographers do have backup plans as well as a second photographer accompanying them on a big job, or most likely can call a photographer pal of theirs to step in.)

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Your schedule is off and everything is falling behind –
Well let’s be honest, bridezilla is much more than a mythological creature. She walks among us!  As a bride you set the tone and the energy at your event. If you want people to feel relaxed and enjoy themselves you have to be relaxed and enjoy yourself.

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You run out of alcohol –
This is a glass half empty or half full situation. You have two options. Someone can make a quick run to the store, or you can simply smile and enjoy the rest of the evening. Don’t worry about what is or what’s not in your guest’s glass.

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Suddenly the dress doesn’t quite fit…
Breathe, hopefully without popping a seam. If you can make a quick call to your seamstress do so. If not, many wedding coordinators have faced the same situation before. That’s why they all have an emergency kit available, to include seam tape, safety pins and white ribbon that can serve to “expand” the back of the dress.

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We’d like to thank Mindy Lockard for her sage advice and pass along two valuable resources Molly Lo Photography and Greenlion Floral Design. The Redwood Library and Athenaeum is now available for weddings, rehearsal dinners and private events. To inquire about having an event at the Redwood Library, visit their website or reach out to Francesca Campo… atfcampo@campoandcompany.com.

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All images taken by, Molly Lo Photography.

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2 thoughts on “Wedding Mishaps: Handling Them with Poise and Grace

  1. Bettie!
    This was a WONDERFUL idea of yours! The wedding at the Newport Redwood Library was sooo chic! Loved all the pictures and advice..wish I known all that info at my wedding(s)!
    Could I add another photographer for your resource? Nick Mele, a Newport native (Joe & Victoria Mele’s son) would be a talented addition to your list….. Cheers & love xx

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