We should probably establish upfront that no matter how carefully you put contingency plans in place, how many hours you spend fretting and planning, or how many skilled experts you surround yourself with, something will go wrong. Probably a few things will go wrong. But you’re a super bride. You’re not going to let some stupid problem threaten to undermine your awesomeness. You’re radiant. You’re beautiful. You’re marrying the best man on the planet. You maybe just need a few insider tips to keep the beasties at bay …
I’ve been in this business long enough to see pretty much everything that can go wrong. This list is by no means comprehensive but here are a few situations (and appropriate mitigation strategies) that you might like to keep in mind:
As Alanis Morissette pointedly reminded us, there is something inherently ironic about rain on your wedding day. I’ve never figured out exactly what it is about this that is ironic. Perhaps that rain is both lucky and annoying? Or perhaps that Alanis wasn’t quite sure what “ironic” meant (how ironic). Anyway, this one’s not too difficult to plan for. Buy a pretty brolly (ideally a pale umbrella that won’t cast any funny colours on your face for your photos). Make sure your photographer has checked out your venue for potential attractive rain-safe photo locations. If you’re of the bridezilla persuasion, you might also like to check out a few rain-safe spots. From a purely selfish perspective, I like rainy weddings. A grey sky is like a giant soft box – the light looks great on your complexion (and umbrellas can be really cute props).
Risk level: medium. Mitigation strategy: good planning, umbrella.
While we’re on the topic of weather, do your photographer a favour, and consider the sun direction during your ceremony. If you’re heavily back-lit it can be difficult to exposure an image correctly – either the background will be totally blown out, or your faces will be really dark. This can be corrected with flash, but it’s not as attractive (and kind of annoying whilst you’re tyring to concentrate on the whole life-long-commitment-love-vow business whilst being blinded by constant flashes).
Risk level: low. Mitigation strategy: pre-emptive attention to sun direction.
Speeches – Dad speeches, best man speeches, impromptu best mate dutch-courage speeches
There’s not much you can do to about speeches (unless you’re prepared to enter full bridezilla mode, and risk all future relationships with people you currently consider your nearest and dearest). Your dad’s speech will be sweet, embarrassing, probably too long, and maybe won’t make a lot of sense. Dad speeches are the best. There’s a chance he’ll tear up, and that’s wedding GOLD right there. People are patient with dads. And sometimes they’re very funny. If anyone will make your guests cry, it will be your Dad “I love my little girl, look after her, son…”
Risk level: Low. Mitigation strategy: Tell your Dad there’s no pressure for him to write a long speech ….
Best man speeches are pricklier. Some best men think it’s hilarious to be a jerk. “The groom’s such an ugly son of a (expletive) how’d he ever score this hot bird! [insert ball and chain joke, end of life as you know it, et cetera]”. Have a quiet word with your hubby-to-be and see if he can persuade the best man not to divulge the nastier details of his earlier vodka-fueled-escapades in front of your Nanna. A good best man speech warms the heart, gently teases the groom, but still makes him seem like a champ. Can’t hurt to tell the bride how foxy she is.
Risk level: high, depending on the company your future-husbo keeps. Mitigation strategy: preemptive warnings, crossed fingers.
Your best mates loves you. She really does. She loves your hubby, she loves how happy you are, she thinks you look beeeautiful. Really. She’s not just saying that cause she’s drunk too much champagne. She DOES love you, and she’s drunk ’cause she’s really excited. Depending on how well she can keep it together, her speech can be short, sincere, and funny. But it’s not likely that she’ll keep it together. Keep the schedule tight, don’t open the mic up to the floor unless you’re prepared to see the crowd get messy, and hug your friend on the dancefloor so she can tell you how much she loves you there …
Risk level: high. Mitigation strategy: tight schedule, no open mic.
Wardrobe malfunction, body malfunction, other malfunction
This is a task best outsourced to a trusted member of your bridal party. You’re not going to need most of these things, but keep them on hand any way.
- Sewing kit (I’ve heard of a bridesmaid’s zip busting minutes before the ceremony).
- Hollywood tape (you want to be able to bust out some hot celebratory moves on the dancefloor whilst maintaining your bridal chic – which means no flashing your gorgeous beige strapless bra).
- Panadol/nicorette patches (don’t smoke in your wedding dress, it looks gross)/ guarana/ any other meds you can think of.
- A selection of padded spongy things to save your poor bridal feet from your horrible (=gorgeous) shoes.
- Backup powder and lippy.
- Deodorant/ perfume/ chewing gum (nerves might make you stinky; seems inauspicious to start your marriage stinky).
- Foxy knickers (a large percentage of brides neglect to consider that they will spend the day in huge beige shaper knickers, but hopefully not their evenings 😉 )
Unless you’re worried that you’re at risk of marrying a fruche-bag, don’t stress. Marriage is sweet. It’s kind of like being in a normal relationship, but with more husband-related jokes. You can impress your colleagues by what a serious and adult person you are by saying “Oh, my HUSBAND blah blah blah”. You can start sentences with “Well, as my husband, I believe you’re legally obligated to [make me a cup of tea when I’m watching telly/ buy me shiny gifts/ help me make to-do lists whilst I shampoo my hair]”. You can engage in ironic post-feminist performative wifeliness, such as wearing a fancy apron whilst cooking a pie (or, wearing curlers in your hair whilst you get drunk on gin with other wives). Your relationship might change, but I doubt it. You love each other, you always intended to spend forever together, but now you get to have a huge party with all your most important people.
In conclusion, weddings are excellent. Things will go wrong, but they’re mostly funny things. A large percentage of people, for example, make mistakes when they say their vows (I did. Instead of saying “I do”, I got confused and said … “I will! I mean … I do! I will and I do!”). This is funny. It makes your guests laugh (and will provide your photographer with some cool candid photos) and hilarious mistakes don’t undermine the legality of the whole deal.
Photography by Studio Something
Ms Gingham says: Everything mentioned here whilst extremely entertaining and well written also happens to be true!! Great advice and a great read too. Thanks go to Ellen for making us smile!!
Ellen says: I love weddings. I love Dad speeches, cakes with too much icing, puffy dresses, nervous grooms, tipsy bridesmaids, teary grandpas, and the giddy anticipation of couples in love. I also love my camera, and think I have the best job in the world.
Check out Ellen’s adventure honeymoon in Mongolia here.