I was a bridesmaid in a wedding recently. The secret truth is, as a planner, it can be challenging to be part of the wedding and not be in charge of the details. I helped plan the meals, went on the site visits, negotiated the hotel contract, helped choose the decor - but ultimately coordinating the details fell to the bride. She had all of the contracts, conversations and paperwork. It was a little bit liberating and also gave me a little bit of a nervous twitch.
The day of the wedding came and the bride planned an absolutely stunning wedding. The decor, signage, music, hotel, transportation, food - it was all exquisite, just like her. I nudged a little for her to hand over the details to me for the day of the wedding but she was confident that she had it all under control. And she really did.
Not all of her vendors did, though, and she was far too busy the day of the wedding to keep track of everyone.
Red Flag #1 - The Hotel Catering Manager Was Replaced Before the Wedding
It happens, people get new jobs and move on. But unfortunately, what that meant for the bride was every verbal agreement that wasn’t documented in writing after the original contract was out the window. This included her hair and makeup suite. I also overheard the new event manager tell the florist this was her first wedding and she was nervous, which probably led to a few mistakes.
Red Flag #2 - The Cakes Didn't Show Up
The bride was distracted getting her hotel room ready for the bridal party to come in and get hair and makeup done. As she was getting her makeup done, her face suddenly changed. “Omg, can you call for me on the cakes? I don’t think they ever came today!” She ordered Nothing Bundt Cakes for delivery as her dessert table. After a quick online search, I called and they had erroneously marked her for pickup, not delivery. Despite understanding that we were at a hotel getting our hair and makeup done for pictures, and having a delivery confirmation in hand, they wouldn’t budge on delivery and were not even remotely sympathetic or apologetic. While coordinating our own means of pickup, I also negotiated those cakes for free.
Red Flag #3 - No Cocktails at the Cocktail Reception
I know this couple and I promise you they had no intentions of their guests not having cocktails at all times. So it was really strange when after the beautiful ceremony, we were all herded into the cocktail reception and the bartenders announced they weren’t scheduled to serve drinks for another 30 minutes. The bride and groom were off taking more pictures and there was no way to know what their intentions were.
I found the hotel event manager who explained to me that the ceremony ended early so drink service wasn’t scheduled to start for another 30 minutes. I took the bold chance with someone else’s money and instructed her to open the bar 30 min early and to just push the entire schedule up 30 min early unless when the bride comes down she wants to extend it. When the bride returned, she was grateful because anything was better than everyone just sitting in a room with no food or drinks, but explained that there was supposed to be champagne passed as we entered the reception room.
Red Flag #4 - Nothing to Drink at Dinner
Wine was to be served at dinner. But the hotel made the decision to take all the champagne they forgot to serve and put it on the tables at dinner instead. So, 125 glasses of champagne sat untouched while everyone waited for a toast. Meanwhile, the bride and groom had no idea that there was champagne sitting on the tables and had no intentions of a champagne toast. So it all went to waste. The hotel never poured the wine she ordered for guests and the bar was closed.
Red Flag #5 - The Bill
After the wedding, I sent the bride a list of items to look out for on the bill. And as you might have guessed, the wine and champagne were both listed, as was an extra half an hour of open bar despite ending a half hour early.
Also, there was another surprise. There was a food and beverage minimum that needed to be met. The week of the wedding, the hotel informed the bride that she hadn’t met the minimum and suggested she add an appetizer or upgrade her bar in order to spend the extra $2000 needed to meet the minimum. She made some choices and never thought anything else of it. Until the bill came and she was $2000 above the food and beverage minimum. The hotel had calculated her estimate incorrectly and caused her to order more food and beverage than she needed, which we were able to get credited back in the end.
The Happy Ending
The end result was about $7000 in credits between the hotel and Nothing Bundt Cakes.
None of this was the bride’s fault. She planned everything meticulously - dotted every i and crossed every t. She planned an incredible luxurious wedding that took every guest’s breath away. So what could she have done differently?
The only mistake she made is not giving someone she trusts a copy of her contract and itinerary to be able to speak on her behalf or hiring a coordinator for the day of the wedding to work with the hotel and vendors with clarity.
Your wedding day will be incredibly busy, fun, nerve wracking and will go by so fast. You shouldn’t be burdened with the details that day. In all honesty, when you have 125 of your closest friends in the room, you don’t want to have your joy stolen by dealing with errors and details all night.
At the very least, I recommend giving your most detail-oriented, decision-making friend a copy of your contracts, banquet event orders and itinerary (probably the binder you have poured over for months) to take care of the details. But to really protect your investment on this day, hire a day-of-coordinator to handle it all for you.
And enjoy your wedding stress-free.
Events by JEM is here to take all the stress away at your next event! Contact us today to discuss day-of-wedding coordination!