Your wedding, without a doubt, is going to be an amazing occasion, but as you're planning your big day, it's important to keep in mind a few things that will go wrong at your wedding. I am so happy that Jim and Pam got married on The Office roughly three years before I got married in real life, because I truly learned a lot from their fictional day of bliss (and chaos — I mean, Michael was there). As a big fan of the show, I was looking forward to the episode for weeks, since I craved any moment that allowed me to see John Krasinski in formal wear. After it ended, it just put the idea of weddings into perspective for me. Pre-Office, my idea of having a "normal wedding" was a bit more Disney inspired.
One thing that was touched upon during Jim and Pam's Niagara nuptials was that something will go wrong. After months (or years!) of planning, there's surely one thing that'll hit the fan on the actual day of. Nine out of 10 times, it'll be something seemingly minor that you happened to invest a lot of time in, which will make you so angry that you'll want to burst out of your dress Hulk-style and knock down tables — I mean, you must have told the coordinator that you wanted beige tablecloths like, a million times.
Yes, it's your special day. But the truth of the matter is, collaboration always ends in some kind of miscommunication. By prepping for this ahead of time, you'll lessen your Hulk moments, and focus on the good stuff, like being able to see your family, and being able to dance in a big gown, and of course, marrying the love of your life and spending the rest of your lives together. Compared to that? Nothing else actually matters. I mean, nobody is going to remember the color of the tablecloths five seconds after the reception ends anyway.
Thus, take the Jim method when it's your turn to walk down the aisle. Take mini-snapshots in your mind of the good stuff, and be strong enough to handle these very common situations when the time comes. (Trust me, they're very common. I'm not just saying that to make you feel better.)
1. The problem: Your bridesmaid is super unreliable, and might be late for the big day
You love to her death, but she has the worst habit of showing up 15 minutes after you ask her to be there. You've gotten used to ordering your latte well before having her show up for a coffee date, and are already prepared for the excuses that'll follow — after all, it seems like she's always in the midst of a fight with her mom, or unable to find a parking space, or losing her keys. It's just who she is.
However, you have your timeline planned. Makeup will happen at 1:30 after a light lunch, and hair starts soon after. While everyone else is raring to go, you're just antsy. Not cold feet, but a cold friendship. Doesn't she know how important this is?
The solution: Give her an earlier arrival time. If she actually shows up when you ask her to, tell her you wanted her to be there to help with the pre-wedding jitters, or to have some leeway before the big show. You have a right to be pissed off, but not a right to hold a grudge. After all, you knew what you were signing up for.
2. The problem: Your mother-in-law is set on outshining you at the wedding
She didn't ask you for approval when buying her dress, and you finally just saw it — not only does it look like something a lounge singer might wear, but the sequins are almost blinding. All in all, she looks drop dead gorgeous in it. You start thinking back to all of the disagreements you've had with her before, and wonder if this is a way to get back at you, since you seriously believe she doesn't think you're good enough to marry her beloved first son.
The solution: Take a deep breath. First off, nobody is going to outshine you, since you're the bride. Second, a grown woman should be able to wear anything she feels comfortable and beautiful in. Remind yourself that this wedding wouldn't be possible without her, and remember to tell her how fantastic she looks. Everyone likes compliments, and she deserves every one she gets.
Even if you fear a possible wardrobe malfunction, she should know her body and her limits by now, and if it happens, it won't be a night-ruining event.
3. The problem: Some of your decor is missing
You spent hours looking up possible cake toppers that'd best resemble you and your groom. Like, how about the one where the groom is playing xBox and the bride is pulling him away? Or the one where the bride is grabbing the groom's butt? SO MANY GOOD ONES. But at the same time, you don't want to start off your wedding by symbolizing that the groom won't have time to do things he likes anymore, so you settle for some flowers.
Then the flowers don't show up. Your cake is bare, and you only notice after a drink or two in, right before the cake cutting.
The solution: OK guys, this one happened to me. Know what? The only thing that bothered me was the fact that I spent a very slim part of the budget on something I didn't end up using. Out of all the weddings I've been to, I've only seen about two cake cuttings, and I've yet to see an actual cake topper in action. This one you'll just have to shrug off. Regardless of what's on top, that cake is still going to be one of the most delicious cakes you've ever tasted.
If it's all of your flowers? That's a whole different story. But the key is, nobody knows what's supposed to be there but you. Your marriage won't be doomed based on a lack of tulips.
4. The problem: Dad got too drunk on the dance floor
Now we know why he was pressing for an open bar over a cash bar. He might have had one too many signature drinks, and all of a sudden he's breaking out a few horrific moves out there, while everyone else is calmly doing The Electric Slide.
The "someone got too drunk" fear is one we all have. Even the most cautious of adults can go overboard when the drinks are free, and the celebration is underway. But you never thought that someone so close to you would be the culprit — you kind of figured it'd be your long distance cousin who just turned 21.
The solution: If it's a "I think he might need medical attention after a few more drinks" situation, get him some water and ask him how he's feeling. It doesn't even need to be in an accusatory tone. Round up another close relative to keep an eye on him, or even warn the bartender that your dad might have to be cut off if he keeps making drink requests. Don't let it bother you too much, or damper your evening. You can always talk to him about it after you come back from your honeymoon.
If it's a "he's just letting loose, and this doesn't happen at all family events" situation, he's probably a little more conscious of the fact that he's had enough. He'll probably sober up a bit by the time he's on the bananas foster round of desserts. He was probably just as nervous as you were today, especially when he walked you down the aisle and officially gave you away.
5. The problem: You ordered your dress a size too small and it's not fitting right
Eight months ago, you knew you were going to hit the gym every day and look like Victoria Beckham walking down that aisle. Then, between the hectic planning and nervously tracking those RSVPs, you began to eat emotionally. During your last fitting, things just didn't look the way you envisioned, but it's way too late to order a new dress.
The solution: It's not too late for some emergency alterations. Ask your seamstress if it's possible to add a corset back to the dress, which might give you a little bit more room. You can also see if some of the seams can be let out a bit. Also, if you haven't invested in a good pair of Spanx, it might be the perfect time to do so. Don't worry about not being the bride you imagined back when you got the dress Your groom proposed because he wants to marry you just as you are. Just like Bridget Jones.
6. The problem: You invited your friendly ex, but all of a sudden things got weird
You knew this kid growing up, and considered him to be your best friend all throughout elementary and middle school, despite the fact that boys had cooties. Your parents wound up being super close, and were ecstatic when he declared his love for you in sophomore year of high school. Right after senior year, both of you became so inseparable that you just got sick of each other, and wanted to move on. But you're still friends, and it'd have been sad not to invite him.
The solution: It's super easy to see someone from the past and wonder whether or not you're making a huge mistake. But you didn't. Even though your parents swore this kid was "the one" all throughout childhood, it doesn't mean that they're disappointed by your choices, or even expected romance to re-ignite after college. Remind yourself that people change based on their own personal life experiences, and everything happens for a reason. Also, remind yourself why you broke up in the first place. If he truly was in love with you, and couldn't bear to see you marry another man, he'd have told you earlier. And yes, there's a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone.
7. The problem: One of your guests is wearing white
It's a total wedding taboo, but your uncle's new girlfriend decided to wear white anyway. This is probably the one rule that most people know about weddings. White is reserved for the bride.
The solution: There's no way that anyone is going to be confused about who the bride is. Chances are, this girl also didn't have her hair and makeup done, or have her name scribbled anywhere on the invitation. It's possible she was completely clueless, and might be embarrassed about her choice of clothing. All in all, there's nothing you can do about it now.
If the etiquette offender was someone in your family, they'll probably be in pictures. If it was someone's plus-one, there likely won't be any memory of their outfit besides a candid photo or two. Even if this person was trying to make a scene, you're better than that. Don't think anything of it, and enjoy your night.
8. The problem: Your lame DJ is causing people to avoid the art of dance
You got a good recommendation, and went out on a limb. His prices were right, and plus, he's a DJ — how hard can it be to play music? Unfortunately, your DJ is playing weird remixes of songs that people just can't get into, and the dance floor is completely empty.
The solution: Give him a few must-play hits once you notice things are dead. Try not to make it seem like he doesn't know what he's doing, since any kind of insult might make things even worse. Something simple like, "My aunt really loves this song, can you possibly play it next?" is a request that will graciously be followed.
Then, lead by example. Pull some people up on the floor with you, and try to liven things up a bit. Nobody can turn down a dance with the bride.
If you're still angry by the end of the night, feel free to leave an honest review when the night is over, and when you've had plenty of time to reflect.
9. The problem: Your family figures this is the perfect occasion to air past grievances with each other
It's rare to get the entire family in the same room together, which is why weddings can be an amazing time to reunite. Unfortunately, some aunts have problems with other aunts. You think it might have been when they both brought coleslaw to the barbecue three summers ago, when one of them was, without a doubt, assigned desserts.
OK, that's definitely the issue. They've decided to bring it up again, loudly, right after the father-daughter dance.
The solution: Pre-wedding, a good way to avoid a battle is to seat these problematic aunts at separate tables. During the wedding, it's a bit more complicated. Instead of letting it overpower the night (since, let's face it — when mixing dramatic family members and booze, something is sure to come up), try to distract them, or possibly give them a chore. Right now might be the perfect time to get into the photo booth with Aunt #1, and give them some time to cool down and remember why they're there in the first place.
You definitely don't want to join in the fight, but you do want to diffuse a situation before it turns into a bigger situation. Hopefully they'll be adults and quit before things get out of control, but again... there's booze.