Marriage Mishaps

Aug 8, 2017

Let me not mislead you! “Marriage mishaps” do not mean marriages that break down. Rather, I am referring to mishaps that occur at weddings.



A few examples

The idea for this blog came yesterday, when I arrived an hour early to conduct a wedding in Enfield. Smoke was billowing from a courtyard at the venue, and the fire brigade had to be summoned. Obviously, nobody was allowed into the building, which potentially affected my preparations, as well as the caterers’ and sound operator’s etc.

The firemen were soon on the scene. (Fortunately, nobody was injured and minimal damage incurred.) However, it was almost time for the ceremony to begin before they cleared us to enter. I had started making arrangements for an impromptu open-air ceremony (it was a lovely afternoon), but I wasn’t sure how well older people would react, if there were no chairs available.

Fortunately, it never came to that.

Have I witnessed other mishaps in my four year plus career as a celebrant?

I’ve probably been lucky, but I can only think of two real misadventures.

One came when the Best Man had to attend a job interview, and then got caught in serious traffic on the M25. Explanations were offered, and most people were not averse to having a drink or two earlier than they had bargained for! No real hardship there, even though we started 1.5 hours late!

I don’t really count this, but the bride came late to a wedding in Brixton. Nothing new, surely? However, apparently she was punctual to a fault. Her driver had got lost, and, and could not be contacted (broadband problems). The groom was beginning to sweat, as he believed he was being dumped at the altar, but madam burst in about half an hour late.

Otherwise, at one of my first weddings, the groom turned up very early (as did I). When I asked in a jocular fashion whether he had brought the rings, he turned pale. He had forgotten them in his hotel!

Luckily, the hotel was nearby and, partly because the bride would arrive late, he was able to retrieve the rings on time, and the day was saved!


How do you prevent mishaps at a wedding?

Well, of course, like anything else, oversights or plain bad luck can be rife. No one can guarantee a smooth, flawless ceremony, even if the best wedding planner in the world is working for you.

However, you can minimise risk. Preparation is key.

Whether you use a wedding planner or are organising things yourself, start well in advance. It’s also worth confirming all the suppliers (venue, civil celebrant, caterers, florist, photographer, etc.) and even those in the bridal party. Do this a week to ten days before the big day, so there’s time to iron problems out.

If you’ve chosen your suppliers carefully (and I have often blogged about this), you should be safe, even though human error or acts of God cannot be ruled out entirely.

However, these mishaps tend to be the exception, rather than the rule, so don’t worry about them! If you have a professional looking after the arrangements (such a wedding planner or civil celebrant), then things can usually be smoothed out quickly and with a smile.

But, even if things go wrong, most people will be on your side, and not gunning to criticise you!

Relax and enjoy!