Pulling the Trigger

Posted on Jun 25, 2012

Pulling the Trigger

If you’ve poked around my site very much, you’ll see I very adamantly insist you do NOT need a planner.  Because you don’t.  I have a real issue with the scare tactics many wedding industry pros use to say “OMG if you don’t hire me, your wedding will end in epic disaster, and you’ll never forgive yourself.”  But, I’m all about authenticity, and I’m going to be honest with you.  Sometimes that’s exactly what happens.  Not going to lie, it scares the crap out of me.  To know the decisions I am responsible for can completely alter how the wedding goes.  Fortunately my gut is pretty accurate (Most likely because I keep it well fed), but I’m always nervous when I have to “pull the trigger” on completely altering the plans for the wedding.

Recently I had to do exactly this.  I had a wedding with the sweetest couple, and the most amazing family, and it should have been a breeze.  The bride was totally organized, since I was just going to co-ordinate the day of, I was feeling a little bad I wouldn’t have anything to do.  Fortunately, that wasn’t the case.  From the venue being locked, and the coordinator showing up an hour late while not answering her cell phone, it went crazy pretty fast.  While the wedding party was out getting photos taken, I ran to the gorgeous outdoor ceremony location.  The chairs had been set up, one of the musicians was lost, and I had a ton of stuff to unload from my car, and some little detail things to flush out.  I figured the issue with the venue would be the big “thing” for the day.  Nope.  Right around the time the bride and groom showed up for photos, his mother pulled me aside and asked what our plans for the clouds were.

I was a bit confused, because I had JUST looked over there and thought how lucky we were that the skies were bright blue and happy, now, we had ominous green clouds.  Crap.  I checked my numerous weather apps, and saw the storm was shifting north of us.  We’d eventually get hit, but it should be well after the ceremony was over.  We had a rain plan with the venue, so I texted and called the venue coordinator (no answer) to tell her we might need to go with the pre-arranged rain plan, I’d contact her the closer we got.  I told the groom’s mother that I’m keeping a good thought, but we had a back up in place, so it’d all work out.  She was happy, and everyone went off to the hotel to freshen up.

The musicians practiced, the officiant arrived, and I finished set up.  Thus continued one of the longest half hours of my life.  The clouds were getting closer, but while the side closer to the ocean was dark and angry, the left was merely overcast.  I had hope.  The weather reports I’d been hyperfocusing on for two weeks told me the window for the ceremony would be fine.  That we had time.  Fate, in her infinite wisdom decided at that moment to introduce me to an old salt (Seriously, he was just missing the pipe), who told me “You got ten minutes.  Tops.”  “You don’t think it’ll miss us?”  “Nope, this is the baby part, the big angry shit is right behind it.”  I started to freak.  What if I made the wrong call?  What if the storm passed us, and I sent everyone to the indoor space for nothing?!?!?  All this stuff would have to be loaded up, all the guests re-routed, the entire processional is going to be completely different.  But if it does rain, that’s a million times worse…  As I’m pondering this, my husband calls me.  “Guess what?”  “I’m kinda busy right now…”  “We have hail!”  “Whaaa?”  “Hail!  Little baby ice rocks, and according to the news they’re heading right for you!”

So I called it.  Ten minutes before the ceremony was to start, I made the executive decision to change everything this couple had planned so carefully, and make everyone’s life crazy and chaotic.  With the help of an early guest we got the essentials loaded into my car, and a sign put up for other guests to tell them of the rain plan.  (Some amazing park goers helped too.)  I got to the reception space the same time as the wedding party, right as the rain started.  Everyone said I made the right call, but I felt guilty.

I felt even worse when we had to delay the wedding because of readers getting stuck behind a drawbridge.  “I just know it’s going to clear by the time they get here.  We moved for nothing!”  The ceremony started just a bit late, went off beautifully, and everyone was happy.  I looked outside, to take my mind off of throwing up, and saw guests running through the weak pathetic drizzle, so I went downstairs to help them enter the ceremony quietly and find their seats.  On the way down, I saw the venue coordinator with two men, desperately trying to put the heavy metal door back in the frame.  A weight lifted when they told me the wind was so bad, it ripped the door right off it’s hinges, and the drizzle I saw from the third floor was in reality a deluge.  Safe inside the building, no one even knew.

There were other assorted mini catastrophes, as typically happen at weddings, but those were all easy compared to that.  A timing conflict here, a missing item there, some confrontations with guests and staff.  But it all got taken care of, and everyone was happy.  Not to mention, going up and down multiple flights of stairs all night likely did amazing things for my butt and legs, or will, once I can feel them again.

And that’s the deal.  I’m in the same position as any couple who’s planning their wedding without a planner.  Being a planner doesn’t give you magical super powers.  I have no control over the weather, or draw bridges, and I worry about any decision I make being the right one.  The difference is, with a planner there, all that stress, all that chaos, I have to deal with it.  You don’t.  You don’t have to worry about making the decision, and how it will change everything, I do.  If it goes to hell, you can blame me, and not yourself.  I was so humbled by the complete trust my couple and their family put in me that day, and it helped them to be able to enjoy, well everything.

So again, you do NOT NEED a planner, or a day of coordinator or anything else.  But I just wanted a chance to put it in perspective.  Having a planner isn’t all about arranging centerpieces and floofing dresses before the aisle walk.  It’s about making decisions, that sometimes suck, and being in the frame of mind where you can make them rationally.  Most of all, it’s about being able to handle the fallout when things don’t go to plan.

Photo courtesy of irargerich used by Creative Commons

One comment on “Pulling the Trigger

  1. Andrada on said:

    Omg, omg, omg, I wrote a text about people not needing a wedding planner the exact next day after you wrote this one. And I swear to God I haven’t read it before. This is nuts! :) It goes something like this (you’ll need google translate and it will sound weird, but you will probably get the essential out of it): http://bucharestweddingplanner.ro/2012/06/ai-nevoie-de-mine/

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