by Danielle Andrews, President & Co-founder, The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Inc.
Something always goes wrong at a wedding. Always. When something does go wrong, it is not a reflection of you, but how you handle the situation is.
As wedding coordinators, we need to be the epitome of a duck: to passers-by coasting along calm and serene, when really under water our little feet are kicking as fast as can be. We are paid for our cool heads, quick-thinking and amazing problem-solving (among our many, many other skills.) When the couple or the guests look to you, they should feel instantly reassured that everything is taken care of. A stressed out planner = a ballistic bride.
Not a crazy smile, a real one. A smile on your face goes a long way to make everyone else feel better. It amazes me how many wedding coordinators forget this very simple tactic.
“Oh, look at the wedding planner, he’s not worried. Everything must be fine.”
I have been to several weddings where the wedding planner looks very tense and stressed out. Immediately I think, “I wonder what’s going on.” Like I said above, you need to be a duck, calm and serene to everyone watching, even if inside your mind is going a thousand miles an hour .
You should have a contingency plan for everything! What if it rains? Or the power goes out? What if the photographer gets lost, or in my case one time, steps out for coffee a few minutes before the wedding is set to start! Think about what might happen, and how you can fix it, so you are ready if something does
It is very rare that you will need to call for the port-o-potties that you have on speed dial, but the one time you do need them, boy will you be glad you had that number at hand.
Never, ever leave home without it! Here is an article about what to put in your emergency kit and how to make sure it is with you at all times.
Keep Things in Perspective
The beauty of having a wedding planner is that they are a detached, clear-headed professional in a boiling pot of emotions. Keep yourself detached emotionally, so you can think clearly. This is one day, the world is not going to end because the florist was five minutes late or because Aunt Shirley got drunk and was loud. Handle each situation calmly, keeping the issue in perspective to the grand scheme of the whole wedding.
Respect Every Professional’s Role in the Wedding
You are not the be-all, end-all of this wedding. Give proper respect to each of the vendors and I guarantee the wedding will flow well.
Take a Deep Breath
Sometimes you just need to step outside and take a deep breath to think more clearly.
Consult Your Assistant
One of the main reasons you have an assistant with you at the wedding is so you can have two sets of hands and two heads for brainstorming. Consult with your assistant on a problem you are facing, listen to their ideas, send them to the store or whatever you need them to do.
The Great Diversion
If something is happening or something is running late, divert the guests attention. Never, ever announce a problem, if the guests don’t know the dinner is running late, why tell them? Simply throw in a diversion, so everyone stays happy. One thing I do is save the cake cutting and first dance for just this reason. rather than havingthe couple come in, cut their cake and have their first dance at the beginning of the evening, I save it until the late night sweet table is coming out. That way, if something is running late, there is a problem with sound equipment or something else needs attention, we have a diversion, we can gather all the guests to watch the cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss and first dance (if there is music).
Remember: Be a duck! Handle the situation quickly, quietly and with a smile on your face.