Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Woodside Wedding: What Went Wrong

You already heard about the panic of getting everyone on the boat ride the Thursday before our wedding, my mini freak out with not being able to start setting up for the rehearsal dinner on time, and how my dress got dirty before the ceremony, but before I begin the actual wedding day recaps, let’s talk about what went array on our big day, so the rest of my recaps can focus on the things that went right! No wedding goes 100% perfectly, ours included, no matter what we all see on TV or read about on blogs.

What Went Wrong:
Running about 20 minutes late all day, starting with 2 of our 3 our hair and makeup artists showing up late, and made worse by our limo driver taking a wrong turn up the mountain on the way to our venue (he quickly figured it out, but turning around on a narrow and curvy mountain road wasn’t quick or easy, especially with one of our photogs following in his own car).

Plus, we’d sent 2 groomsmen up early with the Uhaul truck full of all the decorations, to arrive at our venue about a half hour before we could actually start setting up, so the truck could be unloaded and décor ready for the second we were allowed on site. But there was a wreck on the curvy road (which I heard about from a bridesmaid, who heard from a groomsman, who heard from another groomsman who was in the Uhaul), delaying them about 20-25 minutes as well. Luckily we found out about the wreck just before all the rest of the wedding party was about to head up to the venue and Mr. C and I were leaving for our first look, so I was able to tell them to take an alternate route (which I, of course, already had pre-printed out maps for).

My Thoughts/The Fix: I was worried, but resigned to the fact that when we got to the venue at 4:20 (supposed to be 4:00) things wouldn’t be quite set up, and we would have to start the ceremony later than my goal of 5:04pm (starting late was one of my #1 things I didn’t want to do, I hate making people wait, and all the guests would obviously assume it was because the I wasn’t ready), but when we got there things were mostly in place, and everything looked great! After the rush to get my dress clean, our DOC, got us all lined up, with it showing exactly 5:03pm on her iPhone. I could have hugged her right then and there if I hadn’t been asking the bartender for a last minute glass of water. It was so freakin’ hot in that tiny bridal room with everyone in there cleaning my dress, I was parched!
Note to Future Brides: You might run late on your wedding day, but it's OK. They won't start anything without you, so just go with the flow and remain calm. If you spend too much time stressing about the timeline, that means you're not spending time savoring and enjoying every moment of your wedding day, which is way more important than everything else!

What Went Wrong:
My dress getting dirty during our first look (which I already went over in this post)
My Thoughts/The Fix: Fixed by having an emergency cleaning kit on hand.
Note to Future Brides: If you haven’t already, go back and read the post I wrote on my emergency kit, and then add it to your own list. It’s a must, and so much better to be prepared!

What Went Wrong: One of the Bridesmaid purse bouquet straps broke about 2 minutes before the ceremony started, spilling water and pearl beads everywhere
My Thoughts/The Fix: This was fixed by our DOC taking charge right away, saying it was OK, she would clean it up, and everyone would just carry the purses cradled in one arm! The show must go on, and although the purses hanging from a pearl strap would have been cuter, I bet not a single person noticed the difference.
Note to Future Brides: Even with a crazy-long contingency plan list, there is always going to be something you didn't think of that can go wrong. But again, it's OK, little mishaps aren't the end of the world, and actually, I think they make the day more memorable, and give you something to laugh about later.

What Went Wrong: The bathroom basket that I’d provided for the men’s restroom was too big. I never actually looked in the men’s room while planning, just assumed it would have a little table in the corner like the women’s restroom did. But when we were unpacking the Uhaul on the Sunday after the wedding, I found the guy’s basket supplies in another, smaller basket, with my cute little sign on it.
My Thoughts/The Fix: I actually have no idea where this smaller basket came from (Does it belong to our venue? Our DOC? Anyone want to claim it?), but no doubt this oversight on my part was quickly corrected by our DOC.
Note to Future Brides: If you’re planning any décor for the bathrooms, be sure to look in the guy’s bathroom, in case it has a different layout than the women’s.

What Went Wrong: One of the large centerpiece vases broke in transit to the venue.
My Thoughts/The Fix: Thank goodness we had extra vases!
Note to Future Brides: Have at least one back up of anything that’s breakable.

What Went Wrong: Family pictures took way. too. long. Like, to the point where we were ready to just walk away, head to the bar, and just forget them all! Thank goodness that we’d done our first look before the ceremony, or we would have been screwed, because as it was we only had time for just a few pictures of Mr. Cola and I alone after the ceremony at our venue. And sadly, we only got to try 1 appetizer from our cocktail hour (we both tried one of the bite sized crab cakes, and only got to because a waiter actually walked his tray across the meadow to where we were taking pictures) and 2 sips of a drink (because my friends brought us them towards the end). We never actually got to try anything from our giant cheese table, or see any of the cocktail hour up close. :(
My Thoughts/The Fix: A way this could have been fixed would have been for me to take charge. But I’d told my mother well in advance that if she wanted certain pictures, she was in charge of getting everyone together; neither I or our photographers were going to be in charge of that. Well, it took FOREVER, I have no idea why. Mr. Cola’s family was easy, they all got in place, called me over, a few minutes later, done! My family….not so much. Yes, my family is bigger than his, and there were some slow-moving handicapped members, but it was done in an extremely inefficient manner. We even had to interrupt dinner to go pose again with them.
Note to Future Brides: My advice is, if your parents want specific pictures with specific people, make sure THEY take charge, and have them tell the family in advance that they’re expected to be in pictures immediately after the ceremony. ‘Cause once people see the food and drinks, they’re outta there, and getting them back for pictures is a huge time suck. There was a good 25 minutes of just standing around waiting for people so pictures could be taken that we lost and can never get back. I would have MUCH rather had some time to enjoy our cocktail hour than more photos with family who I already have a million photos with and who I see all the time.

You can see my impatient face in this guest photo....I'm all by myself waiting for people to get their act together so I can just take a dang picture with them!

I should also note that extended family pictures were lowest on my priority list, I cared much more about pictures of Mr. Cola and I alone (which previous to the wedding, we had very few of that weren’t self shots with the tops of our heads cut off), and pictures of all the details I’d worked my butt off on the past 15 months. So that’s why I was annoyed that it took so long, plus it was a crazy-hot day for the Bay Area, and I was sweaty, dying of thirst, my feet hurt, and I really, really needed a fix from my biggest vice, chapstick. After I finally was able to duck inside for a second right before dinner, I stuck a tube of Carmex down the cleavage of my dress, and was good to go the rest of the night.

What Went Wrong:
The music playlists got out of order. You know, the playlists that I’d spent countless hours perfecting and downloading, and then about 4 hours re-arranging into the perfect order for the best transitions and mood throughout the night? And then spent ANOTHER 4 hours re-arranging again in a different program, when I found out my first program didn’t retain the custom song ordering? Yeah. Additionally, the venue kept making our DJ friend turn the sound down, even though it was very quiet. Our venue, The Mountain Terrace, doesn't allow amplified music outside, but never specified any restrictions inside (in fact, we were specifically told when signing our contract that it would be fine to have the music loud enough to trickle outside), so I was quite annoyed by this, but will save the details for when I do my vendor reviews.
My Thoughts/The Fix: The playlist getting out of order really wasn’t a very big deal, I’m only listing it here because it’s something that went wrong that I noticed. And I didn’t even notice if the cocktail hour or dinner playlists were out of order (probably because I could hardly hear the music), and our first dance song came on when it was supposed to, which was all that really mattered. I’m guessing the last playlist with all the dance music just got put on shuffle mode, because a song or two after our first dance, when we were standing by the bar talking to friends, Ignition by R. Kelly came on. This is “our” song, because it was the first song we ever danced to back when we were first dating. I’d originally planned the playlist out so that Ignition would play at about 9:20pm, and would be our cue that we were a few minutes away from sneaking out of the reception at 9:30, to go set up for the after party. But no worries, our DOC came to the rescue again, and gave us our cue that it was almost time to leave. Plus, a lot of our guests (including both of us) aren’t really much into dancing, so the song order/transitions didn’t matter, nobody even noticed, I’m sure.
Note to Future Brides: To iPod/laptop DJ brides, if something gets messed up, just go with the flow. Nobody else will notice. But DO have backups if something really goes wrong. We didn’t need it, but had our MP3 player on hand in case the laptop died, or would have sacrificed the other laptop running the fauxtobooth if needed.

What Went Wrong: For some reason, our venue only provided 1 bartender. For 91 people! All along we had worked with our venue to provide the best party for our ~100 person guest list, and 2 bartenders were on our paperwork. I'm not sure if maybe they dropped one because our final guest count was a little less than 100?
My Thoughts/The Fix: I think if they intentionally only scheduled one bartender for this many people, we should have been informed, and been given a decision, because we would have definitely paid for one more! Or perhaps one of the scheduled bartenders didn't show up? Maybe the venue wanted to save money on our full bar package, and one bartender meant the drinks would flow slower? I really don't know what happened here. All in all, I only have a few complaints about our venue, this being one of them, but I will be doing full Wedding Wire vendor reviews at some point with all the details, so I'll leave it at this for now.

What Went Wrong:
A couple of guests showed up late and missed part or all of the ceremony.
My Thoughts/The Fix: My thought is “whatever, their loss!” I gave everyone ample notice about the time it took to drive to the venue and the 5pm sharp ceremony start time, on both the invitations and our website. And I even gave them a 4 minute grace period by starting at 5:04. So oh well, at least nobody tried to interrupt the processional by seating themselves, which would have been the only thing I would have cared about anyway.

What Went Wrong: At dinner, everyone got champagne poured at their table for the toasts.
My Thoughts/The Fix: Now, this isn’t really something that went wrong, it was much appreciated actually! However, the venue usually charges $2 per person for a champagne toast, so we’d decided just to let everyone drink whatever they were already drinking to not add another $200 to our bill. But the table-side champagne service happened anyway, not according to plan, so score!

All in all, these are the bigger things I can think of that didn’t go according to plan on our wedding day, although there were a few little things that I didn't mention because they were so small that only my anal self noticed (like the entire ceremony wasn't exactly lined up at the same precise angle as the wood box and plant behind the arbor, so everything wasn't quite as turned to the bay view through the trees as I would have liked).

(guest photo)

I’m sure there were more big things that went wrong, maybe a lot more, but if I didn’t notice them, I’m not going to care! And all of these things were really more minor annoyances than huge catastrophes, and none of them really got me down (except the wasted time during the cocktail hour).

Amazing, isn’t it? A crazy, type-A, planner to the max was able to let things go, and lived to tell the tale! Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can. Enjoying your big day is way more important (and fun!) than agonizing over the little disruptions.

Now, lets start the big day off with getting ready in our hotel suite, up next!

Miss any wedding week details? Catch up here:

- I packed an emergency bag that saved my dress
- We had a crazy 4 days prepping for house guests and stuffing favors
- Shopping for a ton of wedding flowers to arrange ourselves
- Mr. Cola drinks a 40 and I have a night out on the town for our low-key bach parties
- A day of DIY'ing flower arrangements
- I kicked off our official recaps with my #1 wedding tip
- We began the weekend festivities with a sunset cruise for our wedding party
- We rehearsed our quick and easy ceremony
- I panicked, but we got our rehearsal dinner decorations set up just in time
- Our families met for the first time at our rehearsal dinner under the trees

(All pictures in this post are personal photos, taken by our wedding guests)


  1. I for one can attest that I didn't notice any of these things that allegedly went "wrong." Except for the BMs cradling the flower purses, which I thought was intentional and very cute :)

  2. Way to go for rolling with things and not letting them get to you! I also managed to keep it cool on my wedding day, even though I did get upset that they started the ceremony without me and I also ran 30 minutes late to the first look venue. Things always go wrong, and it's how you handle it that makes all the difference!