Posted by jade on 06 Mar, 2007
By now, we all know a few infamously bad things that can ruin a wedding: a scheming best friend, a groom with cold feet, a pair of wedding crashers canoodling with the bridesmaids. But there are a few more subtle factors that can ruin a wedding in a way that is more catastrophic than comedic. Luckily, it doesn’t take the running length of a movie to figure out how to avoid them.
1) The Officiator. In an increasingly untraditional society, modern couples are giving less and less thought to who performs their wedding ceremony. Viewing the officiator as a sort of pastoral parrot, repeating the same dusty vows everyone has heard a thousand times, many couples rustle up any internet-ordained officiator and head to the chapel. But far from being a mere vow ventriloquist, the officiator is the M.C. of your entire wedding. Their thoughts about love, gender and religion will irrevocably flavor your entire ceremony, and therefore can serve as your wedding’s keynote or its collapse. Indeed, I have seen officiators who use their time at the mic as their own comedy hour and pepper the audience with crass jokes, an officiator so misogynistic that only the bride’s vows included the “obey” portion of the “Love, Honor and Obey”vow, and worst of all, officiators who DID stick to the same boring wedding script-after all, how many times can one hear “wedding is a journey” without smirking into you date’s shoulder?
To avoid mistakes like these, take a little care when finding your officiator. Choose someone who knows you as a couple, like a marriage counselor or a close friend. Make sure you hear the officiator’s planned speech in its entirety, and feel free to edit out any parts you don’t like. Get proactive by providing them with scriptures, poetry or speech excerpts that emulate your thoughts on love and life. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to say “I Don’t!” to tacky humor or anything that doesn’t reflect your taste.
2) The Sound System. The moment the audience hears “I Do” is nothing short of awe-inspiring. But hearing the sentiment over and over in a hideous echo incurred by a faulty sound system is just plain creepy. The vows and the sermon are some of the most special and personal parts of the wedding, but even the most beautifully written toast isn’t worth it if you can only hear every other word. Yet, time and time again, people pay no heed to the sound system. I have seen weddings where a faulty sound system literally ruined the wedding: no one could hear the pastor and the vows just faded in and out. A creaky, unstable sound system just seems like a bad omen. If you don’t want your wedding to feel like a cheap prom, invest plenty of money in a high-quality sound system and test it thoroughly. Make sure there are professionals on-hand to man the sound should anything go wrong, and if possible choose wedding insurance that covers sound system snafus.
3)The Best Man. The most pivotal member of the groomsmen, it is amazing how often the Best Man behaves like a loose cannon, silent partner, or bachelor gone wrong. I have seen Best Men spending the whole night groping bridesmaids on the dance floor, stoically glaring at the bride throughout the wedding ceremony, getting way too drunk, and worst of all, mumbling an ill-prepared or incoherent speech at the wedding toast. While guys may not want to bum their Best Man out by putting too much pressure on them, it is better to be open and honest about what is expected and then give the Best Man the chance to agree or bow out. On the Big Day, the Best Man should have nothing less than his A-game in place. You want a guy who is punctual, who will show up looking sharp, be beaming with joy that you’ve found your dream woman, drink moderately, act appropriately towards the bridesmaids and give a heartfelt wedding toast about how happy he is for you. Any other deviant behavior can ruin a ceremony faster than a rainstorm at a garden ceremony.
4) Too-Little Kids. Of course, little kids are completely adorable and we all love seeing these mini-people parade down the aisle with their little curls and missing teeth. However, when it comes to sacred vows, little kids are a definite liability. I have seen a wedding where a cherubic three-year-old started down the aisle, only her chubby legs couldn’t quite carry her and she tumbled face down into the aisle, screaming and wailing and came up with blood running down her face. Not good for the child, and definitely not good for ceremony ambiance. Little boys can be similarly problematic. I have seen too-young boys included in weddings: ring bearers who got to the end of the aisle and promptly sat down, or stuck their fingers in the wedding cake, or kept tugging on the bride’s dress when she was dancing her first dance with the groom. Kids are adorable and if you have your own, of course you should include them in the wedding. Just be realistic about what tasks and durations are appropriate for them. You want Precious Moments, not Rugrats.
5) Not Being A Bridezilla. Sure, bridezillas get a bad rap, but here’s the bottom line: in this day and age, it takes an obsessive bride to put on an amazing wedding. Handling a huge budget, coordinating innumerable vendors, and making sure everyone delivers on time is an enormous task, and requires a certain assertiveness and unwavering attention to detail. Think of the best wedding you’ve ever been to: the perfect color-coordinated wedding favors, impeccably timed dinner courses, endless elegant cocktails and perfect music volume. You better believe a bridezilla was behind that affair.
On the oter hand, brides who are too scared to be assertive because they don’t want to get the “bridezilla” rap end up with poorly dyed bridesmaids shoes that leave prints on the aisle, mismatched wilting bouquets, and someone’s blue-haired aunt torturing guests with unrecognizable renditions of “Staying Alive.” This is the biggest day of your life, so don’t be afraid to indulge your inner bridezilla when it comes to getting what you want. In the end, your friends and family will thank you for it.