A wedding day can be the culmination of a bride’s dreams. Tidings from her childhood fantasies can linger to direct her intent. Bits and pieces from her favorite movies may scream for inclusion. Certain ideas from the weddings of her friends can’t be missed. And who knows, maybe even the husband-to-be gets a say!

But combining so many desires can prove a nightmare. A recent wedding I attended may have been the bride’s dream day – but it was a nightmare for the guests. From that experience I have found 7 wedding day disasters to avoid.

It was scheduled to start at two in the afternoon. A lovely beach wedding with a few select friends, family, distant cousins, neighbors, workmates, acquaintances, and a few people she’d met the week before in the check-out line at the grocery store…

Now this bride, who I won’t name, chose a popular beach location. The first trouble with that was the parking. It was a beautiful day and our wedding party were not the only ones in town. The conversations between guests on arrival were all about how long it took to walk from the car, which moved directly to the weather. Keep in mind, it was the middle of the day, guests were dressed in formal wear, and most had run from their distant parks as to not miss the ceremony. What didn’t help, as we stood baking in the sun, was that the bride was thirty minutes late.

It was a beautiful ceremony, or so I was told. It was only the first two rows that could hear any of it. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach, the riotous screams of nearby children playing in the sand, and the ‘caws’ of the seagulls hovering dangerously overhead held my attention.

1) Choose a location that suits your guests and not just your dreams.

2) You have a year to plan. There is no excuse to be 30 minutes late.

As we broke from the formal setting the bridal party started their photo session. As beach photographs get boring (miles of sand and squinting bridesmaids) they had also planned to visit a park on the way to the reception. The guests who had been invited to the reception had over two hours to kill.

3) Having every second of your day accounted for is not your only concern. Think of your guests. Pass the word around of a pub close to the reception where guests can continue to socialize as they wait aimlessly.

The bride was half an hour late for the reception. The excuse was ‘more than expected traffic’ on the way back from the park, though I noticed they had time to stop and get a few Champaign’s and beers.

4) Get a map and mark your day’s important locations. Do a test-drive (at the same time of day and day of the week) before the wedding day so you are not just guessing your travel times.

As all the guests were starving by this time, we devoured the finger food trays and tackled the waiters carrying drinks in the foyer. We looked like the seagulls at the beach, which I had watched for an hour of my down-time. As we were shown to our tables, the giant slabs of garlic bread were too good to pass up. As we continued to drink and adjust our belts to make room for the entree, the formal proceedings got underway. As they served the main meal (which was huge) each guest realized they had eaten too many spring rolls to eat more than a few mouth-fulls. It looked very nice, but not many of us were capable of finding out.

5) Just because it’s a wedding doesn’t mean we need to eat twice as much as normal. We reserve that right for Christmas and Thanks-Giving. Think of what you would eat and just serve it in a timely manner. Throwing out food at the end of the night is throwing your hard-earned money in the bin.

With a giant fanfare they introduced the DJ and opened the dance floor. (As they served a thick double-chocolate mud cake dessert!) A few bored children and an elderly lady dancing with her glass of Champagne were the only ones who made an effort. The rest of us either rubbed our bellies or left the room as the music was too loud.

6) Refer again to point 5. Don’t let the venue direct the catering. They will make you over-order. Serve sensible amounts of food – with a few extra plates for the big eaters.

7) Its a wedding – not a rave party. Most guests want to talk to each other and not yell across the table. It was like an episode of When Good Weddings Go Bad! Put the speakers in one corner and dim the lights. Those who value their sanity can move to the other corner, and not join the smoking crowd just to escape the racket.

The points above are not exclusive to the wedding I attended. They are repeatedly abused and overlooked by brides around the world.

Yes, the wedding day is all about the Bride… a distant second, either the groom or the bride’s parents. But even though your guests don’t finish on the dais, their day is important too. You have been to terrible weddings. You know my pain.


Nigel Coates is a Remedial Massage Therapist on the Gold Coast of Australia. His website gives information on the different styles of massage you can have and the benefits of each.

His good friend Sarah Neil is an Interfaith Minister in Brisbane, Australia, and it was from a conversation with her about the weddings she is involved with as a celebrant from where this article idea was born.

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Nigel Coates - EzineArticles Expert Author