Wedding horror stories happen. They're unavoidable. Today's podcast episode and blog post is inspired by one of my favorite holidays: Halloween! Weddings are often referred to as “dream weddings” but sometimes things can go wrong.
So today I'm sharing wedding horror stories and how to avoid them! Yes, I'm reliving some of my most uncomfortable experiences as a wedding planner for your benefit.
Whether you’re newly engaged or have been engaged a while, today's post will help you think through important planning questions in order to avoid what happened at these weddings.
If this is your first time visiting Verve Event Co., welcome! My name is Desiree Adams and I am an upstate New York wedding planner and podcast host determined to help couples plan a wonderful wedding experience.
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EPISODE  HIGHLIGHTS:
To fast-forward to a specific part of the podcast episode, check out the timestamps below:
- The candles that almost caused a fire. (Horror Story #1) [3:40]
- The bus that never came. (Horror Story #2) [11:15]
- The Flood. (Horror Story #1) [19:02]
- Review of the day! [28:27]
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Here's the summary of the podcast episode!
Happy Halloween! Today’s episode is a special Halloween edition. I’m sharing wedding HORROR stories – from real weddings. Not only are they going to make you cringe and be happy you weren’t there, but we’re also going to give you some tips to make sure you avoid this at your wedding.
Wedding Horror Story #1 – Up in Flames
At this wedding, we had a beautiful table setup with special taper candle holders that were ordered just for this wedding.
The holders were provided by one company and the taper candles were provided by another company. There were no hurricanes for the taper holders because they were an extra cost and so many people like the look of taper candles without hurricane cylinders.
On the day of the wedding, both companies were setting up the taper holders and the candles. Well, about halfway through setup, my team noticed that the taper candles were starting to lean to one side. A little bit later, they’re falling down. They’re not lit yet because we're still setting up, but it’s not good. 30 minutes later, all of the candles are falling down and I have to leave for the ceremony.
It's Time for the Wedding Ceremony.
I leave to go to the ceremony and ask my team to handle it with the company setting up the candles. The ceremony is about to finish and my assistant texts me that they’re leaving. I ask about the candles and she says they’re not fixed yet.
I get back, and the candles are terrible. Not only are they not staying in the holders, they’re a fire hazard if we light them!
The clock is ticking and 235 guests are going to arrive in 3 hours and the candles still aren’t fixed. Normally we use this stuff that’s like putty to wrap around the bottom of the taper holders and that keeps them secure in the holder. The issue is these taper holders are very shallow and the candles are really tall. They’re beautiful, but they’re just too heavy so if they start to lean at least a little bit, they won’t stay upright.
We try another kind of putty, we try tape, we try wax, we try all of our normal tricks and nothing is working.
Finally, we try hot glue, and that seems to work. Unofrutnately, we don’t have enough hot glue sticks for all of the candles. Doors are going to open in 2 hours and the candles are still not fixed. So my assistant remembers she lives about 5 minutes away and calls her dad to bring us extra hot glue sticks and another glue gun.
By now, we’re an hour away from doors opening. Her dad drops off the hot glue sticks and we manage to fix all the taper candles in time.
It was a terrible afternoon that almost literally went up in flames.
How do you avoid wedding lighting issues?
- Make sure you test out your taper candles inside the candlestick holders just to make sure they fit and there aren’t any issues.
- Always use hurricanes around your taper candles. This prevents wax from dripping onto the linens and makes your candles last longer. Because the bride opted not to use hurricanes, wax dripped onto the runners. We always go around and put out the candles with our candle snuffer, but there were too many and the air conditioning blew some of the candles that caused them to drip and ruin the tablecloths. This caused about $500 in damages to the linens. Yet another nightmare.
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Wedding Horror Story #2 – The Bus That Never Came.
For this wedding, my couple had booked several of their vendors before hiring our company.
Instead of booking a traditional transportation company, they booked a company that uses school. They booked the school buses because they thought they needed 6 buses to transport all their guests, which ended up costing them over $8,000. (They were expecting about 200 but ended up with 145.) I would never have recommended they go with that many buses, but instead would have had fewer buses and had them run loops between the properties. I’ve also never had to use 6 buses all at the same time. But they had no idea so they went with the cheaper company because they thought they needed more buses.
Luckily, we were able to cancel 3 of the buses, saving them some money.
Before a wedding, we always go through the itinerary with the bus company as well as give them our cell phone numbers and ask for the driver’s cell phone number so that we can reach them in case there’s an issue or change.
This company woudln't give us the driver’s cell phone numbers before the wedding. Throughout the day of the wedding, Ali, one of our associate planners, kept checking in with dispatch to confirm the bus's whereabouts and ask for the cell phone numbers, but dispatch would never call her back.
The buses are still MIA.
30 minutes before the wedding and still haven't heard from dispatch. We start to panic.
15 minutes before the wedding, still no word from the buses or dispatch.
10 minutes before the wedding, one of the bus drivers calls my Ali and says that he dropped off his guests and a second bus is on its way. She asks about the third bus and he doesn’t know anything about it but says he’ll call the third bus driver.
The ceremony is now supposed to start and we’re still missing a bus.
5 minutes after the wedding is supposed to start, the first bus driver calls and says that the last bus driver told him no guests got on his bus, so he didn’t come to the wedding.
I was so angry but also just relieved we could start the ceremony. No one noticed as we only started a few minutes late. (And to be honest, our official start time is always 5 minutes late for the ceremony because there are ALWAYS late guests.)
How do you avoid wedding transportation headaches?
- Don’t ever skimp on wedding transportation. Transportation can really screw up a wedding schedule. A bus driver that’s not familiar with the area gets stuck in traffic and is late by 30 minutes, they miss a turn and get lost in the dark on country roads, they break down on the side of the road and don’t have anyone to come get them and the wedding guests, the list goes on.
- I also usually recommend bus monitors to ride a bus. This wedding was challenging because I wasn’t involved with hotels and their guests. But if you can appoint someone to ride each bus and at least text the planner or the wedding party that they’re on their way, or the bus hasn’t arrived or whatever’s going on, this will help avoid a bad situation from getting worse.
If you have any transportation questions, let me know in your review on apple podcasts. I definitely plan to do a wedding transportation episode, so make sure you send over your bus and transportation question to our wedding planning hotline – which is 585-210-3467.
I know this couple decided to book this specific bus company because they were less expensive, but usually that should make you wonder why is someone so much less than another company. And if you’re really unsure, ask the vendors you’ve already booked what they think of X company. Hopefully, they’ll tell you the truth if they’re good or not.
Need help with your wedding day timeline? Use our Wedding Day-of Timelines bundle to plan your wedding to the minute.
Wedding Horror Story #3 – The Flood
This wedding took place at the couple’s private lake home.
They were planning a wedding festival with concerts on both Friday night and Saturday night. We had a giant stage with lighting on trusses, and a production company, a green room trailer for our artists, the whole deal. The couple flew in a Fleetwood Mac and a Rolling Stone tribute band from across the country and it was a huge production.
The stage was supposed to located on the side of a hill and the guests were supposed to sit at the top of the hill and look down at the stage.
In order to get to the top of the hill, all of our production trucks had to drive up a dirt road about a half mile away. It went up the side of the hill at an angle. So if they made a right triangle, the band was at the top of the triangle, the house was at 90 degree part of the right triangle, and the road to get up the hill was the hypotenuse.
Three days before the wedding, it rained 7 inches.
Water ran down the whole side of the hill all the way down to the lake. The hill itself was soaked and squishy.
On Thursday when the restroom trailer and the green room trailer were being dropped off, they couldn’t drive up the hill. The trucks were slipping and sliding, the wheels were turning and kicking up mud, and it was a giant muddy mess. One of the trucks slid into their own new restroom trailer.
Also, our production trucks couldn’t get up the hill either, so the crew had to hand-carry every single piece up of equipment, stage, and lighting up the side of the hill.
Oh, and I forgot to mention it was 93 degrees outside during the day. So that was good for drying out the grass and mud, but it was bad for anyone working outside, which we all were.
Luckily my client was able to pull some strings and get a construction crew to come in and build a giant road on the side of the hill to help the trucks get in, but not after causing damage to one of the vehicles.
Fortunately, through much perseverance and a lot of sweat, the stage was built where it was supposed to be. The concerts were amazing. We had to rearrange where most of the food trucks parked, but the bride and groom were still so happy with how everything turned out.
I just remember coming inside at 11 pm on Thursday night not knowing what to do about the mess and my bride said, “Desiree, I’ll know you’ll figure it out. I’m not worried.” And with that, she kept wrapping her wedding party gifts.
Her little pep talk told me I would figure it out. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew it would be okay.
How do you avoid disaster when it rains at your wedding?
- Have a backup plan. If that backup plan is going to ruin your wedding, get a new back-up plan. You have to be able to live with whatever contingency plans you have in place or change your plans completely.
- Home weddings are a HUGE production. You’re building an entire venue from the ground up. If something goes wrong, you’re responsible for fixing it. If you’re considering a home wedding, listen to Episode 52 of the podcast with Pam and Alan Sheldon who hosted a tented wedding in their backyard. It will help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.
- You can’t predict what the weather will do. You have to be able to be flexible. If you can’t deal with pressure, hire a wedding planner! You need a professional to make sure your investment is taken care of, whatever you decide to do with your wedding.
Well, that wraps up today’s episode on wedding horror stories! I hope you enjoyed listening to me re-cap some of the most stressful days of my life. It’s okay now that I’m on the other side and everything turned out well, but ugh. They were terrible! I hope my pain helps you have a better wedding in some form or fashion.
If you have follow-up questions or want me to talk more in-depth about something you heard today, please leave the podcast a 5 star review on Apple Podcasts, leave your Instagram handle, and what your question is and I’ll address it in a future episode and follow you back! You can also leave an anonymous voicemail on our wedding planning hotline at 585-210-3467.
Don’t forget, I go live every Wednesday after a new podcast episode to talk more in-depth about this week’s episode. This week I’m going to share our new solution for candles that won’t stay upright.
Podcast Review of the Week
Before we wrap today’s episode, I wanted to give a shoutout to our review of the day.
This review is by Abigail Winston. @AbigailWinston4 writes:
FIVE STARS!!!! Love, love, LOVE this podcast. Desiree gives the best advice and I learn something new every single episode!
How to Avoid Weding Horror Stories
That's all for today’s special Halloween episode. I hope you learned something while I revisited these nearly traumatic experiences. I
Thank you all so much for joining me today. I love spending time in your earbuds and hearing all of your thought on the podcast in your reviews. To connect even further, make sure to follow us over on Instagram at AskthePlannerPodcast and on TikTok at @AskthePlannerPodcast.
Until next time, happy wedding planning!
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