Having done over 250 weddings, we’ve seen a bunch of little snafus – from common to super rare! I wanted to share a few anecdotes and advice for you.

I know the title says “make sure they don’t happen to you!” but there will always be delays on the wedding day and we pad the timeline with extra time for delays! I was just joshing you with the clickbait!

Still, there are things to consider and these little delays are one reason I like my full coverage packages – it gives us a bit of wiggle room and time to make up shots if necessary.

Know that in the end, these weddings were all successful and lovely – some of the couples even have a unique story to look back on! Here’s some advice for different scenarios. (Note – the photos are just to illustrate the article – not singling out any particular couple for any delays! Every wedding has delays!)

Common Delays on a Wedding Day in No Particular Order
*Bowties – If you are doing real bowties and not pre-tied ones, make sure every guy watches YouTube and practices. I can do boutonnieres and regular ties myself – but bowties are unique in that you can’t do them on yourself and then put it on someone else – so you have to tie it on someone else backwards. In order to get a tie that every groomsman is happy with – realize that this can take upwards of 30 minutes.

*Zipper and button issues – Ladies aren’t immune from wardrobe issues. I’d say the percentage of a button or corset stay popping off during dressing is about 1/10 – and the little hook and eye often doesn’t make it through the day either. I’ve sewn quite a few dress backs – so be gentle when lacing and buttoning – and practice buttoning it all the way up in the shop to loosen the buttonholes. (Buttonholes – make sure you read that right!) 😉  If and when this happens – don’t stress. We will all get you fixed up!

*Bustles – Make sure your maid of honor knows the bustle inside and out – but also realize that almost no one’s bustle lasts all night through dancing! So aim to get some approximation of it and bring lots of pins to fix it later in the evening as your dress can get a smidge stepped on during a packed dance floor number!

*Missing tux items – Why are so many of these wardrobe related? Sometimes a tux comes with missing pieces or a groomsman has forgotten socks. Once, we had a groomsman lose just the pants to the tux on a hotel room floor over an hour away! Make sure all the gentlemen check their tuxes and try them on to avoid making a trip to the tux store that morning!

*Shuffling and hotel logistics – Hotel elevators are notoriously slow! Also, if we have to shuffle the bride around to avoid guests or to avoid the couple seeing each other, it can add a few minutes of delay.

*Receiving lines and table visits – It’s very important to greet your guests – but make sure to keep an eye on time or have a bridesmaid help move the line along. You can always go back for “seconds” on visits once you greet everyone at least once.

*Hair and makeup – Sometimes, there’s a hesitancy for anyone to want to go first. Sometimes, a bridesmaid might need redone because she doesn’t like an aspect of her hairdo. I’ve also talked to my hair and makeup artist vendor friends, who report the biggest delays are adding another person last minute to the schedule (a bridesmaid sees how nice everyone looks and wants to get done after all), trying to count money/settle up the bill/write checks as the artist packs up to leave, attendants arriving with wet hair that then needs blow dried, and multiple interruptions to the lady in the chair – having to get up to hand over keys, look at arriving floral, show someone where the shoes are, go down to the lobby to move their car, etc.

*Family photos – Delays are very common here because people are excited after the ceremony and wander off! Make sure everyone stays local and we will get the photos done just as fast as we can!

*Limos/traffic – Make sure your limo is stocked with beverages – beer runs can eat up valuable time. And make sure the limo driver has a GPS and a full charged phone as well as a list of addresses!

*Photography runs long – yep, occasionally guilty! Sometimes I want to just keep taking amazing photos of you if I find some great light or I have some inspiration – but this is why my assistant Allison keeps a tight timeline and makes me adhere to it! I just love this part of the day, so she has to be the heavy while I am being creative!

Less Common Delays on a Wedding Day
*Switching and checking out of rooms – There are so many moving pieces to a wedding day – it is easier to not have to “check out” of a room at 11am or move a ton of bags to another room in the middle of the prep process. If you do have to do this, designate someone to help you get your bags to the other room – you’ll have a lot to do!

*Decorating the reception yourself/reception hall not being done – This all depends on the timing for your day. It’s just something to be aware of – if your venue is heavily DIY, make sure you have plenty of helpers so the groom and his friends aren’t having to go get kegs or sweeping floors when it is time to dress!

*The priest/officiant runs longer than expected – It happens! Also, if your ceremony will be in two languages, add extra time for the translation.

*Forgotten items – We mentioned earlier the tux pants left on a hotel room floor – but we’ve also seen a groom’s suit locked in a car over an hour away as well as wedding bands left behind on hotel dressers an hour away as well as marriage licenses that simply nowhere to be found (they had to do some vows the next morning to finalize it once the license emerged!) Designate a bridesmaid or groomsman to be the “rings and license” person.

Crazy, Memorable, Once-in-a-Lifetime Delays that Probably Won’t Happen to You

*a parade taking place RIGHT outside the hotel with marching band- completely blocking the entrances to the hotel lot!

*a 5k race also blocking seemingly every road to the hotel where the bride was getting ready – and the bridesmaids were carrying their dresses through crowds of people doing an actual color run! (No one’s dress got dirty!)

*the limo breaking down on the highway – this has actually happened twice in 250+ weddings, but both times, mom and dad to the rescue. Everyone loaded up in various cars and vans and it was actually kind of fun for the bridal party and guests!

*the priest showed up late – weddings are normally done at  a certain time at that church and this was a rare earlier wedding. One of the guests tracked him down at a nearby store and he hurried to the church, got dressed, and STILL got the wedding done finished on time – that’s a pro right there! The couple will always have a story to tell!

*This one’s a little risque…consummating the marriage before the end of the reception! Hey, you do you. I mean – you do each other. 😉 I joke and I kid, but if you two go missing from the reception hall for a long time and come back with messy hair and just married grins – well, we can only assume! It’s your day and you should do whatever you want – but just let the venue know you’re taking a quick break so no one sends out a search party before dinner!

I hope this article gave you a bit of advice and brought a smile to your face! One of the best parts about weddings is the unpredictability and uniqueness of each day – we’d love to help you plan your best timeline!

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