As wedding season kicks off, we bring you the dramatic, sometimes ridiculous behind-the-scenes stories from wedding planners who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty.
It’s a dog’s life
“Normally, I really love my job and it’s especially fun when the weddings have large budgets. But, more often than not, the wealthier the bride, the crazier they are. Recently, I helped arrange the marriage of a Mexican lady to a rich banker, and a week before the wedding she demanded I fly over to Mexico to retrieve her beloved chihuahua, Edmond. One of her chief bridesmaids had pulled out due to a mysterious illness (I think she’d buckled under the pressure) and the bride had her heart set on Edmond walking down the aisle in her friend’s place. Once back in the UK, I was told to have a powder-pink, frilly dress tailored for him so he matched the other bridesmaids. I even had instructions for the make-up artist to dust his cheeks with blusher. Unfortunately, he was so excited on the day he got caught in the bride’s 25ft-long train and peed on it.”
I take thee, Paul… or is it Gary?
“To weed out the more stressful brides, I vet my clients carefully before taking them on. But, clearly, I still haven’t got it sussed. Last year, one bride changed her groom six months before the big day. I choked on my tea when she introduced Gary at our monthly catch-up who, she informed me, will ‘be replacing Paul’. Gary didn’t seem to mind and couldn’t keep his hands off her. The date, location, even the lilac colour scheme stayed the same. The size of the groom’s trousers, however, had to be tailored out around the crotch. A clue as to why she ditched Groom One?”
“I had to tell one bride her groom was leaving her a month before their £45,000 wedding. I started to worry a few weeks before, as she was calling for advice on everything from flowers to her honeymoon, but I just couldn’t get hold of him. When I finally got him on the phone, he confessed he was having an affair. With the bride’s best friend. He didn’t have the guts to tell her, so would I? It was awful, but someone had to. She couldn’t stop crying – she’d lost her partner, best friend and £10,000 wedding venue deposit. Guess who had to call the 243 guests to let them know? I thought I was going to have a breakdown by the end!”
The mother of all conflicts
“One dictator mother of the bride (divorced and single) was determined to organise the wedding she’d never had. The 63 year old even insisted on trying on every wedding dress her daughter did. She was hell-bent on a meringue, whereas her hippy-ish offspring wanted something more floaty à la Kate Moss. I thought her laid-back daughter had the patience of a saint. But the farmed salmon entrée her mum was insisting upon was the last straw, and the bride uninvited her mum to the wedding! I was instructed by Mumzilla to organise a peace summit at a safe house in the Surrey countryside, locking both women in until they’d resolved their differences. My psychology degree does come in handy sometimes!”
Thief in the night
“During one ceremony, a Georgian manor house next door to the wedding venue was burgled. Thieves had stolen a painting worth £1million, and lead from the roof. Wedding planners are supposed to be good multitaskers but my skills were pushed to the limit. Once alerted, I had to keep interchanging my headset with my mobile phone to liaise with the police, who were trying to find the offenders. I couldn’t help but worry the thieves had crashed the wedding. We had to crank up the music to drown out the noise of the police helicopter that was circulating the venue, so the wedding party didn’t find out.”
The bossy hubby-to-be
“Forget bridezillas – I had a controlling groom who became obsessed with making sure everything was perfect. Despite the fact it’s considered bad luck, he insisted on going to every dress fitting with the bride so she looked perfect for his big day. On the morning of the wedding, I found him measuring the distance between the chairs we’d lined up in the town hall with a ruler to make sure they were all equidistant. Beads of sweat were dripping off his brow when he suddenly started clutching his chest and shouting he was having a heart attack! I called an ambulance and he was rushed to hospital, where doctors concluded he was having a panic attack. By the time he calmed down, we’d missed our time slot for the ceremony and the wedding had to be rearranged.”
“At the final dress fitting the week before her wedding, a Catholic bride admitted she was three months pregnant. Her tight dress didn’t disguise her baby belly, and she was in a total panic. I had to source a seamstress to take out the dress, and buy grape juice and decant it into wine bottles for the bride at the reception. Her parents were none the wiser – until an ample-sized baby arrived ‘prematurely’ a few months later.”
“I’d been warned the 67-year-old mother of the bride was a reformed alcoholic, so when I caught her necking martinis and getting mouthy, I got my dashing, young assistant to pose as a wedding guest and take her for a spin on the dance floor to distract her from the bar. He whirled her around until she clearly thought he was seducing her, and lunged in for a full-on dentures snog. He handed in his notice a week later, citing a change in career.”
“Shrubbery in church has become en vogue since the Royal Wedding. Last December, I was asked to adorn a draughty chapel with 50 fir trees, poinsettias, trailing ivy, and candelabras. It was very windy on the day of the wedding and the smell of smoke began to fill the air. The ivy had blown into lit candles, and a fire was moving quickly through the crowd. I had to get the congregation to stamp out the burning leaves before the couple could say ‘I do’!”