Nuptial Uh-ohs

By Chandra Orr

April 17, 2009 5 min read


Preventing worst-case scenarios is easy with proper planning

Chandra Orr

Creators News Service

The best man toasted your husband's past exploits, your divorced parents bickered all night long and Uncle Larry got drunk and hit on all the bridesmaids.

It's not the worst-case scenario, but it's close. What's a girl to do?

"You need to keep your composure and turn the other cheek," said David Borgenicht, author of "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Weddings" ($15, Chronicle Books). "This is your day -- turning into bridezilla will only make people remember how you lost your cool, not how beautiful you are or how wonderful the day is."

Plan ahead, delegate and, no matter what happens, keep it in perspective.

"When it comes to wedding-day mishaps, I have heard and seen it all -- from the best man calling the bride an ex-girlfriend's name twice in his speech to a guest vomiting on the dance floor," said best-selling bridal expert Alex Lluch, author of "Before the Wedding: Fun and Provocative Questions to Prepare You for Married Life" ($13, WS Publishing). "As the bride, you may be livid at the time, but you can't let mishaps ruin one of the most important days of your life."

In other words, keep your cool. No matter how grievous the etiquette error, take it in stride and you'll glide through your big day with grace and style.

*Ask for help: "Keeping your sanity involves delegating from the start," Lluch said. "Give each of your attendants and family members a specific job during the ceremony and reception."

Designate an MC to oversee the toasts, ask people to keep an eye on the open bar, appoint an usher to assist elderly guests and assign an adult to oversee the kids' table.

"In the event that something awful happens, pull a family member aside and ask that person to deal with it. Then move on -- kiss your husband, dance the Electric Slide and enjoy your day," Lluch said.

* Foil family feuds: The reception hall seating chart is your best weapon when preventing family feuds. Seat your divorced parents at opposite ends of the room and assign squabbling siblings to different tables. Should the claws come out, speak to the offending parties privately.

"If you can't get them to stop, try proposing a toast," Borgenicht said. "Raising your glass and tapping it with a spoon will silence the room, the bickerers included."

*Patrol the bar: Enlist the bartender's help and don't be afraid to send in the bouncers. "Let the bartender be the bad cop," Borgenicht said. "If the drunk guests are talking too loud, have them escorted outside or to a different room. If they need to be physically restrained, call the groomsmen -- that's what they're for."

* Tame the toasts: In addition to an MC that oversees the toasts, ask the band or deejay to keep an ear open for speeches gone awry. Should the best man decide to share details from the bachelor party, cue the music.

"If all else fails, try a slow clap. After about 15 seconds of slow clapping, other guests will join in, clapping the toaster off stage," Borgenicht said.

* Ignore bridal blunders: If the faux pas is on you -- and yes, even the most poised bride can err in judgment -- take a cue from those around you. If others look shocked or offended, offer a quick apology.

"Neither you nor your guest wants the embarrassment to last any longer than it needs to," Borgenicht explained. "If they are pretending not to have noticed, you should do the same. Most people will pretend, for example, that they did not hear the bride pass gas, even if you clearly did so."

* Adjust your attitude: "Attitude is everything," Lluch said. "I remember one bride who was hysterical and in tears because the wait staff was putting the napkins in the glasses instead of on the table. Her guests were never going to remember her napkins. The hysteria could have been avoided if she had some perspective on the situation."

Above all else, don't sweat the small stuff. Laugh it off and that little catastrophe will become one of those memorable moments people talk about for years to come.

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