It’s normal before an important day, be it a school speech or a job interview, to go through a list in your mind of all the things that could go wrong. It’s a way to be prepared for the unexpected and to be able to adapt when changes need to be made. When it comes to your wedding, you can always count on something happening that leaves you scrambling, whether it’s a fix to your dress or the use of a bridesmaid to corral a difficult relative, it’s inevitable that something goes wrong. Here are a few short stories of the unexpected mishaps that occurred before and around my wedding day!
This isn’t the Car You’re Looking For
One of the more minor adjustments we had to make was to our getaway car. I like old cars with fins, chrome and a bit of flare, and wanted something other than the typical Rolls-Royce people get, so I picked out a black, 1939 Cadillac from a Paris-based car rental two months ahead of the event. Then, a week before the wedding, we got a phone call that the owner tried to turn it on and it wouldn’t start. Despite the last minute change, I was lucky it wasn’t on the day, so we got to work picking something else from the same company. We ended up with the Talbot Lago Baby, a 1940’s French car, which probably turned out to be the better choice because it matched the venue’s elegance a little more than the Cadillac would have. Our guests loved the Lago, and took turns taking photos in front of it when it drove up and parked. It ended up being a happy (car) accident!
Toothless in Paris
As I thought of all the things that could go wrong before the wedding (dress doesn’t survive the trip, can’t find the groom, etc.) I actually did consider the possibility of loosing a tooth. It was my literal “what is the worst possible thing that could happen,” scenario.
I have a tooth implant on the right side of my upper jaw, which is the result of a root canal and breakage in high school. The little implant has shattered quite inconveniently in my mouth a few times over the ten years I’ve had it, so when it came to an important event like my wedding, I eyed it suspiciously. Two days before the wedding, I made the grave mistake of sleeping with a very fitted mouthguard that protects my molars from grinding in my sleep. The guard was brand new (I accidentally flushed the old one down the toilet, oops!) and so tight that when I pulled it off, the suction pulled off my tooth implant!
Over the sink of the hotel bathroom, the little ceramic crown looked back at me from the palm of my hand. I ran my tongue over my teeth, felt the little titanium stump surrounded by gums, and was horrified. Jon assured me no one would see (it was too far inside my mouth, he said), and that I should simply get it fixed when we got back to the U.S. I was worried. It didn’t matter if no one saw, I would know I had a missing tooth and that was the last thing I wanted to think about on my wedding day – being a toothless bride!
So we contacted Jon’s parents, who live in Paris, and asked them to refer us a dentist ASAP. We made a same day appointment and his father took me across the city to make sure I was okay. As I sat in the waiting room with high, gilded ceilings, I assured myself that all was not lost! The dentist promptly cemented the thing right back in, charged 45 Euros, and joked that I was lucky it hadn’t happened a week later, because he’d be on vacation! Phew! Crisis averted. I’m happy to declare that I had all my teeth in on my wedding day.
Don’t Sign Up For a 90 Degree Day
I made the mistake of joining one of the tours we had planned for the guests to enjoy before the wedding. It was a full day at Versailles, in the middle of summer’s most touristy time, on one of the hottest days Paris had seen that year. Did I mention it was the day before our nuptials? Yeah… I ended up stealing an umbrella from someone as we walked through the shadeless gardens, and sweating through my dress. It hit 97 degrees, was so crowded, and we didn’t get back until 4pm, when I had to hurry and get ready for a rehearsal dinner. Would not recommend!!!
I Want to See You in Purple Light
We met Jerome, our lighting guy, at our venue in April before the wedding. He was very French, with a thick accent, personality, and was the only person the wedding location allowed us to hire for lighting and sound. When we walked in, Jerome had set up all his equipment to show us what it would look like and where it would go, but there was one problem. Everything was purple!
I told him it looked fine, but that I didn’t like colored light. “Then we must do blue, of course!” he exclaimed. “No, no color,” I muttered, distraught by the night club glow of the lights. I explained we were going for more natural, candlelight – to which Jerome snorted, “it will look like a cafeteria in here!” Jon and I both laughed – we’ve yet to see a lunchroom so beautiful! Jerome eventually relented and we shook hands, happy with the set up. Over emails we finalized a lighting color and everything was set to go.
Then, on the day of the wedding, Jon showed up at the venue to find that all the lighting was hot pink. He, the best man, and officiant went around changing each LED light by hand. Somehow, Jerome still managed to sneak a hot pink light onto a few outdoor pillars, but as we never made it out on the lawn at night, we didn’t know until we saw photos later. Poor Jerome, he loved colored light so much, he probably couldn’t help himself!
It may have been nerves, or the 90 degree heat from our all-day Versailles excursion the day before, but I could barely eat any of the food at my rehearsal dinner. I had to step out half way through and get fresh air or risk being sick in front of my guests. After the party, my two best friends brought me to my room, and I promptly ran to the toilet and puked my guts out. They stayed with me, laughing and chatting until I passed out in bed. The morning of the wedding, I was just as sick, and couldn’t beat the nausea. It was so strange because I didn’t feel nervous at all, Jon and I were already married via our civil service, and I was more excited than worried.
As we waited to call the Uber, I could not eat, so my maid of honor gave me a little stomach medicine in hopes that it would improve my appetite. I wolfed down a banana, drank a lot of water, and immediately felt better. It was seriously a close one – no one wants to feel sick on their wedding day! I get migraines often enough, so it was likely a combination of dehydration, tension, and fatigue that knocked me off kilter. It wasn’t a great start to the day, but it got better fast.
No Trash Allowed
The day after our wedding, we had an impromptu meet up with our amazing caterer and ate some of our wedding day leftovers in her kitchen studio. It was quite a treat! During our evening gab-fest, she shared with us that at the end of the night, the venue informed her and our wedding coordinators, that they had to remove all the trash themselves – the building wouldn’t accommodate any garbage. Apparently, our team of vendors had to fill their cars to the brim with trash bags and drive the 30 minutes back to Paris in cars full of hot garbage. I felt so bad, but our caterer gave us such a laugh with the story I knew she just chalked it up to just another day in France!
By any standard, our wedding went smoothly and despite a few last minute hiccups, I had an incredible time! There’s always going to be a few unexpected things that fall in your lap surrounding a big event, and it’s especially true when it comes to planning a wedding. But, only in France would they tell you to take your trash with you!
Did anything unexpected happen to you before or during a big event? Tell your story in the comments below! And for more posts about my wedding, check out the invitations, and the best advice I ever received. Thanks to my wedding photographer Greg Finck for the beautiful images.