Despite dreams and perfect planning, shit can hit the fan at weddings. I've seen it. It's not specific to destination weddings or bridezilla expectations ... it's just shit and it's as unpredictable as it is shitty.
But nothing ruins weddings because at their root is love. Stop gagging, it's true. Panic, frustration, meltdowns are met with grace and humility, patience and creativity. Being calm and having a sense of humor helps every time.
Look at these two:
This is Jeff and Alison. They got married in March. I took some of my all time favorite photos at their wedding where more shit happened than at any other I've seen. Literally. Over five days, more than 60 of their 75 guests got sick. En route to see Jeff for their first look, Alison saw the reception area for the first time and everything was wrong: the colors, table placement, the location of the ceremony. It was someone else's wedding vision. And she's not picky. Then Jeff's dad passed out and someone said he may have had a stroke (he hadn't). Son sleeping off sickness in the next room, arm aching from the IV he'd needed early that day, Jeff took a breath before going see his new wife.
They laughed all night. Guests peeled early. No sparklers. Minimal dancing. But they were married. They were in one of their favorite places. They stayed focused on the root of it all: Love.
It's true. It's all you need.
But it helps if both people to show up.
The girl with the greatest smile is Lindsay. She tried her best, but was too sick to go to her wedding. She got ready, we went into town with her fiancé, Sean, and took pictures, and then I told her I'd see her in 10 minutes. Thirty minutes later Sean got the call she would be late It was a brutal choice, but she couldn't muster her best self.
The ceremony was postponed. Cocktail hour started. She didn't improve. The ceremony was pushed back again. Dinner was served. The moon was full. Hundreds of candles. The bride went to urgent care. Everyone held onto hope. She'd mentioned dreaming of a moonlit ceremony.
The ceremony was canceled.
Sean drove her up in a golf cart so she could see her wedding come to life. Everyone stood and cheered when they walked in. She cried and laughed. I got the photo of them standing where they were supposed to marry, illuminated by candles held up by their brothers. The reception was lit up behind them. Full moon overhead.
After hugs and more tears, they left and their friends partied on. A college buddy split his pants dancing. Sombreros came out. A barefooted drunk girl broke a glass. Everyone had a great time.
They got married the next morning. She was back to her normal self. Her hair wasn't in an updo. Her make-up was subdued. His boutonniere didn't survive the night. It was intimate. It was on the beach. They laughed. Guests cried. It was sweet.
I took photos of them on the beach after the ceremony, full of energy and joy. The wedding didn't go as planned, but it did go. Of course it did, love was at its root.