There’s a lot of potential for a wedding to go off the rails: You have open bars. Brides and grooms whose nerves are understandably on edge. And there’s usually that one wild-card family member whose behavior you can never predict.
If you’re a wedding planner, you hold your breath and hope that things go smoothly. But when they don’t, hey, at least you’ve got some good stories to tell. Below, wedding planners from across the country share the most insane thing they’ve ever witnessed at a wedding.
The Political Party
“The craziest thing I ever saw happen at a wedding was back in 2004. We had a wedding in the same venue as a political event. The country was very opinionated about the war and there was a loud group of protesters with megaphones outside the event ― and the wedding! I personally went out to try to negotiate with this mob and eventually got them to agree to turn off the megaphones for the duration of the ceremony. The governor of Florida at the time was Jeb Bush, who was in attendance at the political event. When he heard what happened he asked if he could personally apologize to the bride and personally did!” ― Tracie Domino, wedding planner in St. Petersburg, Florida
The Total Disaster
“A few years ago we had a couple who got married during a hurricane. It was a bit of a comedy of errors on the wedding day, when the caterer backed out only hours before the ceremony started, and we had to quickly scramble to find a replacement who could serve up to 130 guests. We did find a new caterer, but the reception got cut short right after dinner, when a fallen tree knocked out the power in the venue.
The most memorable part of the day, however, was that the bride was a police officer and the groom was an EMT, so when they realized their reception wasn’t to be, they decided instead to head out into the storm and help their fellow first responders!” ― Meagan Culkin of Magnolia Grove Weddings in Raleigh, North Carolina
The BM Bride
“The bride was pretty young and I don’t think much of a drinker, but her family insisted on giving her shots throughout the reception: before dinner, during, after. They just kept coming. When it came time to cut the cake, the bride felt sick all of a sudden and she ended up soiling her wedding dress: Yes, a bride pooped her pants. We quickly shuffled the guests into another room in the banquet hall and escorted her to the bathroom. Total disaster.” ― Kristina, wedding planner (who chose to withhold her name for privacy reasons) in Los Angeles
“I had a wedding where the in-house caterer really pushed for rolling the wedding cake out to the dance floor for a showy cake cutting. During the mother/son dance, the catering manager and her assistant got on two sides of the table and started to roll it. Unbeknownst to them, the table legs had not been locked before they started moving it. As soon as one of the wheels hit a groove in the tile, the table leg buckled and the $1,500 cake (a work of art!) slid off the table, the metal platter clanging loudly on the floor. All of the guests on the back quadrant of the reception space turned to look in horror as the caterers desperately tried to smash it back together and salvage any parts that hadn’t touched the floor. Fortunately we had ordered side cake for extra guests, so I had my assistant run to fetch two pre-sliced pieces of cake for the couple to feed to one another and toast with champagne. But sadly the majority of guests had to go without dessert.” ― Kelly Dellinger, wedding planner in Nashville, Tennessee
The Chicago Streaker
“When you have your wedding on city park district property you never know what’s going to happen. That is especially true of Chicago’s lakefront on a warm summer Saturday. One time, we had a streaker running through our cocktail hour, buck naked with five Chicago police officers trying to chase him down. The chase finally ended with the streaker being tackled to the ground by aforementioned cops and being tased multiple times before being cuffed and dragged to the back of a police car. The bride and groom luckily thought it was hilarious and joked to their guests ‘Welcome to Chicago! Too bad we spent all that money on cocktail entertainment ― we had no idea it would be provided to us compliments of the Chicago Police Department!’”― Lori Stephenson of LOLA Event Productions in Chicago
The Tumbling Groom
“I will never forget this ceremony! The florist was the sweetest little lady and set up these large urn arrangements full of flowers surrounding the ceremony site. Right before she left, she grabbed me and said, ‘Christi, make sure nothing happens to these urns!’ Being that they were all 3 to 5 feet tall, at the ceremony site, and away from any sort of party, I felt very confident in my reply, ‘Yes ma’am!’ But that was not the case! During the ceremony, right before the ‘I do’s’ I see the groom swaying back and forth, and one second later he faints! Falling back he lands on the urns and just like dominos, they all smashed to the ground one by one!” ― Christi Nasser of Epic Thyme event planning in Nevada City, California
The Runaway Bride
“I had a bride who on the day of her wedding decided to take some Xanax. Which would have been fine to calm her nerves but then she decided to drink Champagne all day with it. Well, it made her get totally paranoid and act crazy! She legit had me block her while running through the middle of the garden, ducking behind trees ― mind you no one was around except vendors and staff. Then she made it through the ceremony OK. But after the license was signed, she locked herself in the bridal room. Her now-husband, mom and bridesmaids couldn’t get her to open the door or come out. We had to invite the guests inside and move forward with salads. At this point I had to get the keys for the room and have it opened. She eventually came out and the rest of the night went fine ― until the end of the night: She was nowhere to be found. Turns out, she had the catering manager give her a ride home!” ― Tasha, wedding planner (who chose to withhold her name for privacy reasons) in Scottsdale, Arizona
No Groom, No Problem
“The groom was late, so late that the the bride wasn’t sure if he was coming, and then he ‘definitely wasn’t coming’ and then he showed up ― wearing jeans ― to apologize to her. Her brother started yelling at him and the two men got into a knock-down, punch-out fight right in front of me. The groom eventually ran out of the room. The couple didn’t end up getting married, but the hotel got the bride a more casual dress from the gift shop and she still had the reception.” ― Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events in Los Angeles
The MIA Officiant
“The couple had decided to have the groom’s uncle officiate the wedding but wanted it to be a surprise for the family, so they decided to play a little prank. When it was time to begin the ceremony, they had me awkwardly walk over and pretend to whisper to the groom standing at the altar that the officiant was a no-show. He and his best man pretended to be really upset and the groom exclaimed, ‘Wait what?! Does that mean we can’t get married?! What are we going to do?!’ I simply shook my head that they would not be officially married unless we could find someone to officiate the wedding.
The guests started to murmur and some stood up to try to console the seemingly upset groom. Suddenly, someone cried out, ‘What about your uncle?! Can’t he marry you?!’ With that, his uncle looked around and stood up. Everyone started to cheer and we were able to start the ceremony. He later explained that it was all a part of the plan.” ― Kenia Gomez of Kenia Event Planning + Design in Tampa Bay, Florida
“I once had a handsy grandma. She kept making inappropriate comments to the groomsmen in a really loud voice from her perch in the front row at the ceremony, and even tweaked one on the butt during intros at dinner.” ― Lori Stephenson