The venue is one of the most important components of a wedding. After choosing the right location for your nuptials, it's important to establish a good working relationship with the venue's coordinator to make the planning process go more smoothly and the day itself a bit less stressful.
Melina Glavas, director of events at the Little Nell in Aspen, who has orchestrated weddings that have ranged from intimate mountaintop ceremonies to sweeping shindigs with more than 500 guests, shared five phrases that she dreads hearing from her clients. She also divulged another phrase that, while not her favorite thing to hear, doesn't necessarily add up to the disaster that couples might expect.
"Can we move the ceremony?"
Moving a ceremony indoors, when it was planned as an outdoor affair, is an undertaking that most planners would rather not take on (unless stormy weather forces the issue). Glavas described one wedding she coordinated that included an "outdoor ceremony atop Aspen Mountain with sweeping views of the snow-covered Rocky Mountains."
Sounds idyllic, right? Well it didn't sound that way to a member of the extended family who was attending the nuptials who requested -- on the day of the ceremony -- that the service be held indoors because of chilly weather. Even though this request was denied, "the guest did end up attending the outside wedding," Glavas said.
"Do what you think is best."
"I always worry a little if a bride says this when faced with planning questions," said Glavas, who aims to create weddings to match brides' visions. But if the bride doesn't share what she really wants -- or doesn't know -- an event planner might find it challenging to guess what will make her happy. "Even if a bride doesn't have it all figured out yet, at least providing us with parameters and a few touchstones can make all the difference," Glavas said. "Decision by decision, we'll arrive at an amazing event."
"Can the space be altered?"
Many venues can be transformed to fit a wedding's theme, but they probably can’t literally change their form. That doesn’t stop eager brides and grooms from requesting structural alterations. "One of our team members likes to tell the story of a bride and groom requesting that an entire load-bearing wall be removed from the venue to make room for more guests," Glavas said. "They wanted a party for 350 people, but the venue only held 300. They asked that the entire building be altered."
In the end, that the couple ended up trimming the guest list to better suit the space, Glavas said.
"We're canceling the event!"
It's no surprise that event planners dread to hear these words after spending months, even an entire year, preparing for a wedding. One such occurrence of a bride and groom calling off their nuptials did make for a pretty good story, Glavas said. "The bride and groom split about five months before the wedding, so we received a call that the wedding was off," she said. "Then, two years later, the same bride booked another wedding at the Little Nell. We guess she had her venue and vision in place; she just needed the perfect groom to go with it!"
"The bride (or groom) is MIA.”
The show can't go on without its leading man or lady, Glavas said. But it is possible to find "creative solutions to all kinds of elements that are beyond your control," she added.
Glavas recalled a wedding put together by a member of her team at another property: The maid of honor was a no-show after fighting with the bride the night before. The bride's "hairdresser actually fit [into] the dress perfectly and was able to 'stand in' at the wedding," taking the place of the maid of honor. "We hope the two friends have mended, but this was a pretty interesting way to pull through the day," Glavas added.
"We only have a week to plan."
While this phrase inevitably leads to long days and some scrambling, Glavas does not fear such a declaration as much as other scenarios. Glavas has planned weddings in a matter of days, if a venue was available and the clients were willing to be flexible about details, she said.
Her rule for planning weddings on the fly is to think locally. "In these quick-turnaround situations, use as many local items and vendors as possible," Glavas said. "Hiring a local event planner to execute all the tiny details is a must."