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When the Unexpected Happens on Your Wedding Day

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Last week, American Airlines had a system wide outage that stopped travel for about six hours and left people stranded in airports across the country. I had two friends flying Tuesday on American to their wedding in Turks and Caicos who kept me posted once they got to Miami that finally after a five hour delay, American was up and running. Their flight was cancelled and they were put on the later flight, only to arrive at that gate and that flight got cancelled due to no pilots being available. They were stuck in Miami overnight. I am sure there are thousands of stories of missed meetings, missed life milestones and also tons of stranded brides and groom from yesterday's "issue." My friends laughed it off and giggled and she said it was a good "first wedding story" and part of their adventure of getting married in Turks and Caicos. They are re-booked on another airline and will be on the beach by 1:00 p.m.

As I was heading to their wedding Wednesday on American Airlines, I was glad to see my flight (crossed my fingers) was on-time and I was on my way to paradise at 4:00 a.m. to see my friends exchange their vows on the beach on Saturday, I saw a tired looking woman in a track suit carrying what looked like a big wedding dress. You see, I can spot brides a mile away. I am also a wedding planner in Chicago. I asked her if she was delayed yesterday and she poured her heart out to me that they were delayed a day to their Bahamas wedding. She was clearly and vocally very upset at American (okay, she was very mad), very displaced and very tired and it appeared she had probably shed some tears, if not many. She said she had not missed any of her wedding events but she said she was looking forward to hanging out on the beach today to get some sun and relax before her family and friends started arriving. She was just mad and I put my hand on her shoulder and told her, "At the end of the day, you get to marry your best friend, this is all part of the journey." She smiled at me through some little tears I saw forming and grabbed her fiancé's hand and she said, "You are right!!" I did not tell her what I do for a living since I did not want to pull that J. Lo moment of, "I'm the wedding planner" and whip out an emergency kit from under my sweater and spray her face with Evian mist like J. Lo did in The Wedding Planner, but I was temped.

This got me thinking more and more about things that can happen and go wrong on a wedding day. There are things that can happen beyond the control of the bride and groom, the family or even the vendors. Things that even the best timeline and the best wedding planner and best wedding vendor team may have no control of. Bad weather aside (because no one wants it to rain or snow on their wedding day), things happen. "Stuff" happens. Limousines can break down or there can be a bad traffic accident on the highway that makes a pick up or a family member late to the wedding. There can be unforeseen weather delays at airports that make your guests late or even makes it that some guests miss some events. A photographer can have a family emergency the day before or day of your wedding and have to send a back up photographer. When you are selecting your wedding vendors, talk with them about the what-ifs. Think of possible things that can happen and plan ahead for potential pitfalls or delays.

I always say the best part of my job is the day of the wedding because the day is in motion. The most magical and awesome thing is happening in a span of 6-10 hours and it is a very important with a lot of people involved and a lot of components. It is planned, and paid for and people are flying often thousands of miles to celebrate with you. If something happens beyond your control: that becomes part of your wedding day and part of your first day together as a married couple. Don't let it ruin your day. Laugh it off as being a part of life. Focus on what is important and those that are there to see you smile and laugh and say your vows, cut your wedding cake, do your first dance and boogie with you on the dance floor. At the end of the day, no one holds a microscope to your wedding day. And if you don't let them know that you were stressed because the limo was running 15 minutes late or it was a black limousine instead of a white one. Or, that your cake just did not look exactly how the sketch had shown it to be, they won't know it. They will just hug you and tell you how happy they are for you and how pretty or handsome you look.

And, at the end of the day, you get to marry your best friend!