I tell my clients that I want to make everything perfect for them on their wedding day, and I try my best. I remember all the little details, like: Do they want me to have lunch delivered for the bridal party while they're making themselves beautiful? And do they want to see the groom before the ceremony for a first look photo? I do my very best to get them down the aisle on time, something really critical on an island where sunset is no joke. It gets dark really fast once the sun dips.
But no matter what I do, or how I politely phrase it, I cannot seem to overcome one major problem that plagues every large wedding party: The bridesmaids are a bunch of slobs while they're getting ready! And they usually don't clean up after themselves before the ceremony, so the bride and groom come back to a pigsty for their honeymoon night. Romantic, yes? Not at all.
So you're wondering why I can't solve this seemingly small problem myself, if I'm such a great wedding planner, right? Let me ask you this -- have you ever seen what a bedroom and bathroom look like after five or more girls get dressed together before a school dance? Well, make it a bride, seven bridesmaids, some flower girls, mothers of both the bride and the groom, plus assorted relatives who wouldn't go away, and, frankly, it looks like a tornado blew through that master bedroom. I literally dread going up to see what I face once the reception is underway. I should take pictures to show you guys.
First rule, NOBODY on my crew is permitted in that master bedroom without a partner during wedding events. There is jewelry, cash and a variety of expensive stuff laying casually about, and I don't want anybody accused of taking anything that was misplaced. And let me tell you, things DO get misplaced in the melee before the wedding, and things always get found the next day. But that doesn't undo the damage your drunken bridesmaid did to my psyche when she accused me or my staff of stealing her missing earrings, wallet, etc.
It's enough to ruin your entire wedding experience for ME. Maybe you don't care about how we feel about the job we do, but it's the heart that my team puts behind every wedding that ensures our success on this backwards little island. Being called thieves is not a compliment on a job well done after 20 hours of working to make the wedding day perfect. And I assure you, the apology the next day always comes from the bride or groom, not the person who accused us.
Second rule, DON'T TOUCH anything that isn't food or beverage-related. We go up and pick up cocktail cups, beer cans, empty champagne bottles and some other trash. But just like hotel maids, we don't pick up half-full bottles/cans/etc. in case you wanted them later. And unlike hotel maids, we do not make your bed, fold your towels or try to make sense of the disaster zone. And here is why:
-- Everybody who got dressed up in there has their own pile and bags...or several piles. Mixing them up will cause more angst than leaving the mess. You should see the variety of shoes lying about -- like every girl brought three options.
-- The bathroom counter will look like a three year old dumped his mother's very extensive makeup collection all over it. What belongs to whom? Only the individual owners know which eyelash curler is theirs. How do I even go about cleaning that up without making their lives hell or costing them money when they lose expensive cosmetics? Should I just toss all the random cans of hairspray into one big bag? Of course not. Some of this stuff belongs to the bride and she needs it.
-- Purses, wallets, watches, cameras, laptops, iPads, phones and chargers are literally EVERYWHERE and I don't know whose is whose, and I'm not touching them. What if something turns up broken? I want to be able to honestly say that nobody from Weddings in Vieques touched anybody's personal belongings.
The easy solution to this problem is to have a responsible Maid of Honor, or a bridesmaid (maybe a younger sister) who is committed to prepping the bridal suite for the wedding night. But she can't do it either if the bridesmaids have all left their shit everywhere. For the same reasons we can't do it (except liability). How does she know what belongs to whom? She'd miss the entire reception playing maid. No fair.
Think about how you have to clean the house so the maid can come clean, right? Yeah, my husband thinks it's stupid too, but it's true. They can't dust and vacuum if you have stuff everywhere because they don't know where it goes to put it away. If they do put it away, you'll never find it again. Same problem in the master bedroom. That is why it's really, really imperative that you schedule enough prep time for the bridal party to get dressed and pack up all their belongings BEFORE the wedding ceremony.
During the reception, the bridesmaids should reclaim their belongings and then stay out of the master bedroom. We ALWAYS hang a private sign, but no less than 10 times a night, I still have to ask random strangers (not even wedding party) why they're headed up the staircase. No, you may not wander through the bedrooms at wedding venue. That is so rude. And bridesmaids and groomsmen and flower girls should not be going in and out of that bridal suite, either, once the reception is in full swing. It is not your little private hide-away. Get your stuff and get out of there -- and don't come back unless you're up there to bustle the bride or something like that.
Being a member of the wedding party is about standing up for the bride and groom and making their wedding day as special as possible. A big part of that is making sure she's not tripping over your abandoned shoes on her way to the bathroom on her honeymoon night. Be neat and tidy and clean up after yourself as you make the mess and everything will be just fine.
True story -- After a perfect wedding last summer with particularly rowdy guests, a bridesmaid complained that we hadn't cleared all the wine glasses out of the master bedroom just as we were leaving the villa for the night. I broke my own rule and popped upstairs to double check, because I had, in fact, sent up a reliable team of interns to double check already. I doubly broke the rule because we'd already removed our radios and headsets, so I couldn't call for help if I needed it.
There was nothing in the bedroom (this bride's sister had done the cleanup I've talked about) and I turned to the bridesmaid who had followed me up the stairs and sort of shrugged. She then stalked into the master bathroom (the door had been shut), picked up a martini glass with a funky looking orange signature drink settled in it, and flung it at me. Seriously.
Okay, she was right. The girls goofed and didn't check the bathroom. And believe me, we check, because the caterers want those expensive acrylic glasses back that we have to use in venues with pool decks. But throwing a drink on the wedding planner at midnight is not the way to handle the problem.
I took a breath, walked past her into the bathroom -- taking the martini glass from her as I went by. I picked up a towel and sorta dove headfirst into the sink do as much damage control as I could to my dress, completely ignoring her glowering in the mirror behind me. She shut the door and it was a little scary, but I didn't show any fear. I did wish for my radio, but that ship had sailed. So I simply dried myself off, took the glass, and left the room. I sorta had to push past her to get out but I wasn't going to engage. She looked a lot rougher and tougher than me. I wasn't going to break a nail on her. Not my style.
When I got downstairs, my staff took one look at the bright-orange me and freaked. But I gave them the "say nothing" look and head shake, and we all went outside to the cars. I told them what happened, but just wanted to get out of there. The bride and groom were effusive in their accolades the next day, but nobody apologized for the shit-faced bridesmaid from hell who threw a drink at me and permanently stained my dress.
Moral of the Story: Have a plan ahead of time for how you're going to get your master bedroom turned into a bridal suite before you head down the aisle. Talk with your bridesmaids about the concern. Any of them who have been married will totally get it. The rest can read this blog. But don't let your bridal party behave like teenage slobs in your honeymoon suite on your wedding night, or you'll have memories you really didn't want.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!