Updated: Aug 9, 2019
I walked up to the father of the bride and asked him if he was ready to dance with his daughter. His response was "what dance?" The bride had wanted to surprise him with the father-daughter dance. He surprised her by refusing to do it.
Are you getting married and worried something is going to go wrong? If so, you're not alone. But don't worry! If you hire vendors you trust and have a positive attitude (or at least try to have one) your wedding will be amazing! Trust me on this.
But that doesn't mean there won't be any last-minute changes... There may be! But usually, they don't affect the wedding at all. I don't study weddings for a living, I'm just a busy wedding DJ with a lot of events under my belt. So with my experience, and help from two fellow wedding vendors, I'm going to tell you about...
The Most Common Last-Minute Wedding Changes
By DJ Ben Boylan
I spoke to NYC wedding coordinator Lara Mahler of The Privilege is Mine about this topic. She said that guest count can change and in turn, make you change some of your plans. "Weeks and even days before a wedding, couples may have last-minute guests cancel and they have to revisit their table arrangements and seating chart" she said.
Order of Speeches - and Who Gives One
My couples always provide me with a list of who will be giving a speech at their wedding. But this often gets changed on the day of the wedding:
Order: when I go up to the first person speaking (to prep them for their speech), sometimes they say "I'm not going first. I don't want to go first! She's going to go first..." or something along those lines. I usually tell the couple and we change the order - no problem.
Someone adds on: Recently I was DJing a wedding and this happened. When the speeches had finished, another person walked up and said "I'm ready to give my speech." This was not planned. I looked at the couple, and they looked back and shrugged as if saying "go ahead." The person gave a speech and again, it was - no problem.
Someone drops out: According to many studies, people really fear public speaking. Often when I am talking to people who are about to give a speech I see it. They are sweating, they don't look me in the eye, and most of all, they have no idea what I just said. So while it happens rarely, I have had people change their mind about standing up and speaking at a wedding.
Sometimes couples change their mind about the music played at their wedding:
Special dance songs: Eileen Meny is an NYC-based photographer. She said that a lot of her couples change their first dance song at the last minute. I've seen this too, and now that I can get wifi almost everywhere, it's usually fine.
Rare songs: I have all my couples fill out a music worksheet. Sometimes, almost all the songs they pick are rare ones that their guests don't know. The cardinal rule of getting guests to dance at a wedding is people only dance to songs they know. But sometimes the couple wants to try it anyway. Often they will ask me to change the music (to something their guests will recognize).
Age: Usually age is a factor when two things happen. One, a lot of the guests are the age of the couple's parents, and two, the couple only wants new music. I always ask for an age breakdown of the guests. If more than a quarter of the guests are of their parents' age I suggest we start with some older jams. But, sometimes they aren't interested in that. And this may lead to them asking me to change the music.
But more often, the dance set is amazing and no one wants to stop!
Add or Remove a Tradition
Here are a few things I have seen happen in the past couple years and none of them were a big deal:
Bouquet toss: the bride thought she didn't want to do a bouquet toss and then she decided she wanted to (or her guests pressured her into it).
Cake cutting: Sometimes "the couple decides they are having too much fun to stop the party to cut the cake," Lara said.
Special dance: We started off this article with a parent's dance. I've also seen this happen when the parent had planned to do it but changed their mind.
"I feel like there are often so many small changes that happen, but it's largely due to timing getting switched up" Eileen said. Weddings often run late. This almost always doesn't make them any less fun or special though!
Here are a few things that I've seen cause the lateness:
The bus runs late or guests arrive late
The food takes longer than expected to come out
The speeches run longer than expected or more are added
Inclement weather (which is a good way to segway to our next section...)
You knew this one was coming right?! You plan to have the ceremony outside, it rains, so you have it inside. Everyone says it's good luck and in the case of my wedding, it definitely was. This is also a reason why you can get a discount on January weddings in NY.
So you might have wondered, what happens when everything runs late? What gets cut? Often, part of the dance set! But that's not so bad. Dance sets are often scheduled for two and a half to three hours and two hours is enough.
So, I hope I didn't scare you with any of this - I promise it's going to be OK! But if I did scare you, please let me know by email. I'd love to chat about your upcoming wedding.
Thank you for participating:
Wedding coordinator Lara Mahler of The Privilege is Mine
Photographer Eileen Meny