If you’re like most brides, you probably think you’ve planned everything to a ‘T’…nothing can go wrong.
Sorry, girl! I have to give you a reality check.
Things are going to go wrong on your big day. Plenty of little surprises will pop up, and maybe even a few unexpected doozies.
Here’s the thing: In the grand scheme of things, these wedding surprises won’t matter!
But if you’re Type A like me and take great pride in being prepared, then here’s a list of the most common issues and how to deal with them.
Photos by Maison Meredith Photography
28 Wedding Surprises Every Bride Should Prepare For:
Yes, that last sentence is a bit contradictive. How can someone be prepared for a surprise? There are certain events that can truly be labeled as a “surprise” (Maroon 5 showing up to sing, Bill Murray crashing the party, or your fiancé running away with Beyoncé are just a few examples I had fun imagining), but a lot of the so-called “unexpected” events are actually quite common when you tie the knot. Not all of the following circumstances will occur, but it’s always comforting to have your bases covered.
1. You won’t spend a lot of time with your new spouse.
This sounds odd, but it’s something you should prepare for.
Getting ready will take up a huge portion of your day, and you definitely won’t be doing that together. You may mingle together during your reception, but it’s common to get pulled apart.
With so many people to see, it may be easier to tackle them separately.
If this time apart makes you nervous, there are a few ways to get alone-time that are easy to fit into any wedding schedule.
If you decide to do a first look (check out the pros and cons >>), this is a great opportunity to get some moments together. After the first look, consider having a 1 to 2-hour photo session for just the two of you.
After your ceremony has ended, have 10 minutes to yourselves. You just got married. Take it in! Assign one person to come and get you when the 10 minutes is up—that way there are no unwanted interruptions.
2. You’ll experience a huge power trip (and will probably enjoy it).
You are the BRIDE. This means you call the shots all day.
If a vendor does something you don’t want, you can tell them to fix it. If a guest gets out of control, you can kick them out.
This is the sort of power you dream about—enjoy it! Just don’t become a Bridezilla.
With great power, comes great responsibility.
3. You won’t want to eat.
But you have to. You’ll have nerves all morning and afternoon, which will make food and water sound unappealing. But those nerves will also make that third mimosa sound ideal—be careful, brides!
You have to eat. Not only do I want you to remain conscious throughout your ceremony, but you need energy to keep you going all day.
Assign a bridesmaid to your food intake. Don’t snap at them when they force a granola bar down your throat.
4. You won’t dance all that much.
This one definitely bums me out. Unfortunately, you’re required to speak to as many guests as you possibly can—even if this leads into the dance hour.
Social hours make mingling easy to accomplish, so consider inserting one between the ceremony and dinner.
Note: If you have a social hour, all photos need to be taken before the ceremony. But more time with your friends and family will make this schedule change worthwhile.
5. Your feet are going to kill.
Photos, mingling, dancing…it’s no wonder!
Choose your shoes based on style and comfort. Wear them around the house as much as possible before the wedding day to break them in.
I also recommend finding a great pair of flats for your reception.
6. You’ll feel rushed at some point.
There’s a lot to accomplish on the big day, so make sure you allow wiggle room in your schedule.
Provide plenty of time for hair and makeup; overestimating by an hour is totally allowed. You should also allot extra time for photos.
Delegation is essential. You are not the one who should be stressing out on the big day—that’s for your personal attendants and bridesmaids to do.
Focus on enjoying every moment, even if it’s a few moments behind.
7. You’ll cry when you least expect it.
Many brides think they’ll only shed a few tears as they walk down the aisle, or just get misty during their vows.
What about when you see your father for the first time? When your groom gets teary at the end of the aisle? When your MOH shares fond memories or the Best Man makes your husband laugh/cry?
There are so many heavy moments to think about.
Bring tissues, wear waterproof makeup, and embrace those emotions! They’re fantastic.
8. The day will be over before you know it.
Just one more reason to embrace every second.
9. You probably won’t have sex.
Everyone talks up the wedding night, and I’m not sure why. Do you realize how exhausted you’ll be?
Odds are your day started around 7AM and didn’t end until midnight or later. In other words, don’t be disappointed if you choose sleep over sex.
And, no, this will not jinx your marriage. You’re just saving the hanky-panky for the honeymoon!
10. You’ll spend a ton of time in the bathroom.
If you’re staying hydrated (which is essential), then you’re going to have to use the restroom a lot.
These bathroom visits won’t be as quick as usual. You’ll even need help.
Assign a personal attendant (or someone you’re really comfortable with) to help you in and out of your dress.
Expert Tip: If you don’t want to take your dress off, sit backwards on the toilet. That way your train is out of the way.
11. Extra costs will pop up.
Lunch for your bridal party, gratuity, forgotten items such as black socks or shoes—all of these items mean even more money.
Be prepared by reviewing our 35 Hidden Wedding Costs >>
12. Unexpected guests will arrive.
Guests will bring dates when they weren’t asked to. Family will show up even though they RSVP’d ‘no.’
You may even get a crasher!
Unexpected attendees are a common occurrence, so do your best to keep your cool and adjust as needed.
My favorite brides embrace less-than-perfect weather. Kiss under clear umbrellas, wear colorful rain boots, and don’t freak out if your hair gets wet.
Rain on your wedding day is actually lucky! In some cultures, it symbolizes fertility and cleansing.
14. You’ll feel under the weather.
The week before your big day is inevitably stressful.
You’ll get less sleep than you need, your brain will be on overdrive, and then the weekend will arrive and you’ll be busier than ever. Odds are, your body will want a break—and it’ll show you by catching a cold.
Do your best to prevent this by getting rest, drinking water, and taking Emergen-C, Airborne, or other immune system boosters.
Make sure your groom is taking care of himself too. You don’t want to be sick on your honeymoon!
15. You’ll experience the “cold feet” phenomenon.
You’re committing to someone for the rest of your life—there’s no shame in a little anxiety.
When I think of cold feet, I think of Runaway Bride and Sex and the City: The Movie. The characters in those films experienced cold feet because they needed one thing: To see their fiancé before the ceremony.
A first look could be the ultimate solution!
16. Your dress will get dirty.
Baby wipes. Enough said.
17. Someone will get wasted.
Even if you don’t have an open bar, someone will figure out a way to get absolutely bombed.
Trust me when I say you can ask them to leave. If they’re disrupting the entire night—everyone will be on your side.
18. The speeches could suck, and everyone will feel awkward.
The easiest way to prevent this from happening is by setting a few rules.
Give them a length limit. Anything over 5 minutes is TOO LONG.
Make sure they know what topics or stories are off-limits.
Only allow the essential few to speak: Best Man, Maid of Honor, and the Father of the Bride.
If you do all of these things and they still suck, just drink more champagne and smile through it.
19. You won’t get pictures with everyone.
It’s important to allow enough time for photography. Your photographer will have a suggested schedule, but feel free to add even more time (just not less).
Then create a prioritized shot list so your vendor knows what you need to have.
To snag the pics your photographer can’t get, create a #hashtag and share it with your guests. You’ll be able to download everyone’s selfies and group snaps right away.
20. You’ll be sweaty.
Stay comfortable by rubbing deodorant and/or baby powder inbetween your legs before slipping on your dress. You will probably need to reapply later (another task for a trusted friend).
Oil blotters are another must-have!
But in the end, just embrace it. Everyone else will be sweaty too.
21. Your face will hurt.
So. Much. Smiling.
22. You may experience stage fright.
If you’re not used to speaking in front of people—not to mention professing your love in front of them—then the ceremony may give you some nerves.
This is normal.
I heard the best advice the other day at my friend’s wedding. One of the personal attendants was calming her down before the ceremony, and she said, “Everyone out there is on your side.”
If you stumble over words, forget something, or even trip, no one in that crowd is judging you—just loving you.
They’ll probably find any slip-ups endearing! And so will your groom.
23. You’ll bond with your photographer.
And you should! If you bond with your photographer and really help them get to know the two of you, they’ll be able to capture the best moments; the ones where you’re truly being yourselves.
24. You’ll be dehydrated.
If you drink water, you won’t be. Please, please drink water. Please.
25. You’ll be exhausted.
This one is sort of inevitable…but do your best to stay peppy. Water (am I beating a dead horse yet?), food, and any form of rest is essential.
26. A vendor will mess up. Somehow. Someway.
Do your best to problem-solve and remain calm if this happens. Don’t let your inner Bridezilla make an appearance!
If the vendor doesn’t figure out a solution or apologize for the mishap, well, that’s what reviews are for.
27. You’ll be overwhelmed by all the love.
I’m not married, so I can’t imagine what it’s truly like. But I think about standing in front of the people who matter most to me, promising my heart to the love of my life, and I get goosebumps.
There will be so much love, support, and happiness in one room—and it’s all for you.
Embrace it, enjoy it, and savor it.
28. All the little details won’t matter.
This blog may be about preparing for wedding surprises, but in the end the petty details and problems will fall away.
Trust that your guests won’t remember the centerpieces, what songs played during the social hour, what flavor of cake you had, or any of those other minor details.
What they will remember is how happy you looked, how in love you seemed, and how grateful they were to be a part of it.
Enjoy every moment. That’s the best advice I can give you.
What surprises happened at your wedding? What unexpected events are you prepping for? Join the convo in a comment below!
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