I'm going to give you the one piece of advice that might very well go the farthest towards ensuring you have the smoothest possible wedding day. Find yourself a bad guy.
I'm serious and here's what I mean by that. You are likely to be surrounded by vendors bending over backwards to provide you with the wedding of your dreams. You are likely to have plenty of friends and family who want to see you happy. What you are not going to have is someone willing to tell you what you really need to hear. No one wants to break bad news to the bride. I see this a lot and I am still surprised when I encounter vendors who cannot bring themselves to be straight about a situation.
I see the following example all the time. No one wants to be the one who makes the decision to move an outdoor wedding to an indoor location when there is a strong possibility inclement weather is going to move in at the worst possible time. Everyone involved wants the bride to have her first choice location and does not want to be the bad guy here. Especially if the weather actually does cooperate in the end and the ceremony could have been held at the original outdoor location after all. So we leave it to the bride to make the call. Not a good idea! She doesn't deserve that much additional stress. Good decision making requires minimal emotional entanglement. Since when have you seen a minimally emotional bride?
No one wants to be the person who tells the bride it's too bad her beloved Aunt Jane hasn't arrived yet, but we've already held the start time for twenty-five minutes, guests are getting restless, the photographer is worried about losing light, the kitchen staff is anxious about the length of time the roast will be sitting... and her aunt is just going to have to miss the ceremony.
Imagine a bride ticked off the florist delivered the wrong centerpieces and is having a hissy fit over the situation rather than getting ready for the wedding. How many people do you know have the fortitude to respond, "Get over it Missy, no one's going to know but you and it's too late now, so sit still so we can finish your makeup?"
I recently officiated a wedding at the beach where the bride had given very specific instructions to her wedding planner regarding the placement of the arch and how she wanted to process into the ceremony. The groom's sister and mother came down to the beach to check on things and went ballistic because the arch was not set up to the bride's specifications. Given the tide schedule, the direction and speed of the wind that evening and the other people on this public beach who would also need access to the stairs - the bride's instructions were simply impractical. The groom's sister and mother would not listen to the reasons why the set up had to be changed and no one wanted to tell the bride what was going on. Except me.
You know what? The bride was fine. I didn't dance around the subject or leave it as another decision she would have to make. I explained the situation, told her what we were doing to accommodate what we could and why it would provide the optimal experience. It wasn't an option for her, it was a report on the situation. Done.
Find someone in your family or circle of friends with a no-nonsense attitude who isn't afraid to bring you back down to earth when the situation warrants and exhibits sound decision making ability. I recently had a bride whose favorite male cousin performed this function admirably. He was fantastic! What little challenges we encountered stayed molehills instead of escalating into mountains because he was there to put it in the proper perspective and give it a reality check. By the way ladies, males are great for this. They do tend to make decisions quicker with fewer emotional impediments. If you have a man in your circle of friends and family who enjoys this kind of stuff, grab him!
Enlist your "bad guy" and tell him or her to stay by your elbow. Give this person permission to make judgment calls on your behalf and tell your vendors who this person is and that he or she speaks with your authority. You'll have plenty of "yes men" surrounding you on your wedding day so this isn't the person bound and determined to have everything your way. What you need is someone who can tell you "no." That's your best buddy and your most valuable set of helping hands.
Photo Attribute: Indica Woodruff Photography