One of the greatest pitfalls during wedding planning is assuming that someone else understands you. It can go horribly wrong. I would like to share a few of those moments. I won't be using any names, as I wouldn't want to embarrass anyone.
Never assume a musician knows what prelude means. One wedding I directed, I was assured that the acoustical guitar player could play anything, that he was even a guitar teacher. They wanted me to choose the music. I did some research on music suitable for a guitar, ordered the sheet music, and went over all the details with the musician. I had timed the music and knew that we would have 30 minutes of prelude music, then a song for the family to enter, then the music for the processional. I told the musician what time to begin the prelude music. I saw him come in and set up. The problem -- the thirty minutes before the wedding actually starts is the busiest time for me. I am doing a million things. I didn't hear him playing because I was elsewhere. When I came out and signalled him that the grandparents were to be seated, he began playing the prelude music. I thought, "OK, that's not what we had planned, but it will be alright." When it was time for the bridesmaids to enter, he continued to play the prelude music, until I came up to him and asked him to start playing the Canon in D. He had not played anything for the 30 minutes prior to the wedding.
Don't assume that there will be someone at the venue to allow you entrance unless you have planned ahead. One wedding I directed, the florist didn't come to deliver the flowers until after the church was closed for the day and the doors were locked. I came a little after they arrived, only because that was the time arranged to meet the photographer. Make sure that your florist will deliver the flowers on time. I asked this particular florist where the bouquets were, and she said at home in water. The entire wedding party had been photographed and the ushers were seating guests when she arrived with the bouquets and boutonnieres. I had asked the bride what time the florist would arrive in our pre-wedding meeting, and she had told me she was doing the flowers herself.
Another wedding, the reception venue had offered to be open all day to allow for decorating. The hostess was told that they would not be coming until 3:30. When they tried to deliver the beer at 12:30, there was nobody there. The hostess doesn't want to stay all day if nobody is coming. When they were able to deliver the beer, they assumed that the caterers would ice it. It wasn't their responsibility, since they weren't providing it. The florist iced the beer for them.
Don't assume that the officiant knows he is conducting the wedding unless you have spoken to him and gone over the details of the wedding. Some ministers require counselling, so those details must be worked out in advance. Just because you have arranged to use the church, doesn't mean that the pastor of the church will be officiating.
Don't assume that if you tell someone's secretary a wedding detail and ask that it be passed along to one of your vendors, that it will be.
Don't assume that there will be a table to place something on. One wedding, the bride had incorporated a salt covenant into the ceremony. In biblical times, salt was a precious commodity, and was often shared with friends. The symbol of this was that once the salt was mixed from both families, it was impossible to tell whose salt was the groom's families' and whose salt was the bride's families'. The secretary at the church said that we absolutely could not put the salt on the communion table. The minister's wife brought a table from their home, just before the service.
Don't assume there will be enough seats for everyone if you don't have RSVP. One wedding, I found out very late in the game that 750 invitations had been sent. I discussed this with the bride, and she thought that since so many would have to travel a great distance, that she would have plenty of room. We brought in all the additional chairs that would fit in the sanctuary and in the balcony. The mother of the groom wanted me to put more chairs on the outer aisle, but it wasn't safe, so I couldn't accommodate her. Quite a few people had to stand. As a general rule, ten people can be seated per pew. It's a good idea to know how many people can be seated before you send the invitations.
Don't assume couples won't bring their children, just because their names aren't on the invitation. If they RSVP that the children are coming, when you have decided no children are invited, you should have your wedding planner call and say, "We would really like to accommodate you, but we aren't able to include children at the wedding." At that point, you must be ready to respond to someone who says that if their children aren't welcome, that they aren't coming either.
Don't assume that someone who didn't RSVP won't come. You always are going to need a few additional seats, and maybe an additional table for those who were not planning to come, but at the last minute decided that they would come. This is a little awkward if there are assigned tables. It would be especially nice to have someone at the name card table to assist those who can't find a card. One additional person could probably be seated at a table, but two would have to be moved to another table.
Don't assume that something you have seen at other weddings will be carried out at your own wedding, if you haven't discussed it with the wedding planner. There are so many changes to the rules for weddings now, that almost anything goes. Anything can be incorporated, but might not be if you don't specifically ask for it. I had a mother of the groom who was disappointed not to have been escorted out after the ceremony. My reasoning on this was that no pictures of the bride and groom had been made prior to the ceremony, and they wanted to take some outdoor pictures immediately following the ceremony with the wedding party. If we escorted seven additional people out, it would have delayed the photography and the reception.
Don't assume that the venue will have any appliance, sound equipment, or container. You must bring your own. I have had flower girls with no basket for the petals.
Don't assume that a child who is perfectly adorable at 10 a.m. will be as agreeable at 5:30 p.m. Kids get tired, especially if they have been asked to come to the church three hours before the ceremony for pictures.
Don't assume that cream cheese icing will stand up to 90 degree heat or to squirrels. One wedding, a portion of the cake actually drooped and fell off. Another wedding, squirrels were eating off the reception table.
Leave the details to me. That's what I really love. Assume that I will come through for you.