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The Worst Wedding I've Ever Hosted

During one of my first few jobs as a professional wedding emcee, the power went out in the middle of the reception program. I remember it vividly: the collective groan of the guests, the frantic scrambling of the coordinators to find out what happened, and the abrupt intrusion of the dark. It was a garden wedding, and the chorus of crickets and other nighttime creatures was gradually being overpowered by the crescendo of murmurs from the confused crowd. “So, mukhang hindi po sila nagbayad ng kuryente.”

 

 

Surprisingly, the sound of my voice carried even in the absence of any artificial amplification. So did the sound of their laughter. It must have been cathartic for them to hear somebody crack a joke, no matter how lame. I cracked a couple more, and the tension eased considerably. I kept up the banter: with everyone, with no one in particular, and with anyone in arm’s reach. The lights came on in a few minutes. My mic was live after a minute more, and the program was back in full swing soon after. It was a defining moment for me.

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So no, that wasn’t the worst wedding I’ve ever hosted. Neither was the one where the entire outdoor setup had to be scrapped and we had to relocate to a depressingly bare indoor one (we were dancing merrily at the end of that one). Nor was it the one where the tent seams, engorged with water, tore open and drenched the entire presidential table (oh man, we all had a good laugh). In fact, no lousy wedding experience comes to mind involving typical worst-case-scenarios that couples dread. Typhoons, road closures, power outages, drunk guests, gate crashers, I’ve seen them all. In hindsight, they make good stories.

 

"What soon-to-wed couples don’t know is that the TRUE worst-case-scenarios are self-inflicted: born out of a wrong mindset or simply proof that the marriage was doomed to begin with."

 

If you think that power going out in the middle of the program is bad, I assure you that the groom walking out in the middle of the program is much worse. I’m not even speaking hypothetically! A groom of mine retreated to the holding room and stayed there, leaving his bride to finish the program on her own and say goodbye to the guests on their behalf.

 

 

If you think that the rambling of a drunken best man could ruin the night, you obviously haven’t met Darth Vader (I am your FATHER! Get it?). When he found out that dinner wasn’t going to be served yet because the newlyweds were still having their photoshoot, his response was an expletive-laden “I DON’T CARE.” The poor couple capitulated, and dinner was served while the sun was still shining. By the time the program was scheduled to start (we were on time), some guests were already leaving. Good job, Vader.

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If you’re scared of having uninvited guests that bloat the headcount and mess up the seatplan, wait until you hear this story. The groom had a female “best friend” who, in spite of the bride’s explicit protests, was made part of the entourage. The new missus hated seeing her so much that she had a standing order for the photo and video teams to cut her out of all the SDEs. She could smell eau-de-homewrecker from a mile away. Sadly, her instincts were correct. Mere months later, the marriage went up in flames. All because of a guest who was very much invited, and the trouble invited along with her.

 

 

“For better or for worse.” For some couples, the first test comes just a few hours after the words are said. From my experience, most of the bad things that can happen during an event are unpredictable and ultimately survivable. As long as you booked reliable suppliers with a good number of successful wedding events under their belts, they’re not worth worrying about.

For everything that can possibly go wrong, there’s a professional that’s on top of it and that person will see you through. We can’t fix people though. We can’t gloss over bad attitudes. And we certainly can’t fix your relationship, if it needs fixing. So if you’re losing sleep over what could happen on your wedding, here’s my advice: take stock of your situation, spot the red flags, come up with ways to manage them, discuss them with your suppliers, and let go.