Wedding Moments: Big Day Surprises

Rule of Thumb: When it comes to your wedding, expect the unexpected.

Most brides spend months choosing their gowns and planning their food and entertainment and myriad other details for their special day. But even if you’re a micromanager, there are some things you just can’t control—like the weather, kids, animals and even drunk uncles.

Having a Plan B is always a great idea, says Tammy Waterman, master wedding planner at Special Moments Event Planning in Pinellas Park. “That’s why I always recommend that couples purchase wedding insurance for peace of mind. After all, you buy auto insurance to protect your car and health insurance to protect your health; why wouldn’t you buy insurance to protect your wedding?”

The only thing it doesn’t cover, she notes, “is change of heart.”

Here are some couples’ wedding mishaps and how they made the best of it.


A good example of money well spent on wedding insurance was the couple who had their waterside ceremony planned for the same weekend in September 2017 that Hurricane Irma was scheduled to hit Florida. “The bride couldn’t decide if she should call off the wedding,” says Waterman. But the Wednesday before, when the storm shifted course toward St. Petersburg (the site of the wedding), Waterman called the mayor’s office to get a storm update. She was told, off the record, that the office was ready to announce a mandatory beach evacuation on Friday, which happened to be the day before the wedding.

The advance warning gave Waterman and the bride time to contact all 100 wedding guests—some flying in from Brazil—and tell them not to come. “Luckily, we caught them before they left,” she says. “Even if they had managed to arrive, there wouldn’t have been anywhere to stay. Not only were all the hotels evacuated, but the wedding venue at the St. Pete Beach Community Center was used as a command station and shelter.”

The wedding, and honeymoon to St. Lucia, were postponed until December—the next open date—when clear skies prevailed.

Cake Flops

Rebekah and Taylor Nevin of Apopka never got their photo-worthy cake-cutting moment at their wedding because the confection almost ended up on the floor.

As the big moment approached at their Celebration Gardens reception in Winter Park, the bride’s mother whispered to her that there had been “a little mishap” with the cake, but that she and a cousin were fixing it, recalls Nevin. “Apparently one of the venue assistants had almost dropped it, so it was slightly deformed.”

Nevin wasn’t worried. “All I really cared about was how it tasted.” Plus, she wanted to see the special cake toppers perched on the dulce de leche cheesecake. “They were a family heirloom that had been passed down from Taylor’s great-grandparents who were named Sam and Ruth.” The vintage porcelain figurines of a bride and groom were nicknamed “Sam and Ruth” in honor of the couple who had first used them. The figurines had already been used at 10 family weddings.

“When Taylor’s grandmother gave us the cake toppers, she said that every couple that put Sam and Ruth on their cakes remained happily married.”

As the speeches were about to begin, once again Nevin’s mother whispered in her ear—this time to say that the legs on Sam, the cake topper, were broken.

During the speeches her mom and cousin taped the figurine back together and tried to cover up the damage with some flowers.

“No one even noticed,” Nevin says. “Sam’s legs have since been superglued back on, and he’s got a nice new coat of paint. You can’t even tell that he took a tumble on our big day.”


Even the most carefully laid plans are no match for Mother Nature, and what seems like the worst situation turns into the most memorable.

“The wedding planner was late to the rehearsal, the cake almost didn’t arrive, and the carefully selected DJ had a family emergency and sent someone [less superior] in his place,” says newlywed Ashley Maynard.

Then there was the weather. The July day had been gorgeous and sunny, but black clouds started rolling in as the ceremony at Twin Lakes Golf Club in Oakland, MI, neared. “The forecast was calling for some gnarly storms, and we were getting married outside; so we started early.”

As the service began, so did the sprinkles. “The wind whipped my veil around my head, but I didn’t care,” Maynard says. “I wasn’t about to let a little wetness stop me from getting married. But I could hear my mother muttering under her breath, ‘It’s raining, it’s raining, it’s raining.’ Then the tears started in earnest, and my mother stood up and said, ‘Stop the wedding!’ ”

Maynard began to panic. Thankfully, her best friend took control and instructed all the guests to gather around the couple under the gazebo.

“During the chaos, my friend whispered to me, ‘This is better. Now everyone you love is close to you, and we can all feel the love.’ It was so intimate with all our closest friends and family gathered around us as we vowed to love each other for the rest of our lives. I wanted an incredibly personal ceremony, and that little hiccup made it even better than I could have ever  imagined.”

Dogs and Drunk Uncles

Photographer Kristina Houser has seen it all. While taking wedding photos of the happy couple on the 16th floor Sky Terrace at the Hyatt Regency in Clearwater Beach, she had to shoo away a photobombing drunk uncle. As he stepped back, he knocked into the décor. Over the railing went dozens of glass votive candles and a huge floral arrangement. “It was like a domino effect,” recalls Houser of Kristina Houser Photography in Dunedin. “It all fell into the swimming pool below, but luckily no one was hurt.”

Then there was the time she photographed a wedding at the Powel Crosley Estate in Sarasota. A member of the wedding party walked down the aisle with the couple’s Golden Retriever wearing a colorful bandana around his neck. Suddenly, the dog stopped and took a poop.

After a momentary cleanup delay, the dog—and the wedding—continued. “I tell brides that you’ve got to roll with the punches, especially if you’re bringing an unpredictable animal or child into the picture,” says Houser. “And sometimes you just have to laugh.”


Take the celebration at the Historic Dubsdread Ballroom in Orlando, filmed by Scott Patterson, of Life’s Highlights in Brandon. As he shot footage of the bride and groom dancing, he noticed the young ring bearer heading over to the cupcake table. Patterson turned his camera toward the action, filming as the boy stuck his finger in one of the cupcakes and then licked his finger. “He proceeded to go down the line and stuck his finger in every one of the beautiful yellow and white cupcakes. When he got to the last one, he picked it up, licked the cupcake, and put it back.

“When the mom realized what happened, she looked at me with disappointment because I didn’t stop it. But I’m not there to monitor the activities of the guests; I’m there to capture them,” he says with a laugh.

Had dessert been at risk of falling on the floor, “I probably would have stopped it,” Patterson notes, “but I felt that the bride and groom would appreciate this footage so much more than me stopping the kid.”

When the cupcakes were served, “only me, the boy, and the mom knew.”

Categories: Real Weddings