Bride and groom holding a director's board

Wedding Planning Tips, Your Event Career

5 Totally True Hollywood Wedding Clichés

What romantic comedy is complete without a wedding? Whether it’s a thirty-second Hugh Grant-fueled fantasy à la Bridget Jones’s Diary or the full-blown wedding mayhem of Bridesmaids, weddings are a filmmaker’s go-to for instant drama, tension, or romance.

And, unsurprisingly, Hollywood weddings tend to take a few, ah, creative liberties. For instance, you might want to dissuade your client from inviting three unsuspecting men who might be her father to the wedding (we also don’t recommend ABBA as your exclusive wedding soundtrack—sorry, Mamma Mia). But every cliché has to start somewhere—and once in a while, Hollywood hits pretty close to home.

1. The pre-wedding beauty mishap

When a client says she wants to “glow” on her wedding day, any wedding planner knows she doesn’t mean it literally. That tiger-striped tangerine tan might make you laugh on the big screen, but it’ll be a major confidence-crusher for a real-life client. The same goes for overplucked eyebrows, a bad waxing job, or a new beauty cream that makes the bride-to-be break out in a scaly rash.

Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day. Since it’s a special occasion, many women will test out beauty treatments that aren’t part of their regular routine. That’s usually fine—as long as they leave a little “recovery time” before the wedding to deal with any unexpected fallout. Booking a tanning session or a hair relaxer the day before the wedding is just asking for disaster.

Getting an eyebrow wax

2. The people crying

On your wedding day, tears aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Ideally, a bride who’s hired a planner can avoid a stressed-out pre-ceremony meltdown, but any wedding planner who’s been in the industry for a while has seen a few tears shed over the years. Parents, grandparents, siblings, best friends, the happy couple themselves… weddings can be emotional for your clients and their guests. If it’s been a long planning process and you’ve really gotten to know your clients, you may even have to pull out a tissue or two yourself.

Bride crying

Not every client is a crier, though. A dry-eyed wedding isn’t any less sincere!

3. The never-going-to-wear-it-again bridesmaid dress

Not every bridesmaid dress is as nightmarish as the movies would have us believe, but it is true that many get shoved to the back of the closet and forgotten.

Part of the problem lies in the tradition of outfitting every bridesmaid in the same dress. No one dress suits every body shape or sense of style; while the dress may not be hideous, it also might not have a place in the rest of the bridesmaid’s life.

Luckily, though, this cliché is starting to change. Many brides are opting to let their bridesmaids have more choice in what they wear by picking a few dresses for their friends to choose from, or by simply setting a color or two and leaving it at that.

4. The awkward speech

Let’s face it—most people aren’t natural-born public speakers. Bad jokes, inappropriate stories, offensive opinions, and dictionary-sized stacks of cue cards can all easily make for speeches that leave the audience cringing or yawning (or both). A few glasses of wine certainly won’t help, either.

Making a wedding toast

While not every wedding will include a speech as awkward as any of these horrific wedding toasts shared by The Knot, many brides and grooms will be in for speeches that are overly lengthy or kind of uncomfortable. Ultimately, neither you or your clients can control what their guests say—but you can help your clients play it safe by helping them pick guidelines for any speech-makers at their wedding.

A quick word on how long your clients are envisioning the speeches—and any uncomfortable stories or details they may want left out—can help make both the speaker and your clients more comfortable.

5. The last-minute disaster…

As a professional wedding planner, you’ve seen enough crises in your career to know that last-minute wedding disasters really do happen. A spill on the wedding dress, a makeup job the bride doesn’t like, a sick vendor, a pair of misplaced rings… A wedding has a ton of moving parts, and it’s very easy for any one of them to break down right at the critical moment.

Of course, you can avert some of these mishaps in advance by being prepared. Double (and triple) checking the details with your vendors can prevent a disastrous mix-up. Ensuring someone trustworthy is hanging onto the rings reduces the chances of losing track of them before they make it to the altar. Any wedding planner who’s made it through a few weddings knows the drill!

6. … and the just-in-time solution

A missing bride. Wilted flowers. A dropped wedding cake. Help!

In the movies, there’s often a creative best friend to save the wedding at the last minute with an impossibly easy, impossibly beautiful DIY. But in real life? Well, that’s what you’re for.

You can’t talk a groom out of a major case of cold feet (nor should you try—leave that to his best man!), but when it comes to décor, catering, fashion, or venue issues, you get to save the day. Organization and foresight can’t prevent every wedding disaster, which is why experienced wedding planners will go into weddings with a backup (and a backup backup) plan in place.

It’s not just movie magic—you’ve just seen it all before. Some wedding disasters really can be saved at the last minute, and you’re the one for the job!

Wedding planner carrying a bouquet

Pro tip: Keep your emergency kit fully stocked and ready to save the day from disaster. Use this handy shopping list for everything you might need!

Bonus: One Hollywood wedding cliché that is totally not true…

7. Falling in love with your client isn’t bad for business

Don’t trust The Wedding Planner—falling for the groom in the biggest wedding of your career is not a smart business move. The chances that it’ll work out as well for you as it did for Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey are very, very low.

Have you lived through any of these Hollywood wedding clichés in your own career? Share your story in the comments!

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