I now pronounce you a Hot Mess: On being the best you can be when shit goes wrong

Updated Nov 5 2016
Guest post by Stacey Dyer
Hot Mess cup from Etsy seller JoyAndChaos
Hot Mess cup from Etsy seller JoyAndChaos

Murphy's Law says anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. We never want anything to go wrong on that specific important day, but sometimes reality wins. These are true tales of failure, loss of control, and surprising delights that wouldn't have happened otherwise…

"I'm fine, I'll just need a margarita when I get there."

Since we were having a welcome reception the night before, and the ceremony wouldn't start until 5pm, we decided to have our rehearsal the morning of the wedding day. Around 9am, I look down at my ringing phone and see that it's our officiant. "I shouldn't be the one to call you, but I won't be able to make it to the rehearsal. I hit some bad rain on the way down and just totaled my car." "WHAT?! Are you okay?" "I'm fine, and the good news is that I have everything I need for your wedding, so don't worry there… I may just need a margarita."

Our officiant made it to the venue without a scratch on him, dapper as ever, and proceeded to give the most beautiful ceremony we could have ever wished for. Guests came up to us afterwards noting how well he knew us, and that his words were so thoughtful and memorable.

I now pronounce you a Hot Mess

Thanks to the rain and a car crash, we didn't have a chance to experience and rehearse the ceremony. No big deal. Priorities here say that since everyone is okay, I'm okay, and you're okay, okay? But when the time came to walk down the aisle, I couldn't hold it in.

The stress, the relief, the emotion, this man standing before me, and this other lovely man standing before us, without any evidence of the morning's incident — it all came crashing down inside of my throat. I could not hold back the tears any longer. I had worked so hard to hold myself, and everyone around me, together, that when the vows began, I broke down. I cried so hard that I made much of our audience reach for tissues and sleeves.

Now, if you were to ask us who would be the one to cry during the ceremony, I think both my husband and I would have said first, our mothers, second, him. But not me. No no no. I'm all business. I keep this ship running! But not that day, my friend. I therefore celebrated by pronouncing myself an official Hot Mess.

When things aren't as easy as they are breezy

Rain was not our only bad weather nemesis on the week of our wedding…

We had booked a catamaran to host a breezy evening of welcome celebrations as a large gesture of thanks for every guest that traveled to be there. However, when the wind kicks up to 33 knots, the high seas didn't sound like a great venue option.

I could feel in my gut that we should just bring the party on land.

Luckily, our backup location was a lovely deck area that overlooked the venue's dolphin research center. Our attendees enjoyed themselves with a cocktail in one hand and a phone in the other to take photos of the smartest animals in the sea, having a ball in their natural waters.

To this day, one of the most common things our guests have said was: "You guys had friggin' DOLPHINS at your wedding! That was amazing." This would have never been the case if Murphy's Law didn't come true.

Did I mention it rained? On our entirely uncovered outdoor wedding?

We knew the weather was coming; we watched it roll in on the local news. We also knew we did not have tents, or other temporary shelter contingency plans. We did, however, have the advantage of a venue with a selection of backup options, including a handful of newly-renovated ballrooms. The best of which was this long, single table width entryway, where all the rooms spilled out to. The whole "hallway" was flanked in french door-styled windows and once more, guests could see the water and hopefully catch the sunset.

We played the ceremony close to the chest right up until an hour before. It sprinkled a bit on everyone, but our amazing guests didn't seem to mind. And hell, the tears were falling harder than the rain!

From a designer's perspective, it wasn't the strung lights, feet dancing in the sand I had hoped for. But my hand-painted decor was safe, our guests had an amazing time, and that river of a reception room looked unlike anything I've ever seen before.

  1. We had better than expected weather but we had various things go wrong which should have been disasters but somehow weren’t.

    We didn’t sleep at all the night before, we didn’t so much wake up on our wedding day as watch it get slowly lighter. At about 8am I let myself have a good cry about that and then we just got up. Once our getting ready people arrived and the sun came out it just started feeling really celebratory (maybe that was the mimosas while we were getting ready) and it didn’t stop all day. We had somehow had special wedding day powers of not needing sleep, we crashed massively the next day though!

    After our ceremony our guests walked a short distance while we sped ahead in a taxi so as to be able to greet them at our reception venue as they arrived. Except our taxi went off on a magical mystery tour and we arrived way after everyone else. I think the driver mis-heard us and we didn’t notice for ages we were going the wrong way because we so busy squealing “we just got married!” We literally just kind of walked in the back of the venue, feeling like we were crashing someone else’s party, and everyone was already in there drinking champagne! Which was actually great, we just grabbed a glass and went round each grouping as people had already found themselves spots to sit and gather. If anyone wants to avoid a receiving line I recommend getting lost on the way to your reception! It also gave us a nice little window on our own which was lovely.

  2. Our wedding was also delightfully rainy (literally the wettest day of the year! (so far)) which meant we weren't able to do a number of things we had planned. Our outdoor mountaintop ceremony was moved inside and we didn't get to walk around and explore the mountain venue at all. It was great though! Instead we got to play hours of boardgames and took full advantage of our venue rental time by staying right until the end.

    Our motto for the day was that as long as we remembered the wedding license and rings and actually got married, everything else was going to be okay. And it was!

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