Behind the Scenes with Charlottesville Wedding Planners

An inside look at superhero moments, wedding day blunders and near misses.

Charlottesville wedding planners have seen it all. The veteran event designers and critical thinkers are quick on their feet, smoothing over the lows and accentuating the highs, making sure dream wedding days flow along the seamless, elegant timelines they were created around.

These expert wedding planners know the best celebrations come with ups and downs and perhaps a few missteps that, when handled quickly and professionally, slide by under the radar. Hiccups are kept invisible to the bride and groom and maybe, just maybe, become a funny story that’s told months or years down the road.

Here, some of Novela’s top preferred wedding planners and photographers share their favorite save-the-day superhero moments.

Quick Fixes and Emergency Kits

"I always have an emergency kit. I’ve fixed a bridesmaid’s shoe with super glue. I’ve built a brand new dress bustle with safety pins. I always have extension cords with me. You just never know."
— Hannah Dubit, owner of Hannah Rose Events

"At the very end of the night — this has happened twice, believe it or not — the bride is having a great time dancing and her dress was stepped on and ripped from the waist down. The bride is standing there awkwardly holding herself together. I’ve pulled bobby pins and tulle together to pin up the dress so she didn’t have to leave the dance floor."
— Andrea Lewis, lead wedding photographer for Amative Creative

"Thirty minutes before the ceremony, a groomsman comes running up to me and says 'Mia, we don’t have the rings. I do remember putting them on the roof of the car before getting into the car.' I said, ok, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re not telling the bride until we’ve solved the problem. The groomsmen go retrace their steps and find the rings on the side of Highway 29. One of them was bent. The groom was almost in tears. We were able to bend it back into shape to do the wedding ceremony. It all worked out and the bride never knew."
Mia Crump, owner of Little Acorn Events

"At Early Mountain Vineyards last September, the bridal party was getting ready and a bridesmaid came to me to show me an eight-inch gap that the seamstress forgot to sew up. I took home-economics in middle school and sewed that dress back together with my emergency kit."
Joseph Barragan, floral designer and wedding planner for Riverwood Designs

Rainy Day Rescues

"We’ve saved the day when our team had an Indian wedding and the ceremony was moved inside due to rain. The ceremony included a large stage, which would have to be moved now after the ceremony since the rain plan put us in the reception space. The vendor in charge did not stay onsite. Without the tools to take the stage apart, our team of women picked up this huge stage in one whole piece and turned and walked it out a back door."
Mallory Rood, owner and lead planner for All the Dainty Details

"Something that’s truly out of our control is the weather. We had a Persian wedding with lots of tradition and international guests, a very involved design and a $32,000 floral budget. We had dinner set up on the porch, which took away the ceremony rain plan and it started raining right before the ceremony. There was a moment of panic. But in less than two minutes we decided to move the ceremony to the reception space, transition guests to another space for cocktail hour and still have dinner outside under the porch, which was important to our bride. That quick thinking — that’s where we shine."
— Kara Stutzman and Brianna Sumey, owners and wedding planners for Amore Events

"We’ve saved the day when rain flooded an event tent at a new venue by shoveling water out from underneath and drying out the tent hours before the wedding. We approach situations without stress or panic. If you have an expert stealthy wedding planner, you won’t even know mishaps happened."
Alana Harner, co-owner and lead planner for Lane Stewart Events

Pro Tip: Be Open to the Flow
"My couples want to have an actual true real moment-based day. We do have a timeline, but there’s often improv. This is not a Hollywood-style shoot. I let couples dictate the timeline and do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it. My job is to keep them happy and psyched and in that party mode."
—Wedding photographer owner Tom Daly
Photograph by Jill Meriwether

Superhero Saves

"We have tons of stories…maneuvering around a rainstorm, saving the flowers, delivering a forgotten veil, scooping up the bridal party when their limo breaks down halfway to the ceremony. It’s the best when you get to feel like you’re a superhero."
Amy and Jackson Smith of The Smiths Photography

"Sometimes the baker or florist forgets to put flowers on the cake. Or the bride forgets to give us table numbers. It’s ok. We’ve got it covered. And we do it without anybody knowing that it’s a problem."
Melanie Spence, co-owner and lead planner for Lane Stewart Events

"We have a really great wedding vendor community in Charlottesville. If something’s going sideways, running behind, then the DJ is going to jump in and play an extra song or the photographer is going to grab the couple and do sunset photos while catering catches up. We think on our feet and work together. Our big collective end goal is that the couple and their guests are leaving completely happy."
Jaclyn Grieger, lead planner for Exchange Events + Catering

Pro Tip: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
"If it rains or someone steps on your veil or a wine glass breaks on the dance floor, know that it’s ok. It’s one quick blip in time that no one will remember. The important thing is to savor your love for each other and to spend quality time with your favorite people on earth."
Wedding photographer Sarah Cramer Shields
Photograph by Hannah Baldwin

A Friend in the Industry

Working with Novela is like having a trusted friend — one with copious insider knowledge and industry connections — by your side every step of the way. We’ll match you with an expert wedding concierge to customize your wedding day plan, including venue and vendor recommendations, detailed pricing options, a high-level budget framework, and a customized checklist just for you.

Find your perfect Charlottesville venue, book all your vendors, and finance your wedding at 0% interest — all in one place. Novela is the first transactional one-and-done wedding planning company.

So, are you ready to start planning your dream wedding?

Our concierge team is here to help you every step of the way.