WEDDING-Would you believe...: Wedding pros have seen it all

From bandleaders to bartenders, the top priority for wedding professionals everywhere is to  make sure things go smoothly for their clients' Big Day. When they do, it's another day and another dollar. When they don't, they make for stories to tell for a lifetime. 

Ray Cadell, Big Ray and the Kool Kats

As trumpeter and bandleader for perennial wedding favorite Big Ray and the Kool Kats, Ray Cadell has seen from the bandstand the wide range of emotions a the Big Day can bring out in people. Sometimes, there's the odd angry flare-up.

"Once we were playing and the bride and the mother of the bride got into a screaming match in the middle of the dance floor," he recalls. "The mother was saying to her daughter, 'I told you not to make those two sluts bridesmaids!'" She was referring to the two young ladies slow dancing with each other in front of Cadell.

"They both went screaming out of the room, never to be seen again that day," he says.

But the party went on, and Cadell did what any horn player worth his salt would do: he improvised.

"You know that shot you see in every wedding album of the bride and groom cutting the cake? They still did it, except the picture was of the wedding planner and me."

Ray Cadell

Jennifer Carroll, Jennifer Carroll Events

Wedding planners often have to be jacks and jills of all trades for their visions to become realities, so Jennifer Carroll has found that prior experience in other fields often comes in handy.

"Once we were setting up for a wedding reception outside in July at Ash Lawn and the cake started to melt like a lit candle," she says. "Fortunately, I have a background in baking."

With only minutes until the guests began to arrive, Carroll was in full-on kitchen mode and rushed the cake inside.

"With a makeshift spatula, we started to repair the cake where the icing had melted off one side and fixed it as best we could," she says. "We had to wait until minutes before they cut the cake to bring it back out."

And like all true professionals, Carroll never let anyone see her sweat.

"The bride never knew what happened," she says. 

Jennifer Carroll

Jeff Hale, Northern Exposure

In all the weddings he's catered, Jeff Hale has found there are two types of couples. "There's the kind who care about having a good time and there's the kind who care about showing off for other people," he says. In the blizzard of 1996, he found the perfect example of the former.

"When I was catering at South Street Seafood Restaurant [now South Street Brewery], I remember a bride that trudged over from the Omni Hotel in her wedding dress and mudboots," he recalls. 

Due to the snow, Hale says only about two-thirds of the 90 or so invited guests could make it to Charlottesville for the event, but that those who did had a wonderful time. 

And that's not to mention some unanticipated visitors.

"They invited the people stranded at the Omni to come over for the reception," Hale says. "There were three doctors in the restaurant when they got married, and the bride told them, 'Come on over! Join the family!'"

Jeff Hale

Pat Roberts, Pat's Floral Designs

It's natural for a bride to have a lot of things on her mind on her wedding day and get a little absent-minded. But as florist Pat Roberts knows, sometimes that means forgetting something essential.

"There was a wedding at the Barboursville ruins and the bride and her bridesmaids were getting ready at the restaurant about two minutes away," she says. "And when they left, there sat the bouquets. It didn't even register they didn't have them."

When Roberts realized the oversight, there wasn't much time to spare.

"We jumped in the van and flew down to the ruins, dust billowing behind us," she says. "I got out of the car and yelled 'Wait!'"

Fortunately, Roberts got there just barely in time for her bride.

"When we got there the bridesmaids had already processed and the father of the bride had her daughter's arm and were getting ready to walk down the aisle," she says. "It was a very close call."

Pat Roberts and Sherry Spencer

Tori Tremaglio, Festive Fare Rentals

When planning an outdoor wedding, one must always take the natural environment into account. Often times, that means erecting a tent to shade guests from the elements, but other brides prefer the open air. To them, Tori Tremaglio has a word of caution.

"Be very careful with foggers," she says. "Some people are overzealous with foggers." 

And what happens when the insect-killers work a little too well? 

"We had one event where the foggers had started to kill all these ticks, so there were all these dead ticks on the tables," Tremaglio recalls. "We had another with dead baby birds everywhere, another when bats were forced out of a cave and were flying around."

So what can be done to keep a beautiful wedding from turning into a menagerie of dead animals?

"I'd recommend torches," Tremaglio says.

Tori Tremaglio