Behind the Veil: The case of the missing wedding coordinator

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Carolina Bride powered by CharlotteFive presents the second installment of our new series, Behind the Veil.

Behind the Veil features anonymous submissions from guests, bridal party members and even the bride and groom about unexpected (and often scandalous) wedding stories. These stories represent what you don’t see in the wedding photographs.

This week’s submission is from a bridesmaid. It involves a missing wedding coordinator and an off-the-cuff reception:

The backstory

My best friend was engaged to the love of her life and was in the process of planning her wedding. She had everything planned, but she decided she wanted some day-of-the-wedding help so she could enjoy her special day.

The bride-to-be was a wedding blogger at the time. She reached out to her photographer and other friends of hers in the wedding industry. She got lots of names, but there was one that was mentioned more than once (for this post, we’ll call her Danica). Danica was a day-of wedding coordinator with glowing recommendations. My friend met with her and immediately felt comfortable with her and loved what she had to say.

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, my friend met with Danica to go over every detail. From when to cue the bridesmaids and the flower girls to walk down the aisle, to the song order at the reception, Danica assured my friend she had everything covered.

Feeling confident, my friend went into her wedding week feeling that Danica would help her have the wedding of her dreams.

Where’s Danica?

The day of the wedding arrived. My friend looked amazing and Danica was there to instruct the wedding party where we needed to be and at what time. The groomsmen knew where to seat the guests. The music was perfect as my friend walked down the aisle to marry the love of her life. Danica crushed it.

As we were taking photos, Danica came up to my friend and congratulated her. She said she was heading to the reception to get everything set up and would see us shortly.

The wedding party finished our photos then headed to the reception site as the bride, groom and their families took more photos. We arrived at the reception as the band was setting up, the florist was putting the finishing touches on the decor, the cake was being delivered — but one thing was missing … Danica was nowhere to be found.

No one at the reception site had seen her. Luckily, I had her phone number, but she didn’t answer my call. I checked to see if there had been any accidents between the wedding site and the reception site, but nothing had been reported. Guests began arriving for the cocktail hour and to find their seats. I was starting to panic.

The bride and groom arrived and were ushered to a side room, where they enjoyed food and drinks and waited for Danica to tell them when to get ready for their big entrance.

As I was leaving message number 10 for Danica, I was approached by a member of the band asking if I knew the set line up for introductions. Danica had sent them the songs, but not the order in which they were to be performed. It was then I knew I had to go tell the bride.

I tried to act cool and calm, even though I was sweating, and approached my friend with a smile that I thought said ‘everything is fine’. She saw through my smile immediately. “What’s wrong?” she said. “Nothing big, umm, we just can’t find Danica.” Her eyes got wide and I could tell she grabbed the groom’s hand too tightly, as I saw him wince.

“What do you mean you can’t find Danica?” After a few moments of panic, we all calmed down. My friend was able to tell me the song lineup and I and the other bridesmaids handled everything. The reception was a blast, but we still hadn’t heard from Danica — and we never would.

Lessons learned

The messages left by myself, the bride and the bride’s mother went unreturned. We never heard from Danica again. We knew she was still alive, however — she had cashed the check my friend gave her for her services.

After further investigation, my friend learned this was Danica’s MO. She would promise the world, be delightful, be amazing at the wedding, get paid in full, and then never show at the reception. When my friend went back to the people who had recommended Danica, she quickly realized that the photographers, florists, etc. who gave her name had never actually worked with Danica. They had met her at networking events and thought she was a lovely person and really liked her website and social media presence.

My friend never got her money back from Danica and years later still has not heard from her. After this experience, my friend tells anyone planning a wedding to always do extensive research, get references and if someone recommends a vendor, make sure to ask how they know that vendor.

Do you have a story to submit for Behind the Veil? Email us at editor@carolinabride.com with your story. If selected, your story will be kept anonymous. 

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