Top Wedding Disasters and How to Plan for Them

Any seasoned wedding planner will tell you that, no matter how much time you’ve invested in planning a wedding reception and ceremony, sometimes disasters happen. Even if you’ve tried to prepare for every possible emergency you can think of, there’s only so much you can do before things happen. This means that you also need a contingency plan for dealing with disasters that happen despite your precautions. Here are some wedding disasters that planners might face, as well as strategies for saving the day!

A spill on the wedding dress

Unfortunately, wearing a pure white dress all day is practically an invitation for spills! Before the wedding day, you can prepare for this by putting stain removers or accessories that might hide unsightly marks in your ‘day-of emergency kit’. To account for different types of stains, make sure to include a Tide-To-Go pen, Shout wipes, club soda, and even white chalk! On the day of the wedding, take preventative measures by encouraging the bride to stay away from colored liquids, only drink with a straw, and save her lipstick until the very last moment. If disaster strikes, you’ll have several options for stain removal on hand, but remember to dab and never rub! Rubbing will embed the stain in the fabric and make it worse. If the stain still won’t come out, it’s time to adapt. Try pinning the folds of the dress in a pretty way that will hide the stain or adding a cute broach or accessory that will blend with the dress style and block the stain from sight. As a very prepared planner, you might already have a few accessories on hand!

Wedding Dress Stain and how to fix wedding disasters

A late officiant

Of all the vendors providing a service for the wedding, the officiant should be the most timely and prepared. After all, the wedding can’t go on without them! You can prepare by reminding the officiant the day before the wedding what time they must be there by and recommending that they arrive early. Even earlier in your planning process, advise your bride to write a time on the invitations that is about half an hour earlier than the proceedings will actually kick off. This way, people are more likely to be there on time, and you have a small buffer zone for emergencies. If, on the day of the wedding, the officiant is late, subtly turn that wait into social time. Have the entertainment or the ceremony band play light music and ask your caterers to serve refreshing non-alcoholic beverages. While guests socialize, do your best to keep everyone together so that no one else wanders off! Use this time to contact the officiant and get an idea of when they’ll arrive, or re-evaluate and try to contact an alternative officiant who is available at the last second, if absolutely necessary.

A late or missing wedding cake

Finding out the wedding cake is going to be late is undoubtedly stressful, but it’s not completely dire. Sure, it’s nice for your couple to be able to have their beautiful cake on display throughout the entire reception, but it’s not a necessity and it won’t make or break their wedding. As long as you have the cake by cutting time, guests might not even notice. In this case, keep an eye out for the minute the cake does arrive so you can send the photographer to get a few pictures of it before it gets eaten! If the cake is very late, either serve it casually as a late snack, or if people are getting ready to leave, ask the caterer for boxes so that people can take cake slices home with them. In the unlikely event that the cake never shows up, you’ll have to think quickly. Is there a bakery close by that you might be able to get an assortment of that day’s cupcakes from so guests still have dessert? Does the catering company do desserts and can they prepare any for you this last minute? Consider all of your options before opting to make do without any cake at all.

Baker with Cupcakes for Wedding Events

A sick photographer

Before the wedding day, it’s a good idea to contact each vendor last minute to confirm details and attendance. The photographer is no exception! Even then, photographers are human and they can fall ill. This can be accounted for in advance by making a very strict contract that states what happens if the photographer can’t deliver their services on the wedding day. Perhaps the contract makes them responsible for finding you a substitute, or maybe it outlines harsh penalties for breaking the contract that will encourage them to provide the service no matter what. If the photographer really can’t come, very prepared wedding planners might have a back up list of substitute photographers they can contact to see who might be available last minute. In the very worst case scenario, you might have to improvise. Would the couple be comfortable having a willing relative that knows about photography step up? Do you have any reliable friends or relatives whose services the couple might accept? This isn’t the ideal solution, but presenting every option you have is better than having no wedding pictures!

A ring emergency

A fundamental step in any wedding ceremony is the exchanging of the rings. You can prevent problems arising with the rings by assigning a trustworthy member of the wedding party, the family, or your team to make sure the rings arrive to the wedding on time. If something goes wrong, however, and the rings are too late or have been lost, save the panic for after the wedding when there is more time to search. Rather than holding up the ceremony to try and find them immediately, put a sentimental spin on the mishap and ask a loved one to borrow theirs! By using the wedding bands usually worn by parents, grandparents, or close friends, the couple still gets the symbolic ring exchange in their ceremony, just with a memorable twist. At the end of the night, once everyone has enjoyed the wedding, return the rings to their rightful owners and make a plan for tracking down the real ones.

Wedding Ring Exchange during a wedding ceremony

Stay calm!

Remember, you are a professional and you are good at what you do. The purpose of the day is really to watch two people celebrate their love for each other. Reminding stressed couples of what really matters can put decorative disasters and other details into perspective while you adapt. To learn more about how wedding planners can save the day, check out the courses here at QC Event School!

Know of any other wedding disaster planning tips? Let us know in a comment!

4 responses to “Top Wedding Disasters and How to Plan for Them”

    aaron armstrong says:

    Saving the day from the wedding disasters that happens unexpectedly is very challenging work to do. That is why the wedding couple should relax and hire a reliable wedding planner that is tested during that moment that is really needed.

    Cynthia Fowler CWP says:

    …..remainig calm and showing a sense of experience during a troubling disaster will always put your frantic bride and bridal party at ease …..remember we are hired to ensure their day goes on with a HITCHIN! The Perfect way to spend the Perfect day!!

    Sahl says:

    I like to celebrate my wedding in a western style, what was the procedure and cost?

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