How to deal with wedding disaster for wedding planners

Do You Know How to Deal with These Wedding Disasters?

“What a disaster!”

That’s definitely not something a bride wants to hear on her big day. As a wedding planner, you know that planning isn’t your only responsibility. Day-of coordination can be the toughest and most stressful part of the job. No matter how well you prepare, and how much time you put in, some things are just out of your control.

If you know wedding planning, then you know how many elements you need to account for. The venue, entertainment, music, food, cake, dress, photos, rings—the list goes on and on! For each of these aspects, you rely on your vendors to deliver their essential product or service. Coordinating it all is stressful, but it’s even more stressful when your vendors don’t deliver. As a wedding planner, dealing with these disasters is a key part of your job. Read on for some tips on how to deal with it all!

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What can go wrong?

What can go wrong? Everything. That’s the short answer. It’s important to look at the wedding you’re planning and identify all the things that could possibly go wrong. That way, you’re never taken by surprise!

Here’s a list of some of the possible disaster scenarios. Forgive us, it’s far from short.

  • Wedding dress stain or tear and other wardrobe malfunctions
  • Late or missing: officiant; photographer and/or videographer; band, musician, or DJ; wedding cake; catering; entertainment… basically, everyone can just decide to not show up last minute
  • Loud, unruly, or over intoxicated guests
  • Raining or bad weather for an outdoor event
  • The programming runs late
  • Missing bride, groom, wedding party
  • Missing wedding rings
  • The venue refuses service or reneges on their contract
  • There’s something off about the food, cake, music, etc.
  • The bride demands something on the day-of like an open bar that wasn’t in the plan
  • Nobody’s listening to the speeches. The speeches are too long and boring
  • A fight breaks out
  • The music is a dud
  • Emotional breakdowns

How to Deal?

wedding planner


Most of the things we listed will be out of your control—no matter how much you prepare ahead of time. Having a backup plan for everything on your list is like planning two weddings. Honestly, it’s a waste of your time and effort. That being said, it’s important to prepare as best you can.

If you have an outdoor venue, you should have an indoor space for people regardless. For smaller emergencies like forgotten deodorant or the appearance of a small stain on the wedding attire…put together a survival kit for the couple. While you’re at it, ask the maid of honor to do the same. These kits are great for wardrobe malfunctions and curing untimely headaches. And make sure you have a copy of all the vendor agreements just in case there’s some last-minute confusion.

These might seem like little things, but they can make a big difference! Address any potential issues that you can prepare for first and expect the unexpected!

wedding planner

Make connections and network

For things that can’t be controlled – like a sick musician or a caterer that mixed up the date of the wedding – there is not much you can do. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options! If you haven’t been educated on the importance of networking and making connections, you’ve been missing out. As a wedding planner, it’s extremely important to build good relationships with multiple vendors.

The closer the relationship you have with your vendors, the more likely they’ll help you out in a pinch. That’s especially true if you’re constantly bringing them business. Maybe the cake is a disaster and you can’t bake a professional-looking 5-tiered cake in only a few hours. You’re an event planner, not a baker after all. But, you can call up your go-to baker and they may have some pre-baked goodies they can provide you relatively quickly. Is the band a no-show? Maybe you’re really close with a DJ that does a lot of your other events. These are not perfect replacements, but they’re a solution nonetheless. And if you’re bride is understanding, then she won’t be able to thank you enough.

Manage the stress

We’re sorry we keep saying it, but disasters happen. They just do. That doesn’t mean you should treat them like you’re on a sinking ship. While it can be stressful at the moment, it’s important to keep your cool! The last thing the bride wants to see is her wedding planner freaking out on the day of her wedding. After all, you’re the one with the event planning certificate and years of experience. If you’re freaking out, just imagine how the bride feels!

Sometimes the most important thing to do is stay calm and comfort the bride. Remind her that you have everything under control and help her see the bigger picture. She might not have the cake she wanted, but that doesn’t mean the day was a failure. And guests probably won’t even notice. When the bride sees that you’re calm, cool, and collected (even if you’re not on the inside) she’ll relax too. This can keep the problem under wraps. Not to mention a happier bride, means a happy client!

Be honest

Our last piece of advice is to be honest! Especially when it comes to unrealistic and extravagant day-of requests. If this is the case, it’s better to just get the hard part over with. Tell the bride that there’s not enough time to make that happen. And if something big goes wrong? Tell the bride as soon as you know, and let her know that you’re working on a fix (if it’s possible).

These conversations are hard, we know! Even if it’s not your fault, the bride may not understand. In her eyes, you’re the wedding planner and it’s your responsibility to make the big day run smoothly. Regardless, you need to have honest conversations no matter how hard it is. Waiting until the bride finds out about a disaster on her own will only make her reaction worse. So, be honest! Trust us, it’s worth it!

Being a wedding planner is harder than people realize. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! At QC, we try our best to bring you all the resources you need to succeed.

Interested in refining your wedding plan skills? Check out QC’s Wedding Planning Course!

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