ruined wedding cake with bride and groom toppers stuck in the middle

6 Common Emergencies You’ll Face the Day of the Wedding

In a perfect world, nothing would ever go wrong on your clients’ big day. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned, and emergencies can happen. Luckily, you’re there to help! No, while you may not always be able to solve every problem that arises, as a certified wedding planner, you can be prepared to fix most of them.

Here are 6 of the most common things that can unexpectedly go wrong the day of your clients’ wedding, and how to overcome them.

bride and groom first dance, surrounded by confetti

1. The Forgotten Vows

Uh-oh, the best man was in charge of the vows, but he accidentally forgot them at home! What do you do?

Well for starters, don’t panic! In fact, you’ve already anticipated this, because you know how commonly this can happen. You made sure, before the big day, to have your clients provide you with a copy of their vows. You then made your own copy (maybe even two or three), which you’ve specifically brought with you to the wedding, in the event of an emergency.

Problem solved!

2. Ghosted by the Vendors

Whether they’re horrifically late or they just don’t show up altogether, very little can seem like such a HUGE crisis on a wedding day than a vendor dodging your calls and not showing up. Expect the bride to freak out when she finds out, and remember that this will be a completely normal response.

It’s your job to keep your cool, and remind her that it’s still her and her partner’s day. The vendor not showing up, while inconvenient, doesn’t mean the wedding is over. From there, you can then try to do damage control.

If you’ve got any back-up vendors on-hand, give them a call and see if anyone would be willing to do the job. Alternately, if possible, you can always scout the guests and/or wedding party and see if anyone trustworthy can assist with the task.

guests with smart phones taking photos of bride and groom

For example: the photographer has to cancel and no back-up can be found? Bummer! But smart phones take impressively good pictures these days. Perhaps a few guests who are good with a camera would be interested in taking on this responsibility.

3. Makeup Disasters

It goes without saying that your client wants to look as beautiful as possible on her wedding day. Problem is, there are lots of ways all that professionally-applied makeup can become ruined. Is it an outdoor wedding, the sun is unbearably hot, and it’s beating down on her head? Hello, shiny skin! Are her fiancé’s vows too darn sentimental, and now she’s crying mascara all down her face?

Through the weather, laughter, or tears, you want your bride’s makeup to hold up. If she’s hired a professional MUA to do the job, make sure they’re aware of whether the event is outdoors or not. Your client’s makeup artist will be a professional, so hopefully she’ll already know the right products to use for the occasion, such as oil-free foundation, the right type of primer for her skin, and waterproof mascara.

If you want to play it safe, though, it wouldn’t hurt to carry a few of the essentials in your emergency planner kit. A tube of lipstick, some powder to take away any unwanted shine, etc. – just in case your client needs a touch-up halfway through the day and her MUA isn’t readily available.

4. Wardrobe Malfunctions

Easily one of the most common problems on the day of wedding is the bride saying yes to the dress… but the dress saying NO to her. Maybe, on the other hand, it’s the groom whose suit has lost a few of its buttons. Either way, that’s nothing that you and your emergency planner kit can’t fix!

wedding dress and hands fixing with sewing supplies

Since you were aware that such a thing could happen on the big day, you’ve already taken the liberty of packing a mini-sewing kit, and bringing it to the venue. In addition, you’ve also got some safety pins, as well as duct tape. (Seriously, is there anything duct tape can’t fix?)

No popped off button or torn dress seam will stand a chance against you!

5. It’s Raining, It’s Pouring!

They said that rain on your wedding day is lucky, but when it’s actually happening to you, it feels like the exact opposite. Sure, anyone who plans for an outdoor wedding needs to be realistic, and understand that there’s always a chance of bad weather. But let’s be real: no one wants rain, and your clients won’t exactly be thrilled if it does come.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to work around it! If the couple – and the venue – is open to it, the ceremony can always be moved inside. But let’s just say that this isn’t an option, or your clients are adamant about getting married outdoors? What then?

Well, here are just some of your options:

  • See if there’s anywhere on location that offers some sort of covering from the rain, such as a gazebo
  • Call around to see if you can rent a tent
  • Check to see if the venue has any umbrellas that can be offered to the guests, the wedding party, etc.
  • If not (or if there aren’t enough), see if any member of the wedding party or immediate family can run somewhere inexpensive, such as the dollar store, to purchase umbrellas, rain ponchos, etc. for everyone
  • As part of your emergency supplies for outdoor weddings, you can always purchase and bring with you a few large tarps and some twine. They can then be strung up and used to cover everyone from the rain.

bride and groom kissing under umbrella while it rains

In case you ever need an anecdote about rainy weddings actually bringing good luck, let me tell you this: my mother married my stepfather in our own backyard, on what was supposed to be a sunny summer day. Instead, it was dark, gloomy, and poured from morning to night. All the same, everyone worked together to set up some tarps, and it still turned out to be one a beautiful wedding. (Oh, and by the way, it’s been 18 years, and they’re still the happiest couple I’ve ever seen!)

6. Down with the Sickness

It’s the morning of the wedding, and one (or worse, both) of your clients is feeling under the weather. Maybe they caught something; maybe they just had a little too much fun the night before. Either way, it’s up to you to go from certified wedding planner, to playing Doctor!

Have some over-the-counter meds in your emergency planner kit, such as Tylenol, Gravol, etc. (Just be careful that the medication won’t cause drowsiness!) Make sure your client drinks lots of water to stay hydrated. Just as importantly, advise them to eat the right foods (filled with lots of antioxidants and vitamins, such as fruits and veggies), and don’t overexert themselves. You ultimately can’t control what they do, but you can at least say you tried.

If it’s the bride that’s sick, let her makeup artist know, so she can do her job accordingly to try and cover up any paleness, redness, etc. Keep plenty of tissues on-hand if she’s got the sniffles, as well as lots of hand sanitizer. You don’t want her getting anyone else sick, too!

bride sick and sad on the bed, with bouquet on the floor

If you notice that the sickness progresses to the point where your client’s health actually seems to be at risk, you may need to be the voice of reason. Yes, your clients want to get married, but first, they may need to get to a hospital. Everyone will understand. Their health is what’s most important, and everything else will be sorted out later!

No matter what emergency you and your clients may be faced with the day of the wedding, so long as you remain calm, you can keep control of the situation. If you’re able to anticipate any of these emergencies and plan for them in advance, even better. Either way, your clients will thank you!

What if your clients decide to cancel the wedding altogether at the last minute? Here’s how to get through that!

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