FIASCO: Heavy winds force an outdoor bar inside, making for impatient, thirsty guests.
FIX: “Our bar was supposed to be outside,” says Stacey Fraunfelter of Red Letter Events. “But strong winds meant that the tents were almost blowing away, so we had to move inside. I grabbed the champagne and suggested an early toast, so that the bartenders could set up and not be bombarded by guests while they were getting situated.”
TIP: If any portion of your wedding is being held outdoors, have an alternate plan in case the weather isn’t in
FIASCO: An outdoor wedding and reception is flooded at high tide.
FIX: “We were preparing for a wedding reception at a location downtown, and there was a torrential downpour,” recalls Kristin Newman of Kristin Newman Designs, “It was high tide, which meant there was nowhere for the water to go. The dance floor was completely flooded, and the water was up to my shins!”
Newman thought fast and had a pump delivered to drain the standing water and prevent more from flowing in during the reception. “No one ever knew there had been so much water there only a short time before.”
Tip: In addition to keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, be sure to check the tide charts. If it looks like it’s going to rain, have someone in your wedding party take responsibility for bringing in a pump, just in case.
FIASCO: The trolley transporting the bride’s family and wedding dress catches fire. Everyone escapes safely, but when the dress arrives, it reeks of smoke.
FIX: Tally Angle of Distinctive Events was recently asked how she would remedy this wedding-day catastrophe: “If I was faced with this situation, I’d grab the dress as soon as it arrived,” says Angle, “and then I’d use the steamer I always have on hand to get the smell of smoke out.”
Tip: A portable steamer is an invaluable wedding-day tool. As well as smoothing away wrinkles, it also gets bad smells out of fabric.
FIASCO: An out-of-area band still hasn’t shown up, and there’s only an hour until the reception.
FIX: “One of the bands that I book often was coming down from Atlanta for a wedding,” says Tara Guérard of Soirée. “On the way, their bus got into a huge accident.”
Normally, says Guérard, the band would have canceled. “But because they knew me, they rented another bus, transferred their equipment, and made it here just in time.”
Guérard credits her good relationships with her vendors as the reason she’s managed to thwart major wedding-day fiascos. The situation could also have been remedied if she’d hired another bus and had it meet the band at the site of the accident.
TIP: A trusted person (wedding coordinator, mother of the bride, or maid of honor), should always have a list of contacts and phone numbers for various transportation companies.
FIASCO: The groom is missing and can’t be reached, and the ceremony starts in a half hour.
FIX: “We once had a groom who got stuck in a serious traffic accident on Highway 17 on his way downtown to the Wentworth Mansion,” says Tally Angle. “Thankfully, he wasn’t involved in the accident, but he wasn’t able to contact us to tell us why he was late because he’d been using his cell phone all day and the battery was dead.”
A panicked bride didn’t help the situation, but Angle remained calm and tried to ease her anxiety. “When the groom finally arrived, I told him he’d better go talk to his bride,” says Angle. “They took a moment to collect themselves, and the wedding began—with only a 45-minute delay.”
TIP: A disposable cell phone back-up battery (such as Cellboost) can be invaluable for emergencies.
FIASCO: The wedding cake is delivered on time, but looks nothing like it was supposed to.
FIX: Tara Guérard of Soirée once ordered a cake from a vendor she uses regularly—only the cake-maker had gone on vacation. “She didn’t tell me she wouldn’t actually be doing the cake herself,” says Guérard. “When it arrived, it was crooked and looked horrible. I was so unhappy.”
Guérard immediately called another trusted vendor.“He showed up within minutes,” she says, “and practically re-did the whole cake for me.”
TIP: Make sure you know every last detail when ordering your cake. Establish who’ll be creating it, who’ll be providing the cake knife, and who’ll be cutting and serving the cake. Most caterers are happy to help, but some charge an extra fee.
What’s in your must-have box?
We asked wedding planners to tell us what items they’re never without on a wedding day. Here are some of their suggestions:
- Needle and thread to repair last-minute rips and tears.
- Bug spray and dryer sheets: “Grooms can put dryer sheets in their pockets and they keep mosquitoes away,” says Tara Guérard of Soirée. “I’ve even put them in a bride’s bra.”
- Pocket wipes for spills and other accidents.
- Tissues for patting sweaty faces.
- A steamer for last-minute pressing.
- Flower clippers and wire cutters.
- Safety pins.
- Wig tape: “It’s the number one quick fix for things like torn hems or droopy dresses,” says Stacey Fraunfelter of Red Letter Events. “It’s double-sided and super strong.”