10 Wedding Day Disasters That Are All Too Common (and How to Solve Them) Copy Copy Copy Copy Copy

Black & White photo of Couple in Paris on Wedding day under umbrella. Destination Wedding

After devoting countless hours planning every detail of your wedding festivities, it’s understandable that you expect everything to be flawless with a capital F. The emotional stakes are off the charts since you and your spouse-to-be (not to mention both families) have been looking forward to this day for your entire lives. But the truth is: There is no such thing as a “perfect” wedding—you’ll never be able to control every single aspect of how it will unfold. Even the most organized and well-coordinated events may encounter a few bumps in the road.

“The first thing is to remain composed and speak calmly, just as you should in any negative situation,” says Desiree Dent from Dejanae Events. “Address the problem as soon as possible by seeking out onsite vendors or staff to help you resolve the issue. Don’t allow it to ruin your day of celebration and love!”

Professional vendors are equipped to defuse disasters and find a solution before alarming the newlyweds and their wedding guests. For example, Roxy Zapala from Art of Celebrations recalls a wedding at a beautiful old church that went awry thanks to a double booking. When her team went to set up the elaborate ceremony décor that the couple had requested, the priest told them to hold off, as a funeral was about to take place.

“Guests were going to be arriving any minute, and I knew I needed to find something to keep them outside of the church,” Zapala says, and sweet salvation came in the form of an ice cream truck parked a few blocks away. “I explained the situation and the driver happily agreed to serve ice cream to all of the waiting guests (the bill was later dealt with by one of the bride’s relatives). Since it was a beautiful summer day, guests thought this was part of the wedding, and they all seemed to love it.”

We asked pros to share some of the most common mishaps they’ve encountered on the day of a major wedding event in the hopes that it will help other couples avoid any potential snafus.

Bridal Hair and Makeup Close-Up

Photo by Meiwen Wang; Hair and Makeup by Mobile Bridal Salon

Disaster #1: You wake up to red, splotchy skin, or a giant zit.

“I had a bride get a facial the day before her wedding,” says Sam Salk from Mobile Bridal Salon. “That following morning, her entire forehead was scabbed and looked as if she had been burned. She had a severe reaction to whatever products the esthetician had used. I use this as a cautionary tale for my future brides.”

Damage control: She spent more time covering the bride’s skin with various concealers and foundation using her fingers and a beauty blender to get the most natural-looking coverage. “Her skin ended up looked amazing in her photos,” says Salk. If a massive pimple is your problem, then the quickest fix is to have a dermatologist give you a cortisone injection to minimize inflammation ASAP.

Prevention tips: Don’t try any new products or beauty treatments the month before your wedding (the same rule applies to changing your hair color). If your skin is acting up, make an appointment with a dermatologist at least four months before saying your “I dos” so she can develop an action plan catered to your needs.

Disaster #2: A vendor or "friendor" (a friend who’s performing a service) cancels on you at the last minute, and you have to scramble to find a replacement.

Photo by Sassy Mouth Photography

Disaster #2: A vendor or “friendor” (a friend who’s performing a service) cancels on you at the last minute, and you have to scramble to find a replacement.

“I was hired to style a bride’s hair and her bridesmaids,” says Ashley Stone of Beauty Entourage. “The makeup was supposed to be done by a family friend, who was unable to attend at the last minute. Luckily, I had a team nearby that was able to come in the final hour. Although it all worked out, it was a very stressful situation for everyone in the room—I’ll never forget it!” Although this might seem like a rare occurrence, she tells us that she comes across this issue at least once per month during wedding season.

Damage control: Recruit the help of your other vendors to see if they can call in favors in a pinch. If your hair or makeup artist bails on you, specifically, keep in mind that “it’s always easier to find an appointment for one person at the last minute than a group.”

Prevention tips: It’s always best to have a contract in place, and to hire a professional whenever possible. Contracts offer security in knowing they won’t back out before the wedding date. Ask your vendor what the backup plan is in the event of illness or some other unforeseen circumstance.

Emergency Wedding Dress Repairs

Photo by Love Life Images; Event Design by A. Dominick Events

Disaster #3: The zipper breaks or—even worse—the dress rips.

“One bride’s zipper split and was no longer usable, so we had to sew her into the dress by hand,” says Aimee Dominick from A. Dominick Events. “Thankfully, the groom chatted with her to keep her calm, and he held the dress closed enough for me to sew it. At that moment, there was no question that he was going to be a wonderful husband.”

Damage control: Pack a sewing kit as part of your emergency supplies. Not just brides are victims of rips and tears—planners tell us they’ve also had to sew up bridesmaids, mothers of the brides, and even grooms who have split their pants!

Prevention tips: “Choose attire in your actual size, and purchase from reputable designers and stores that are known for quality products,” says Ashley Cash from The Graceful Host. Use a reliable seamstress with good reviews and push for as many fittings as you need to feel comfortable.

Bridesmaids with Umbrellas

Photo by Kyle John

Disaster #4: The weather is horrible, and you don’t have a backup plan.

“I planned a wedding a few years ago at a ranch in California wine country,” says Kate Siegel from Kate Siegel Fine Events. “Since it rarely rains there during the summer, the ceremony and reception were to be held outside. The day before the wedding, the weather report showed a 50 percent chance of rain. I found a rental company that was willing to install a tent, but no matter what I said, the bride and groom refused. They were adamant that it would not rain on their big day.” Naturally, it poured, and the reception area was completely covered in mud.

Damage control: Fortunately, the owner of the ranch agreed to let Siegel use the horse barn for the nuptials instead. He put the horses out to pasture, and all the groomsmen were drafted to help her team shovel out the stalls and spread fresh straw on the ground (they should win the bridal party award of the year!).

Prevention tips: The couple mentioned above was lucky that things turned out so well, but others aren’t so fortunate. Always create a backup plan in case of unforeseen weather conditions and set aside an emergency fund for unexpected costs. And, don’t forget—be flexible!

Bride with Rustic Wedding Bouquet

Photo by Getty Images

Disaster #5: You receive the wrong type of flowers and hate them.

“The florist was late due to heavy traffic because it was a holiday weekend,” says Frances Liu from Charmed Events. “When they arrived (only five minutes before the ceremony start time), the bride hated her bouquet and rest of the flowers.”

Damage control: Liu got creative and created a new bouquet using garden roses, and foliage picked from the venue (she obtained their permission before doing so, of course). “The bride ended up loving the new arrangement way more than the original one that was delivered by the florist,” says Liu.

Prevention tips: Be very precise in communicating to your design-related vendors exactly what type of décor you want for your wedding day, so they can deliver with arrangements that are in line with your vision. If you’re ordering blooms through a wholesaler, then Liza Roeser Atwood, the founder and CEO from FiftyFlowers, recommends opening the flower boxes upon arrival and inspecting them right away. Count how many bunches you received. Are they all the same color or flower variety? If not, how many are incorrect? Take a group photo of the flowers in an area with lots of natural light (no flash) to document their exact color. If you still feel that you didn’t receive what you ordered, contact a customer service representative who can work with you to get the right flowers.

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