First, congratulations! You’re in the final stretch, and you’ve made it so far! You’ve budgeted your way to your ideal wedding, you’ve shopped around for your favourite vendors, and you’ve whittled prices down and built services up! This might seem like an obvious last step to some, but not everyone realizes that the planning doesn’t stop after you’ve signed contracts with your vendors. The next step is to plan your day, down to the smaller details.
Planning, in this sense, means planning ahead. Thinking about things you might need on your wedding day, back up options, and trying to prepare for unexpected events or guests are all ways to plan ahead for your day. For example, make a backup plan to have a tent or choose an indoor ceremony space just in case it rains on your outdoor wedding!
Another suggestion is to prepare a wedding “emergency” kit. In my post on how to stay stress-free on your wedding day, I detailed items that you might need in this kit. This will help you on the day of if small things go wrong, like a (small) stain on the dress or you need a make-up fix on the fly!
No one likes to think about what bad things might happen on their wedding day, but it makes a huge difference if you think about unexpected issues in advance. Not only will you be able to get past it more easily, you’ll be able to have a happier, less stress wedding day because you know exactly what to do when something goes wrong. Here are a few things that might go wrong, and ways to fix them and hopefully avoid them before the big day:
Rain or Bad Weather
This one is SO common in outdoor ceremonies, as well as with weddings where the photos are shot outside. Luckily, there are a few pretty easy fixes. Keep in mind your time of year – the weather is going to be worse at certain times of the year, and better at others. Of course, many couples have a specific date in mind so changing the time of year is not always feasible. If your wedding date is fixed and you’ve found a venue, then the easiest (and usually cheapest) thing to do is ask your venue where the ceremony could be held in case of rain/snow/thunderstorms, etc. Most outdoor venues will also have an indoor option. If they don’t, see if you can rent a tent to protect you and your guests from getting soaking wet or cold. If you do decide to go with a tent, secure it early! There are many last-minute requests for tents due to bad weather, but if you secure it early you’ll be able to beat the rush.
On the same note, about weather: it can be freezing, or it can be sweltering. Keep this in mind when booking your day, and see if your venue offers outdoor heaters or fans. If the venue doesn’t, see if you can rent some! You will thank yourself – and your guests will thank you too!
Vendor Doesn’t Show/Equipment Malfunctions
This one happens rarely, but I put it near the top of the list because when it does happen, it’s almost catastrophic for the wedding day. There are plenty of horror stories that have been told about vendors not showing on your wedding day, or arriving at the wrong address. The best way to prevent this is to double-check the information you send them (make sure the addresses are correct, that they one hundred percent have your or your bridal party’s contact information in case they need to contact you, etc). This ensures that there is no miscommunication, and they know exactly where to be at what time on the day of. Other than giving them correct information, sometimes vendors can fall ill or have family emergencies of their own – this is where the shopping part of this 4 part series comes into play. When you are looking for a vendor, make sure you ask them some important questions to ensure that they have a backup plan or someone they can call at the last minute to step in for them. When you’re asking these questions, make sure they also have back up equipment or can repair on the fly!
Wrong Colours/Size of Rental Clothing
Being a photographer, and especially being a second shooter, I have experienced many wedding days where the guys don’t have the exact right clothing due to a mixup with the rental company. Unfortunately, this one is not easily predicted, but it can be somewhat prevented. If it’s for suits, ask each person who is getting a rental to bring a backup pair of pants (they’re the most common ill-fitting part of the suit) and a belt – if the pants given are too small, they’ll have their extra pair, and if they’re too big they might be able to at least keep them up with a belt. If the vests are the wrong colour, that’s a little trickier. Try to see if your rental company has neutral colours available, like white, black, or grey. Same goes for ties or bow ties – or you can purchase those separately. The last resort is to try to have someone purchase a new pair of pants/shirt/vest/tie on the very day of. This is of course not ideal, but in a pinch it will make the difference between parachute pants and a better fit!
I found some really great articles, blog posts, and even a couple of posts on a wedding forum while researching for this post, and I thought I’d share a few of the best ones I found! If you search “what can go wrong on your wedding day”, you will find hundreds and hundreds of results.
1. The Buzz: What Went Wrong on Your Wedding Day? gives you something invaluable – perspective, and the ability to learn from other people’s miscommunications and mishaps. When you read each entry, you can give yourself ideas on how to try your best to prevent each mistake. The Weddingbee website also has some fantastic forums that you can glean a ton of information from, from planning tips to other couples’ experiences!
2. 9 Things That Can Go Wrong on Your Wedding Day – this post gives nine examples of some (mostly) common things that can go wrong on your wedding day, ranging from not very serious to disastrous.
Having told you about all the things that can go wrong at a wedding, please don’t let yourself dwell on any of these. The best thing that you can do for yourself on your wedding day is to be as prepared as possible, and then to take everything in stride! The most important part of the day is that you did all of this to be MARRIED to the love of your life. You can now spend the rest of your days together laughing about what went wrong! If you stress out too much and focus on the one thing that went wrong, your wedding day will be a lot less fun. Put the mishaps in perspective, and try to see the silver lining of it all, like this Reddit user did after a terrible wedding day(read through to the last sentence):
The last thing I’d like to say on this post is that at Couvrette Studio we have backup plans for backup plans. We have backup photographers, we always bring backup equipment with us, and all of our weddings are single-booked! We focus on each and every bride that comes through our studio, so if you choose us as your wedding photographers of choice you will not be disappointed! Our Ottawa wedding photographers website will give you many more details that you can read through, as well as examples of our work!