How to Plan for Wedding Disasters

What do we say to wedding day disasters? Not today! This guide has everything you need to plan ahead for the most common wedding problems.

By The Zola Team

Couple together in front of a boat
Photo by Sweet Lady Jane

You’ve chosen the most delicious cake flavor, you’ve found your dream venue, and you’ve even ordered flowers that will make your guests think that they’ve stepped into Eden.

But, you might still wake up in the middle of the night screaming things like, “That’s not my cake!” or “Who tie-dyed my wedding dress?” Don’t worry, these are just pre-wedding nightmares. While you can’t always control your dreams, you can rest easier by planning ahead for potential wedding day problems.

The Most Common Wedding Day Disasters

Knowing how to plan for disasters on your wedding day starts with knowing what disasters could occur. The five most common wedding day issues include:

  1. Problems with the venue
  2. Late, flaky, or no-show vendors
  3. Damaged wedding cakes
  4. Glaring skin blemishes
  5. Stains, tears, or an ill-fitting wedding outfit

The best advice for how to plan for problems on your wedding day is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Wedding Day Disasters and How to Avoid Them

With a little planning, forethought, and a few tips, you can tell wedding day disasters to sit down, shut up, and forever hold their peace.

1. Be Vigilant With Venue Issues

Whether you’re getting married in a sunflower field or at a restaurant’s event space, be proactive in your fight against venue issues. The wedding venue, after all, is the main host of the wedding. If something goes wrong, it’ll have a big impact on the day itself. Below are a few tips to avoid any venue mishaps:

  • Make a Backup Plan – Venues can flood, incur damages, or close their doors for fumigation—this is especially true of outdoor venues. Thus, you need to work with your venue to come up with a worst-case scenario backup plan. Even if you’re planning on having your reception in the desert in July, plan for bad weather and rain. If you plan and prepare for unpredictable weather, you can face any venue problem with confidence and poise.

  • Set Aside an Emergency Fund – If there’s a sudden change of venue, there might be unexpected costs. For example, if your ceremony venue changes to somewhere farther away, you may have to pay your limousine company a fee for added miles. Keep a little money aside in your budget for last minute expenses. And, if you don’t use it, awesome. Now you have a bonus fund to use on your honeymoon.

  • Be Flexible – If there’s a problem with the wedding venue, the best thing you can do is to be flexible. Try to focus on the amazing person you’ll be spending your life with, and remember that it’s not about where your wedding takes place, but who you’re marrying.

How to Plan for Wedding Disasters Photo Credit // Sweet Lady Jane

2. Disaster-Proofing Vendors

Whether you’re hiring a catering service, a florist delivery, or renting a bounce house for the reception, vendors can directly influence the wedding experience. After all, they’re the many moving pieces (literally) that help shape your incredible day. Below are a few tips to ensure that your vendors deliver on their promise:

  • Contracts – Contracts help protect your vendors and yourself in case of an emergency. Talk to your vendor about what happens if they’re late, provide the wrong food or equipment, or if they have to cancel at the last minute. Make sure it’s in writing. Everyone will feel confident and prepared if there’s already a plan for worst-case scenarios.

  • Remind and Confirm – Send friendly reminder emails or calls to your vendors the week of the wedding. Confirm service details, menu choices, address, and timing. But, don’t forget to talk about how excited you are to have the vendor at your wedding. That way, when you ask for a confirmation email, your vendors can share their enthusiasm with you, too.

Wedding Day Disaster Preparedness Tip: Before you hit send on any vendor emails, make sure the venue, time, and date details are right. A typo in these instances could lead to a lot of confusion, so have someone read it over before you hit send.

3. Beating Cake Mistakes

You’ve spent time thinking, choosing, and tasting your perfect wedding cake. Yet, somehow, when you think of a wedding disaster, it’s not far-fetched that a ruined wedding cake comes to mind. It’s an event that’s been popularized by Hollywood and for good reason. Wedding cakes are symbolic of happiness and “good life” for the newlyweds—they are not meant to be ruined. With a few preventative measures, you’ll ensure you can have your cake and eat it, too.

  • Make Good Cake Choices – If you’re having an outdoor summer wedding, an eight tier buttercream cake risks melting before you even get to the cake cutting. Talk to your cake vendor about the conditions of the venue. From there, you can both create the safest, tastiest, and prettiest configuration of cake, icing, and decorations.

  • Easy Fixes for Damaged Cakes – Accidents happen, and you don’t want your cake to become a wedding casualty. Here’s how to be ready for any cake casualty:

    · Don’t let your cake vendor leave the venue until you’ve checked the cake. If it experienced a few bumps and bruises along the way, your cake vendor will be there to do a quick cake makeover.

    · Ask your caterer to have a few wedding cake “fix-it” essentials on hand in case the worst happens. We recommend fondant, icing, and extra cake dowels to help smooth any blemished cake.

    · Repurpose some floral centerpieces to distract from any serious damage on the cake. Chances are, people won’t even notice the imperfections.

  • Keep Calm and Buy Cupcakes – The best plan for a horrifically damaged or no-show cake on your big day is to swap in some cupcakes, or other bite-sized treats. Have a list of bakeries nearby that you can contact for a last-minute treat delivery. Don’t forget to tap your caterer to see if they can call in a few favors to keep your special day sweet.

How to Plan for Wedding Disasters Photo Credit // Sweet Lady Jane

4. What Do We Say to Outfit Debacles? Not Today.

On your wedding day, what you wear and how you feel wearing it can affect every gesture of the day. From that “oh wow” hush from the crowd—when you walk into the ceremony—to your first dance, all eyes are on you. And, even after the wedding, wedding dresses and suits become family heirlooms. When it comes to wardrobe malfunctions, being prepared means avoiding them. Below are a few tips that can help prepare you, should a mishap occur:

  • Make Sure Your Outfit Fits – Schedule as many fittings as necessary (or that you feel comfortable doing). This will ensure that your dress or suit is perfectly fitted on your wedding day. This is particularly important if you’re going the strapless route and want to avoid the tiresome tube top pull up every few minutes.

  • Practice Safe Outfit Habits – Between hors d'oeuvres, champagne, and other people’s high heels, your outfit is not without enemies. Sometimes, everything and everyone are trying to stain or tear it. To keep your outfit pristine, below are a few tips:

    · Drink from a straw to prevent spills on your clothes.

    · After your makeup is applied, ask someone to help you put on your wedding outfit. This mitigates the infamous tale of “makeup and the white dress.”

    · Take small bites of food to avoid dropping anything on your lap.

    · Practice the cake cutting at the rehearsal dinner to ensure a smooth execution.

    · If you’re wearing a floor-length dress, practice walking (and twirling) to prevent catching your hem on a heel on the dance floor.

  • Make a Quick Fix Kit – You’ll want to have a few tools on hand, in case any problems crop up with your clothes. The below serves as a good foundation to combat any wardrobe malfunctions that life decides to throw at you:

    · Sewing kit · Tide To-Go pen · Spare tie or bowtie · Portable steamer · Shout wipes · An extra belt · Club soda · A list of wedding guests who sew well, and their contact information

Wedding Disaster Preparedness Tip: When you’re shopping for wedding outfits, check reviews and talk to experienced tailors and seamstresses. See if certain brands are known for having a faulty zipper or a tendency to tear, so that when you say “Yes” to your dress or suit, you’ll also be saying “Not today” to potential disasters.

5. How to Prevent Wedding Day Skin Imperfections

If Toula from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” taught us anything, it’s that everyone wants to wake up with dewy skin on their wedding morning. Blemishes and breakouts can make you feel insecure on a day where you should feel extraordinary. Thus, you can ensure flawless skin and total confidence with just a few precautionary measures, (no Windex required):

  • Make an Appointment With Your Dermatologist – On your wedding day, the best way to prevent skin disasters is by starting off with healthy skin. Because it can take a minimum of six weeks to see if a product or a routine is working, make an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as you can. You’ll build a skincare routine that will keep breakouts away when it’s time to stand at the altar.

Wedding Day Disaster Preparedness Tip: Don’t book a facial the week before the wedding. Some chemicals and beauty treatments can actually leave your skin more vulnerable to breakouts and scabbing. Unless you have a trusted esthetician, save the facial for the bachelor or bachelorette weekend.

However, please do take some time to pamper yourself before the wedding. Indulge in the beauty treatments that always make you feel your best.

In Case of Disaster, Keep Calm and Remember the Love

Some things might go wrong on your wedding day, and that’s okay. So long as you take on problems with a positive attitude, you’ll be able to turn wedding disasters into funny moments that make your big day even more memorable.

Whatever issues arise, remember to smile, lean on your people, and embrace the love. Because no matter what, you’ll be saying “I do” to the person who you want to spend the rest of your life with. And, even better, they’re going to say it back.

Zola: Your Best Defense Against Wedding Day Disasters

From the invites, wedding website, to the gift registry, Zola’s wedding services can give you seamless solutions to disaster-proofing your special day. Our team of experts can help you gracefully handle wedding day problems before they ever arise. Let’s work together to make sure the most memorable things that happen on your wedding day are the joyful moments you’ll never forget.