You know that saying, “Whatever can go wrong, will?” These are five words that terrify me.
Especially when it comes to our wedding.
In my everyday life, I have a back up plan for most things. Traffic on the way to work? Take the other route. The grocery store is sold out of the ingredients I need to make dinner? I’ve brought other recipes and ingredient lists to make something else. When we go on vacations, I’ve always got the phone number, directions and menus printed for back up restaurants, just in case one we’ve planed on eating at loses our reservations or is closed. Needless to say, I’m a planner to the max (as if you didn’t already know that about me)!
So of course, I’ve got to have contingency plans ready for when something on our big day goes wrong!
My mom and sister laughed at me when I sent them my list of the big things that might go wrong, and one or two alternative solutions for each. But I’m sticking by my opinion that this list will be massively important to have on our wedding day.
Not only will it be a big time saver (nobody has to take time to stop and think of what to do when something goes wrong, just refer to the list of back up plans), but I also think it will be really valuable to our DOC. If something can’t go as we’ve planned, she will be able to use this to make sure she’s still carrying out our vision of the day, even if it’s a secondary vision.
And thirdly, I wanted to make this list in hopes that it would make my wedding nightmares go away. Like many brides, I’ve been plagued by bad dreams about our wedding, mainly involving me running around in my wedding dress, sweating, and trying to put out fires. I know that it’s just my subconscious telling me that I’m concerned about the very short amount of time we’ll have to set up all the decorations, so I’ve included the things I’ve been dreaming about going wrong on this list.
In hopes that any of you might find it a useful starting place for making your own list of back up plans, I wanted to share my contingency plans with you all:
What Could Go Wrong: It rains
Solution 1: If it’s just misting, get as many umbrellas as possible at Target, and still have the ceremony outside, but move the dining inside the lodge. Will have to lose the Photobooth, but still keep the dancing in the bar.
Solution 2: Be really upset”¦ and then if it’s more than misting, move the ceremony inside the lodge. Have all the tables pushed up against the wall to the right of the front door, decorated with everything but the centerpieces, which will be ready to go elsewhere. Line the chairs up in front of the fireplace for the ceremony. After the ceremony, make everyone go to the bar for cocktail hour, and have staff move chairs and tables into dining arrangement, and put centerpieces in place after moving the tables. Have the head table set up in front of the windows. We’ll have to lose the photobooth in this scenario, too.
What Could Go Wrong: Makeup and hair artists are late
Solution: Start curling my own hair
What Could Go Wrong: Makeup and hair artists don’t show up
Solution: We do our own hair, and head to MAC at Hillsdale Mall to get our makeup done (call MAC as soon as we know we need to implement this plan)
What Could Go Wrong: A groomsman forgets his suit
Solution: We would know about it by at least Thursday (since I need to iron them all), and have him go buy a similar suit
What Could Go Wrong: A bridesmaid forgets her dress
Solution: We would know about it by at least Thursday (since I need to iron them all), and have her go buy a similar dress
What Could Go Wrong: I discover a stain/rip on my dress
Solution: I clean/repair it with my emergency kit
What Could Go Wrong: Photographers are late
Solution 1: Depending on how late, I make everyone in the room with a camera shoot me getting ready, my accessories, and dress
Solution 2: At 30 minutes late mark, call amateur photographer friend and beg him to meet us at Sharon Park to take our first look pics, and make him call our photographers who are late (since it was this friend who recommended them)
What Could Go Wrong: Photographers don’t show up at all
Solution: Beg friend to shoot the wedding, have our officiant make an announcement before the wedding starts asking all guests to be sure to take lots of pictures and give them to the bride and groom.
What Could Go Wrong: Limo doesn’t show up
Solution: Take a cab
What Could Go Wrong: Cabs with wedding party get lost on the way to the ceremony
Solution: They won’t, the wedding party will have printed directions with them
What Could Go Wrong: Guest charter bus doesn’t show up
Solution: Have the Marriott call a fleet of van cabs for everyone
What Could Go Wrong: Guitarist forgets to bring guitar to ceremony
Solution: Should have enough time to go back to the hotel for it
What Could Go Wrong: Music system doesn’t work
Solution 1a: If it’s the speakers/receiver, ask one of my co-workers to troubleshoot upon arriving, since they’re familiar with the equipment. If they can’t get it fixed, just play music off of computer speakers (bring plug in desktop computer speakers).
Solution 1b: If it’s the laptop not working, use MP3 player.
Solution 2: If MP3 player fails, sacrifice the photobooth and use the photobooth computer to play music.
What Could Go Wrong: People get lost coming to the wedding
Solution: Appoint someone to be the contact person for lost guests (maybe Mr. Cola’s parents, Aunt K?), put that person’s cell number in the OOT packet of info, and make sure they bring a cell phone charger.
What Could Go Wrong: Officiant forgets the ceremony/vows
Solution 1: Pack and extra copy with the decorations and also make mini version and give to one of the groomsmen to carry in their pocket
What Could Go Wrong: Officiant doesn’t show up
Solution: Other friend steps in as back up officiant (he’s ordained, too)
What Could Go Wrong: We forget our marriage certificate
Solution: If we do, not too big of a deal, we can always sign it later
What Could Go Wrong: We forget our rings
Solution: Make sure they are tied to a ribbon inside sister’s purse bouquet that morning
What Could Go Wrong: Chargers break in transport
Solution: I’ve reserved 5 extra, if more break we’ll go without them on the tables
What Could Go Wrong: Sibby’s cupcakes get damaged in transport
Solution: Put the damaged ones on the back of the cupcake stand
What Could Go Wrong: Sibby’s cupcakes don’t show up at all
Solution: Go across the street to Alice’s restaurant and buy/order any pies/cakes they have on hand, and set up pies on the cupcake stand
What Could Go Wrong: Cupcake tower gets broken in transit or in set up
Solution: Be really upset”¦ and then just set up a long table and hopefully at least the top part of the stand isn’t broken and can be put on top of the table, with the rest of the cupcakes spread out on the table
What Could Go Wrong: Can’t get computer to work in DIY photobooth
Solution 1: Ask our photographers if one can step in and shoot in the photobooth for a while, and make an announcement that the photobooth will be open for XYZ time our photographer agrees to
Solution 2: Say screw it and just take it down, or turn one of the signs around and write ‘closed’ on it
What Could Go Wrong: Limo doesn’t come back to pick us up at from the reception
Solution: Call a cab
What Could Go Wrong: Pizza and wings for after party aren’t delivered
Solution: Call another pizza place and put in a new order
What Could Go Wrong: Ceremony site isn’t set up in the correct place (in front of the bay view, not redwood trees), or chairs are set up incorrectly
Solution: Not debatable, DOC makes the staff move things so they are right
What Could Go Wrong: Arch doesn’t cooperate, or work with decorations plans
Solution: I trust my mom and aunt to do whatever they think is best to make it look ok
What Could Go Wrong: Aisle runner gets lost/dirty/won’t work for some reason
Solution: Instead of using most of the petals on the dining tables, combine those petals with the aisle runner petals and use them all to make a floral runner, and just not have petals on the dining tables
What Could Go Wrong: Dining table centerpiece gets broken/messed up in transport
Solution: Use one of the other tall centerpieces from another location (cheese table, buffet table, coffee table, etc)
What Could Go Wrong: Small table centerpiece gets broken/messed up in transport
Solution: Use one of the other tall centerpieces from another location (cheese table, buffet table, coffee table, etc), it will be ok to have more tall than short centerpieces
What Could Go Wrong: Cocktail table centerpieces gets broken/messed up in transport
Solution: Replace with extra small centerpieces from indoor tables or women’s bathroom
What Could Go Wrong: One of the LED light escort cards isn’t working
Solution 1: Try switching in new batteries (provide extras in box)
Solution 2: Pop out the person’s name and put that and their table number sticker in one of the extra escort card boxes
What Could Go Wrong: Pens for guestbook stones stop working
Solution: Shouldn’t be a problem with all the extras I’m providing
What Could Go Wrong: LED lantern gets ripped
Solution: The hanging lanterns are priority over the ones on the steps, so replace any hanging ones with ones from the steps so there are still 12 hanging lanterns. Then either move it so there are only 2 lanterns per deck staircase (instead of 4), or however it works best with the remaining intact lanterns
What Could Go Wrong: 2″ votive candles get broken in transit
Solution: Make it 4 candles per dining table instead of 5, or take candles from the head table to make 5 per dining table
As you can see from this list, there are only two things going wrong that will really upset me–rain, and our 6 foot cupcake tower getting broken. So making this list was also a good way for me to keep things in perspective. If some other things go wrong, it won’t bother me as much, since this exercise of writing down how I will handle them has helped me prioritize what is really important to me.
I should also note that making this list hasn’t made my wedding nightmares go away entirely.
Just last night I dreamed that the ceremony text our officiant was reading from had a bunch of typos and numbers in the words, and he couldn’t read it and stormed off. Then, for some reason, my dad came up in his wheelchair and started reading the ceremony, but after a line or two stopped and announced that it was time to cut the cake and drink chocolate. I tore the papers out of his hands and said to everyone, “Should I just go ‘blah, blah, blah the end’?” and then Mr. Cola and I ran off and slammed the door. A few minutes later I came out, and was in the dining room at the house I grew up in, and my mom was eating cake. When she offered me some, I slid it back across the table angrily at her, and she asked me “Are you really that angry?” Then I woke up.
OK, so, I know that dream didn’t make any sense. But maybe it’s my subconscious telling me that I can make as many lists as I want, but still some things are going to go wrong. Which I know will happen, and I am going to be OK with, when the time comes. In the meantime though, I guess I’m just going to be stuck with my subconscious purging my stress every night. (Also, my subconscious is obviously annoyed that my dad keeps bugging me to have a chocolate fountain at our wedding, which is definitely not happening, since I don’t even like chocolate!)
Have you thought of things that could go wrong on your wedding day, and come up with solutions on how they could be corrected? Or will you be able to take a more laid back approach, and just let what will happen, happen?