The Most Common Wedding Day Disasters (And How to Handle Them)

A bride and groom cake topper in the middle of a crumbled cake.

Everyone wants their wedding day to be picture perfect, but sometimes accidents happen—and when they do, it can feel like a disaster. If you find yourself facing a wedding day mishap, don’t panic. With a little know-how (and a little damage control), you can fix it and have a beautiful day.

Vendor Cancelation

Vendors are people too, and people sometimes have emergencies beyond their control. So, what do you do if your makeup artist, photographer, DJ, or other vendor calls on the morning of your wedding to tell you they can’t make it? The best way to prevent this problem is to foster a good relationship with your vendors. Your DJ will be more likely to call in a favor from another DJ friend if he likes you! Or, if you want some extra peace of mind, ask vendors about their emergency backup plan before you book them.

Skin Blemishes

A woman looking at a pimple in the mirror.

Waking up with a pimple or allergic reaction on your face may feel like the end of the world. After all, that thing will show up in your photos! But thanks to the power of makeup, hiding blemishes is easy. Ask your makeup artist to focus on giving you flawless (but natural-looking) foundation coverage. By using different-colored concealers and an expert hand, you’ll achieve that perfect wedding day glow. To prevent waking up with a blemish on the big day, avoid any new skin care products or treatments the month before your wedding—you never know what will cause a reaction!

Wardrobe Malfunction

You’ve spent your whole life dreaming about your wedding dress (and six months dieting and exercising to fit into it). But what if you slip it on and—RIP!—you’re stuck with a snag, split seam, or broken zipper? The key to solving this problem is calm. Take a deep breath, grab the sewing kit from your emergency supplies (note: make sure you have one!), and grab the person with the steadiest hand and the most sewing experience. In just a few quick moments, your wedding dress will be good as new once again!

Missing Rings

It sounds like something out of the movies or TV (and it has been—many times), but this disaster can still send your wedding party into an apocalyptic panic. Once again, the key to solving this is keeping your cool. If you’re the one who lost the rings, retrace your steps and ask the people who were with you the last time you had them. Everyone knows how important the rings are, so odds are they’ll join the search and the rings will turn up. And if you’re the newlyweds, have your rings insured!

Rain or Poor Weather

A bride and groom walking in a field in the rain.

While this disaster isn’t exactly ironic (my apologies to Alanis Morissette), it is a huge bummer, particularly if you’re having an outdoor wedding. So, what can you do to keep your guests comfortable and dry when the weather won’t cooperate? This is one of those disasters when the best (and only) defense is a good offense. Make a rainy-day plan with your venue and your vendors, and be prepared to use Plan B once the rain comes down. It’s also wise to set aside emergency funds in case your backup plan costs a little more.

Family Drama

Let’s face facts: every family has its problems. Unfortunately, sometimes those problems can lead to awkward situations on your wedding day. But if you think ahead and communicate with everyone, you might make it through the day without any drama! Start by talking with parents, siblings, and family members who have well-known beef. Set some clear expectations about how you’d like the day to go. If you’re lucky, everyone will respect your wishes and set aside their grievances for one evening. If not…have a glass of champagne, ignore them, and have a good time!

Inappropriate Toasts

A woman giving a toast at a wedding.

Toasts are a common part of the wedding reception with the best man, maid of honor, and wedding hosts saying a few words. But sometimes a speaker turns their time into a stand-up comedy act…and not a good one. If you’re afraid that one of your speakers will make a toast that’s too long, full of inappropriate jokes, or anything else that will kill the celebratory mood, talk to your DJ or band leader. If they are aware of your worries, they’ll be ready to grab the microphone when things get too cringeworthy.

A Fallen Cake

There are a lot of moving parts behind the scenes of a wedding, from caterers running back and forth to bridesmaids helping the bride use the restroom in her dress. Sometimes, those moving parts collide—literally—and you end up with a flattened cake on the floor.

Don’t panic; believe it or not, there are some cases in which a fallen cake can be salvaged. With the right combination of lighting tricks and decorative flowers, you may be able to have the wedding cake of your dreams! However, it’s also smart to ask your baker about backup dessert options in the event of a fallen cake. If he or she has a backup plan in mind, that’s the baker you want to hire!

Drunk Guests

A group of men on the dance floor of a wedding.

No matter what other disasters you face, weddings are always fun—and sometimes guests have a little too much fun. When you see your family and friends getting turnt up, it’s very important that you help get them home safely.

If you don’t have hotel rooms blocked out for your guests in the nearby area, try to set up some sort of transportation for intoxicated guests. Some venues offer a shuttle or trolley service, or you can offer all your guests Uber vouchers as part of their wedding favors. Whatever you do, just make sure that no drunk guest gets behind the wheel!

Unexpected Plus-Ones

Maybe your college buddy brought his new girlfriend without telling you. Maybe your cousin showed up with her husband after telling you he had to work. Either way, you’re now faced with an extra body you simply weren’t prepared for. Unfortunately, this is one disaster you’ll have to just accept; you can’t turn away the unexpected guest (unless you’re willing to burn bridges with his or her date). Instead, talk to your venue and ask them to squeeze in an extra chair. As for that extra meal you’ll have to pay for, now’s the time to break into that emergency fund I warned you about.

As you can see, most of these “disasters” are merely small speed bumps. If you plan ahead and think quickly on your feet, you can still have a perfect wedding.

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