What to Do if a Wedding Vendor Is MIA on the Big Day

A casual bride and groom sitting on the ground eating pizza next to a classic car.

It’s the worst case scenario: you’re all dressed and ready to walk down the aisle when your wedding planner/bridesmaid/mom tells you, “Your caterer isn’t here yet and we can’t reach them on the phone.” While your first instinct may be to panic, postpone the wedding, and hide in your wedding dress, you’ll need to figure out how to contact them or move along without them. Here’s what to do if a wedding vendor is MIA on your wedding day.

Don’t Handle it By Yourself

If you don’t have a dedicated wedding planner, then your best bet is to have a point person like your maid of honor, your mom, or a trusted cousin or friend handle the situation alongside you. You’ll likely be over-the-top emotional on your wedding day and you need someone to handle the situation calmly—because once you actually get a hold of the vendor, there might only be a small chance that you won’t either yell or cry.

Contact The Vendor in Multiple Ways

Tried your florist’s cell phone and having no luck? It’s now time to try multiple forms of communication. Try texting her, calling her main office number, emailing, and even Facebook messaging. Social media might be the best way to get her attention, so don’t be afraid to tweet, Instagram message or write on her Facebook wall to send an SOS and get her attention. Hopefully contacting your vendor in multiple ways will get things moving along, but if she seems to have vanished off the face of the earth, you’ll need to move onto a plan B.

Call Backup Vendors

As you were searching for a caterer, photographer, or DJ, did you contact any other vendors? If you set up meetings with a few different wedding vendors, try contacting them to see if they are available for a last-minute job. If they happen to be available, expect that you may have to agree to a higher rush fee. Give them instructions on how to get to the venue and let them know how much time they have to pull together their cameras, grab some ready-made bouquets or whip up something for the reception. It may have not been what you originally envisioned, but you’ll at least have a vendor there taking care of the job.

Use Alternative Resources

When you can’t get another vendor to come to the wedding last-minute, you may need to get creative and use some alternative resources to get the show on the road.

If your florist is MIA, have your bridesmaids or a flower girl head to the nearest open space and pick you some wild flowers for your bouquet—or head to the nearest Trader Joe’s or other grocery store to get your hands on something fresh and floral for your bouquets and table decorations.

A bride holding a bouquet of sunflowers and wearing a denim jacket.

When it’s a DJ that’s missing, ask your venue if they have speakers you could hook into and have a music-minded friend make a playlist on Spotify for the reception.

If your photographer won’t return your calls, ask around to see if any of your guests have a semi-professional camera that you could borrow to snap some pictures. And although it’s not ideal, you could also have your guests collectively take some pictures on their phones.

A woman taking a picture on her phone of a bride and groom.

If your caterer hasn’t bothered to show up, rely on local restaurants to supply you some last-minute food. And if all else fails, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to order 100 pizzas from the local pizza joint.

The only tricky missing vendor situation is if your officiant decides not to show up as you will need a licensed officiant to sign off on your wedding certificate. If you’re tired of waiting and they still haven’t called you, the best thing to do is to recite some vows in front of your friends and family with the idea that you’ll make it official at city hall after the fact.

Make an Announcement to Your Wedding Guests

When you are trying to gather new food for the reception or get a hold of one of your vendors, keep your guests in the loop by having someone make an announcement that things will get moving soon. You could even have them open up the bar a little early for cocktail hour to keep your guests occupied.

Never Showed Up? Take a Look at the Contract Once the Wedding Is Over

If one of your vendors truly never showed up, you have to go on with the day as best you can with the resources that you could pull together at the last minute. Try not to dwell on the fact that it didn’t go as perfectly as you wanted—in fact, you may even laugh about it one day!

However, once you arrive home from the wedding, be sure to pour over your contract and see what you’re owed back by them not showing up. In most cases you should be able to get a partial refund or get your deposit back, but be sure to look everything over carefully in case they try to argue.

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