Five wedding disasters and how to avoid them

06 Jul 2017

From stained dresses to drunken uncles, this list should help you predict and tackle most wedding disasters 

Image gallery

Image gallery

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and, naturally, you don’t want anything to go wrong. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable and some things are simply out of your control. To help you troubleshoot before the big day, here’s a list of five common wedding mishaps and what you can do to avoid or resolve them.

The dress disaster

It’s the day of the wedding, and your mum or maid of honour is helping to get you into the dress. Suddenly, you realise there’s a problem. It’s too big/small, the zipper is stuck, or there is a mystery stain you never noticed before. There are only a few hours until the ceremony and nobody knows what to do.

The solution

Before the wedding: You should always arrange for multiple dress fittings in the run up to your wedding. Try it on in the months preceding the big day to make sure it fits and that there are no problems. Minor problems such as a sticky zipper can be fixed quickly and easily, and if there is an issue with sizing then you can either get it altered or attempt to lose a bit of weight. You can also check it over for marks or stains, and get it cleaned before it’s too late.

On the day: Make sure you have an emergency kit with you in case your bridesmaids need to patch up small tears or even stitch you into your dress. Keep something waxy, such as a candle, on hand to lubricate the zipper on the off chance it becomes sticky, and include a stain remover pen in your kit as well. Chalk can also be used to temporarily cover up accidental stains.

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The supplier disaster

Your cake maker/bar/DJ/make-up artist/hair stylist/etc. has had to suddenly cancel due to a family emergency. Either that, or there has been total radio silence from them in the run up to the wedding, and you’re getting worried. Worse still, it’s the morning of the wedding and they haven’t shown up or got in contact with you to let you know where they are.

The solution

Before the wedding: Take out wedding insurance so that if any of your suppliers disappear off the radar you can claim back your deposit and book elsewhere. Make a back-up plan way in advance with a list of alternative suppliers, or of ways you can solve the problem by yourself. If you have a wedding planner, ensure that they have all contact details of your suppliers so that they can organise them on your behalf. Finally, budget in anticipation of disaster. You may need to make a mad dash to the store to replace whatever is missing.

On the day: Tell your suppliers to turn up one to two hours before they are required. This gives you enough time to realise they aren’t coming, attempt to get in contact with them, and try and find a solution to the problem. If it’s the photographer, ask a close friend or family member to bring along their nicest camera and do the job instead. If it’s the bar, send your maid of honour or your fiancé’s best man out to the local supermarket to do a bulk buy. If it’s the cake maker, do the same: many supermarkets stock cakes suitable for a wedding, or, similarly, there is bound to be a bakery nearby that can help you out. You could even go for a bulk load of cupcakes if things get desperate. If it’s the hair and make-up, make sure you bring along your own make-up and hair equipment so that you and your bridesmaids can do what you can. If it’s the DJ, create a playlist of your favourite music on your laptop (which you definitely packed in case this situation arose), and use the venue’s sound system. In the rare case that they don’t have one, send someone out to a local PA hire company. 

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The weather disaster

You were hoping for sunny skies and a slight breeze, but the sky has decided to open up and torrential rain is forecast for the whole day. It’s windy, muddy, and cold, and your outdoor ceremony/reception is potentially ruined. The cloudy sky means it’s too dark to take photos outside, and everyone looks miserable.

The solution

Before the wedding: Choose a wedding venue that has options. It’s all very well finding the perfect outdoor venue with beautiful gardens and picturesque woodland, but if there’s nowhere to shelter if the weather turns then your wedding could be completely ruined. Purchase umbrellas that match your colour scheme or wedding theme in advance, just in case the rain comes out. You should also buy a jacket or throw to protect yourself from the cold, even if you’re having a summer wedding. Finally, wedding insurance usually covers weather-related disasters, so make sure you’re fully insured for the big day.

On the day: You should have been keeping an eye on the weather forecast on the days preceding your wedding anyway, so should have an idea of what you’re in for. If your wedding turns out to be a total wash-out, stay positive. There are certain photographs that a photographer wouldn’t be able to get on a clear, sunny day so you will end up with some unique images to look back on. Try and get your guests to see the funny side of it, whilst making sure they’re protected with umbrellas and blankets.

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The memory disaster

In the excitement of getting ready and travelling to your venue, you’ve forgotten to pack an essential item such as the rings, speeches, or ceremony readings. It might even be something unimportant but personally significant, such as your signature perfume or a good luck trinket.

The solution

Before the wedding: Pack your wedding day bag way in advance, such as a couple of weeks beforehand. That way, you can check through your bag in the run up to the big day to ensure that nothing has been left behind. Make a checklist of all the vital components and go through it meticulously for ease of mind. Don’t leave it down to anyone else to make sure that everything is packed, particularly as they might not know what items are personally significant or less important than others.

On the day: Check your bags for all important items first thing in the morning so that you have enough time to find a solution. If you’re close enough to home that you can send your parents, maid of honour, or fiancé’s best man to go and fetch the forgotten item, then do it sooner rather than later so as to not interrupt the flow of the day. If you’re far away from home, you’re going to have to improvise. For example, get a free pair of hands to drive out to the closest cheap jewellery shop and make do with proxy rings for the day, or find your chosen readings on the internet and handwrite them.

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Overzealous drinkers

Weddings are very boozy affairs. From the welcome drinks to the dinner wine and champagne toasts, there’s a lot of alcohol going around. It’s not surprising, therefore, that most married couples will have a story or two about that one wedding guest who had way too much to drink and went a bit mad. And it’s almost inevitable that, unless you have a completely booze-free wedding, the same thing will happen on your big day.

The solution

Before the wedding: Theoretically, you should only be inviting people to your wedding that are close to you and your fiancé. If that’s the case, you should hopefully know what their personalities are like when they’ve had a bit to drink, and should be able to predict who is most likely to exceed their limit. If it’s a family friend you don’t know very well, ask your parents or soon-to-be in-laws.

On the day: Keep an eye on how much everyone is drinking, or assign one of your ushers/bridesmaids to do it for you. If someone seems like they’re on the verge of going overboard, gently suggest that they switch to water or fizzy drinks for a little while. While you shouldn’t have to babysit grown adults on your big day, you also don’t want things getting out of hand. If someone escapes your watchful eye and does start ruining it for everyone else – or getting sick – call a taxi straight away and get them home or to their accommodation.  

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