Weddings are stressful, and anyone who makes fun of an overwhelmed bride clearly has no idea what they’re going through. Even though you plan everything down to the last detail, there are some things that will, inevitably, go wrong.
The following list is not intended to scare you, or stress you out more than you already are. It’s intended to help you prepare for any unforeseen circumstances that may happen on your wedding day. Forewarned is forearmed, after all. If you have some idea of what is likely to go wrong on the big day, then you can take steps now to avoid it. Unfortunately, not everything on this list has an easy solution (or any solution), but perhaps if you’ve prepared for the possibility then it won’t seem like a disaster.
Someone will be late
Even if you tell everyone to be there an hour early, there is no planning for traffic or road accidents. While it’s bad enough for a guest to arrive late, it’s a lot worse when the wedding party, groom, or even the bride gets stuck in traffic.
The best (and possibly only) solution is to have everyone arrive at the venue an hour before the ceremony will start and put some drinks out while everyone waits. Apart from that, download a reliable traffic app (and make sure your phone is fully charged), and get as many people to carpool so at least the majority will get there at the same time.
DIY won’t always be flawless
Weddings are expensive enough, so it’s always good to save a few pennies here and there by doing as much wedding DIY as you can. Unfortunately, accidents can happen, even on items that were a labour of love. The paper flower bouquets could get squashed. The centrepieces can get dropped. Your hand is shaking with nerves so your wedding makeup doesn’t look as flawless as you’d imagined.
Or, to put it simply, you’re not as good at arts and crafts as you thought, and no amount of glue can help you fix what has fallen apart. Identify what’s most important (your wedding day stylist, your centrepieces, or your cake) and hire a professional to do the heavy lifting. Small things like favours, bouquets, or even invitations can be done by you.
Someone will have an allergy/dietary requirement
Everyone has a dietary restriction these days; whether it’s gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan or a deadly allergy. The only thing you can do is ask everyone to include their dietary requirements with their RSVP, and follow up if all you get is an RSVP. Never assume that someone will be happy with whatever is put in front of them, and don’t believe them if they try to claim they will eat anything. After that, it’s out of your hands, and it’s the wedding caterer’s responsibility.
Unfortunately, even with all your consideration, someone will complain that they couldn’t eat the food because of some allergy or dietary issue.
The weather might not be perfect
Even with all the advances in technology, there is nothing that can accurately predict the weather. Sure, you could drive yourself crazy by checking the weather forecast weeks in advance, but even that isn’t a certainty.
If you’re smart, you’ll have planned for the possibility of rain and, if you’re having an outdoor wedding, you’ll have contingencies in place to make sure that the rain can’t ruin your special day. But if you live in a perpetually sunny place and the rain does take you by surprise, don’t stress. Go to the nearest store and get some cheap umbrellas to tide you over while you find shelter.
The venue will be double-booked
Administrative errors do happen. You could find that your perfect wedding venue has been double-booked and now you may have to deal with the hassle of finding a venue on late notice.
Let’s deal with this one step at a time: is it too late to change the date? If not, ask the venue if they have any alternative dates within the same time frame, perhaps at a discount.
If the venue has no dates available, ask for a refund as soon as possible. Even if you get a good deal on a last minute venue, a refund is never something to turn down. Always pay deposits on a card. If, for any reason, you are refused a refund, you can go directly to the bank to stop payments and get your money back.
Rings could get lost
If you have ring bearers under the age of five, it’s advised not to give them the rings until the last minute lest the rings get lost or swallowed. However, it’s not just small children that lose rings on the big day. Things get misplaced, and it’s unfortunate, but you can still continue with the ceremony regardless. Simply use something that’s currently in your jewellery box. You’re still getting married. You just have some serious searching to do when you get back home.
The ceremony won’t be perfect
Stage fright is to be expected at the best of times, and especially when you’re standing in front of all your friends and family, reciting your vows, and promising to spend eternity with the person standing there with you. It’s natural if you forget your lines or stumble over a few words.
Also, despite all the rehearsals you schedule, your officiant could say the wrong name, your reader might skip over a sentence, or the musicians play a off-key note. Don’t let it throw you off. Stay in the moment, enjoy the ceremony, and if it helps you should write down your vows so you don’t leave off anything important.
Someone will arrive unannounced
There will be someone who ticked the wrong box on their RSVP, or had some plans fall through so they can attend your wedding after all. Others will bring a +1 without warning you. Either way, there is a chance you could end up with more people at your wedding than you anticipated. The best way to avoid this becoming an inconvenience (because you don’t want to get into a fight with a friend/family member on your special day) arrange to leave a few open spaces at each table and have the caterer prepare some extra food just in case. If no one shows up, someone can have seconds or take leftovers home.
Wardrobe malfunctions will happen
A bride’s greatest fear is finally getting to put on that perfect dress, only to hear a loud rip from behind them. Zippers get stuck, buttons fall off, and, unfortunately, dresses can rip. If you can’t afford to bring a professional seamstress along for the day, the best solution is to make sure at least one person in the wedding party is a wizard with a sewing needle. If that’s not a skill that anyone possess, then you should all get together to learn some basic sewing skills in case of emergencies.
The power will cut
When you’re shopping around for a venue, you need to make sure that it can support all your lighting needs, especially if you’re having a large wedding. If your venue is an older, historic landmark, or a private estate, it won’t be designed to deliver a lot of power at once, making outages a lot more likely.
Even if you’ve been reassured by the venue operator that your large wedding party won’t be a strain for the building, make sure the generators, inverters, and other backup sources are operating properly and ready to be used. It’s even a good idea to hire an on-site technician to remain on property throughout the duration of the event to troubleshoot any problems that may arise in real time.
You will forget something
Wedding rings, marriage license, vows, bouquets, boutonnière. There is an endless list of things that you need to bring on the day, and inevitably someone will forget to bring something. If you forgot to bring your wedding ring, borrow one off someone for the duration of the ceremony, or use your engagement ring. Make up a master copy of your vows, marriage license, readings, and toasts, and leave your best man or maid of honor in charge of bringing them to the venue. Split the bouquets to make a spare for someone who’s forgotten theirs. Use a flower in your bridemaids’ bouquet to make a spare boutonnière.
Someone will do something embarrassing
Everyone was on their best behavior throughout the ceremony, but after dinner, perhaps during the toasts, someone will do or say something embarrassing that will get captured on film. They don’t mean to do it, but dancing and alcohol can be a dangerous combination, especially when the people in question know you so well. Just laugh and go with it. Sure, it may be embarrassing for you now, but in a year it’ll be a funny wedding story you tell your friends and they’ll be the ones embarrassed.