Planning for Wedding Day Setbacks

Kimberly ArmstrongPlanningLeave a Comment

You’ve spent months thinking about and planning every excruciating detail of your wedding. You’ve succeeded in artfully incorporating hundreds of starfish into your décor in some unexpected ways. You cajoled your bridesmaids into helping with assembling and wrapping 350 wedding favors. You even have your honeymoon bag packed for your getaway. What could possibly happen to spoil your dream of the perfect wedding? Well . . . read on for a list of potential setbacks and some topics to consider.  


There’s a sweet children’s book that tells the story of a little girl walking along in the rain carrying an umbrella. As she splashes through the puddles, various animals join her under the umbrella and as they do, the umbrella grows wider and wider to accommodate everyone. A magic umbrella would be nice to have at the ready if you’re planning an outdoor wedding. Sadly though, magic umbrellas do not exist. Not even on Amazon! 

Forget about the omen that claims rain on your wedding day means good luck. Or that rain symbolizes the tears of all the bride’s and groom’s ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. Such platitudes will not comfort the bride while her dream wedding is in jeopardy of literally being washed away.  

You can control a lot of things about your wedding, but the weather is not one of them. That is why one local wedding planner duo says, “Fall in love with your Plan B for inclement weather. It is crucial that you talk through your exact vision for Plan B with your planner, and that you are 100% happy with how your wedding will flow if the weather doesn’t cooperate.” 

Another planner echoes that advice. “Weather is always a worry for a bride and groom. Plan B is like an insurance policy, if you have one, you rarely need to use it! If you don’t…. you know the rest!”  

What exactly comprises a Plan B? Can the festivities be moved to an indoor facility? How about renting a tent? You’ll need to reserve both well in advance so that they are available the day of. 

Once the Monday of your wedding week arrives, you should have an accurate weather forecast for your wedding day. Determine how you’ll carry out the alternate plan. Involve your planner and other wedding party members to assist in the logistics of relocating and of notifying all wedding professionals and guests. It may also require making changes to the processional and recessional. 

Another local wedding planner is a firm believer in purchasing event cancellation insurance. “You don’t want a family emergency or weather event to add to the stress of losing all of the money you have spent for your day,” she says. 

The way you react to unfavorable weather will influence the way the guests react. Try not to fret. Remember, rainstorms are often followed by lovely rainbows. 

Tables and Chairs

For the ceremony and the reception, it is suggested to allow extra time for set up of tables and chairs and it is recommended to accomplish the task early. A planner advises, “When using a space that requires you to rent reception tables and chairs, and you decide to set them up yourself, or better yet have your planner do it for you, always allow extra time.” Tables not being set up ahead of time will delay all other vendors, making it difficult for them to properly execute their jobs. 

It is also suggested that if you order your own linens, or if they arrive in packaging, steam them the week or day before the wedding. Wrinkled tablecloths will distract from your lovely tablescapes. 

Park and Ride 

“Event Home weddings are so popular on the Outer Banks, but they tend to lack parking,” says one local planner. “Be sure to hire a transportation service, such as a shuttle or trolley, and include the schedule for pick-ups and drop off in a welcome bag, or welcome letter for your guests. Also, be sure to let your guests know a few cab company numbers as well as the fact that we now have Über & Lyft on the Outer Banks.” 

While it’s important to provide ample transportation for your guests, ensuring you have a separate car for the bridal party is essential. That is particularly true in the summer, when traffic can derail a wedding day timeline. This is especially important if you are planning to have your hair and make-up done at a salon, get ready at a hotel or rental home, get married on the beach, and then proceed to the reception at a different venue. You will need to factor in travel time. It is always better to have extra time than not enough! 

A planner shared the story of how one couple had planned to depart the wedding festivities by boat but with the strong wind forecast for the afternoon it was not feasible. Just two hours before the ceremony was to begin, she arranged to have a classic car delivered for their getaway!

Late to the Party 

It’s inevitable that someone in the wedding party will be running behind. Try not to let it ruffle your feathers and don’t take it personally. Ask a member of the bridal party to contact them and determine their arrival time. 

Lost Things 

When you finally find yourself in your “getting-ready room” with all your bridesmaids, things may tend to get a little crazy. There’s a good chance something will be misplaced, even if only for a moment. It is best to keep rings, marriage license, and other jewelry in a secure place to avoid this mishap. You may wish to entrust these items to your planner for safekeeping. 

The Dress 

The wedding gown could be delivered late, it might be too tight or too loose, it could tear while the bride is slipping it on, the zipper could refuse to work, someone might step on the train, etc. What to do? 

Any wedding planner worth their salt would never report for duty without their supply of safety pins. Many of the planners hail the lowly safety pin as a quick fix for missing buttons, broken dress straps, zipper malfunctions, torn dress hem, etc. One planner puts her sewing kit through the paces. “I’ve sewn bustles, straps, purses, jackets, tablecloths – you name it,” she says. 

It’s great if you and your bridesmaids can enjoy a little pre-wedding celebration. But what if a splash of red wine lands on your pristine white dress? Two words: Wine Away. It’s a product guaranteed to remove red wine stains. Unlike the magic umbrella, it is available on Amazon. 

Missing Rings 

The best man forgot to bring the wedding rings. What was he thinking? Obviously, he was not thinking about his duty as keeper of the rings. If this happens, try to borrow rings from someone else. At least you’ll have something to put on during the vows, and after the ceremony, you can simply return them. Try to hold off on scolding the best man until later. 

Unpredictable Children 

Enough said.  

Power Outage 

Ensure that all the generators, inverters, and other backup sources are operating properly and ready to be used. Electrical outages can happen, particularly if the venue is not designed to handle a heavy load. You may even consider hiring a technician to remain on the property throughout the duration of the event to troubleshoot any problems that arise. Unless you have a wedding planner like the one who relates that she has rerouted electrical wiring like a pro!


Planners issued a gentle reminder that, “Although everyone loves you and wants your wedding to go well, they do want to get paid. They’re not working for free! Get final payments sorted out ahead of time. If you owe anyone money, or plan to tip any of your vendors, have payments ready to go and labeled in envelopes so you can hand it over to your planner the morning of. Last thing you should have to think about on your wedding day is cost!” 

Wedding Planners

Unexpected things happen. And just the thought of what could happen creates stress. That’s why hiring a wedding planner is beneficial. You need someone who will quietly and calmly take care of mishaps, in some cases before anyone even notices.  

As one local wedding planner put it, “Planning a destination wedding can have its challenges. Local wedding planners have extensive knowledge of local venues, caterers, photographers, cake bakers, florists and other wedding vendors. Out-of-town couples find utilizing a planner essential since they are not familiar with the area and which vendors are best suited for their style and budget. Planners can also advise couples on the best time of year for a beach wedding, how to save money on venue rentals, and the permits they may need to obtain for a beach ceremony.” 

The Big Day

Even if something does go wrong, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re surrounded by all the people you love most in the world. They are there to help you, support you, and celebrate with you. Behold the smiles on their faces. Listen to the music and laughter. You just married the love of your life! Perfect.

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