Wedding Back Up Plans

Wedding Day Back Up Plans

OK so we don’t want to alarm you – but unfortunately there is that chance that something may actually go wrong on your wedding day. It is surprisingly not that uncommon, which is why you should always to have a back up plan in place, just in case. Luckily for you, we have sat down with Sam from SDCelebrations and found out what the most common wedding day complications are and how to get around them. 

Wedding Day Back Up Plans

As a wedding planner at SDCelebrations I have to constantly think about back up plans and be ready to help out with unexpected situations throughout all the events that I manage.

My aim is to sort the complications out without anyone knowing any difference, or at the very least with the minimal amount of disruption and drama for the couple and the guests as possible.

Having had the honour of running hundreds of wedding I have experienced a number of unexpected situations where I have had to think on my feet to turn the situation around.

Here are a few quick fixes to common problems.

Damaged button holes

Enthusiastically welcoming your loved ones is a must do at a wedding, however caution must be taken not to damage your button holes during the hug as it is very easily done.

At in recent wedding where I was the celebrant both the groom and the page boy broke their button holes just before the ceremony was about to start.

The rose stems which were the main flower were completely snapped and needed to be removed. I removed 2 roses from the back of the ceremony signing table flower arrangement as these buds would not be missed as they were not front facing for the guests.

I then borrowed some sticky tape from the venue and unwound the green floristry tape holding the flowers together and fastened the rose tightly with the sticky tape. I then wound the floristry tape back over the sticky tape so that it was completely covered and secure.

Real Wedding

Sam captured in action! Photography By Tarik

Lost Ceremony Readings

Make sure there that there is a second copy of the reading somewhere.  I’ve had bridesmaids read straight off their mobile phone when the paper copy has been misplaced.

Broken down wedding transport cars

Vintage cars look beautiful – but can you always rely on them to not break down on the way to the church? Check out the terms and conditions of the company that you book with.  A reputable company will say that they will try to get a replacement car to you where possible.  But what if they were all hired already?  Always make sure that the person who is in the car with you has a few local taxi companies in their phones so that you have a transport option as a last resort.

It is after all better to arrive at the church in ANY car, than not get to the church at all.

Wedding Day Back Up Plans

Celebrant is unable to attend UNEXPECTEDLY

Employing anyone who is self-employed is great, and means that you can get to know the person prior to the day which can make you relax more.  However it’s important to know what they would do if they were sick and unable to attend your wedding.

As a celebrant within the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, I am reassured to know that should disaster strike I could put a call out for help on our social media page and any celebrants local to me would step in to conduct the ceremony that I have written.  Should this not be possible you could ask a well-spoken family member or guest to step in and read the script.

Wedding Rings haven’t arrived

At a past wedding the person with the rings was running very late for the ceremony and the registrars were adamant that the ceremony had to start as they had another wedding to conduct at a different location shortly after.

I went into the congregation and sourced another two rings so that the ceremony could begin.

The exchange of rings is a symbolic gesture during a wedding meaning that it does not matter if they are not the originally intended rings. In this situation it was a case of a wedding with impromptu rings or no wedding at all.

Wedding Back Up Plans

Buses being late from church to reception

If you have hired a vehicle to take guests from one location to another and it doesn’t show up or is massively delayed you may have to think of alternate transport ideas.  If some of the guests are driving their own vehicles you can ask cars to leave once all their seats are taken and if the two locations are close by perhaps ask the drivers to do an additional return journey.

Table flower arrangements haven’t turned up

If your florist hasn’t delivered any table centrepieces and your wedding is in a hotel ask your wedding coordinator if there are any floral displays in the reception, foyer or restaurant that they would loan you?

Supermarket flowers these days are also of a great quality and if it is a case of some flowers or no flowers they are a good last resort.

In the absence of vases for them ask for some additional red wine glasses and float the buds in water.

You can also use the bridal bouquet and bridesmaids bouquets as centrepieces.

The Wedding Cake Collapses

One of the most common wedding day issues is with the wedding cake.

I’ve experienced top tiers falling off cakes onto the floor, cakes sinking & tilting due to being top heavy or the weather too hot, or the sponge simply collapsing when cutting.

It is important not to make your cake top heavy (i.e. have a sponge bottom layer trying to support a too big fruit cake on top).  This may make it become unstable and tilt to one side.  In many a wedding I have positioned a member of waiting staff to stand directly next to the cake to keep any eye on it should it start to lean.

It is important to be flexible with your timings.  If you have chosen to have a creamy cake and it is a hot day, your cake will not look at its best for a long period of time.  Likewise should the cake start to tilt you need to act fast in order to get your perfect “cake cutting” photo.  Don’t be afraid to mix timings up on the day and decide to cut the cake on entrance to the wedding breakfast or between one of the courses should the cake start to deteriorate, and it can then be removed from the room before disaster strikes and the guests start to notice that there is a problem.

I think it is important to also mention here that Supermarket bought celebration cakes are excellent.  However if you are relying on the venue to assessable a 3 tier supermarket cake make sure that you are giving them the equipment that they need.  For a tiered cake to be secure it needs plastic dowelling to be inserted through the cake to give it stability.  Some supermarkets provide this dowelling but it needs cutting before inserting to insure that it is the correct height.  Due to the dowelling being plastic it takes a serrated knife or mini saw to cut through and venues may not always have this equipment to hand so you would be better to cut the dowelling to length prior to giving to the venue.

If your cake doesn’t arrive you always have the option of dispatching someone to buy a supermarket cake off the shelves as a last resort, you might even be able to get your hands on Colin and Connie caterpillar from M&S.

Wedding Back Up Plans

No show Caterer

A caterer not showing up is one of the worst things that could happen to you on your wedding day.  You could have 100’s of people and nothing to feed them with.  Nothing is going to compare to the buffet or 3 course menu that you had chosen, but you will need to make the best of a bad situation.

Find guests who have an Amazon Prime membership and order food and drink and plates etc. through that.  The same can be said of some supermarkets online shopping who also have a quick response time.

Platters of party food from supermarkets are good but remember they may need defrosting.

Perhaps you can go for a street food vibe buffet and order take away food from different outlets.  You could have a pizza stand, Chinese’s, fish and chips etc?

Also don’t forget delivery apps like Deliveroo and Just Eat.

Just make sure that you have bought that all important Wedding day Insurance and you will be able to claim lots of the expense back.

Wedding Back Up Plans

Fridge breakdown

Supermarket ice is cheap for a reason – but as a last resort could help should you run out.  It won’t stay solid for long, you will need a lot of it, and more often than not it will be in large blocks where the ice has melted and reformed.

Add your bottles to any type of container e.g. bin, bath, wheelbarrow and add the ice.  Always remember to add plenty of water to the container as this speeds up the chilling process.

This picture was at a recent garden wedding of mine.

Wedding Back Up plans

Should you realise in advance that you are going to need ice I highly recommend 24 hour Ice. The quality of ice is 2nd to none and for any kind of DIY wedding or if your fridge break down the ice will stay frozen if out of a freezer for over 24hours and not melt (trust me I’ve tried it myself).

If booked in advance they will deliver at a set time 24 hours a day, and in extreme situations may be able to help with emergency deliveries if at a nearby location.

Table plan malfunctions

I had a bride who ordered a frame from a hire company and was expecting it to come with a back included, and it turned out to just be the frame.  She had been planning on sticking the individual card table names directly to the back of the frame. I asked her to give me five minutes and then came back and showed her the idea of using some garden twine and some mini pegs (which I had in my emergency wedding kit) and hung the cards directly from these.

I think the table plan looked great, and the bride and groom thought it looked better than their original idea.

Wedding Back Up Plans

Fire alarm evacuations

I used to work at a Grade 1 listed building and the fire alarm used to go off unexpectedly and we would have to evacuate. At the time the fire brigade would have to attend every alarm.  As these evacuations 99% of the time would be false alarms, once the venue was given the all clear I would ask the fire brigade if it would be possible for the bride to get into the fire engine for some unusual wedding day photos.  They always happily obliged and turned the annoyance of an unexpected evacuation into some memorable and unusual wedding photos for the couple.

Minor Ailments / Inconveniences

Wedding guest handbags are never the biggest.  So help out all your guests by providing minor medical supplies and other useful bits in the bathrooms.  I’ve sewn a lady into her dress after her zip broke, which never would have been possible without a basket of goodies like this one.

Wedding Back Up Plans

And Remember..

With any problem or unexpected drama at a wedding it is important to try and stay calm and think outside of the box in how to make the situation better.

The most significant thing on your wedding day is that you and your beloved tie the knot, the rest really is just icing on the cake.

In the world that we live in with such a heavy pressure on what weddings should look like on Pinterest and social media it is very easy to forget the true meaning of what is really relevant.


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