Quick Fixes for Last-Minute Wedding Emergencies


Wedding Emergencies: You’ve been preparing for every single possible wedding day catastrophe, from red wine spilling on white silk to the MIA vendor. Think you’ve got everything covered? Maybe not. We give you the heads up on some unforeseeable problems.

Problem Child

The Problem: Your child attendants and young cousins are angelic during the ceremony, but far less so after overindulging in your sugary wedding cake. Kids will be kids — yet you don’t need to put up with them screaming, crying, and running all around your reception.

The Solution: You can put them in tiny gowns and tuxedos, but you can’t force them to respect a formal atmosphere. If you invite kids to your celebration, understand they might not make it through without getting rambunctious. That said, there are ways to keep them from making a mess.

Tykes that are staying for the party should get their own table — sans centerpiece. Wrap the board with butcher carpet and leave a crate of colorful crayons at every corner. If you’re really worried, set up the young ones with sitters, either on- or off-site. You could also get an extra hotel room and show a double feature of Cars and High School Musical, or hire a magician or clown to come in and entertain them.

Damp Dress Distress

The Problem: It’s the morning-of and there’s a downpour. The ceremony and reception are being held inside — but first, the bride has to get there in her voluminous ball gown. You could throw a tarp over her or roll her up in a carpet, but we have a far more stylish option.

The Solution: If there’s even a remote chance of precipitation, you should probably pack a golf umbrella. Why? It’s the only cover large enough to get the bride from the limo to the church to the reception to the hotel without letting the rain mark her gown. Besides, some of our all-time favorite wedding photos are of newlyweds kissing beneath an umbrella big enough for two.

Think and Drink

The Problem: You know it’s a successful party when you start to run low on supplies (liquor, in particular). Everyone’s had a good time, but some of your guests might not be fit to drive.

The Solution: Doubtlessly, you already know that lots of responsible brides and grooms book buses or shuttles to ferry guests back and forth from the reception to the hotel. You should strongly consider erring on the side of caution by booking more runs than you suspect you’ll need. It’s better to have a largely empty shuttle than an accident caused by someone who tried to drive after they couldn’t get a seat.

Not-So-Freshly Picked

The Problem: The principal course hasn’t even been cater for, and your flowers are already starting to dry. It happens to the best of flowers, and it occurs a lot more often than you think.

The Solution: Stick to hardy blooms that don’t bruise easily (particularly if you’re marrying in a hot or humid place). Sunflowers, gerbera daisies, dahlias, lilies, and hydrangeas are all reasonably safe bets — their strong stems and slightly tough petals will last longer than other varieties and hide their age.

Avoid super-soft flowers like gardenias, lilies of the valley, and tulips, which are more likely to wilt in the spotlight. If you just have to have these flowers, take preventive measures. Prolong their lives by keeping them away from radiators and other heat sources, such as windows with southern exposure. Also, if you’re providing the vases for your centerpieces, wash them with antibacterial soap so nothing in them causes decay.

The Paper Chase

The Problem: When you chose your vendors, you got everything in writing… except for all those tiny details you discussed over the phone as you changed your mind and renegotiated. It seems like a savvy move — at least until it’s time to pay the bills, and you’re scrambling to recall exactly how much they said each different bit would cost. You don’t want to spend more than you planned, but how do you deal with all the extras you didn’t get on paper?

The Solution: No matter how small or nitpicky the detail, get it all in writing. If you don’t want to ask a vendor to amend the contract every time you make a verbal change, simply follow up your phone conversation with a quick email confirming what was just said. It can be a simple note saying, “Thanks for taking the time to chat with me earlier about the new menu ideas. I just wanted to let you know that the worth of the beef filet for 250 would be X.”

Save copies of your messages and replies, compile them, and give the stack to a family member to bring to the reception (or summarize everything in one email and ask the vendor to okay it). That way, there will be no questions or arguments when the time comes to pay your vendors.

Let There Be Light

The Problem: Little can beat a reception site with amazing sunset views, unless they leave guests blinded. The same goes for a candlelit reception overwhelmed by natural light.

The Solution: Simply not fall in love with the first moment of the view from your wedding location. Try to test this view at the time your wedding will be celebrated.Once you know that there will be a huge amount of light (or, on the flip side, only a little), plan your lighting accordingly.

Worried it will be too bright? Rent some sheer, colorful drapes or hang fabric so that the sun can still shine in. Are you afraid that your sunny site will be too dark come evening? To prevent that, try utilizing a few strategically placed candles.

Gimme Shelter

The Problem: When it comes to hosting an outdoor wedding, having a Plan B is every bit as important as a Plan A, and it doesn’t just stop with renting a tent. Solving one problem may create another, such as guests coming in out of the rain and leaving some muddy footprints.

The Solution: Unless the bride is comfortable holding her hemline aloft for hours, you need to be certain that the area can be kept clean. When you’re talking to your tent company or reserving your reception site, confirm with the vendors that they will have mats that can be set up at entryways or near the zone so that guests can mop their feet.

That way, if the skies are threatening, you can simply remind your wedding coordinator or deputize one of your family members to get the mats all laid out and ensure your dance floor stays spotless.