Wedding Planning – When Things Go Wrong



There’s no doubt that as a Wedding Planner your wish is that every wedding goes as planned. And if you’re considering becoming a Wedding Planner, you might even feel anxious about the fact that things could go wrong on the day. Well here’s an uncomfortable fact; things do go wrong on wedding days – sometimes they are really small things, sometimes they’re bigger things. Even when you’ve prepared for the day with absolute attention to detail and care – things can go wrong.

But here’s the good news.

You’re there.

Wedding Stylist at work

The Real Reason Couples Hire a Wedding Planner

The reason most couples hire a Wedding Planner is not because they expect everything to run 100% perfectly. No, most couples understand that you can’t plan for everything and that’s why they want a professional there. Part of your role as a Wedding Planner is to troubleshoot and problem solve so the couple don’t have to.

I know this because it’s something I’ve heard from my clients for years. Wedding Planners are like an insurance policy. You don’t hire a Wedding Planner because everything will run smoothly without them. You hire them because it probably won’t.

Most Wedding Planners would be able to tell you stories of big and little things going wrong on wedding days. Vendors delayed in traffic. Vases of flowers falling over and crashing to the floor. A stain on wedding day attire. Uninvited guests showing up. A flower girl who just will not walk down the aisle. Members of the wedding party having too much to drink. Someone hurting themselves. The wedding car breaking down. Rain. Wind. Extreme heat.

I don’t want to scare you away from a Wedding Planning career so I’ll stop there – and so I can tell you this.

One of the greatest skills a Wedding Planner can develop is their ability to think on their feet. And a trait that will earn you raving reviews is your ability to find solutions to problems. Being this person in the midst of a big or small crisis – is empowering and rewarding.

Whilst no Wedding Planner would ever wish wedding day disasters on a couple – being able to handle the unexpected gracefully and professionally is one of the enjoyable aspects of the job. When I’ve solved an issue before it becomes a problem that I have to involve my couple in – I feel proud of myself and know I’m doing my job well.

Wedding Planner working in her office

What Can Go Wrong at a Wedding?

Every wedding has it’s own unique set of challenges and points at which something could go wrong. Sometimes these things are simply out of your control and you have to just go with them. Delays are one of the most common and of course, bad weather is another. But a professional Wedding Planner will be able to manage issues like this. For example:

  • A detailed timeline is hugely beneficial when it comes to problem solving delays and massaging the schedule back on track.
  • A well thought out and prepared plan b in case of poor weather for outdoor weddings (and even if the couple have to enter and exit their wedding venues in bad weather).
  • A well-stocked emergency kit at each venue is a must – one for you and one for the wedding party.

Being prepared and working with professional resources (timelines, checklist, styling plans, floorplans) is something we put a lot of emphasis on in Wedding Planner School – so our students are prepared for wedding day and the little and bigger things that can go wrong.

Wedding Planner

Your Wedding Planner Guide to Handling Wedding Day Mishaps

#1 Plan for the unexpected

Unique problems, require unique solutions, but you can adopt a systematic approach to problems when they occur. This will help you to feel in control which is so important. As the Wedding Planner, guests, the couple and other vendors will look to you for reassurance and those solutions we’ve talked about. When they see you taking a measured approach to any potential issues, they’ll be more inclined to follow your lead, rather than adding to the problem by getting emotional.

#2 Trust your gut

Small problems can soon become big ones if left for too long. If something isn’t looking or feeling right, take action sooner rather than later. Weddings run on a tight timeline which means you don’t have a lot of time to consider whether you’re overreacting. You would rather be wrong about a potential issue than have left it too late to fix. An example of this is if a Vendor is late. I’ve learned the hard way to call and check in if a vendor isn’t where they said they would be when.

#3 Ditch perfectionism

A lot of Wedding Planners suffer from the curse of perfectionism. And of course we want everything to go as planned for our clients. But over a 10-12 hour day perfect is almost impossible. Most couples won’t want you to bother them with little issues. If the flowers were blown off the table and had to be re-arranged quickly by the waitstaff, that is what has had to happen. Telling the couple this takes their attention away from each other and their day rather than serving any real purpose. Knowing what your couple’s priorities for their day are and what they expect of you when problems occur is important and something you should talk through with them prior to the day. By doing this you’ll know when to involve them and when to take charge.

#4 Stay positive

Adopt a positive attitude. When problems occur things can get tense – especially amongst Vendors. Be the captain of the ship! Stay calm and keep everyone involved focused on solving the problem as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

#5 Take a moment

Whilst you’ll want to act as quickly as possible when something has gone wrong or the unexpected occurs, it’s important not to get flustered. When the adrenalin starts running and you find yourself slipping into panic mode, take a deep breath. Walk away for a few minutes if you need to. You’ll find that you’re much more able to find the best solution if you stay calm, cool and collected.

#6 No blaming or shaming

When something goes off script at a wedding you’ll feel bad and you may even be disappointed in yourself or another Vendor. The time for reviewing what could have been done better and giving someone feedback is after the wedding – not on the wedding day. And most certainly not before the problem has been solved. Keep your emotions in check and encourage everyone around you to do the same.

#7 Play as a team

Little things like a missing place-card can usually be solved by you or your assistant without ever involving anyone else, but some problems require a team effort. Whilst you’re the leader don’t feel as though you must solve everything on your own. Involve the venue and other vendors where appropriate and come up with a solution together.

#8 Post-wedding review

Whether everything went smoothly or there were issues on the day, conduct a post-wedding review. Consider what, if anything you could have done to stop something becoming a problem – this is the best way to prevent it happening again in the future. And if you do have feedback for other vendors, offer it in a caring and professional way so they can do the same. I also have the practice of providing my couple’s with feedback about any bigger problems so they understand what happened and what actions were taken to remedy the issue.

Things going wrong on wedding day is part of the job for a Wedding Planner. Expecting the unexpected is the first lesson in being prepared.

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Wedding Planning – When Things Go Wrong


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