Skip to main content

What's Up Weddings

Creating a Wedding-Day Contingency Plan

Mar 19, 2012 07:50PM ● By Anonymous

 Photo by Laura Matney, Laura's Focus photography

When you envisioned your wedding as a little girl, you might have imagined the dress you would wear, the flowers you would hold, or the song you would walk down the aisle to—but you hardly ever considered hurricanes, a melted cake, or last-minute vendor cancellations.

More and more brides-to-be are realizing that a wedding isn’t the time to play a game of chance, and deciding to purchase wedding insurance, hire a wedding planner, and plan ahead to handle any bumps along the road to their wedding days.

When Ashley Kepper heard that Hurricane Irene was predicted to hit Annapolisthe day of her wedding in late August, she felt a bit of trepidation.       

“My heart sank,” she says. “When I would look at pictures of brides on their wedding days online or in magazines, I'd see them surrounded by sunshine in beautiful outdoor settings. I wanted this desperately and was devastated at first, afraid that the weather would overshadow the day’s events, and that we would be missing many of our guests.”

Fortunately, Kepper worked with the wedding coordinators at her venues, and their expertise, along with dependable vendors, a great bridal party, and dedicated guests saved her wedding day and allowed her to remain positive.

“[The wedding coordinators] were calm and completely under control. They went above and beyond in being flexible,” said Kepper. “Their focus was on accommodating us and our guests. Our coordinator from the USNA Chapel was forced to evacuate from her home inKentIsland, and she was there for our wedding. The vendor at the Historic Inns was at our wedding into the night, although she had no power in her own home.”


D. Bryant Photography

The Perks of Wedding Planners

It’s difficult to tell what exactly will happen the day of your wedding, so some brides opt to just take a chance and hope for the best. However, when everything seems to be falling apart, wedding coordinators can often be a great help in putting it all back together.

 “When I started [working in weddings] 15 years ago, wedding planners were almost non-existent,” said John Zito, president of the Maryland Wedding Professionals Association. “Now about one-third of the weddings I photograph have some type of wedding planner or wedding coordinator.”

When work is getting stressful and you have a million other things on your plate to worry about, the pressures of planning a wedding can sometimes mount and the stress of planning can detract from the joy of the event. Wedding planners make it easier for couples to have a stress-free engagement while someone else is worrying about every little detail of the wedding planning.

On the day of the wedding itself, however, a planner is often key to making sure you never know if something goes wrong. In crucial moments, such as if the ceremony officiant is late, the planner typically takes care of it before the bride has time to worry. If you don’t want to splurge on wedding planner for the entire engagement period, most planners offer their services as a day-of coordinator.


Wedding Insurance

If you have decided to go it alone and plan your wedding by yourself, there’s still another way to make sure you’re ready to weather any storm: wedding insurance.

The insurance is generally not expensive, it averages about $200 to $300, but sometimes couples will decide against it because it’s hard to imagine something going wrong on your perfect day. Wedding insurance typically covers you for the bride or groom getting cold feet, any gifts as they start arriving, liability for the host in case of property damage, cancellation, any injuries that occur on the property, damage to the property, and any special attire or jewelry.

Kepper says she never even considered buying wedding insurance, because she and her groom (who is fromNew Orleansand survived Hurricane Katrina) simply didn’t think something like a hurricane would be threatening to ruin theirMarylandwedding.

“No bride ever wants to consider even a drop of rain, let alone something like [a hurricane], especially when all of the guests would be coming from out of town. We prepared for almost every possible thing that could go wrong, but the weather is one of those things that is completely out of your control,” says Kepper.

Insurance helps any bride feel a little more prepared to tackle the ups and downs of a wedding day, especially given the often hefty financial investment that goes into their big day. According to The Wedding Report, in 2010 the average cost of a wedding was about $24,000.

Wedding planners and insurance help couples anticipate disasters and devise a back-up plan for everything from your cake melting to a ruined wedding dress. Planners’ experience with all kinds of situations gives them the ability to not overlook any details to make the day run as smoothly as possible, and wedding insurance gives you the peace of mind to relax and feel secure the day of your wedding.


What Could Go Wrong? 

Cake Catastrophes. Outdoor weddings in the peak of summer can cause a buttercream-frosted cake to melt. Make sure the cake is stored, decorated, and transported in a cool place by the baker before arriving at the reception site. Once it arrives, place it under a tent to keep it cool and intact. Screened tents, umbrellas, and fences are also helpful in making sure no animals or insects from the outside are able to dismantle or otherwise ruin the cake. If the cake is indoors, be sure to keep it away from heat sources and windows.

Unsteady tables and high-traffic areas both spell disaster for cakes, especially if they are of the three tiered variety, so finding a place away from the dance floor and booming speakers where people are less apt to bump into it is ideal.If all else fails, having some cupcakes on hand to fill the void is great insurance against a destroyed wedding cake.

Weather Woes. When the weather for your outdoor wedding decides not to cooperate, it’s important to have planned ahead so it doesn’t ruin the entire ceremony. First, it may be wise to choose a place that has an indoor option for the wedding, so that if the weather turns foul you can easily relocate without disturbing your plans too drastically. Renting a tent as a backup is another sound defense against rain. Even if you would rather not use it, you’ll be thankful it’s there if the weather goes bad. Finding locations with at least a patio or covered arch for the bride and groom are another great way to be outside and out of the rain at the same time.

Missing Vendors. Managing so many different vendors between the caterers, florists, DJ, and bakers can be the most stressful part of any couple’s wedding. Any and all agreements between you and the vendor should be in writing and signed by both parties and kept safe. A good way to keep vendors happy and ensure services are delivered without any hang-ups is to assign someone in the wedding party, maybe the maid of honor and best man, the task of delivering final payments to the vendors. Let the vendors know whom they will be dealing with that day.

If the vendor simply doesn’t show up, assign someone in the wedding party to track them down. Other wedding vendors may be a great resource, as their experience working in weddings may result in some last-minute connections to replacement vendors. When all else fails, someone can be sent to the grocery store to purchase as many flowers and candles as possible to replace the florist, provide guests with cameras if your photographer is a no-show, and download a copy of a wedding service from the Internet and ask a well-spoken friend to lead the wedding in the case of a missing minister or officiate. Things can be made legal later at city hall or by a religious leader in a separate more intimate event.

Dress Disasters. We’ve all heard the horror stories of wedding dresses falling victim to everything from red wine to meat sauce stains. But with a few items tucked away in a bridesmaid’s purse or groomsman’s pocket, you may be able to avoid this fate yourself. Oily stains from makeup or sauces will need to be covered with baking soda for ten minutes as it seeps through the fabric before you shake off the excess. Chocolate stains can be remedied by wetting a napkin with club soda and blotting the stain for a few minutes before drying it with a hair dryer. Apply hairspray to ink stains and let it sit for five minutes before gently dabbing it with a damp white cloth. In all, your bridal party should have a small packet of baking soda, hairspray, and white clean cloths to attack any stains that threaten to take away from the beauty of your wedding dress.Dress tape is another easy fix for anything from slipping bra straps, garters sliding down and holding strapless gowns in place.

Once you have your contingency plan in place for the wedding, don’t stress over it. In the end, what’s bound to happen will happen. There are so many unknowns for the day of your wedding, but one thing is for sure—if you put a smile on your face and say “I do” to the love of your life, then you’re the luckiest bride there is.