This is What to Do When a Wedding Planning Emergency Strikes

Anything can happen while planning your wedding—the venue closes for repairs, your cake doesn’t show up, and a hurricane storms in to rain on your matrimonial parade. Even the most beautiful weddings encounter hiccups, either while planning or on the big day.

Here’s how to handle these five dreaded wedding disasters if they happen to you.

Christina Lily Photography

You’re out of a venue

It’s any bride’s nightmare: You signed the dotted line and handed over a hefty deposit, and then, the venue closes unexpectedly for repairs until next spring, as a popular New Jersey wedding venue, Battello, did in August to fix its pier, leaving many couples scrambling for a new venue.

Whether a flood ravaged your dream venue, or the event center went out of business because of some under-the-table dealings, you’re now out of luck. Avoid this disaster by considering purchasing wedding or special events insurance which will cover any monetary losses should you lose your venue and your deposit. Most reputable venues will refund your deposit in most cases and work with you to arrange an alternative venue, as Battello did with their customers.

Kelsey Combe Photography

The weather is deplorable

If your nuptials are outdoors, always create a backup plan. Whether it’s an unexpected soggy, rainy day or a hurricane blows into your beachside wedding, have a substitute indoor setting. Find out if your venue has a designated area you and your wedding guests can go should the weather turn sour. If you’re stuck with no roof over your head, grab an umbrella and ask coordinating vendors if they know of a place to host your wedding in a pinch. They may be able to call in a favor from a local restaurant or venue and save your wedding.

Sandra Aberg Photography

The cake doesn’t show up

A friend of a friend promised the buttercream cake everyone will be salivating over, but for whatever reason, the sweet treat is a no show on your big day. Again, turn to other vendors for recommendations for bakeries who may be able to quickly provide a wedding-worthy dessert in place of the cake. Worst case scenario: ask a friend or family member to make a special trip to the nearest bakery or supermarket for an assortment of playful sweets, like colorful frosted cookies covered in sprinkles, pies, tiny cheesecakes, and cupcakes for a dessert buffet guests will love.

You’re sick

Feeling under the weather? Don’t fret and have a friend run to the drugstore for tissues, medicine to subside symptoms, hot tea and honey, and plenty of electrolyte-infused water. Delegate tasks, so that you or your groom can rest up just enough to walk down the aisle. Have someone in the wedding party oversee administering medicine in a timely fashion, so your symptoms don’t worsen over the course of the evening.

Duffy Photo & Film

Your bridal dress shop shutters

In July, popular bridal chain Alfred Angelo abruptly closed all of its retail stores and filed for bankruptcy, leaving many brides without anything to wear–some just weeks away from their big day. Other retailers, like David’s Bridal, capitalized on the situation and offered discounts to Alfred Angelo customers, and some women even turned to social media to find past Alfred Angelo customers who may be selling their used wedding dresses to out-of-luck brides.

Should your bridal shop close without any notice and no chance of picking up your dress, call your credit card company immediately to dispute the charges. Unfortunately, if you paid by cash or check, you may be on the hook to wait for finalized bankruptcy proceedings to have even the slightest chance of seeing any money back. If you’re in search of the same dress, check online from a secondhand seller or directly contact the dress designer for help in locating a gown.

If you’re given notice from the dress shop, be sure to get every guarantee in writing and pick up your dress as soon as possible. Ask for references to have your dress steamed and altered. Many shops going out of business will also put veils, crinolines, and head pieces on sale, a perfect opportunity to save a few dollars on wedding essentials.


Take a breath

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s not about having the “perfect” wedding, because the chance of absolutely nothing happening is like seeing a glittering rainbow unicorn pull a chariot over the moon. It’s not real. Every wedding will face a bump in the road. Stay calm and composed, without allowing any hiccup, small or disastrous, get in the way of your celebration of love.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Ali Struhs is a freelance writer, blogger, and boy mama in Denver, Colorado. When not typing away on the computer, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors, rocking out at Red Rocks, and chasing around her toddler.