Popping the question is one of the simplest parts of getting married: getting a yes takes just seconds. After that point, you have everything from wedding ring sets to flower delivery to arrange! Even when you've settled on a date, have planned all the details, and are ready for your upcoming wedding, last-minute disruptions can throw a wrench in your plans. Poor weather, guests who suddenly find out they can't attend, and mistakes or natural events that prevent you from using the facility you booked can all disrupt even the most carefully-planned wedding.
Dealing with these last-minute disruptions is a skill unto itself, so if you have a wedding planner on board, it will be far easier—they've seen it all before. Even if you're going for a self-planned wedding, you can cope as long as you're calm and keep your priorities straight. Remember, the ultimate goal is to commit to the one you love in the presence of your friends and family. No matter how your wedding goes, the most important thing is that you are starting a new life together with your new spouse.
That being said, many of us grew up daydreaming about our wedding day—whether that be through Disney princess movies or playing house with friends. It's only natural to want everything to go smoothly. When last-minute disruptions happen, here's how you can deal with them, depending on what has gone wrong.
Bad Weather: Suddenly, Rain!
If you are holding an outdoor wedding or reception, rain is often the worst-case scenario, though a winter wedding can also be interrupted by sudden cold temperatures, snow, or even hail! Poor weather has delayed many a wedding, but there's no reason it should cause chaos if you plan ahead. Be prepared to hire a few large tents or canopies for your guests to take shelter under in case of a sudden rainstorm in an outdoor environment, or set them up ahead of time just in case. If part of your wedding is being held outside, it's also a good idea to have a backup location planned, even if it's a living room or church vestibule.
Cold and hot weather can also pose problems for your youngest and oldest guests. Remember, not all of us can regulate our body temperature very well. Your June wedding in the middle of a heatwave or December wedding in a cold snap might cause your niece or grandfather to faint, feel hypothermic, or otherwise suffer. Don't put your wedding before the health and safety of guests; prepare hot or cold beverages, make sure there are temperature-controlled spaces available just in case, and be prepared to arrange for a taxi to the hotel or home of a guest in case of emergencies.
Guests Can't Attend: Sudden Schedule Conflicts
Whether your sister has been called in to work overtime or a malicious ex has just saddled your best friend with childcare, sudden schedule conflicts are a common last-minute problem in weddings. Even when you have RSVPd months in advance, life has a way of throwing urgent commitments at wedding guests.
When this happens, you'll need to think about the wedding and whether you would prefer to go ahead with it or accommodate the guest's schedule. For very important guests like your parents or maid of honor, it might be best to change the wedding to an evening event or hold it as close as possible to the original time (the next day, if possible), so out-of-town guests don't have to make sudden schedule changes.
If the guests who can't attend aren't a major part of your wedding, see if you can satisfy them with a promise of a copy of the wedding DVD as soon as you have it. There's no sense in rearranging your wedding just because one person can't make it if they aren't part of the ceremonies or your closest friends and family. They may even be relieved to get out of the wedding, because as much as people might love you and your spouse, sitting through a few hours of ceremonies can exhaust anyone!
Facility Overbooked: Your Venue is Unavailable
One of the most frustrating last-minute wedding problems is venue unavailability. Sometimes, it's a mistake on the part of whoever handled your booking and double-booked events; other times, a fire or natural disaster might make the facility unusable. Whatever the case, you'll need to scramble for last-minute event locations.
First, see if the facility can help. They may feel bad for not being able to host your wedding on such short notice and provide access to another facility, for instance. They might even own another building or property that you can host the wedding at, in which case you only need to worry about telling catering and delivery services and your guests about the change.
Look at other wedding facilities such as a nearby church, an event hall on the other side of town, and so on. They may have last-minute availability and if one of them can accommodate you, the changes you'll need to make to your plans won't be too drastic.
If all else fails and you're stranded, start thinking creatively. Ask your guests, friends, and family for help. Brainstorm creative locations such as parks and picnic areas, botanic gardens, zoos, hotel meeting rooms, or a relative's large backyard. You might be surprised at who will pull through to help your wedding go ahead!
No matter what interferes with your wedding plans, you can come up with a way to overcome it as long as you focus on the end goal: an enjoyable wedding event to show your love to your new spouse! Work together with your partner, friends, family, and guests to ensure that your wedding plans are smooth, but be willing to accept some compromises in case of last-minute disruptions. At the very least, you'll have a story to tell years from now about the time everyone had to drive to Great Aunt Lottie's vacation home for your impromptu backyard wedding reception!