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Six Last Minute Wedding Dilemas and what to do

Weddings are by nature stressful so we're always going to worry about 'what if' something goes wrong. Here I look at some of the most common wedding planning dilemas and what you can do should they happen to you. Chances are you'll be fine but I believe it's better to be ready for anything!

We all hope that wedding planning will be an easy breeze, unfortunately reality tends to add a bit of drama to even the best plans. In the end you'll hopefully be able to look back and laugh at any problems that arise and as a wedding planner I try to ensure that all eventualities are prepared for, but in the meantime, here are some of the most common problems and what you can do.

1) Bride tribe let downs

Unfortunately it's all too common for a bridal team to not step up as expected. They were all enthusiastic at the start but suddenly and for no apparent reason they're not available for final fittings, or to come around as planned to help make table decorations. You've asked if they're alright but they're being vague and unhelpful. There are a million reasons why this happens, and not all of it will be to do with you. Key thing here is to not lose your rag. If your bridesmaid has been helpful up to this point it may be something has happened that they don't want to worry you with. Give them the space they need, let them know they can back out if they need to, but that you're there to support them when they're ready. Sometimes people say yes at the early stages and then closer to the date anxiety steps in. It can be really hard for a shy or anxious person to be in front of other people, even though you're the centre of attention, and they start to seem flakey but actually they're panicking. At those times it's important for you to be a good friend and try to understand. In the meantime, is there someone else you trust who could help you to get that wedding to-do list done and help you down that aisle?

2) Wedding venue changes

Sometimes last-minute things happen with wedding and reception venues; maybe a pipe burst and the damage has yet to be repaired, maybe another event booking has been made for just before your set-up time, or a new extension that was supposed to be finished before your wedding isn't ready yet, or maybe a previous booking has damaged some part of the venue. These things are annoying, but they happen. A good venue will invite you in for a chat to talk through any problems and what they are going to do about it. Some however will wait until the day you come in to do the set-up… grr! It can feel like there's nothing to be done but in many cases that's not true. First thing is to see what the venue are offering to do, they will likely have been thinking about the problem so will there still be time to fix the problem, do they have an alternate space you can use? If not it's Plan B time. You'll likely never need it but do you have an idea for a back up venue option?

3) The weather in the UK is changeable

You will never be guaranteed sunshine on your wedding day in the UK, but you can be prepared for most eventualities. Rain in normal quantities is no problem, have brollies on standby and you'll be fine. If you're getting married outside, have a pair of white wellies available just in case. Torrential rain and marquees aren't a great combination, but you can relieve the water pressure on the roof with a big stick. Hot weather and marquees (or conservatories) are also tricky for things like wedding cakes but keeping tiers separate or better yet storing the cake in a cool room will preserve it. Same thing goes for ice scupltures, chocolate decorations or sweet/dessert tables. You'll remember the snow bringing chaos last winter and floods a few years before that, again the 'be prepared' motto comes into play. Check the weather forecasts. If you're expecting inclement weather, ask the venue and your suppliers what their plans are. Can they still get to you? Is there a worst-case scenario? Do they have a Plan B/C/D? Many venues will say 'if you can get to us we'll go ahead' but they are responsible for you and your guests so if things get dangerous they may have to make alternate arrangements.

4) Last minute wedding guest pull-outs

It's an unfortunate part of organising any event. You can do your level best getting the wedding guest list to the right number and then chasing all the RSVP's, having to apologise to people you can't fit in. When someone pulls out last minute, you've already paid for the food and drink, so what do you do? This is when it helps to have a back up list; the people you'd love to have there but can't fit in. If you do this you have to tread carefully, some people might be offended at not making the cut for the first round of guest invites. Others, usually close friends, are pretty understanding about this and if they're joining you later in the day will often make themselves available to fill the gap, after all it's a free meal!

5) Dress disaster!

Hopefully you've had your final fitting and everything is fine but then that one bridesmaid who was never available for appointments turns up and whinges about the dress not fitting right and there's no time to fix it, or maybe a seam split getting into the car on the way to the ceremony. Either way an emergency kit full of pins is the way to go with this, and a sewing kit for running repairs. Trains on wedding dresses are notorious attracters of dirt and foliage; a good emergency kit should include a kilt pin to help hold up a skirt or train and a Stain Devil to help get rid of the worst marks (bearing in mind potentially fragile fabrics!), unless of course you're on board with the 'trash the dress' trend going around currently. Most things can be fixed at least temporarily or covered over, but avoiding the worst of the mud in outdoor photoshoots or having someone to help you avoid these things in the first place will definitely help save your sanity. I always advise getting the bulk of the photographs done before food or drink is served for this very reason. I was also introduced to the idea of having am extra large napkin or table cloth available during the meal to cover the brides dress, it saves you from spillages in readiness of further photographs.

6) Wedding supplier let downs

A reputable wedding supplier would warn you about an issue as far in advance as possible and work with you to find a solution, but sometimes life happens at short notice, or despite your best efforts it turns out that a supplier wasn't what you expected (I'll be covering unscrupulous suppliers and how to avoid them in another blog). Last minute let downs will often be covered by a reputable wedding suppliers' terms and conditions (you really should get them and read them), and their contingency policy enacted. This is especially important if your supplier is a sole trader; if it's just them and they get sick how can they cover your wedding? Many wedding suppliers will be part of a network of some kind and will put out a call on your behalf to find someone they know who can look after you. In those cases, there would usually be no additional costs to you as your supplier will deal directly with their replacement. This same network can be called upon should one supplier let you down, another supplier can put out a call for you. DJ's, bakers, photographers and yes even wedding planners can call on their colleagues via these networks. Don't panic your wedding team are there for you.

Being prepared is key to coming out the other side of any potential disaster, as is keeping a calm head. When an issue arises it's best to start thinking about solutions rather than get bogged down in blame; fix it first then seek any necessary compensation. If you're in any doubt you can call on me to help you find the solutions to your problems. X