Side-step every possible getting-married glitch with our save-the-day solutions, says Emma Vince
It’s the biggest day of your life and you’ve spent the last few months making sure every detail is perfect. So, with all your plans in place, what could possibly go wrong? The truth is, even the best planned weddings have niggles, because there are some elements – such as the weather and, well, your guests – which are completely beyond your bridal control. So, what should you do when you’re faced with your very own worst-case scenario?
Wedding planner of Quintessentially Weddings, Sophie McCorry Day, says it’s all about the way you handle the emergency. “The key is damage limitation and keeping calm,” she says. “Remember, whatever happens, nothing will stop this from being your dream day – so be sure to make that your mantra!”
To give you a helping hand, we’ve discovered how to turn your very worst bridal nightmares into something not so bad after all…
Big-day disaster: The monsoon
It’s only a minor problem if it starts to rain, but what if the marquee looks like it might take off and the beautiful lawns of your garden venue resemble the last day of Glastonbury?
Diffuse the drama: Try not to break down, shouting and cursing the heavens, because your hair can be re-done and your make-up reapplied. “We’ve had a couple of monsoon like summers recently,” recalls Sophie. “I remember one wedding where the marquee almost started to fly away in the wind! The good news is, most companies are used to the great British summertime and will have contingency plans in place. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and if you do think it might rain, plan ahead with glamorous wellies and pretty broil lies incorporated into your theme.” Also, grey clouds can be atmospheric and couples huddled underneath large white umbrellas make for cute wedding photos. Problem solved!
Big-day disaster: The drunken groom
Most wedding receptions will feature a squiffy guest or two, or perhaps a stray uncle dancing where there isn’t a dance-floor. But what if your groom drinks too much? And by drinking too much we mean he’s can’t-tell-who-he’s-just-married drunk.
Diffuse the drama: Getting mad or upset with your beloved might be the natural reaction but it won’t help so try to remember you love him, drunk as he is. “It’s one thing getting a bit exuberant on the dance-floor,” says Sophie. “It’s when things go a stage further that you might need to alert the bar staff! This is a moment for the best man to really earn his title, so inform him he’s now in charge while you make the most of the rest of your evening and try to see the funny side.”
Big-day disaster: The chianti catastrophe
Most brides will find it hard to keep a wedding dress spotless throughout the day, but just imagine the horror of red wine-meets-white dress! With the deadly combination of wine and tipsy relatives intent on hugging and congratulating you, it could well happen…
Diffuse the drama: “Nobody wears an all-white wardrobe in everyday life,” says Sophie. “You have to see the irony of it; if you wear this pristine thing, it’s almost bound to happen!” Your first reaction might be a complete meltdown, but try to stay calm and consider your poor relative who is now clutching an empty glass and a guilty face; they’ll be feeling bad enough already. “We’ve witnessed a whole bottle of champagne being spilt down a bride,” recalls Sophie. “We had a quick Mr Bean scenario in the toilets under the hand-dryer and all was OK. The option of a second dress for the reception is now becoming more popular so you could enjoy shopping for a stunning reception dress as a back-up just in case.” Then, when you don’t have to wear it on your big day, you can wow your new husband on honeymoon!
Big-day disaster: The “Ooh, snap!” scenario
Your cousin nearly tipped you over the edge by opting for a fitted white cocktail dress, but now your fiancé’s flirty female friend has turned up in a white, backless maxi. She looks gorgeous, as usual, and positively bridal.
Diffuse the drama: However angry you are, try to be the bigger person and consider the fact she may not have realised her mistake. “Take a moment to consider your options here,” says Sophie. “You could demand she goes home and change or you could spend the rest of your day complaining about her wardrobe choice to the rest of the wedding party, but both of these will put a negative spin on your day and direct yet more attention towards her. Remember, you are the bride and nothing can take away from that.” Although perhaps you might have a word with the photographer to clarify that she isn’t actually the bride and if they could avoid her being centre-stage in your wedding pictures, well, that would be good.
Big-day disaster: The family fist-fight
Whether it’s tension between bridesmaids or a full-on family brawl, you want your wedding day to be all about love, not war.
Diffuse the drama: Whatever you do, don’t join in. “Clashes can become an inevitability when you’ve got a mix of people, alcohol and heightened emotions,” says Sophie. “If you sense there are people who are a bit inflammatory towards each other, seat them far apart and with people they’re friendly with.” If, despite your best efforts, a blazing argument does break out, it’s time to look at the positive side: your wedding now has all the drama of a rom-com! It might not be ideal but at least, just like on the silver screen, things always come right in the end.
Real-life wedding hitches
These brides had to negotiate their very own hurdles en-route to wedded bliss…
“My new husband knocked red wine over me during his speech! Luckily, it didn’t look too bad and we still had a great day.” Roz Solomon, Darenth, Kent
“My father-in-law was meant to pick up my brother-in-law and nephew – our ring-bearer – on his way to the church but forgot! My flowergirl had to step in and my poor father-in-law was mortified.” Sarah Waygood, Battersea, London
“After the ceremony I discovered my husband’s aunt and uncle weren’t there because I had sent them an evening invite instead of an all-day one. They’d travelled all the way from Devon and it still devastates me I made such a mistake.” Nicola Laver, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
“The Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 2010 meant lots of our guests couldn’t make it or got stuck mid-flight. My friend travelled for 54 hours and still missed our wedding, and we ended up honeymooning in Whitby, Yorkshire.” Helen Foers, Sheffield