Stressing Out About Wedding What-Ifs? These Strategies Can Help

Roger Igo
7 min readSep 27, 2021

In some ways, weddings can seem larger than life. The emotions, the significance of the day, the expenses involved: With so much at stake, it’s only natural to want everything to come together perfectly.

Maybe it will ease the pressure to know that weddings — no matter how lovely, touching and momentous they can be — are rarely perfect. Curling irons or the bride’s “something borrowed, something blue” items are forgotten. Speeches get muddled or awkward. Weather interferes with your vision for a breathtaking outdoor ceremony.

That said, there are steps you can take to prevent some of the more common wedding mishaps — or at least minimize their impact. I hope the strategies you’ll find here will give you the peace of mind to get through your planning without overwhelming anxiety about “what-ifs.”

Someone in Your Wedding Party Cancels

It can feel like a blow if someone close to you, someone you were counting on or looking forward to sharing your big day with, backs out. It feels even worse if the cancellation comes at the last minute. My advice is to try to step back from the moment, give yourself time to cool off and respond with patience and understanding. Ultimately, extending grace will be better for your mental and emotional well-being and for the health of your long-term relationship with the person who’s canceling.

As for addressing your now-smaller wedding party, if it was a bridesmaid or groomsman who canceled, the simplest, least stressful solution could be to simply move forward without scrambling to find a replacement. And if you end up with someone walking down the aisle alone or grouping people in threes, no one, most likely, will give it a second thought.

Now, if a maid of honor or best man backs out, you may want to line someone up to take their place or delegate some of their responsibilities. This takes a bit of thought; you don’t want to make someone feel like you only see them as a second-choice substitute. MyWedding.com suggests asking a relative in your wedding party to help you if possible. Whoever you ask, though, be honest with them about what happened and explain how much you would value their help. After the wedding, be sure to send a hand-written note of appreciation or a thank you gift.

Beyond wedding party considerations, you’ll have a few more to-dos if someone, including a guest, cancels at the last minute. A short checklist includes:

· Alert your venue

· Update your seating chart

· Notify appropriate vendors and service providers like your caterer

· Contact the venue and food provider for your rehearsal dinner

If you have a well-organized friend or family member, or a wedding planner, consider delegating some or all of these calls to them. You’ll save yourself some time and aggravation.

You Forgot Something

Forgetting to bring items, from clothing to personal supplies, is the most common wedding-day mishap we see at my venue. That’s why we maintain an “event cabinet” stocked with the items customers most commonly forget, including bobby pins, tampons, buttons, bra strap clips, reading glasses, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and more.

The tendency for brides and grooms to forget things also is the inspiration behind the many checklists and packing lists found online. You can even purchase ready-to-print lists on sites like Etsy.

I would take advantage of these resources and build on them for your particular needs. These lists usually include:

· Attire for the bride and groom

· Ceremony items (including rings, your marriage license, and if applicable, the vows you wrote)

· Guest favors

· Overnight supplies

· Personal items and toiletries

· Photo IDs

· Signs

· Travel supplies

· Your emergency kit (included in this blog)

Pull together as much as possible in advance. If you’re really worried, recruit someone to remind you to double-check what you’ve packed or even go through your checklist with you.

Someone Crashes The Wedding

Most wedding experts recommend asking a person you trust to step in for you if you realize there’s someone at your wedding who wasn’t invited. Your designated representative would be the one to speak to the crasher and ask them to leave immediately. This allows you to continue enjoying yourself without getting caught up in a potentially unpleasant confrontation.

If you strongly feel that you should be the one to confront your unexpected company, it’s still a good idea to ask for help.

“Bring someone else with you so that after you question them and ask them to leave, another person can deal with making sure that happens,” Jen Glantz of Brides magazine suggests. “Keep the drama at your wedding to a minimum, which means remove yourself from situations that can be tense and delegate someone else to dealing with them on your behalf.”

If the crasher refuses to leave, you have the option of asking a venue manager or security officer to step in or calling the police. If you do call in law enforcement, Glantz suggests asking a few people to watch for the police and speak with them discreetly so guests don’t get alarmed.

The Weather Doesn’t Cooperate

This is another common occurrence: Weather is one of the most unpredictable elements of a wedding or event. So, if some or all of your big day will be taking place outdoors, I strongly recommend having some contingency plans in place.

If you’re going to use a tent to protect your guests from the elements, for example, look at options with sidewalls that will not only help during a drizzle, but even if it’s pouring.

In an interview with Brides magazine wedding professional Skylar Caitlin, an MVP planner at Chancey Charm Wedding Planning & Design, suggested going a step further.

“See if the venue will allow your tenting company to set up the structure a few days before the wedding, so it can protect the ground a bit and avoid an overly soggy ground day-of,” Caitlin said.

Another option is to talk with your venue in advance about the option of moving everything indoors if necessary. Know exactly what you can expect and if additional charges are involved.

If there’s a chance of rain, you also can offer a few comforts to make your guests’ lives easier, from setting up containers with umbrellas and flip-flops to placing large, absorbent towels in the bathrooms.

Another word on weather, if the conditions on your wedding day go beyond rain and wind to weather emergencies like hurricanes or tornados, you’ll want wedding insurance in place to protect you. A policy purchased in advance can cover you in cases of extreme weather, along with such disasters as cancellations (depending on the circumstances), medical emergencies, and even ruined wedding attire.

Consider an Emergency Kit

One of the most proactive problem-solving steps you can take for your wedding is to create a personalized emergency kit. This is a small bag filled with supplies that could help you address potential mishaps, like popped buttons, headaches, or stained clothing. Depending on how many items you want to add, you can put them in a makeup bag, tote, or small travel bag.

I recommend customizing your emergency kit based on your needs and preferences, but this list might serve as a good starting place:

· Bandages

· Bobby pins

· Brush or comb

· Contacts (spares)

· Deodorant

· Eyelash glue

· Fashion tape

· Floss

· Hairspray

· Ibuprofen and any other needed medication

· Jewelry backups, including extra earring backs

· Lip balm

· Lint roller

· Makeup backups

· Makeup wipes

· Mouthwash

· Nail polish (for chips)

· Pepto-Bismol/antacid

· Phone charger

· Sewing kit

· Snacks

· Static Guard

· Superglue

· Tide To Go pen

· Tissues

· Tweezers

Pack your kit several weeks before your wedding date, and ask a reliable friend or relative, or your wedding planner, to hold on to the kit for you on the big day.

Ultimately, the wisest approach to wedding planning is to prepare as best you can for wedding mishaps. From there, let go and enjoy the beauty, warmth, and yes, even the imperfections, of your special day.

About the Author:

Roger Igo is the founder and CEO of special events venue, The Bell Tower on 34th, along with Houston catering service Excellent Events, and research resource, Venues in Houston. He is the author of “Keep On Going, The History of The Bell Tower on 34th,” a former radio host, a graduate of CEO Space International, and an alumnus of The Disney Institute.

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Roger Igo

CEO: Excellent Events catering, The Bell Tower on 34th venue and Venues in Houston. Author of “Keep On Going, The History of The Bell Tower on 34th.”