Winter or Summer Wedding Disaster Prevention Plan
When you set your expectations for the wedding to include outside uncontrollable elements you are opening the door for disaster. So how do you prevent disasters from occurring? First we must define what a disaster is?- A sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life (Must be true, I found it on the Internet). In the case of a wedding the bride or groom are the only people who can declare their event a disaster. No one else has the authority to, because its Wedding Law (I think). Lets review the 4 levels of Wedding Incidents:
- Level 1- Minor Incident – (Usually only one or both of the individuals involved)
- Level 2- Moderate Event- (The Bride, Groom, Bridal Party and immediate Family are impacted)
- Level 3 – Major Catastrophe- (The Bride, Groom, Bridal Party, Immediate Family and Guests are impacted)
- Level 4- Wedding Disaster- (Everyone involved, Bridal Party, Guests, and Vendors are effected)
Minor Incident (Level 1) are only stressful to the individuals involved. A dress rips, a flower breaks, shoes are the wrong size, or similar things that can add up, but individually are minor and shouldn’t effect the wedding. The best way to keep these incidents managed is to have a person or persons to go to for help. Usually the Master or Mistress of ceremonies is the person for this task, but as a photographer I find myself stepping in to help. The main objective is not to stress out the bride, groom, or other mother of the bride. Preparation can prevent most of these incidents from becoming incidents in the first place. Trying on tuxes the day before, having an emergency supply kit, or having a written itinerary to follow.
Moderate Event (Level 2) are usually a number of Level 1 events that have either gotten out of hand, or happened to quickly to be contained. A groomsman’s car breaking down on the way to the wedding venue, or a bridesmaid forgetting her dress at home. The common denominator is usually time. Its going to take more time to fix than is available. When a moderate event has occurred its best to stay calm and ask for help. The wedding coordinator, event manager, photographer, or officiant are great resources when something like this occurs. When a moderate event has happened at a wedding in the past as a photographer it was stressful, but keeping things moving in the direction towards the marriage was the only solution. A valuable asset when a delay is inevitable is being flexible and encouraging others to do the same. Take for example a bridesmaid’s dress rips or isn’t available to wear on the wedding day. If the bridesmaid is a good friend, they will understand not having them stand up in the ceremony. If symmetry is important have a corresponding groomsman usher people in or help in some other way. How the bride reacts to a moderate event will determine if it becomes a major catastrophe or not.
Major Catastrophe (Level 3) can be a wedding killer. A blizzard on a wedding day can cause a major catastrophe if allowed to. Weddings have been called off in fear of a catastrophe, but rarely ever should. As long as a ceremony can be performed a wedding shouldn’t be called off. This doesn’t mean risk everyone’s life to drive 20 miles through a tornado to get to the church, but it means a wedding will still take place. The delay of the wedding doesn’t determine if its a catastrophe or not. Its how the bride and groom feel. A day, week, month, or even year delay doesn’t mean they had a major catastrophe. If the bride is so upset that relationships are destroyed because she flipped out on people, that would be a catastrophe. The attitude of the bride and groom during such an event effects the level of the incident in most cases. Your wedding guests will be understand a hail storm delaying your wedding an hour, but won’t be so appreciative of a bride that is screaming at her mother or husband. This isn’t limited to the bride. Lets take for example a wedding vendor. Your wedding was delayed 2 hours because of a severe tornado warning and corresponding rain and hail. As your wedding party arrives at the reception facility the food manager is more than likely going to be very stressed and possibly visually upset. Their attitude can cause a catastrophe to an event. Witnessing a bride and groom being scolded because they were late do to weather was embarrassing for the entire wedding party, and really negatively effected the event.
Wedding Disaster (Level 4) usually is assumed to be a canceled or wedding were the marriage doesn’t take place. The nightmare of being stood up at the alter, or worse is sometimes a reality, but thankfully not often. The only way for a proclamation of wedding disaster to occur is not on the wedding day, but after a period of time to reflect upon the cancellation or marriage not happening. If 2 years after the canceled wedding you look back and understand it was the best thing that could have happened then its not a disaster, even though it feels like it on the wedding day. A bad wedding day no marriage can be better than a great wedding resulting in a bad marriage, but that is only speculation.
Wedding Disaster plan:
1. Keep it simply splendid (K.I.S.S)- Let’s do the math: Bride + Groom + God = Marriage, because of legality you need to add an Officiant and Witness. As you add more people you add additional or even multipliers to the equation.
2. Semper Gumby (Always Flexible)- The only person who knows what the perfect wedding is, is you! (Not if) When incidents occur be flexible and remember that at the marriage will happen with you happy or not. Creativity and duct tape will also help.
3. Ask for help- Don’t be alone on deserted island having a pity party on your wedding day. Ask for help if you need it, don’t just rely on Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Fiance, or Friends. Ask your wedding vendors for help. They all want your day to be stress free. I love it when my brides ask me for help, when they are happy the photos come out amazing!
4. What if’s- If if has to do with the weather there must be some thought as to what if. Plan ahead for What if it rains on my outdoor wedding, What if there is a blizzard?, but be reasonable and flexible. Rain might only delay an outdoor wedding an hour, a blizzard or hurricane might delay it a month.
In the end the best wedding disaster plan is the one never used, but the worst one is the one you don’t have when you need it.
Please share by commenting below any suggestions you have for a wedding disaster plan, or stories of one you may have experienced.