No one wants to think about unforeseen circumstances causing hiccups during one of the happiest days of their life. But trust us when we say we know all too well that unexpected things happen during the midst of wedding planning. Whether it’s a vendor canceling last minute or the classic rain-on-your-wedding-day situation, things don’t always go as you thought they would. That doesn’t mean that the day isn’t going to be just as magical as you’d hope, though! It just requires having a solid wedding backup plan in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly, no matter what life throws at you.
Beth Helmstetter of Beth Helmstetter Events emphasizes that from the moment couples begin considering venues, they should be asking questions about the backup plan options. “Every time [a couple] visits a venue, one of the top questions to ask should be: ‘What is the weather backup plan?’ This is regardless of destination. I’ve experienced rain in the driest of climates and in the most unlikely times of the year,” she explains. In addition to coordinating off-the-bat with a venue, for those couples working with a planner, discussing the wedding backup plan is one of the first things they should address.
Meet the Expert
Beth Helmstetter is a destination wedding planner and the owner of Beth Helmstetter Events, a full-service event design and planning studio.
From talking about options with your first-choice venue to keeping vendors in the loop, Helmstetter advises us on how to create a reliable backup plan—and why it’s important for every couple to have one.
Ask Your Venue Coordinator the Right Questions
The first step for making a backup plan involves your venue. After all, you have to have a place for all of your guests to be, no matter the situation! Once you choose a venue—or even if you’re deciding between a few—Helmstetter advises that couples should ask the following questions with their venue point-of-contact before signing any contracts:
- What is the venue’s weather backup plan?
- If the venue has a weather backup plan, what guest count can this backup plan accommodate?
- At what point, according to the venue, does the couple need to decide if they are going to use the backup plan? (This is traditionally the day before the event but every venue is different, explains Helmstetter.)
“If the venue does not offer a backup plan, [couples] should ask their wedding planner to provide backup options, including the pros and cons as well as any anticipated costs,” she says. “If they don’t have a wedding planner, they can ask the venue for guidance on what they’ve seen done [in the past] to accommodate for a backup plan.” Long story short: Your backup plan begins with your venue and your planner, so that’s where you should start.
Budget Accordingly for Bad Weather
Helmstetter points out that while dancing in the rain with all of your loved ones sounds romantic, it can actually be quite complicated (i.e. everyone getting their beautiful outfits drenched; musicians having to stop performing due to electrical risks; and a good dose of chaos. “Think through the weather plan from the moment you are looking at venues,” she recommends. “Know your options and mentally set aside a bit of a budget in case it needs to be implemented.”
Helmstetter explains that small details should be considered when you’re making this weather plan, too. “This could be as simple as adding 200 candles inside at the last minute to give your indoor ceremony a more romantic glow, or putting a soft hold on a tent with light draping just in case.”
Communicate With Your Vendors
Some vendors, Helmstetter explains, won’t be too impacted by something like weather or a venue change. Others, like a caterer who was preparing to serve dinner outside but now has to transition indoors, will definitely need to be a part of your backup plan from the get-go. “[Some vendors] need to be part of the conversation so they can ensure their new setup is just as efficient,” says Helmstetter. “No matter what, a message should go out to vendors as soon as you’re planning on implementing a backup plan.”
Tap the Wedding Party to Help Coordinate Day-Of
If you make it to the big day and find that something comes up, whether that’s a thunderstorm or a vendor cancelation, lean on your wedding party to help coordinate everything—especially if you don’t have a planner. If you do have a planner, they will likely take the reigns when it comes to the backup plan, but if you feel stressed and under pressure to, for example, get all of your guests inside when rain rolls in, this is the perfect time to lean on your nearest and dearest for support and help with coordinating.