How Wedding Planners Expertly Recovered From These Wedding-Day Disasters

Planning Tips
wedding disaster stories

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No one wants disaster to strike on their wedding day. But if it does, you might want these planners by your side: They've solved everything from missing wedding rings to a wedding dress that caught fire — during the ceremony. Read on to find out how they saved the wedding day.

Forgotten Wedding Rings
"The best man forgot the rings at the hotel in the French Quarter — during Mardi Gras. He didn't realize until I asked him about 10 minutes before the ceremony. If you've ever been to Mardi Gras, you know that all of the streets are blocked off and the crowd is insane. My assistant left to try and get it, but we had little hope she would make it back in time. I scanned the crowd for a man about the size of the groom and asked him to borrow his wedding ring for the ceremony. The groom knew but the bride didn't until she was about to walk down the aisle. I told her not to panic and that the other ring was on the way. Meanwhile, my assistant ran about a mile to the hotel and was able to get them and get back to the church by the end of the mass. We had the priest bless the rings again following the ceremony with the correct rings." — Emily Sullivan, owner of Get Polished Events

No Wedding Cake
"The biggest day-of disaster I ever encountered was when the mother of the bride forgot to pick up the cake. In all of the discussions with the bride, her mom was to pick up the cake from the bakery on her way to reception and give it to the caterer. Prior to the wedding I confirmed this was the plan. But the mother walked in with no cake. When I kindly asked her, 'Is the cake in your car then? Do you want me to bring it in?' her response was, 'What cake?! I never ordered any cake!' Cue panic in the mother of the bride. We were without a cake, or any dessert for that matter, and the ceremony was starting. I immediately called the catering company, who was scheduled to arrive during the cocktail hour. With that, I knew we had a bit of time before they left the kitchen and explained to them what happened. I pleaded with them to add some dessert bites to their truck. Thankfully, they did. Phew. No one even knew the difference! I'm sure some people wanted cake or a bit more of the sweet bites, but all in all the magic happened and the wedding went on without a hitch!" — Taylor Curley, lead wedding planner for The Simply Elegant Group

Screwed Up Seating
"As the venue coordinator, I was given 250 seating cards by the groom, who was in charge of that duty. I quickly realized the seating cards had the name of the guest but no table number. I discreetly asked the bride for her list of guests. I did not want to worry the bride nor get the groom in trouble. Thank goodness she happened to have her table arrangements on hand. Then, I enlisted a staff member to help me go through every name, find the table number and write it on the escort card. There were also guests who had escort cards but no assigned seat, so I and the caterer added seats or found empty spaces to fit the guests. No one was the wiser and the groom was very grateful for fixing his mistake." — Jane Kernen, owner of Austin Busy Brides

See More: How to Avoid These Common 5 Wedding Day Disasters

A Bridesmaid Caught on Fire
"We had a bridesmaid's long dress catch on fire when she unknowingly backed up into a candle during the ceremony. As a wedding planner, you are always on high alert during a wedding. When I smelled smoke from the back of the ceremony site, and looked up at the front, I could see that the candle was smoldering a hole right through her dress. I don't know how many guests saw this happening, but we had to do something immediately before she went up in flames! We quickly sent one of our girls with a cup of water up behind the bridesmaid and splashed the fire before she even noticed she was on fire — the water scared her more than anything because she didn't realize what was happening. She let out a little gasp, but the ceremony continued. After the ceremony, I first thought we might be able to stitch the hole but quickly realized it was a bit of a bigger problem. We ended up making it a tea length dress — I just cut the bottom right off. Each of the bridesmaids dresses were different so it didn't make a huge impact, and most of the bridesmaids photos had already been taken." — Krystel Tien Stacey, founder and owner of Couture Events

The Bride's Transportation Broke Down
"Picture it: You are waiting with the bride's family and groom at the beach for the arrival of the bride. Waiting, waiting, waiting — and here she finally comes, not on a regular resort golf cart but a maintenance golf cart, wearing a beautiful sequined wedding dress. The clean golf cart she started her journey on died, and the maintenance cart was all that was available. The bride still looked beautiful and she thankfully did not get dirty. But she was stomping her feet and screaming. I did the only thing I could think to do — and that was channel my inner J. Lo. I crossed the stone wall and took her by the shoulders, and I told her, 'You are beautiful, and you are so lucky to have won the love of the man standing there waiting for you. Not everyone gets a chance like this.' And with that, all was calm and the sunset wedding began." — Paula Coffaro, concierge at Weddings by Funjet

A Torrential Downpour
"While this tale has a happy ending for the brides, their outdoor spring wedding included a torrential downpour. Rain had been in the forecast, but no one expected one of the worst storms of the year to hit that day — horrible. In the face of numerous challenges presented by the weather and a tight budget, we fought back with reconfigured plans, creative solutions on the fly, and the help of loving family members. The original plan was to have the wedding ceremony and cocktails outdoors in a field, with the reception in a tent. As the wedding approached, we arranged for a secondary tent for the ceremony and cocktails. When the tents were put up, there was a gap in between and a waterfall of rain came gushing down. To keep everyone dry as they moved from the ceremony to the reception, we obtained a tarp, and the father of one of the brides used a forklift and helped place it over the gap. To keep the budget down, there had been no plan for a floor to be installed for the reception. To keep the tables from sinking into the soggy grass, we propped tables and chairs on wooden blocks. Oh, did I mention the wind was so bad that one of the generators we brought in lost power in our tent? We stopped using ours so there could be power in the other tent. Fortunately, we always bring camping lights with us, and were able to operate open flame." — Olivia Colt, owner of Salt & Honey Catering and Events

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