Oh Shit! How to Deal When Things Go Sideways on Your Wedding Day

  • Oct 1, 2020


As a coordinator, I run weddings like stage productions, and the bride is the front-row audience. She won’t know that something went wrong until the next day, unless it happened directly to her or someone opens their fat mouth and tells her. I make a point of preparedness and am thankful for my ability to think quickly and solve a problem with creativity. However, there are some things that are just unavoidable. They don’t make your big day any less perfect, and come with the added bonus of a story that you can tell for decades.


Here’s what went wrong at my wedding:


  • My MOH had a heel break off just before the ceremony
  • My veil fell out as I walked down the aisle
  • My coordinator couldn’t find my table numbers
  • My mom insisted on moving the sweetheart table across the room (and my coordinator helped her do it)
  • There was a power outage during the reception that lasted at least thirty minutes



Here’s how I dealt with them:


  • I gave my MOH my flats and wore my reception flip-flops down the aisle
  • My MOH tucked my veil back in at the altar (which resulted in some super cute photos)
  • My coordinator pointed folks to their tables and everything was fine
  • The table looked fine where they put it and I let it go
  • The photographer and videographer pulled out their extra lighting and the best man whipped out a portable Bluetooth speaker for the deejay – we laughed and partied and the photos looked amazing


At the end of the day, the key was the mantra that I had adopted in the two weeks leading up to my wedding. I channeled my inner Bill Murray and said to myself, “It just doesn’t matter.” I can’t tell you how many times I said that – to myself, to my husband, to my bridal party, to my vendors – and in the end, it didn’t matter. I still had an amazing time and so did all of my guests, the photos still looked fabulous, no one was hurt or starved or traumatized.


First, have a plan for the predictable things, like rain. Don’t refuse to make a rainy day plan because you don’t want to jinx your outdoor ceremony. Consider other parts of your ceremony and reception and how they could go wrong, and talk them out with your coordinator. Bring an extra pair of shoes (or two). Make a plan, share it with your vendor team, and be mentally prepared for the plan to change on the spot. If that means having champagne before the ceremony, so be it.


When something goes wrong, trust your professionals. You hired your vendors because they know what they’re doing and, no matter what goes wrong, they’ve probably seen it before and can come up with something. There’s only so prepared a vendor can be, but you’ll also have full access to my Oh Shit Kit that covers a lot of emergencies. Besides the kit, I carry spares of almost everything in my car on wedding days, from plates to a cake knife to a camera.


Most importantly, accept it now that something will go wrong on your big day. It doesn’t matter how much you plan, or if your rehearsal took six hours, or how prepared your vendor team is – something will inevitably go wrong. If you accept it now, it will be easier to laugh it off in the moment. It might seem like a tragedy in the moment, but don’t let it ruin your day. So long as you and your spouse are married by midnight, call the wedding a success.