As event professionals, crises are things that we try at all costs to avoid but must also prepare for so we aren’t caught off guard by any emergency situations.
#1 – Bad Weather
As one of the biggest worries for brides and grooms, bad weather is entirely unavoidable but simple enough to plan for.
A contingency plan is a must for any outdoor wedding, so it’s wise to find a venue with an indoor space that the couple is comfortable with. Another way to ensure a backup is to put a deposit on a tent a few weeks in advance as a “just in case” measure.
#2 – Unhappy Clients
We all know that there are some clients who are just impossible to please. No matter how hard you work or how far you exceed expectations, they just won’t be satisfied.
In this case, it’s important to remember that as long as you’ve put in your full effort, their attitudes don’t speak to your services. Do your best to accommodate their needs, but don’t be afraid to walk away if they are not willing to work with you.
#3 – Missing Vendors
While the majority of the wedding team may be on the same page, all it takes is for one vendor to disappear and throw a wrench in the whole timeline.
If the photographer goes MIA or the officiant hasn’t showed up, do everything you can to get in contact with them and find out what the issue is. This can be a sticky situation, especially considering the fact that couple has paid big bucks for them to be there, so it’s important to tread carefully.
The best way to plan in advance is to ensure you have a day-of contact number for all vendors – office phones often go unanswered on the day of an event.
#4 – Unruly Guests
When people get out of control (and this goes for guests and wedding party members!), it can bring undue stress to a couple’s special night. Ensure that there is one person on the lookout for troublemakers and trained to handle them without causing a scene. Things happen, but they don’t need to ruin the whole evening.
#5 – Cancellations
The dreaded wedding cancellation is perhaps one of the worst crises a wedding pro can experience. Sometimes couples break up or experience life challenges that force them to cancel their wedding.
Always be compassionate with the couple – cancelling is certainly not their ideal situation either. Your contract should include a section about refunds and cancellations that states that the deposit is nonrefundable, as well as a percentage depending on what work has been completed.
Take responsibility and volunteer to call all of the other vendors to let them know. If there’s time, try to book the date again to recoup any losses – otherwise, move on and don’t let it affect you.
Let’s face it – crises happen. Still, there’s no reason to let a crisis situation catch you off guard. Do your due diligence and build measures to safeguard both your business and your couples from any surprise emergencies. You’ll be glad you did!
What wedding disasters have you managed for your clients?
Kevin Dennis is the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.