How to Plan For and Manage Wedding Day Issues

Written by Katrina Otter
It’s me (Kat, Founder and Head Planner at Katrina Otter Weddings), and I’m back as Coco Wedding Venues’ Resident Planner with my second planning instalment of the year.

After a trending and rather meaty first instalment (in case you missed it, it’s a MUST READ… Wedding Budget Myths & Misconceptions), this time, I’m delving into an equally essential and relevant planning feature, specifically planning for and managing wedding day issues (you’ll notice that I haven’t/won’t use the word disaster, all of which will be explained (for very good reasons) shortly).

Before I delve into the “planning for” aspect, I’m going to burst a bubble and be honest with you: Your wedding WON’T be perfect. A perfectly planned and flawlessly executed wedding doesn’t exist – no matter how much you think, overthink, communicate, check, double-check, and triple-check. You simply can’t foresee every eventuality, and things can and do go wrong as there are countless factors and moving parts at play.

From heatwaves, downpours, floods, storms (specifically Babet), traffic, road works, strikes, protests, power cuts, illnesses (guests and suppliers), toppling cakes, family issues, and human error to the extreme example of an unscheduled helicopter landing, personally, I’ve had, seen, and experienced them all AND have the Instagram hashtag (for the latter) to prove it!

BUT none of the above (even said helicopter) prevented my couples from having what was, in their opinion, an incredible wedding because we’d planned for, managed and dealt with the issues as and when they arose, and said issues didn’t stop them, and shouldn’t stop you, from having THE most epic of days, UNLESS, of course, you let it.

So, with this in mind, here are my top tips on how to plan for and preventatively mitigate any potential wedding day issues…

Have a Plan B

Having a Plan B is ESSENTIAL, and a C and D might even be needed, especially if you’re hosting parts of your wedding outdoors.

For example, if you’re having an outdoor ceremony, what’s your Plan B if it rains – is there a suitable space to host your wedding and accommodate your guest numbers inside, or do you need a Plan B cover? And what about umbrellas – does your venue have them, or do you need to purchase or hire them instead? Can you still throw confetti? Where do guests go afterwards for your Drinks Reception? Do you need to use the same space? Are room turnarounds required?  And so the Plan B list goes on!

Once your Plan B is in place, what about a Plan C if there’s a heatwave? Once again (with your ceremony as an example), do you need to revert to your Plan B indoors or under cover, and what about paper fans, parasols and a water station for your guests?

With both your Plan B and C, remember to consider your suppliers. For example, do your musicians need cover/shade, does your florist require access to water to ensure your arrangements withstand the blistering heat, etc.?

Besides having these plans in place, the best advice I can give you here is to consider and make arrangements for them (i.e. purchasing/hiring umbrellas, fans, parasols, etc.) as far in advance as possible.  And if you know what your plans are, are comfortable with your decisions, and above all, are happy with your Plan B’s, C’s, and, in extreme cases, the D’s, this will ensure that if things do need to change, you’ll avoid/reduce the risk of being disappointed on the day.


The more you try to include (moving parts, moving guests, and complicated logistics), the greater the risk of an issue arising.

If you have a strong team of suppliers and a great support network on the day, then by all means, knock your logistical socks off, but if there’s even a niggle of concern, then try to avoid the temptation of overcomplicating your wedding.

There’s a reason for the saying “simplicity is key”!


Yes, I am a Virgo, and yes, I do have and wholeheartedly endorse checklists for checklists, but when it comes to planning a wedding, you need to be a Virgo (an organised and meticulous perfectionist!).

The key to minimising the risk of issues arising is to be in control, be organised, ensure that you’re prepped well in advance, and to check and double-check your (CLEAR) communication, correspondence, and orders.

It goes without saying that you need to create a schedule and one that’s as detailed as possible. The more information you can include (timings, locations, contact details, maps, roles and responsibilities, group photos, song choices, reserved seating, table plans, floor plans, etc.), the better.

Once completed, share your schedule with your venue, suppliers, and especially anyone you’ve allocated roles to on the day, and ensure that this has been acknowledged, read, and understood.


One of the biggest wedding day issues is as a result of a lack of time (e.g., set-up, room turnarounds, guest movements, etc.) and elements of the day overrunning (somehow, speeches spring to mind!).

Cue BUFFERS OF TIME being your new best friend!

Speak to your venue and suppliers, ask them for their advice and input on timings, flow and logistics, and rely on their professional experience and feedback.

How long do your suppliers need to set up? How much time should you allow for food service? What are the ideal timings for speeches (always ALLOW MORE TIME HERE and brief anyone speaking about your expectations and time limits!)? When should you start your hair and makeup prep? When/where should you do couple and group photos, including how many? And then allow a little time buffer for each element of the day.

By adding this buffer, you’re giving yourself, your suppliers, and your guests some breathing space. With more time, there’s less chance of mistakes and issues arising.


Lastly, surround yourself with an amazing team to support you, to allocate roles to and to react to/resolve and provide support as/when/if an issue arises.

If you have any particular concerns, communicate them and ensure that someone is on hand to oversee them.

This could be a family member, group of friends, your incredible team of suppliers, or even an on-the-day Wedding Coordinator… anyone but you!

With all of the above in place, you’ve ticked off the “planning for” aspect of this feature and put control measures in place for the day itself. If an issue does arise, trust your schedule, your team, and your support network and rely on their input, guidance, and expertise.

Embrace your imperfectly perfect wedding, go with the flow, and remember… things can and do go wrong, but you and your guests might not even notice or be aware of an issue. If you do and you remain unperturbed, then your guests will be as well.

An issue will only become a problem or disaster if you let it.

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