Plan with Me: Creating a Backup Plan & How to Avoid Using It
With hurricane season in Louisiana coming to an end, the devastation of wildfires that have overcome Northern California and Montana the last several months, and the impending blizzards of winter coming to the North, more and more couples are asking themselves about Plan B (and C, and D) in the event of the carefully laid plans they’ve been working on being put into jeopardy. As a planner, we always have a Plan B (and C, and D) at the ready, preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. Today, I wanted to share with you some advice and tips regarding back up plans, including not only how to create one, but how to avoid as much as possible having to resort to one (or two, or three).
Backup plans are designed for emergencies, particularly, the weather. With rain on any given day in Louisiana a 50% chance of happening, these are a necessity for weddings and events. In the event however that a little bit of rain turns into flooding, such as what happened in August of 2016 here in Baton Rouge, and not only is your venue at stake, but all of the vendors who are contracted for your wedding day. In such an instance, I cannot help but advise that you cancel. Vendors who are undergoing the same catastrophic events will most certainly understand, and will more than likely keep payments as are in order to be applied to your new date.
Now, before canceling should even cross your mind, there are a couple of steps you can take in order to make sure that your event goes smoothly and without a problem. In regards to the possibility of inclement weather, make sure that you at least have a tent or two on standby is a great idea, and in the event of, you can always cancel and get your deposit on them returned. Many companies in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport areas offer this service. Furthermore, even if you have a tented ceremony and reception, providing umbrellas in welcome bags or have ushers meet guests by their cars to give them umbrellas so that they stay dry is a great way to make sure your guests are comfortable and able to enjoy the day.
In the event that you’ve got sunshine on your wedding day, but that sunshine happens to come along with a heat index of over 100 degrees, the best back up plan is to implement fans, including handheld ones, as well as make sure that your caterer or bartenders have extra water and beverages available. Guests will gladly appreciate a bottle or two to sip on during the ceremony, and make sure that water is being consumed while they are enjoying the other beverages available. With fans, you can order natural texture fans like these, or combine your program and fan into one piece like this one (I love how it’s different from the traditional stick and paper style!).
So, what if weather isn’t what is causing the need for a backup plan?
Illness is a tricky thing to navigate. A simple cold or virus can be avoided by making sure you are getting enough rest and eating well throughout the planning process, but if you or an important guest or family member fall more seriously ill, I would recommend to push up the wedding. Explaining health issues to vendors may be awkward, but they are generally more than understanding and will strive to further ensure that your day is perfect and those moments celebrated. You may also have to consider postponing your wedding, in which case, I would recommend letting your vendors know as soon as you’ve reached the decision, and work from there in regards to reworking deposits and setting a new date.
Sometimes, despite everything done on your side to prevent a disaster, things happen. An example of this is when venues decide to undergo construction, or they suffer damage from natural disasters. Though most venues will notify clients of such instances, sometimes they cannot be avoided, and will leave brides and grooms in a lurch. In which case, you can argue to receive all payments back, and then start making calls and explain to vendors what occurred.
What’s the biggest tip I can give though in regards to a backup plan? Purchase wedding day insurance. Reputable companies such as Progressive, USAA, and Travelers now offer coverage for roughly $150, and covers ruined photographs/video, alcohol liability, cancellation and breach of promise, amongst other situations. Deductibles are often around $1000. Having event insurance, especially when situations you know could occur that would put your wedding into jeopardy, is one of the best investments you can make.
That being said, despite the insurances and doing everything within your power, sometimes, a wedding can’t help but be cancelled. With coming to terms with canceling your wedding: it’s ok. As one bride who was evacuating with her fiancé from the ongoing fires in Napa said “I didn’t care about the boxes of decorations sitting in my living room. I cared about my fiancé, our important documents, and got the hell out of there”. The physical things can be replaced, repurchased, or fixed…the people who are the backbone and soul behind your wedding cannot.
Did you have a Plan B or backup plan for your wedding day? What was one thing you wished you knew? Any additional tips or tricks you want to share with brides to be? I want to know! Helping each other out and sharing experiences brings people together, especially in relation to weddings!