Once you’ve found and hired your dream wedding vendor team, the rest of the planning process is usually pretty straightforward. On very rare occasions, however, a vendor may cancel (meaning they cannot fulfill their part of the contract) before the wedding due to unforeseen situations, such as an emergency or other event beyond their control. If this has happened to you or you’re wondering how to prevent it, keep reading.
We reached out to event planners across the country to get their tips on how to make sure your big day runs smoothly, even if a wedding vendor cancels.
Consider wedding insurance
If you’re in the midst of planning and genuinely anxious about the unknown, consider purchasing a wedding insurance plan. Not only will it help with your peace of mind before the big day, but it will also cover your losses if your wedding budget takes a hit after a vendor cancels.
Pay attention to your contract
Be sure to get everything in writing when you sign a contract with a provider, including who will fill it out if the original provider can’t. In case something goes wrong, it’s best to have your agreement(s) on paper.
“When hiring a wedding vendor, read the contract carefully,” says Eileen Smith of Eileen Smith Events in Bridgewater, Connecticut. “Normally, there is a cancellation clause. If not, be proactive and ask before you sign. Always remember to have a written agreement to protect yourself. Hiring a wedding planner will also help solve these problems. I defend my clients’ name to make sure everything is on the correct list and there are no surprises on the day of the event. If something fails, I can defer to my salespeople and relieve the couple’s stress and make it happen for them.”
Get organized from the start
Keep all of your wedding paperwork organized so you can easily find a contract or other file if needed. Our favorite organizational ideas include checklists, spreadsheets, and trusty notebooks. Lastly, it’s smart to have a few “backup” providers you like on file just in case.
“I would recommend hiring a planner first,” says Jose a event planner in Queens. “That’s not because I am, it’s simply because we always have resources available for most wedding emergencies. We also have a host of professional vendors on our Rolodex in case one of yours goes down. If hiring a planner isn’t within your budget, then keep the info on at least two other vendors you liked but didn’t make the cut. Start[a] spreadsheet to stay organized.
If a provider cancels, don’t panic
Perhaps you have realized that it is not going to work with a particular provider. We know this may seem like a huge setback, but try to focus on moving forward instead of getting stuck in what happened.
“The first thing to do is stay calm and positive,” says Jasmine a Event Planner, in The Bronx. “It is important to trust the vendors you have on board and seek their advice. Many will have close industry relationships and connections and can point you in the right direction. Trust that at the end of the day it will all work out for the best!”
Find a compromise
Until the situation is resolved, please do your best to maintain an open line of communication with the provider in question. Chances are, they sincerely regret having to cancel the date, so try to be understanding and work together to come up with a solution.
“If a contract vendor isn’t happy with your attitude, product, or responsiveness,” call or set up an in-person meeting,” says Anna A Event in Brooklyn, New York. “Pending the contract you signed and the terms, please try some sort of refund if possible. Keep emotions in check, don’t play the blame game. Be calm, honest and direct.»
Use your resources
If you’ve hired an event planner, he or she likely has a contingency plan for what to do if a vendor cancels. Planners are experts at stepping in for damage control, so trust them to fix everything.
“If for any reason a provider goes out, the planner should always have a backup plan for each provider category,” says Ricardo a event planner in Lon Island “After your planner suggests your preferred providers, it’s always a good idea to check out the reviews for those providers so you know past clients also