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The Worst-Case-Scenario Crib Sheet

Because things don’t always go as planned.


Illustrations by Clare Mallison  

What to Do If ...
You hate your engagement ring

Start by finding out if the store your future Mr. or Mrs. purchased the tragic thing from will let you exchange it for another, or trade it in for a credit toward your wedding bands. So long as the ring wasn’t custom-made, many stores—including Tiffany & Co. (727 Fifth Ave., at 57th St.; 212-755-8000) and Marisa Perry (154 Prince St., nr. W. Broadway; 212-566-8977)—accept exchanges within a few weeks of purchase. Another option is to just reset the stone. Independent jewelers like Anna Sheffield Bridal (212-925-7010; bridal.annasheffield.com) and Elleven Jewelry (168 Court St., nr. Dean St., Cobble Hill; 718-624-2611) can personalize your ring according to your preferences by melting down the old band and placing the original stones in a new custom setting.



What to Do If ...
Mother Nature goes berserk

Should the weathermen start predicting heavy rain or other loathsome conditions on your wedding day, any cash left in your budget is best spent on a day-of planner like the Wedding Sitter’s Kimberly Pilson (212-427-3616; theweddingsitter.com) or Brilliant Event Planning’s Sarah Pease (917-974-4729; brillianteventplanning.com)—someone who has the ability and know-how to coordinate vendors, inform guests of last-minute changes, and otherwise help an overwhelmed couple navigate the impending crisis. If there’s simply no room in the budget for that extra set of hands, try to be flexible. If your wedding and a megastorm are both scheduled for a Saturday, say, consider moving the reception to Friday night. “Often your guests are already in town,” says Pilson, and because not all venues book Friday-evening events, “many will gladly accommodate the switch at no additional cost.” Most vendor contracts stipulate that if a venue cancels altogether, you’ll receive a full refund—alas, you’re still out the space. Restaurants that cater to the business crowd are more likely to have eleventh-hour weekend availability; try a midtown staple like the 21 Club (21 W. 52nd St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-582-7200), where, from $175 a head, you can host 160 guests for cocktails, a three-course dinner, and dancing.



What to Do If ...
An important vendor bails

When a sudden illness or accident forces a vendor to cancel, industry standards hold that vendor responsible for finding a suitable replacement. But when the person is totally indisposed or doesn’t have an office that can help out, see if your other vendors are willing to share their contacts. For last-minute caterers, Pease recommends booking someone with no less than five years’ experience, such as Peter Fazio at Sterling Affair (212-686-4075; sterlingaffair.com); large-scale event planners like Robbins Wolfe (212-924-6500; robbinswolfe.com) also have the man power to pull together a 200-person seated dinner in 48 hours (from $150 per guest). Depending on who dropped the ball, DIY-ing things is another option. For a no-show shutterbug without an assistant, wedding photographer Daniel Krieger (917-747-6289; danielkrieger.com) suggests recruiting the guest with the most professional-looking camera and asking him to shoot as many pictures as possible, and from every conceivable angle. For an MIA florist, floral designer Kathleen Hyppolite (katflower.com) advises ribboning together a Whole Foods bouquet using just one type of flower, like roses, in varying hues.



What to Do If ...
Your rehearsal venue cancels unexpectedly

It can happen—just ask inspectors at the Department of Health or anyone who has had the pipes burst at their rehearsal-dinner restaurant. Marci DeLozier Haas, the private-events manager at the ever-popular Frankies Spuntino (718-403-0033, ext. 13; francis-louis.com), suggests booking a rehearsal lunch instead; French eatery Millesime (92 Madison Ave., at 29th St.; 212-889-7100), for example, can host up to 180 guests for lunch at $25 a pop. If dinner is a must, Chinatown staples like Jing Fong (20 Elizabeth St., nr. Canal St.; 212-964-5256) and Pho Grand (277C Grand St., nr. Forsyth St.; 212-965-5366) can usually take on large parties with two days’ notice.



What to Do If ...
Your dress fits poorly or gets stained

If your gown feels like a sausage casing after the final fitting, don’t panic—and definitely don’t force the zipper. Instead, take the dress to a professional tailor like Ellen Canali of Ellen’s Couture (445 Columbus Ave., nr. 81st.; 212-496-8800); she keeps an extra staffer on hand for emergencies and can take any garment in or out. For rips or tears, consider a spot like Dynasty Custom Tailors (6 E. 38th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-679-1075), which specializes in repairs. If a mysterious grease stain makes a sudden cameo, try dabbing the spot with baby powder; otherwise, rush it to a reputable gown cleaner like Madame Paulette (1255 Second Ave., nr. 66th St.; 347-689-7010), which can flip a job in 24 hours or less. Worst-worst case (e.g., the dress spontaneously combusts), you can always grab an off-the-rack number from the likes of BCBG Max Azria (770 Madison Ave., at 66th St.; 212-717-4225) or neighboring boutique J. Crew Bridal (769 Madison Ave., at 66th St.; 212-824-2500; by appointment only).



What to Do If ...
Your wedding photos are terrible

Your contract should include a line about fair compensation for photos that are blurry or otherwise unusable, but first ask your photographer if he can produce an alternate edit or fix standout flaws by retouching. If you’d sooner trust your 11-year-old nephew with the images, send out the photos to pro retouchers like Bella Pictures (bellapictures.com) or Photo Relive (photorelive.com); they can easily pump up lackluster color, erase raccoon eyes and minor blemishes, whiten teeth, remove flyaway hairs, and so forth. “Just don’t send all 800 photos for retouching,” advises photographer Jeffrey Mosier (646-522-5800; jeffreymosierphotography.com); pull only the 50 to 100 most important shots you want fixed. If all else fails, you can always climb back into your wedding-day finery and restage the shots your original photographer missed—a surprisingly common practice among local couples, says Mosier, whose reshoot sessions start at $500.

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