It’s Not The End of The World: 5 On-The-Day Event Nightmares – and How to Prepare for Them

By HOPP Team

You’ve spent months preparing for this big event, and finally, the day has come. The schedules are locked in, suppliers are on hand and the waiters are greeting the arriving guests with welcome drinks on the terrace. Finally, after weeks of final touches, you feel like you can relax. But just before you take your celebratory sip of champagne, that’s when you feel it – the first drop of rain. Then another . . . and another. You watch your guests dart around, looking for shelter and then it dawns on you that your naive faith in the British summer has meant that the only actual shelter you’ve organised at this party is the row of portaloos at the end of the garden . . . 

A washout at an ill-prepared event is nothing short of a party nightmare. Save yourself an on-the-day catastrophe and embrace the motto of ‘hope for the best; prepare for the worst’. In the spirit of this month’s Top of the HOPPs theme, Wellness, we’ve pulled together some tips to save you from a total eye-twitching, hair-pulling break down on the big day. 

Here are five of the most common on-the-day event nightmares – and tips for how you can prepare for them: 

  • How to Prepare for Adverse Weather at Your Event 

We don’t like to think of an indoor option for an outdoor event as a ‘Plan B’. To avoid stress and disappointment around the weather on your big day, get creative about your indoor option and incorporate it into your best-case weather plan. Don’t spend your budget on an unsightly marquee that you’ll only reluctantly whip out should the weather turn. Choose a beautiful, well-designed structure that you combine with your outdoor setting. Experts like LPM Bohemia (who provide structures with stunning linings), Joseph Benjamin Marquees (who make magic with their transparent structures) or Ascot Structures (the only UK supplier to offer a showstopping orangery structure) know exactly how to use marquees and structures to take your event to the next level. Bringing on these experts means that they can advise you technicalities like the placement of trackways, loos, skips, generators and all of those technical, less glamorous parts of your event that you’ll want to keep out of sight. 

Joseph Benjamin Marquees

Ascot Structures

For those that want an even more seamless divide between the ‘indoor’ and outdoor, why not opt for a stretch tent from Stretch and Tents or 10x15 Structures? These are a brilliant option even if you’re absolutely confident that you’ll have a dry day – if it’s hot, your guests are going to appreciate the chance to get some shade.

When it comes to wet weather, it’s just as important to think of what’s beneath your guests as what’s above them. If the terrain turns muddy, your guests will be squelching through the party if you aren’t prepared! Avoid stuck heels and muddy footprints by creating beautiful pathways along guest routes and hard, carpeted flooring with the structure .

HOPP TIP: If you have an indoor and outdoor venue at your event, make sure that your photographer is aware of this as they may need to prepare with additional lighting and kit depending on your setting! 

Stretch and Tents

10x15 Structures

  • How to Prepare for Party Crashers 

One of the most awkward and uncomfortable on-the-day event emergencies, party crashers are no fun to deal with, especially if you’re not one for confrontation. If you’re throwing a big party – especially if its a wedding (cue Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn from comedy classic Wedding Crashers) – the last thing you want is to be figuring how to escort uninvited guests out of your party without causing a scene. If you think there’s a likelihood of this happening, do what you can to prevent it. Position a host or hostess at the entrance of the event to cross-check attendees with your guest list (preferably a digital, searchable one)– for large-scale events, to be extra safe, you can even request that guests show their ID. If appropriate, there’s also no harm in bringing in some muscle and hiring a security guard or two. Their presence alone will be a deterrent to anyone trying to sneak in and they will be able to expertly escort anyone that’s not meant to be there off the premises without causing a scene.

  • How to Prepare for Last Minute Drop Outs 

So you’ve got a plan to handle any unexpected guests but what happens if guests who RSVPd to your invitations drop out last minute? No-show guests can be a real nightmare for any event with a sit-down meal. Give yourself some flexibility by using beautifully designed placement and escort cards that can easily be swapped around instead of a table seating board. Not only does this avoid the awkward bottleneck effect of guests crowding around a board struggling to decipher who sits where, but they are an opportunity to show off some personal style with hand calligraphy (Liv’s Letters) or a beautiful object (check out ERA Calligraphy). You can also have some fun with how you present the cards to your guests such as hanging them from a tree or mobile. 

ERA Calligraphy

  • How to Prepare for A Loss of Power 

A simple but important tip for anyone throwing a party that relies on a lot of lights, sound systems and production in general – organise a backup generator and make sure you have a decent production company (Oxygen Event Services) that understand power distribution)! 

  • How to Prepare for Little Tag-Alongs 

These are the kind of uninvited guests that you’re not going to be able to call security on! If a large number of the guests on your attendee list have children, you might want to consider arranging for childcare at your event. Unless you put a clear message on your invitation that you won’t be accommodating kids (which may mean that some of your guests won’t be able to make it), it is a good idea to embrace the idea of children attending your party and prepare for it. Services like Creche the Party & Safe and Sound Events know exactly how to keep little ones entertained (and toddler tantrums to a minimum!), leaving the adults to enjoy the party. 

Safe and Sound Events

When it comes to preparing for the worst, it’s important to remember that the more experienced and professional your suppliers are, the fewer the chances of things going wrong. They are experts at what they do and know how to handle anything and everything that comes their way! Make sure to use tried and tested teams (like the ones you’ll find here on HOPP) to safeguard your party against any catastrophic on-the-day nightmares.

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Written by our Team of HOPP Experts.