More than one Plan B for
your wedding is a must!
Cram Brisbane Marriage Celebrant
(26/09/2019) | Categories:
Wedding Planning |
In the past 3 weeks,
since September 4, 2019, Queensland has experienced a
total of 1810 bushfires.During this period, iconic
locations such as Binna Burra Lodge, very popular for
weddings, have been lost, and access to others has been
cut off for varying periods of time, including access to
the Sunshine Coast when the Bruce Highway was closed to
traffic. Just across the border in New South Wales, many
more fires have burned.
We are also being told that fire season is extending
both ends - starting earlier and ending later, so that
it now covers both spring and autumn, the most popular
seasons for weddings. And in recent years in different
parts of the country, floods have caused havoc. The 2011
flood in Brisbane saw the Brisbane River rise 14 metres,
on a lovely sunny day.
All of which is a reminder of the importance of a Plan B
(alternative arrangements) for your wedding.
Here in Queensland choosing an outdoor location for your
ceremony is almost the norm and, of course, you hope
that the weather will be perfect – nice and sunny but
not too hot. But we can’t control the weather so you
should have a back-up plan that is as good as the
But a single Plan B, which is generally interpreted as
alternative arrangements in case it rains, and, in many
instances, just consists of moving the ceremony
undercover or indoors at the same location, is clearly
not enough, because Issues that can arise on the day
fall into three broad categories, any one of which can
impact on what you will need for an alternative.
- Conditions at ceremony site
- Conditions at the venue
- Conditions on the way to the venue
So it is clear that you will need is a multi-purpose
Plan B (or realistically, a plan B1, Plan B2, Plan B3)
because differing reasons for needing to activate your
Plan B may well require differing solutions. An
alternative venue suitable for heavy rain, for example,
may not be available in case of bush-fire or flooding..
Plan B1 - when the actual
ceremony site is no longer suitable/available
Where you have booked an outdoor site at a wedding venue
or you are planning to have the ceremony in a private
garden, it is common that, should the weather be wet on
the day, the ceremony will be moved indoors or under
cover. And when your ceremony site is in a park, your
Plan B may involve a rotunda, gazebo, sound shell or
other area under cover but also open to the weather.
Rain, Hail, and Storms
There is rain, and there is rain
. Wet weather
can be anything from a drizzle to a downpour. Rain might
be accompanied by hail, thunder, or lightning, or all
When considering an alternative wet weather plan for
your outdoor ceremony venue should ask yourselves
- How will we, our guests, and our celebrant, get to
the venue from where we need to park?
- How likely is it that the car park, or the route
from it, will be awash?
- How weather-proof is the alternative? A rotunda
may work well in a drizzle, but driving rain will
blow in under the roof, and everyone will be
drenched before they reach it.
- Will the location be dangerous in a thunderstorm?
Remember, being near or under a tree is extremely
dangerous when there is lightning – and don’t forget
the possibility of dry lightning out of a clear sky
when there are storms in the greater area.
- How audible will the ceremony in heavy rain? Many
rotundas and shelters have an unlined metal roof and
the noise of rain or hail will drown out voices.
Even if it doesn't rain, other weather conditions may
make a ceremony site relocation advisable
- High winds
Wind is not only unpleasant, it is noisy, it can
turn furniture into missiles (I've had the signing
table blown from one side of the Newstead Park
rotunda to the other, play havoc with hair, veils,
hats, and skirts, and there is a high risk that the
legal paperwork, including your marriage
certificate, will take off, never to be seen again.
High winds can also create dust storms. Very high
winds can bring trees down and severely damage or
demolish built structures.
- Extreme Heat
Extreme heat is dangerous. Many outdoor venues
have inadequate shade or no shade at all, and
everyone may have to walk some distance in the heat
from where they park their cars. A pop-up shelter is
not a very satisfactory solution because it will
exacerbate the heat unless it has very efficient
vents to allow hot air to escape – which is almost
never the case. And, of course, not only will one of
the marrying couple, one of the witnesses, or for
that matter, the celebrant, collapsing bring your
ceremony to a crashing halt, if the person who
collapses is one of the marrying couple, the wedding
will have to be postponed until a medical clearance
is obtained to make sure that your capacity to give
real consent (a legal requirement) is not
- Extreme Cold
Not usually a problem in Queensland, though
unseasonable snow in South East Queensland a few
weeks ago proves it can happen.
In a flood the ceremony site, or indeed the whole venue,
may be inundated or access to it cut off. Is your Plan A
venue in an area prone to flooding? Do you have an
alternative that is not only above flood level, but
where access will be unimpeded by flooding? Don’t forget
that flash-flooding can be a last-minute problem with
little or no warning.
Bush Fire or Total Fire Ban
When there is a high risk of bushfire or a fire is in
progress, the following issues may prompt relocation
indoors even though the venue is not under threat.
- Heavy smoke
- Extreme Heat
- Total Fire Ban
Making it illegal to have a planned Unity Candle
ritual or a Memorial Candle honouring loved ones who
Plan B2 - when your venue is
no longer suitable/available
Any of the above conditions can compromise having your
wedding at your Plan A venue. So you need to ask
yourselves all the above questions. And ensure that your
Plan B2 is a venue that will be suitable and available
should Plan B1 options not be available.
But you also need to plan for non-weather-related events
that can stop you from having either your ceremony or
your reception at your Plan A venue.
- A fire in the building damages or destroys the
- Sewerage backup, leak, or overflow
- Water leaks from broken pipes or failed washers
- Venue was double-booked
- Business failure (venue closed by
Plan B3 - when your venue is
fine, but you just can't get there
Fires and floods cut roads. Simple as that. While your
venue might not be affected, it, or the route to it for
you, your celebrant, and/or your guests might be cut
off, or within an exclusion zone.
When choosing an alternative Plan B3, it is wise to
choose somewhere that's unlikely to be affected by the
Put an Activation Plan in
You need a plan to activate the plan
Your Activation Plan should include answers to the
You will need to notify key people
- What is the deadline by which the decision will be
- Who will be responsible for making the decision
- How will the change of plan be communicated?
(which for a
wedding is everyone
!) that your Plan B is being
- The alternative venue (should be told first as
preparations may need to be done)
- Anyone providing styling, decorating, or outside
catering services as they would all need to be at
the venue for some hours in order to set up.
- Your celebrant (should be told next as paperwork
has to be accurate and will need to be reprinted)
- Your DJ
- Anyone doing deliveries to the venue (eg your cake
- Your photographer
- Your videographer
- Your witnesses and guests
- Limo company (may need to collect you earlier than
Don't forget to Plan your Plan
Just because it's your backup plan doesn't make it any
less important—you want to be happy with it if you have
to implement it, so plan how you want your Plan B space
to look, where everyone will stand for the ceremony (as
your celebrant I'll help you, even if we're only able to
plan using a floor-plan of the space), and how the
reception will be laid out.
Investigate wedding insurance
Wedding insurance will minimise the amount you lose in
the event of being unable to hold your wedding because
of local natural disaster or other unforeseen event.
- Read the fine print to be sure you are
clear what is covered and what is not. You may only
be paid out in cases of cancellation. If your
wedding or reception is relocated you are unlikely
to be paid out.
- Do the maths. Insurance might cost you more
than you will be able to recoup if your wedding
can’t go ahead on the day. Don’t forget that
insurance covers time-dependant events. Your rings,
wedding dress, and so on can be worn even if the
wedding has to be rescheduled.
Read your contracts very carefully. Many venues spell
out terms and conditions relating to you cancelling, but
say little about what they will do should they be unable
to fulfil their contract with you.
- Do your best to get in writing what they will do
for you. At the very least you should get a
guarantee of full refund of monies paid if they are
unable to provide an alternate venue of equivalent
or superior quality at their expense.
- In the case of some local weather event or natural
disaster rendering your venue unusable do not cancel
as this may allow the venue to invoke their terms
and conditions and refuse you a refund. Rather
contact the venue and ask what they can/will do to
Thanks for reading