It seems like a crazy thing to imagine. As your wedding day approaches, you watch the weather and hear reports of impending storms. You start hearing details of a category 4 hurricane or blizzard with a projected foot of snow expected to strike the day of your wedding. So what do you do?

In the wedding industry, we talk about how to handle rain, snow, extreme heat, and strong winds frequently as they are the most common threats to a perfect day. And frankly, the solutions for those problems are much simpler than those of a true natural disaster. But, when you have a hurricane, blizzard, or tornados potentially impacting wedding day, you can’t simply move the pictures inside or tie down linens to keep them from blowing off tables in the wind. You have to find a more extreme solution to deal with the situation.

When it comes to dealing with a natural disaster on wedding day, not only does it impact you but also your guests, vendors, and the weddings in the weeks after yours. So we’ve put together a step by step guide to help you recover from  stress and still have the wedding of your dreams.

***Please note that natural disasters with wedding canceling impact are not an everyday occurrence. Because of this the method in which each vendor will choose to handle the situation will vary greatly. The below steps may not be achievable in every situation. Ultimately, due to natural disaster, some weddings may have to be cancelled completely with no guaranteed refund. Please read the details of your contract with hired vendors to determine how they handle ‘Acts of God’ and should a disaster threaten your day, speak with vendors directly to determine how to move forward.***

Step 1: Pour a glass of wine and take a deep breath // This is where you have to start. It will be overwhelming and incredibly stressful from this point forward. Take a deep breath and remember that even if the wedding you have been dreaming of doesn’t happen, you still get to marry the one you love.

Step 2: Talk to your venue // I say start with the venue because that will determine a lot moving forward with other vendors. While you will most likely be canceling the day you booked, find out what your options are for a date in the future. Be open to alternate times (hello brunch wedding!) and dates (Thursday night party anyone?). While settling on a future date will be dependent on damage done to your venue, have a new date in mind for when you are speaking with your other vendors.

Step 3: Contact your other vendors // Preferably as soon as possible. If you choose to postpone earlier in the week, chances are that your caterer, florist, and baker won’t have received (and paid for) the supplies needed for your wedding. Speak with each vendor about your proposed new date and see if they are available. Understand that some of your vendors may not be able to accommodate your new date due to other bookings and you may loose your deposit. Ask for recommendations of other vendors in each category and begin reaching out to see if they would be available.

Step 4: Don’t forget your guests // When having to postpone on short notice, your guests will also be impacted. Guests who were traveling in from out of town, specifically those who would be flying in, may no longer be able to attend on your new date. Give as much notice to your guests as possible allowing them to change plane tickets and cancel hotel rooms or rental cars. If guests are already in town when you decide to postpone and can’t get home before the storm, consider inviting them to join you at a safe location and ride out the storm with you.

Step 5: Consider another option all together // If you can’t host your wedding as planned and the option to change the date just won’t work for you, consider moving the whole wedding to another town all together. Find a city out of the storms path and start reaching out to local vendors. Let them know you are moving your wedding there on short notice due to the storm and see what recommendations they have for you. Even if the first vendors you call aren’t available, they may know of vendors who are and they will have recommendations for out of the box solutions to your problem. For example, a local park that is full of flowering bushes meaning you don’t need a florist. Or a local restaurant that has a private room meaning you can check off venue, rentals, catering, and bar in one fellow swoop. If you do go with this option, don’t forget to notify all your guests as soon as possible so they can plan accordingly.

What to do if a natural disaster threatens your wedding day // @theidolist