What to do if your wedding planning fails

Whether they’re raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, your wedding day is certainly no time to sacrifice your favorite things. And whether you’re hoping to highlight just a few or want a healthy smattering of them all, it’s important to find the perfect balance that will represent both of your favorite things. Maybe that means combining your favorite fairytale and your betrothed’s undying love for a ’90s hair metal band whose name you can’t pronounce. Perhaps it translates into covering every chair, table, and centerpiece with sparkly spider webs in honor of your favorite song or into a disco-themed, costume-required reception.

While there are certain planner extraordinaires who can balance a long and diverse wish list, unite the most disconnected of passions, or find a way to make even the most unusual ideas a gorgeous reality, there are some themes that just don’t come together. When this happens, the important thing is not to panic. There comes a time in every couple’s planning process when something doesn’t work out. While realizing that your entire theme isn’t working may not seem as simple as, say, swapping out the dipping sauce in one of your hors d’oeuvres, it’s certainly not the end of the world.

So maybe you bought virtually all of your wedding decor in your favorite hues only to discover that lime green and lavender don’t pair as well as you’d originally anticipated. Or maybe you’re having second thoughts about spray-painting 52 skulls fluorescent pink for your goth-meets-girly tablescapes. For whatever reason, you’re not happy. The first step in determining the death of the dream theme is to admit that the swan song has been sung.

Instead of pushing forward, take some time to re-assess. Depending on its pervasiveness, changing your theme mid-planning process can be a lot of work. You may have already spent a lot of time and energy creating what you thought would be the perfect ambiance and there may be other aspects that are reliant upon your choice theme. However, the sooner you realize you want to go in a different direction, the better. Any losses you incur now will barely be perceptible later when you walk into the wedding of your dreams.

Aside from simply not feeling excited about your prospective theme, there are other indications that your dream theme is slipping through your fingers. For example, if your celebration is bordering on the gaudy, you have some work to do. You should be aiming for classy, not campy, so if your venue looks as though it could be mistaken for a children’s birthday party, it may be best to rethink it. Similarly, if your theme has crept into every single aspect of the celebration and it’s beginning to look more like an unhealthy obsession than a carefully crafted celebration, you may want to pull back a little.

Another indication that you have to forgo your intended theme is when you have too many things going on at once. While it’s important that both you and your soon-to-be see yourselves in the celebration, it’s another thing to try to include all of yourselves. Not only is it impossible, but trying to represent your love of hiking, your betrothed’s successful dentist practice, and aspects of skydiving–your unconventional but unforgettable first date activity–can come off as careless, or worse, contradictory.

Lastly, you may be able to gauge your theme on the reactions of those close to the planning process. Even one little eye roll can let you know if your theme has become too pervasive, or if you’re asking too much of your guests. It’s one thing to decorate and plan around your theme. It’s quite another for it to push guests past their comfort or ability levels. For example, Grandma might not be too happy about having to zip line into your venue while others might find wearing full-body costumes uncomfortable despite your assurances that they’ll “add to the experience.”

Keep in mind, too, that you may not have to scrap your theme entirely if you’re finding it’s not the perfect fit. A simple re-imagining may be all that stands between you and the perfect occasion. Omit the third aspect of your multi-faceted theme for a concise but complete picture of the two of you. Settle for guests coming in their boring old formalwear to your Star Wars wedding, but insist they take a pair of the Yoda ears or Princess Leia bun earmuffs you’ve so graciously provided upon entering the venue.

Is the color scheme not quite what you had envisioned? Don’t go scrounging for receipts to return ill-colored items just yet. Adding a third, or even a fourth color to your palette can liven up a dull combination, tone down overly loud hues, or balance out your colors perfectly.

If you’re at a complete loss, it may be time to call in the cavalry. Professional wedding planners can help save the day by salvaging a dying theme, or, at the very least, giving you ideas for proper resuscitation. So don’t be afraid to admit defeat; it wouldn’t be the first time a spy-Cinderella-future themed celebration went a little awry.

Whether you have to let your dream theme die, have to add a little extra oomph, or you need to reinvent it entirely, keep in mind that a themed event is a guaranteed way to ensure a memorable and personal celebration for you and your guests.