Save Your Event – How to Handle a Big Scheduling Conflict



So, you’ve put a lot of effort into planning a killer event and something chaotic happens to throw a wrench in the gears – either your main entertainment is down with the flu, there’s a snowstorm on the day of the party, or you find out you’ve accidentally scheduled it on the same day as a bigger event that people will want to go to. What do you do?

We’ve put together a few ideas on how to gracefully – and economically – prepare for and react to such situations, with the hope of course that none of these ever happens to you…

Crisis #1: Someone Important Drops Out

Maybe the lead singer of the band you hired gets laryngitis. Maybe an important person who promised to be there blows you off at the last minute. In short, there’s a big hole in your event, and you have to fill it… or risk throwing a dud.


Have a spare on hand. When you’re planning your event, expect that this sort of thing might happen, and have someone up your sleeve who can be convinced to cover (for a price usually).

Offer a refund. If this is a ticketed event and there is nobody who could fill the main act’s shoes, let your attendees know as soon as possible what the situation is, and offer a refund or, if they would be happy with it, a rain check.

Crisis #2: A Same-Day Disaster

How did you forget? You just realized your dinner party next weekend is going to conflict with the wedding of a mutual friend; you’re not going, but you know lots of people will be. (This explains the lack of RSVP’s…) How do you handle this without making enemies or looking like nobody wanted to come to your event?


Move the time. Get in touch with your guests with a new, more amenable time for your event to start. This is ideally done by phone AND email, and at least a few days before the event. Explain the conflict and apologize profusely while letting your guests know you want them to be able to go to both events if at all possible.

Move the venue. Would it make things simpler if you held your event closer to the other event, for example so guests to move from one to the other without battling across town in traffic? If the venue isn’t set in stone, this is worth considering.

Crisis #3: Nature Intervenes

There’s a hurricane the weekend of your Spring Fling barbecue, a blackout the day of your Oscars screening, or maybe your two-year-old comes down with the chicken pox three days before his birthday party. Best ways to deal?

Cancel promptly. For an event involving anyone beyond your closest friends, it’s considered polite to decide sooner rather than later that the party’s not happening, so people can get on with their lives. In these situations, people are generally relieved not to have to tell you they weren’t going to make it anyway.

Reschedule. When you cancel, let people know you’ll be following up with a new date, and that you hope they can come. It’s always nice to postpone rather than to cancel altogether.

Make lemonade. Believe it or not, some people don’t mind an indoor barbecue, some people actually request house visits if they know your kid has chicken pox and theirs hasn’t had it yet, and who hasn’t heard of the famous New Orleans Hurricane Party? If your guests are the plucky type, they may be up for an unconventional event. Just make sure to be clear on the new parameters, and let them know you won’t be offended if they opt out. (For the record, we don’t advise anything unsafe, like traveling in a snowstorm–that’s just crazy.)

Planning Your Next Event?

You should try out the SquadUP app if you haven’t yet. Features like Event Messaging, Ticketing/RSVP, Invitation Management and Event Chat make it easy to get in touch with guests, change details, and basically be incredibly organized and flexible as you ramp up to your event. Download the app now!


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