It’s no secret that wedding planning can absolutely suck! Between your timeline, budget, and countless vendor decisions to be made, it’s so effing overwhelming.
With so many choices to be made and options to review, even those of you with experience in events are sure to run into a pitfall or two. BRIDES magazine published their list of “The 50 Mistakes Brides Always Make“. While some are more obvious than others, many of these mistakes stood out to me as ways that couples sometimes overlook their overall vision and the experience they’re hoping to have on their wedding day. So, I’m highlighting some of those mistakes BRIDES talks about, along with my own experience with them.
Before even looking for vendors, sit down together to talk about what you envision for the day. What are your priorities? What are your must-have items? A black-tie city event will look and feel much different than a Sperry tented event in the countryside by the ocean. Getting clear on this upfront and early will help to alleviate any uncertainties about the direction you’re heading. Your venue and vendor selection process will have more clarity, and you’ll be prepared for when you (inevitably) are bombarded with ideas from family and friends on what you should do.
The above, of course, also needs to be balanced by the needs of your guests. Will they be traveling far to attend your wedding? Will that travel be costly? If there are no kids or no +1’s for unmarried friends, who will this impact most and how will it affect their time at your wedding? If there are multiple locations, consider transportation to/from the ceremony and reception. Secure your hotel block early, and include some welcome snacks and beverages. For full weekend events, don’t forget to consider activities for your guests and meal options between the main events.
Bonus: use these tips to take your guest experience from acceptable to extraordinary.
Finding your dress can be one of the most exciting parts of planning — it’s the opportunity to find something unique to fit your personal style, but also must fit the style of your overall wedding vision. Some brides get excited and jump right into bridal appointments, only to feel a little disappointed once there is more clarity around the vision for their day. A ballgown is going to fit a totally different vision than a sheath dress. And that chic sheath dress is not going to go well with a rustic barn venue. So, when you do get to dress shopping, make appointments at a few different salons and be open to trying different styles than you expect to love! An experienced stylist will understand your vision and be able to think outside the box with potential styles that fit that.
How many times have you planned a wedding start to finish? Never? Exactly. A planner is the resource you need to help you every step of the way — from accounting for details that will otherwise be missed, to helping put out any fires that arise with family or vendors. Your planner will also be a key resource in helping to pull together all aspects of your vision (and in ways you never would have imagined on your own!). For peace of mind leading up to the wedding and having the help to execute it all day-of, a planner is invaluable.
For those worried about budgeting for one, know that planners bring a level of expertise that will help you to save in the right ways — not cutting corners in disastrous ways.
For some, the vision for the design starts with florals. If you have your heart set on a particular variety of flowers, it’s crucial that you do some research on seasonality, cost, and temperament. The best of florists will guide you through this process, but if you’re set on peonies and are getting married too late in the season, there is only so much they can do to help. Scent is another factor to consider; some guests are sensitive to strong smells and it could even take away from the scents and tastes of the food and drinks you’re serving.
Sometimes, less is more. While it can be tempting to tie in all kinds of odds and ends that relate back to your relationship and interests — remember that there is a tasteful balance for these items and that just because you can include something doesn’t mean that you should. Avoiding too much clutter will steer you clear of overwhelming guests with too much decor.
Hair and makeup timing can sometimes be the factor that sets back an entire pre-ceremony timeline. The getting ready portion of your day should be fun and relaxed. No matter how seasoned your stylists are, walk them through the timing and ensure that there is enough padding around expected finish times. The worst feeling is wanting to look your best, but feeling the pressure to catch-up because you’re already running behind.
While a detailed list of your photo wants can be helpful in some cases, micromanaging different photo opportunities will only result in other missed photographs (not to mention, a disgruntled photographer). If you want natural-looking portraits versus very posed, the photographer you hire should have a portfolio that reflects that. Each photographer will have their own system for collecting the information they need to understand what to expect for your day — from there though, enjoy your day and let them do the heavy lifting to capture it as it truly is. If we’re working together, know that I’ll work with you and your planner to account for all of the details in a way that doesn’t leave either of us bogged down on your wedding day.
You’ve planned and prepared as best you can, but at a certain point, you need to let things go and enjoy the day. Almost every wedding has something that doesn’t go exactly as planned. When you have a team of professionals working with you though, you know that they’ll do the best in their power to adjust and accommodate to however the day is unfolding. You’re ultimately hosting a huge celebration, and if you know that your guests enjoyed themselves then you’ve done your job well. No matter the little details.
An open-mic during your toasts is hardly ever a good idea. Some guests ride a fine line between toasts, roasts, and speeches — although well-intended, it’s an item that can very quickly drag on for too long and lose the interest of your guests. And dance time is already limited enough as it is. Pre-plan with your planner and emcee, that way they are clear on who is able to give a toast when the time comes.
In all of the craziness of planning, try not to lose sight of why you’re doing all of this. After all, it’s about starting your life together! It’s one day that will go by quickly, but all for the purpose of a lifetime ahead.
For more wedding planning tips, explore the Wedding Tips section of the blog!