Every Couple Should Avoid Making
Wedding planning can be an incredibly stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be! A lot of this stress is unnecessarily caused by things that can be easily avoided with a little preparation, strategy, and communication. I’ve identified 10 of the biggest mistakes I help engaged couples avoid. Before you run out and book a venue, give it a read.
Not having a wedding budget. I really can’t stress enough how important it is to have an understanding of what you are able/want to spend on your wedding before you so much as consider a date. I know conversations about finances can be uncomfortable but I promise you if you have these discussions early on, your planning process will be much smoother. Reminder: having an unlimited budget is not a budget.
Hiring vendors before establishing a detailed budget. I know you’re excited. You should be! However, I strongly urge you to hold off on signing contracts and checks before you establish your budget and allocate funds to specific budget categories (venue, florals, DJ, invitations, etc). Breaking down your total estimated spend will allow you to spend wisely and intentionally. Side note: take most of the information you find on the internet about average wedding costs with a grain of salt. The “average” cost of something considers many variables that may not be applicable to you. Establish your budget and then make it work to your advantage within the parameters that apply to you.
Inviting every person on your guest list. With every budget comes a guest cap. Sometimes the cap is driven by space limitations at your venue. Most times it’s driven by the total you are able to spend per guest. Head count impacts everything from invitations to chairs to number of tables (and linens) to number of buses you need for guest transportation (if that’s important to you) and more. You can read more from me about guest list management here.
Not hiring full service caterers. Guys. Would you hire a someone to clean half of your teeth or only cut the hair on one side of your head? I hope not. In the same spirit, you should only hire full service caterers. A full service caterer is someone who will not only prepare and deliver the food but will, at a minimum, attend your final walk through at the venue to discuss the details of your event, provide the appropriate number of staff to successfully execute your dinner service, manage the event from a catering standpoint (including the busing of tables and high boys - nothing is more disgusting than a table full of used glasses), provide standard linens, flatware, and dinnerware, will be responsible for setting the tables, clean the kitchen at the conclusion of the event, haul off all garbage, and will sweep the venue if the venue requires outside staff to do so.
Having a plan B that you don’t really love. You can’t control the weather but you can control how it impacts your wedding day. Assuming there will be no inclement weather on your wedding day is a gamble you shouldn’t be willing to take, especially if any portion of your event takes place outdoors. Because you may have to implement this plan, it’s important that you love it just as much as your plan A. Your backup plan should take every logistical detail into consideration as if it were your primary plan. It might be a little time consuming to think through this on the front end but I promise you will be happy you did.
Booking vendors without taking your wedding day schedule into account. Want photos of you and your girlfriends in your robes AND want the photographer to stay for the final send off? You are going to need more than 6 hours of photography coverage. Want 8 bridesmaids to have hair and makeup services but not have to start getting ready at 6 AM? Hire enough stylists out of the gate to complete the task in a timely manner. The point is, don’t hire vendors for the minimum amount of time with the minimum amount of staff before thinking through the logistics of your day.
Being inconsiderate of guest comfort and logistics. It’s YOUR day. I agree! However, this doesn’t release you from treating your wedding party and guests with basic courtesy. In fact, not doing so can drive off a fair amount of guests before the dancing even begins. Having an outside wedding in the South in August? Provide a water station and hand held fans. Have 200 guests? Spring for more than 1 bartender. Are you planning on a 60 minute cocktail hour? Plan on having some small round tables with seats for older guests. Having an outdoor reception at night? Make sure you have enough light for people to see where they are walking. A little bit of thought goes a long way.
Hiring vendors purely based on price. All I can say about this is you get what you pay for. You don’t have to pay the highest price in town but don’t base your decision on cost alone.
Not being flexible. It’s always good to be open minded when you are in the throes of planning a wedding. This is especially true when it comes to a wedding date and finding a venue. If you are intent on getting married during peak wedding season in your area at a very popular venue, you will need to have several dates in mind. If you are dead set on a date because you know it’s your favorite football team’s bye week, then you will need to be flexible on venue location. Period.
Being stressed about the little things. At the end of the day you will only remember the moments, big and small. You won’t remember if the photos were in the correct order on the memory table, if the ribbons were tied correctly on your welcome bags, or if the caterer put the butter on the tables in time (side note: you will always remember who RSVP’d yes and then called you the day before the wedding to cancel). So don’t stress about the little things. Let your wedding planner or coordinator worry about the minutia.
Until next time….Happy Planning!