I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but since you have never planned a wedding before, chances are, you are going to make a few big mistakes. As a wedding planner, I don't want that to happen to you! I want your wedding to be successful and I don't want you to fall prey to any major wedding planning mistakes. In order to help you out, I have compiled a list of the top 10 wedding planning mistakes that nearly all couples encounter. Be sure to scroll on down to avoid these big wedding planning mistakes.
1. Making Plans Without Setting A Budget
I can't tell you how many couples I have seen book venues, caterers and photographers that are way over their budget without realizing it. This happens because they didn't first set a budget, and it made the rest of their planning processes very stressful and overwhelming.
In order to prevent this, you need to sit down talk about money and set your wedding budget BEFORE you book any vendors. Believe it or not, there are more cost associated with a wedding than you may think and your budget is going to go much quicker than you anticipate. Setting this up from the beginning will ensure your wedding doesn't get out of a hand and stays within your budget.
2. Selecting The Wrong Start Time
Yes, there is a wrong time to hold your ceremony and there are a few things you want to consider BEFORE getting your ceremony start time set in stone.
You first want to consider what time the sunsets. The best photos will occur right before sunset and, if possible, you want the ceremony to end about an hour to an hour and half before the sun sets. Now, I know this isn't always possible, but it something to keep in mind as you determine the ideal timing for your ceremony.
The second thing you want to keep in mind is the your reception start time, as you don't want there to be a big gap between the two. Ideally, you want cocktail hour to being right after your ceremony, and even if guests are traveling between your ceremony and reception space, you don't want to have too much 'extra' time here. Guests will get antsy and won't know what do during that downtime.
Last but not least, you want to consider the length of your wedding. Believe it or not, longer is not always better. If you want guests to be dancing into the morning hours, you are going to want to start your ceremony later in the day. This way guests won't get restless and feel like they are ready to head out before the party really gets started.
3. Signing Contracts That Lack Detail
Contracts that you sign for your wedding should be very detailed and should spell out EXACTLY what is included. For example, a photographer's contract should tell you who will be taking photos on your wedding day, how many photographers will be on-site, the number of hours they will present at your wedding, the cost of extra hours, how long it will take to receive photos, an estimated number of photos you will receive, and how the final photos will be presented to you. Signing a contract that lacks this detail opens up room for frustration and a stronger potential for added costs down the road.
4. Hiring Friends Without Setting Expectations
Hiring friends for your wedding can be a great way to save on costs, but it can also be a big source of frustration and disappointment. In order to be successful, you need to sit down with your friend and set very clear and detailed expectations from the very beginning.
5. Trying To Please Everyone
As much as you want everyone to be happy, it is not possible to please everyone. If you try to accomplish this, you are going to be giving up things that are important to you and are going to start to feel like you are constantly disappointing people. My recommendation? You need to first and foremost do what makes you and your fiancé happy. It is your wedding and it needs to reflect you. If it makes you happy and you can communicate that to your family and friends, the majority of the time they will understand and be content with your decisions.
6. Trying To Do EVERYTHING
When you try and take on too many projects and try to do everything, a few things happen. Number one: You will get very stressed and overwhelmed by the process. Planning a wedding without taking on too many projects is already a big undertaking, and adding tons and tons of projects to your plate is not going to help. The second thing that happens, is that you aren't going to be doing anything really, really well. By focusing on too many projects and trying to do too many things, you are going to end up doing them all half way. I suggest focusing in on one of two big projects and doing them really, really well. It is going to be more impactful at your wedding and is going to be much less stressful to complete.
7. Not Hiring a Wedding Planner
Don't get me wrong, I know a full service planner isn't the right fit for all couples, but you SHOULD at least have a Month Of Coordinator. (I'm going to let you in on a little secret - 'Day Of' Coordinators don't exist). Think about it this way: You haven't planned a wedding before, so wouldn't you like to have a pro check your work and run the show on the most important day of your life?
Oh.. and I should tell you that we've had so many couples say this was the best money they spent and they were so glad their venue 'forced' them to hire one. ;)
8. Not Trusting Vendors / Micromanaging
Most couples bring on wedding vendors because they love their work and trust them to bring their vision to life. If you are hiring vendors for these reasons, you need to trust them to do their job. Too often we see couples trying to micromanage their vendors, and when this happens, things don't go as well as they would hope. By micromanaging, you are taking a way your vendors creativity and aren't allowing them to perform at their highest potential.
9. Opening The Floor For Toasts
While having all of your friends and family share their stories about you may sound like a wonderful idea, it typically backfires. I have seen couples open the floor for toasts, and the toasts continue for nearly an hour. During this hour, their guests got extremely restless, they missed out on quality time chatting with family and friends, and they then needed their photographer to stay an additional hour.
My suggestion would be to just have your parents, best man and maid of honor give a toast. If there are additional people that may want to speak, ask them to say something at your rehearsal dinner or engagement party.
10. Starting Hair & Makeup To Late
Believe it or not, hair and makeup is the number one thing that causes weddings to start late. In order to avoid this, plan on having your hair and makeup finished by the time your photographer arrives. This way if things run a little bit behind, it isn't going to completely push back your wedding. Now, how much time should you allocate for each person? I suggest planning for 30-45 minutes for hair and 30-45 minutes for makeup for each bridesmaid.ide, I suggest planning on 1-1.5 hours for hair and 1-1.5 hours for makeup. I know this may sound like a lot of time, but it will ensure a stress-free day
11. Sweating The Small Stuff & Focusing Too Much On The Details
Yes, the details are a wonderful part of a wedding, but they aren't the reason you are getting married. You are getting married because you are excited to start the next chapter of your life with the person you love and are excited to celebrate that with your family and friends. Regardless of whether you have fancy place cards, an elegant 5 course meal, or a backyard picnic, you will still be married and you will still enjoy the day. Keep this in mind as you begin to dive into all the nitty gritty details.