There is so much to think about when wedding planning, from choosing a venue to deciding on catering to crafting a day-of timeline…
It’s enough to make your head spin. Thankfully, you can learn a lot from wedding planners and couples who have already been through it. One of my most frequently asked questions is, “What are common mistakes that you see couples making while wedding planning?” To help answer that question for everyone, here are the top 10 mistakes I see couples make when planning their wedding.
1. Booking a venue before considering additional costs
Having a finalized wedding venue feels so great, and venues tend to be so expensive that securing one in your budget can offer immense relief. However, “cheap” venues often incur additional unanticipated costs for many couples, such as through a restrictive preferred caterers list. If you’re required to use a preferred caterer, be sure there is an option you like that fits your budget; otherwise, catering may turn into a more significant line item than you planned for. Other costs to look out for include tables and chairs not being provided by the venue for the ceremony and/or reception (requiring you to rent them from your caterer or another vendor instead).
Remember: taxes, delivery fees, and gratuity can quickly add up.
2. Not having a Plan B for outdoor events
Outdoor weddings can be wonderful, and they’ve lasted the test of time for a reason. However, many things could happen, from rain to high winds to heat waves, so it’s essential to have a backup plan (even if it “never rains that time of year.” The most convenient option: A venue with both indoor and outdoor spaces. A popular alternative is to rent a tent. Tents allow you to have your wedding outdoors while protecting you from (most) elements. However, you should note that rentals are costly and are often not readily available at the last minute. Depending on how many people and dining tables need to fit, event tents can cost upwards of $5,000, including delivery and pick-up fees. When possible, decide early in your planning whether or not you want to rent tents.
3. Making decisions based on price, not priorities
Everyone has different priorities for their wedding day. For some people, a specific venue is non-negotiable, and for others having the best photographers is the most essential part. If a particular aspect of your wedding day is vital to you, be sure to budget appropriately for it and book it first. There is no “right” budget breakdown for a wedding. It is all about what you want for your wedding.
Remember: When wedding planning on a budget, you can have anything, but not everything.
4. Budgeting too little (or not at all) for alterations
Be sure to budget enough money and time for alterations. Alterations can take 2-4 fitting appointments and cost anywhere from $150 – $1000+, especially for custom-ordered wedding dresses. At a minimum, most wedding dresses will require a hem and the addition of a bustle (if the dress has a train), and many people also need the bust taken in. It’s also common to have bra cups sewn into the dress, so you don’t have to worry about finding a comfortable bra that works with your dress.
Whether your wedding attire is a dress, a suit, or a jumpsuit, you can expect to need minor alterations if you want the perfect fit.
Bonus tip: Remember to budget for accessories (jewelry, watch, veil, etc.)!
Speaking of attire…
5. Choosing uncomfortable attire
Of course, you want your wedding outfit to be just as you envision. Still, it should also be comfortable since weddings are usually a whole day affair. Make sure you have shoes you can walk and dance in or plan for a change of shoes. Make sure you sit in your apparel when shopping and at fittings to ensure you can do it comfortably (or at all!).
Most importantly, make sure you love it! It’s okay if you don’t cry happy tears when you try it on, but you should wear what you know will make you happy and feel good on your wedding day.
6. Not allocating enough time for photos
Generally, everything on your wedding day will take longer than you expect. This is especially true for hair and makeup, photos, videography, and transitions. Leaning on the advice of professional vendors and asking how long they recommend for their services is crucial. No one can predict the length of these things down to the minute. Still, your vendors will have a pretty good idea of how long makeup or photos will take, particularly for your group size. When in doubt, it helps to add a little buffer time here and there.
7. Doing too much DIY
When planning on a tight budget, many people turn to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) decor. You may be creative and love crafts, and you know you can make your stationery and decor cheaper than renting or buying the same things. However, I have yet to talk to a DIY couple who did not feel completely overwhelmed and stressed out in the months leading up to the wedding, realizing all their DIY is taking three times longer than expected. This is something to consider when deciding whether to make, rent, or buy items for your wedding.
Remember: You can spend your time, or you can spend your money.
8. Forgetting to plan breakfast and lunch
If you’re having a dinner reception, as most people do, you need to plan what you and your wedding party will eat for breakfast and lunch on the day of the wedding. If you’re usually someone who skips breakfast, make it a priority on your wedding day to at least eat something small, like fruit or toast. It’s a LONG day, and you need to be nourished and hydrated.
Since you will likely eat breakfast around 8am or earlier, and dinner won’t be until 6pm, you also need to plan for lunch. You want to avoid figuring out last-minute lunch plans while getting your hair and makeup done, but also, you and your wedding party need to eat.
9. Focusing too much on others
Your wedding day is a day to celebrate the love between you and your partner. You are the most critical part of this day. Really though, the wedding will only happen with you there. As you move through the planning process, limit how much information you share with people who like to give unsolicited opinions (someone come to mind?). Even when you do ask for opinions and advice, remember to ultimately trust your gut and make the choice that is best for you, your partner, and your event as a whole.
To prioritize yourself on your wedding day, I recommend being the first ones to eat dinner and taking some time for just you and your partner in the middle of this exciting yet exhausting day. A great way to do this is to have a “sweetheart table” for you two to eat at rather than sitting with your wedding party or family. Your wedding party members likely want to sit with their friends and plus ones, and you’ll have time later to talk with family.
If you’re not someone who usually puts yourself first, give yourself permission to do that for your wedding day.
10. Not hiring a day-of coordinator
Last but not least, the one you knew was coming: You should hire a wedding coordinator. It is easy to say that your friends and family will help set up and organize your wedding day (and maybe they’ve already volunteered); however, you’ll want your friends and your family to enjoy the wedding without worrying about whether the catering will be ready on time or if all the centerpieces are set up. That is where your event coordinator comes in. Their entire job is to manage the logistics of the wedding in the final months leading up to the wedding and on your wedding day.
Even if a wedding planner doesn’t feel right for you or your budget, having an event coordinator (not the same as your venue coordinator) is a must-have to ensure you can truly enjoy your day.
Booking a wedding planner will save you time and stress, so contact me if you’d like to work together to bring all your great ideas to life!