Planning a wedding is so exciting but can be rife with landmines. The biggest mistakes people make while planning a wedding revolve around money, scheduling/organization and vendor selection.
Mistake #1: Not setting budget priorities as the first step
There are a lot of reasons to making a budget early on in the planning process.
- Dictates how many people you can invite
- Gets everyone on the same page
- Creates a guide of where to splurge and where to cut back
- Keeps you on track
Not knowing prices keeps people from creating a budget. A good way to circumvent this is creating a list of priorities and a maximum that you can spend, then get quotes for everything you think you want. This way you can compare actual pricing against your list of priorities and overall budget to decide what stays and what goes.
Mistake #2: Choosing suppliers based on the “cheapest quote”
Not all quotes are equal. There are a lot of extra fees that can be added that are not on the quote initially. Those fees add up so make sure the quotes you are comparing include the same items and services. The best way to do that is to ask for a list (in writing) of what is included. Also ask for pricing of extras that are not included that may be needed (specific delivery issues, overtime fees, etc) so that you can see what quote is truly the best fit.
Mistake #3: Selecting the wrong venue
Selecting a venue can be challenging but it is very important. The venue will dictate the size and style of your reception. Deciding early on about how many people you want to invite will help make sure you select a venue that will accommodate your guests without a lot of extra space.
Whether you want a formal affair on a golf course or a laid back party on the beach should be decided before you look at venues. The types of venues you look at will be dictated by the style and size of your wedding.
Other things to note when you are looking at venues are what do they include. Some venues include tables, chairs, linens, etc. and others do not. Knowing this up front will help you compare pricing and let you know what you need to book before you make a commitment.
Mistake #4: Not asking enough questions
There are a lot of questions to ask your vendors. It is easy to forget everything you want to ask and some things you may not realize you need to ask about. To make things easier, here is a blog post of questions you should ask vendors before making a commitment.
Mistake #5: Making commitments too late
Quotes are just that, quotes. It is common practice to not reserve your spot or equipment until they receive your deposit. You don’t want to make a rash decision but if you wait too long to make a commitment the vendor may not be able to accommodate your order. The earlier you ask for quotes the better. This will allow you to take more time to decide on what vendors you would like to hire.
Mistake #6: Doing all your own wedding decorations
Decorating your wedding sounds like a wonderful way to save money. If you are really crafty and have the time (as in your venue will let you in the day before) to decorate it can be a great way to cut costs. Be mindful of how much time you really have to decorate though because everything takes longer than you expect and the last thing you want to do is stress yourself out because you took on more than you could handle in the decorating area. If you are not crafty don’t consider decorating your wedding yourself because it will go very slowly and be a source of frustration.
A happy medium may be that you create the pieces for your decorations and pay someone to set them up so you can relax and enjoy your wedding day while still being involved in the decorating process.
Mistake #7: Not hiring a professional to help if you need it
Like decorating, it is easy to take on a lot of the wedding prep because of costs. In the long run, it can be cheaper to get help early on. They can help keep an eye on budget, make sure you thought about everything, and take a lot of stress off of you. No one can do it all so don’t be afraid to get help.
Mistake #8: Winging it
Weather happens no matter how well you planned. However, having a plan to deal with weather will make things go more smoothly. Having a weather plan up front will also make it easier to communicate that plan with your vendors and guests so everything and everyone shows up on time.
Another thing to not wing is decor. It needs to go somewhere and without a plan you will end up with more than you need or not enough.
There are a lot of decisions to make about a wedding and winging it can sound like a great option but it makes your wedding day much more stressful.
Mistake #9: Leaving your guests in the dark
Guest need a lot of information. Things like directions, hotels, and weather plans need to be communicated at the invite but also right before the wedding. People may loose the directions or forget to pack them. Having all the information on a website, in an email, and at the ceremony are all good options to keep guests informed.
Mistake #10: Neglecting the lists
Play list and don’t play list for the DJ, photo list for the photographer, guest list for invitations and meal lists for the caterer. There are a lot of lists to make but you should make them early and keep them up to date. These list will ensure everything is as you want it and will reduce stress and questions the day of your wedding.
Mistake #11: Saving things for later
When you are months away from your wedding it is really easy to say you will do things later. However, those little things add up quickly and take way more time than you expect. Doing as much as possible ahead of time will be less stressful and it will allow room the week of your wedding to deal with anything unexpected or enjoy a glass of wine with your friends and family.
Mistake #12: Not enough organization
There is a lot to keep track of when you are planning a wedding. Keeping everything on a wedding website such as theKnot.com can help. These sites will help you keep vendor information, names and addresses of guests, and timelines in one place that is easy to manage. Another avenue is a binder or book to keep contracts and important information handy.
Mistake #13: Making the seating chart too early
The seating chart is the one thing you want to leave until the last minute. Things like illnesses and travel issues will affect your guest list. You also will not have your RSVP list until 2-3 weeks out. Once you have everyone’s RSVP you can get to work on the seating chart. This will keep you from having to start over a few times as people’s answer changes, unexpected guests RSVP, or people you were sure could be there can’t.
Mistake #14: Getting carried away
Bridezilla is a term for a reason. Don’t be one. Everyone knows that weddings are stressful but you cannot take back hurtful words. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and schedule time to relax and be pampered to help relieve stress. Also know that everything will not go exactly as planned. Be ok with that. Most people won’t notice. Even better, make sure your bridal party is in the loop about plans. They can answer most questions so you don’t have to deal with last minute questions and issues alone, or at all in some cases.
Mistake #15: Arrive late for your own wedding
There is a lot to do the day of your wedding. Make sure to leave extra time and create a morning-of schedule so that you can stay on track.
Mistake #16: Forgetting your belongings
It is really easy to forget to designate someone to gather clothes, gifts, guest book, and any other items you brought to the venue. Designating a parent or trusted friend to go through and make sure everything is removed from the ceremony venue and reception venue before they leave.