Wedding planning is a pretty unique experience, and it comes with a variety of ups and downs. It’s an exciting and happy time, but it can also be stressful and time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to be! To help decrease those stressful moments, I’ve put together 11 of the biggest wedding planning mistakes – and of course how to avoid them – plus some general tips that will make planning a breeze!
1. Not saving that first ring selfie until after you’ve told important people
You just said yes to the love of your life, and after celebrating you obviously take some pictures to document the moment. You’re going to be excited to share pictures of your ring, but think before you post: have you told the important people in your life first?
Nothing is worse than finding out that your best friend or family member is engaged from social media before they even told you in person. It’s not fun to hear important news second hand, especially from an impersonal post. Whether it’s in-person, on the phone, or even over text, make sure you let important people in on the excitement before announcing it to the internet.
2. Not assigning a wedding talk free night or day
Plan a date night – or a full day – that’s free from anything wedding related. Having this designated time every week allows you to focus back on each other. Especially if you and your fiancé are finding wedding planning to be stressful, this time-out from wedding talk will be relaxing and restorative.
Carry this same thought over to certain hangouts with your friends, as well. Though obviously they want to hear about the planning and help you, I’m sure they’ll appreciate a little breather from the pre-wedding mayhem and the chance to tell you about their lives. And I’m sure you will too!
3. Not getting ahead of your timeline when you can
It’s never too early to get a head start on certain tasks, especially DIY projects –they almost always take five times as long as you think they will. If you find yourself in between deadlines of booking venues and dress fittings, get a jump on other details even if they don’t necessarily need to be accomplished right then. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have the place cards and favors all ready to go and waiting in my closet than scrambling the day before to get everything done.
4. Making plans before setting a concrete budget
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding – and why shouldn’t you, it’s exhilarating! But before you book anything, make sure you set a concrete budget. You don’t want to fall in love with an extravagant venue, only to realize later that it’s completely out of your reach. Sure, it’s not as glamorous as picking out a location and food, but sitting down with your fiancé and hammering out the budget (a realistic budget, mind you) will save a lot of stress later on.
5. Booking before creating a guest list
Along the same lines, booking a venue and caterer after you solidify the number of guests will save a lot of headaches. You don’t want to cram your guests into a small venue, and you don’t want to spend money on guests who don’t actually come. Obviously, you can’t account for all RSVPs or last minute cancellations, but have a rough number of guests so you can make an informed booking.
6. Not having a contingency plan
A major wedding planning mistake is not planning ahead for all sorts of weather. If your special day involves any outdoor components, make sure you have contingency plans in case of inclement weather. For warm weather, have fans and sunscreen on hand for you and your guests, plus tents or shelter if there’s any chance it might rain. For colder months, provide blankets and cheap hand warmers. It doesn’t have to be excessive or extravagant or cost a lot of money. A little forethought about how to solve any weather issues will save a lot of headaches the week before the ceremony when the forecast is less than ideal. You will already have a plan!
7. Writing cryptic wedding invites
Listen, I’m all about calligraphy, typography, and everything else that goes into making a stunning and unique save the date and wedding invite. However, make it as easy as possible for your guests to quickly find the time, date, and location of your ceremony and reception. Your guests don’t want to be confused about the specifics, and you don’t want to field questions from everyone about the venue address or time.
Also (and this is a personal aside) if you decide on an exotic vibe and want to write the date the European way (day/month/year) please just write out the actual month instead. No one wants to be confused about the day and month of the actual wedding!
8. Not asking for references from your caterer before booking
Sure, you’ve tasted the meal and cake and thought it was good, but have you checked with other satisfied customers? Respected establishments will be happy to provide references and recommendations from happy clients but check online as well. Food is one of the major components of any successful party, so make sure you know what you’re getting based on reviews and referrals. This will also clue you into how professional and efficient the company will be on the big day as well!
9. Not creating a schedule of events for your bridal party and parents
Spending a little time before the ceremony creating a timeline of events will save the headache of tracking everyone down for pictures, dances, cake cutting, and anything else you have planned. This will help everyone – including you! – stay relaxed on the big day, because they won’t be wondering what will happen next.
10. Not being consistent with the plus one rules
Not only is it confusing for your guests, it can be a lot for you to keep track of if only certain people have plus ones. While you don’t want to exclude any significant others or not allow single friends to bring along someone to hang with, you should make a rule and stick with it. Give everyone a plus one or only those with serious relationships. Regardless of what you choose, if you create one rule for everyone it’ll make it easier for you while planning, and it’ll be less confusing for your guests as well.
11. Planning a marathon event
With so many traditions and fun elements, it can be easy to accidentally plan a long event that turns from something fun to something tiring and arduous. The last thing you want is for your guests – and you and your husband – to feel like you’re stuck at a party with no end.
Typically, five hours is the maximum amount of time you can expect your guests to take part in the festivities. Any longer than that and it’ll feel like it’s never ending. However, the five-hour rule isn’t hard and fast; you and your friends might dance the night away and have a ball. However, the key here is to allow your guests to make the choice to leave. Make sure you take care of any traditions early on in the reception, like cake cutting, dances, or anything else you choose to include, so they don’t feel like they have to wait. Allow the reception to breathe and your guests to have fun, and try not overschedule with activities.