photo by Emily Elyse Wehner
When it comes to planning a wedding, there are certain things that will be unique to your big day, but there is also a whole list of things that are universal to almost every wedding. These are things that pertain to budget, logistics, and general best planning practices and can easily be prepared for if you’re aware of them in advance. Whether you’ve just started planning or have just a few weeks to go, take a minute to refresh yourself with these common wedding planning mistakes to ensure you’re totally prepared for your big day.
photo by Cody & Allison Photography
1. Not Having an Unplugged Ceremony
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it as many times as we need to until everyone agrees: an unplugged ceremony is the only way to go! One of the best parts of your wedding day is feeling the love and support of your nearest and dearest, and that won’t be the case if everyone is too busy posting your intimate ceremony moments to Instagram in real-time. We promise you and your guests will appreciate the opportunity to be fully present for this once-in-a-lifetime moment — and your photographer will appreciate not having any competition in capturing the moments!
2. Letting Someone Else Dictate Your Guest List
The people who attend your wedding will have such an impact on how you and your fiancé feel on your wedding day, which is one of the many reasons why you two should have the final say on your wedding guest list. You will be standing up, bearing your hearts, and promising your lives to each other. So you shouldn’t let someone else dictate who gets to witness that moment and you shouldn’t feel guilty for inviting only people with whom you feel comfortable sharing that part of your life. Your priority should be creating the wedding of your dreams, not trying to please everyone who has an opinion (because everyone has an opinion).
3. Assuming A Certain Number of Guests Will RSVP “No”
The general statistic is that approximately 20-25% of invited guests RSVP “no” to a local wedding, and anywhere from 30-50% of invited guests RSVP “no” to a destination wedding. However, keep in mind that is simply an assumption. If your venue has a strict cap on the number of guests it can accommodate or your budget has little-to-no wiggle room for extra people, be conservative in your assumptions for who will accept or decline so you don’t over-invite. Staggering your invites is a great way to ensure you hit that ideal guest list size.
photo by Grant Daniels Photography
4. Not Tying Up Legal Ends
When your wedding day is over, the most important thing is that you’re legally married. So, make a checklist of all the legal paperwork you need to complete and reference it throughout the entire planning process. Three basic things to put at the top of your list: check your local laws and get your marriage license within the window required; confirm that your officiant is legally ordained; have your witnesses and officiant sign your marriage license either during or immediately after your ceremony. Laws vary from state to state and country to country, so be sure you triple check every legal matter is tied up well in advance of your wedding day.
5. Not Having a Weather Plan
It’s not fun to think about, but you have to be prepared for inclement weather if you’re having an outdoor wedding. If the venue offers both an outdoor and indoor space, inquire whether the indoor space will be available if the weather turns bad. (Some venues will book multiple events at the same time if space allows.) If you won’t be able to move the event indoors, put a tent on hold or make a back-up plan to move to an entirely new venue. It would also be a great idea to provide umbrellas, ponchos, and blankets for everyone and plastic coverings for decor or food that could be exposed to rain.
6. Not Basing Your Timeline Around the Sun
This probably goes without saying, but you should research the sunrise and sunset times for your wedding so you can plan your timeline accordingly. This is especially important if you’re having an outdoor wedding so you can plan your space and your exact time of events to avoid unflattering lighting. If getting those golden hour couple portraits is important to you, knowing the exact sunset time (or sunrise time if you’re early birds and/or having a brunch wedding) will ensure you don’t miss that magical window of light.
photo by Maria Shiriaeva Photography
7. Not Hiring Your Dream Team of Vendors
We can never say enough about how important your team of vendors is to help you pull off your perfect wedding. (Pssst! Did you know that we hand-pick the best wedding vendors from around the world to help you hire the right professionals for your wedding?) Your wedding planner will be your source of knowledge for everything and can be the foundation on which you build your dream team. Once you find your planner, ask her/him to recommend vendors they love to work with and evaluate each of them to ensure they are a good fit. Spend time looking through wedding photographers’ portfolios to find ones that share your same creative vision. There are plenty of areas to scrimp on to save money, but your dream team is not one of those areas.
8. Not Getting Comfortable with Your Photographer Before the Wedding Day
Your photographer will be the one person you and your spouse will spend every moment of your wedding day with, so it’s vital that you feel totally comfortable with her/him before the wedding day. There would be nothing worse than feeling awkward the entire day and being disappointed when you get the photos back. The easiest way to get comfortable with a photographer is to actually get in front of their camera, and you have the perfect opportunity to do that with an engagement shoot! Then, not only will you get gorgeous professional engagement photos, but you’ll have time to figure out each other’s quirks so you’ll get the best possible photos on your wedding day.
9. Not Hiring Your Photographer for the Entire Day
In researching ways to end your wedding reception, we found a staggering number of couples who said their photographer wasn’t going to be staying until the end of their reception! While we totally understand budget constraints make some couples feel like they can’t afford to hire their photographer for extra hours or they don’t see the point of a grand reception exit, we are here to tell you it’s worth the extra effort to move your budget around so every moment is captured. Plus, the reception exit is one of the most joyful moments of a wedding day, and we think every couple should plan something special to end the night on a high note!
photo by Emily Elyse Wehner
10. Not Doing a Trial Run for Hair and Makeup
When you wake up on the morning of your wedding, you’ll feel better knowing that your hair and makeup are going to look exactly the way you want. So, a trial run is absolutely essential! To get the most out of your trial run, schedule it for the same day as your engagement photos, bridal shower, or just a date night with your fiancé! Also, be sure to schedule your trial run a few months before your wedding so that, if your original ideas don’t work out the way you hoped, you have time to find new looks and schedule another trial appointment to test them out.
11. Trying a New Beauty Look Right Before Your Wedding
If you read our 8 tips for feeling your best on your wedding day, you know that the night before or the morning of your wedding is not the time to try a new beauty routine. In fact, we highly recommend you give yourself at least a two-week buffer to try any new beauty looks or products so you can see either get comfortable with the new look, tweak it if you’re not completely comfortable, or give your skin time to adjust to a new regimen. Once you find a look that makes you feel great, stick to it all the way through your wedding day so you’ll be feeling and looking your absolute best!
12. Spending Your Entire Bridal Fashion Budget on Just the Dress
Your wedding dress is obviously the most important part of your wedding day attire, but there are so many other things that go into creating your complete bridal look. You’ll need shoes, jewelry, lingerie, and alterations, not to mention professional hair and makeup, a little white dress for the pre-wedding events, and maybe even a reception dress to dance the night away in. All of these things should be included in your bridal fashion budget, so make sure to allocate enough funds to cover everything you’ll need after you find the perfect wedding dress.
photo by Jamie & Sarah Photography
13. Getting a Wandering Eye on Pinterest After Making Decisions
To keep yourself on track with your wedding vision, we highly recommend you create a wedding mood board before you start any planning. A mood board allows you to narrow your focus, limit your options, and save you precious time (and money) in the long run. The easiest way to keep from getting a wandering eye is to commit to these simple steps for every decision you need to make: consult your mood board, pick 2-3 options that match your vibe, choose your favorite, and (most importantly) cross it off your list forever. You know what you love, so don’t second guess yourself! Also, before opening Pinterest, know what you’re looking for and don’t allow yourself to mindlessly scroll through hundreds of random weddings ideas.
14. Assuming DIY is Always a Cheaper Option
DIY projects are a great way to save a little money and add a personal touch to your wedding day, but they aren’t always the cheapest option. When you account for the price of supplies, the time it takes to complete, and the possibility of things not going to plan and having to start over, the monetary and opportunity costs can add up quickly. If money is the only reason you want to do DIY projects for your wedding, take a little more time to shop around for cheaper alternatives and email vendors for any non-listed discounts. We’re not saying DIY can’t be cheaper, but you shouldn’t assume that every project will cheaper simply because you’ll be making it yourself.
15. Including Traditions Just for the Sake of Tradition
There are so many wedding traditions that have been passed down through the years, but that doesn’t mean you need to include every single one on your wedding day. Some traditions, such as waiting until the ceremony to see each other or tossing a bouquet to all the single ladies, might not resonate with you and your fiance — and that’s perfectly okay! What’s important to another couple might not be important to you, and you shouldn’t do things on your wedding day that aren’t an authentic representation of your relationship. If you’ve never considered the possibility of breaking from tradition, here are 5 wedding traditions you might want to rethink and what to do instead!
Now that you feel confident in avoiding these common wedding planning mistakes, it’s time to focus on those pre- and post-wedding events: