When you work in the wedding business, it becomes increasingly hard to attend any wedding or event and not pass (hopefully silent) judgement about everything – even if it’s your sister walking down the aisle. We literally spend all day talking to brides, grooms, FOBs/MOBs and FOGs/MOGs, wedding planners and vendors. When we’re not interacting with these people, we are scanning blogs and photos and articles so we can educate ourselves on everything wedding-related so that we can quickly and informatively answer all those burning questions and calm last minute nerves. You get to experience the pleasure and joy of getting married once in your life. We get the awesome pleasure of sharing that happiness with around 8 families every weekend and honestly, that is the best part of our jobs – seeing our clients happy!
But through all of these weddings – whether they are preppy nautical or farm-to-table with a night-of pig roasting – we have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t and you lucky ducks get to hear it from the source. These are the top five most common wedding planning mistakes we see on a daily basis.
Weddings can cost a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Like as much as a down payment on that spiffy new home with the gated pool and tranquil Koi pond that you’ve been eyeing for 8 months. And if you don’t have a set budget beforehand, the constant desire to have the best and the biggest and the brightest for one day can haunt you for months after in the form of credit card payments and defaulted student loans. Once you come down from the euphoria of your engagement (and have posted the blingin’ ring photos on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest) sit down with your hunny and chat money . What is your budget? What is the overall feel that you are trying to achieve? How many people do you want to be a part of your special day? Everyone dreams of having endless cash to pay for the horse drawn carriage entrance, the champagne fountain and/or the surprise jazz band hidden amongst your ceremony guests that will spontaneously start up a peppy rendition of ‘All You Need is Love’ while you exit the church. (I could never figure out why the people sitting around these guys didn’t notice the trombones next to the prayer kneeler.) But be realistic. Determine what cash you have and then shoot for 5k under that. That way if you have a last minute splurge that you just gotta have (white doves perhaps?), you’ll be comfortable knowing that you can afford the splurge and super happy knowing that it won’t break the bank.
2. DIY Delirium
Pinterest is a great resource because it gives brides and grooms tons of creative ways to make their wedding special and unique. Pinterest is also a terrible resource because it gives brides and grooms tons of creative ways to make their wedding special and unique. There is a tipping point when all of your creativity goes from awesome and fun to overwhelming and a chore. Doing a lot on your own can be a cost-saving measure, especially if you’re using repurposed materials and buying in bulk, but often what starts out as an amazing venture to grow, cut and arrange your own centerpieces evolves into thorn-pricked hands and a lot of wilted peonies. Some things you should just leave to the professionals (good thing you budgeted for them right at the beginning) and yes, it will feel great to look back at your wedding photos and note what an incredible job you did purchasing that old window, painting each window pane with chalkboard paint and hand calligraphing people’s seating placements. But won’t it feel better remembering that relaxing evening you spent with your bridesmaids and mom the night before the wedding chatting about old boyfriends, drunken shenanigans and this guy’s hilarious twitter?
3. Not hiring a Planner/Coordinator/Consultant
And this doesn’t mean throwing $300 in front of your cousin Cathy – who has been married three times – and has so graciously offered to take care of everything the day of. Chances are your cousin Cathy won’t know the permitting policies in your nuptial town or normal traffic patterns in the area or even the intricate relationships of vendors (I have seen first hand what horror can occur when a caterer doesn’t like the bartender or when a florist refuses to work with a rental company) and these are things only the professionals will know. It’s all learned through experience, not through blogs. It can get expensive to hire a wedding planner or even just a day-of coordinator, but that is one cost I cannot imagine going without. These men and women know. their. job. and their main role is to make the day perfect so you can just relax and enjoy. To make everything even easier on you? Connect your coordinator with a close family member for the day of so that if any issue arises and the coordinator cannot handle it on their own, they can talk to your mom or dad or sister – but not have to involve you. You want to make the day perfect for everyone, but most importantly this is your day to celebrate your love so for once, let someone else handle it.
4. Pleasing everyone.
You can’t please everyone, so don’t. Of course you want to throw an amazing party, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to love every decision you make, and that’s ok! This doesn’t give you the right to turn into a total bridezilla either. Just be considerate of others. (As in, if 75% of your guest list are vegans, maybe you shouldn’t roast a pig over a spit before dinner.) The places where the most controversy arises are usually the seating chart and the dinner. But honestly, it’s not your issue that two of your friends decided to sleep with the same guy in the same month and if they truly love you, they can put up with the awkward 40 minutes while eating dinner. The rest of the night will be spent on the dance floor anyway where they can dance-out their differences. But you also need to learn to pick your battles. Sometimes you need to stand up for what you truly want (“Thank you for the kind suggestion, future mother-in-law, but I’d rather not have your 90-year-old father play the harmonica during cocktail hour,”) but sometimes, you just gotta let things go. If your mom surprises you with monogrammed bride and groom teddy-bears, instead of shoving them in your bridal suite, snug them between presents on your gift table. It will make your mom happy and save you from a tiff on the day of. It’s all a balancing act. Make sure you’re doing what you and your fiance want, but be sure not to snub any guests. These people are your friends and family. They were there before the wedding and they will still be there after the wedding, so do unto others as you’d want them to do unto you.
5. Back-up plan? Who needs a back-up plan…
It’s a wedding, which means there are a gajillion moving parts to this one day in your life. And no matter how hard you plan, things will go awry. Truthfully, having a planner will make these back-up plan creations a bit easier, but you should be prepared for some of the basic things that can go wrong. First is always the weather. Indoor or outdoor wedding, I’m sure there is some part of the celebration that involves being outside so be sure to either book a rain plan tent or marquee if it’s an outdoor wedding. If the week before the weather looks dodgy, arrange for guests to bring as many golf-sized umbrellas that they can. If you’re supplying your own alcohol for the event, have a game plan in case you run out of something (who knew that many people did Vodka shots?) and make sure that whoever is making the Packy run gets due credit – they may have saved the party. If dinner runs long, maybe double up on the father/daughter and mother/son dance or if the DJ’s equipment shorts out, have an iPod ready with some fill-in tunes.
But most of all HAVE FUN AND BE FLEXIBLE! No matter how much your overspend, DIY, time-line, please and plan, none of that is going to matter once you walk down that aisle or exchange rings because at that moment, you’ll truly remember why everyone is together on this one day in this one place all cleaned-up and looking presentable – for you and your fiance. So enjoy And congratulations! You made it and didn’t make one mistake along the way.