Any couple who has had their fair share of wedding planning can attest to how stressful it is and that it requires a lot of organization. With a handful of important decisions to make, setting a proper budget, and creating a well-organized timeline is key. Since this is more than likely to be your first time planning a wedding, it really is easy to get carried away by the wedding planning.
There are a lot of things to consider when planning your wedding that it’s really easy to mess up at least one thing in your checklist. Although there are some elements that you have no control over on your wedding day (such as the weather, or your photographer calling in sick), there are still common wedding planning mistakes that can be avoided. Sometimes the overwhelming process of booking vendors, choosing the food, choosing the theme, shopping for a wedding dress, and keeping track of guests - even the most organized couples can make mistakes in this wedding planning journey.
So where should you start with so you can begin planning your wedding on the right foot? Once you have established your wedding budget, you can make the decision to hire the right wedding vendors that fit perfectly with your personality and can make your dream wedding come to life. Having these types of discussions early into the wedding planning will set a general tone and approach for your overall planning and will result in less stress as you move through the process.
16 Common Wedding Planning Mistakes
But still, even the most vigilant and cautious couple can be steered off course, and you don’t want to make the same mistakes that these couples have. The good news is hiring a professional wedding planner can help you avoid most of these common mistakes that couples make. But if you are wondering what to look out for, here are the top mistakes that you are probably making.
Money may not be the most fun topic to discuss when planning a wedding, but it is the most important (1,2). Many couples skip this crucial step of having a budget first and will try to figure it out during the process. You want to understand how much money you have before you go shopping. Having the wedding budget set will also help you figure out what your priorities are. So do not leave the money discussion ‘til the end.
With social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram adding to the pressure of having lavish wedding expectations, it can be easy for couples to spend more than they thought they would. It is important not to undermine the cost of a wedding - be realistic and think of how much you can spend, and not how much you think you can stretch.
Most of the time, thrilled soon-to-be newlyweds start booking wedding vendors and making purchases left and right without having a budget in mind only to find out that they have already spent most of their money and do not have enough for the things that they actually need. We recommend that couples sit down and discuss once they begin their planning process to determine their wedding budget and how to allocate their money.
The last important to remember is that weddings are only one day in a person's life. Inflation is high, the cost of houses is rising, and high-interest rate is creating uncertainty in mortgage and loans and debts. Thus it is important to not be in financial strife just for the sake of having a grand day for the sake of it all. Be sensible, identify the needs to the wants, and prioritise. Every so often, the couples do need to take a step back and put the wedding planning into the perspective of everyday life.
Not thinking about yourself first
Before immersing yourself on Instagram, Pinterest, magazines, and wedding blogs, take time to think about what type of wedding celebration YOU want. Most brides forget that weddings are supposed to be about them and less about pleasing their guests (2,4). Do you want a black-tie dinner party or are you more of a casual daytime celebrant? Think about these things and list down your priorities. Ask yourself what is important to you and your partner - this will make choosing a venue and a theme easier.
Wedding planning often involves quite a few people, from close friends to parents and family members. It is next to impossible to please everyone. The more you try to do so, the more problem you will create, and the more stress you will place on yourself.
Going back to social media, it is important to have a "social media detox" period and just spend some time reflecting on the wedding planning journey, the people involved, and the meaning of it all.
Not prioritizing the guest list before choosing the wedding venue (1,2,6)
It’s obvious that you would want your wedding day to feel chic and elegant, not like a crowded elevator. It’s your big day and you want to celebrate it with the people you know and love but unfortunately, not all wedding venues cannot accommodate a large number of guests. Each venue has a fixed capacity. Therefore it is crucial to think about your guest list before you look for your wedding venue and to make an effort to get everyone’s name on the guest list (1,2,6). You can then ask your wedding venue how many guests they can comfortably accommodate, then reduce that number by about 5-10%. You wouldn’t want to fill the venue to its maximum occupancy.
Another common mistake regarding the venue and the guest list is assuming how many guests will RSVP ‘no’. Be sure that you only invite the number of people you can comfortably afford or you will end up regretting it later.
Letting your budget dictate your wedding planning
Many couples will feel like their wedding budget is dictating their wedding planning and that it is holding them back from having the wedding of their dreams. But it shouldn’t have to be this way, you can still have a beautiful wedding even if you are on a budget. If you prioritize and allocate your budget properly and spend your money on the most important elements of your wedding you can save a great deal of money - you can also think of creative ways of making it happen. If you have a large number of guests, you should consider having your wedding on a farm. In this way, you can fit as many guests as you want and other elements might cost less.
Not doing enough wedding research
This is one of the biggest mistakes any couple can make - especially the ones who want to save a huge amount of money.
It is important to remember that many people have successfully planned their weddings before, and most are more than happy to share their experiences and knowledge. Socia media like Facebook provides plenty of communication platforms to allow past and future brides to connect. Remember to reach out, ask, and learn.
When it comes to finding and choosing wedding vendors, doing research can help you find better services from wedding vendors, but you can also find cheaper wedding vendors who can offer the same quality or even better. Many vendors also happy and love to travel, so don't discard out-of-town wedding service providers.
Some venues require couples to book their approved wedding vendors for services like decor, catering, and flowers. And these aren’t very ideal choices for you to make. It is essential that you make an effort to learn more about the wedding services that you are going to pay for. If you are unsure of where to start or what to look for specifically, you can hire a wedding planner who has a lot of connections. Hiring a wedding planner is the wiser decision because they have already done this part of the job and it would be a great advantage in having their experience and expertise.
Skipping on hiring a videographer
It is fairly common for newlyweds to have some regrets when it comes to spending their money during the wedding planning - but what is surprising is what they regret not spending more money on.
Photos are a must for every wedding, but pictures can only take you so far - videos will let you hear you and your partner’s voices as you say to each other your wedding vows and watch your friends and family tear up. By hiring a wedding videographer to document and create a movie version of your wedding day, you will be able to relive these precious moments and moments you may have missed on the day (2,4,7). This movie version of your wedding day will last you for months or even years, and videography may be a tempting aspect to cut costs because you already have a photographer. But nothing can compare to being able to relive your wedding in real-time because it goes by in a flash.
Setting very high expectations
Understandably, you want to have a perfect wedding (who wouldn’t, right?!) - but you must manage your expectations. You also have to understand that you can’t control everything. So if there is something that does not go according to what you planned and envisioned, just relax, breathe, and enjoy your wedding day.
Focusing on small details too much
One of the biggest things that can take a couple aback is having no idea what they want to spend their money on. This is especially true to the smaller details of the wedding day. Do not say ‘yes’ or spend on items without knowing and stop focusing too much on the details without looking at the big picture. It’s how you end up spending a lot on things that don’t really impact the wedding (1,3,4).
Small details can also mean that your brother forgot to bring the wedding program that you hand-stamped, or your mom insisted on something during the reception. These are just trivial things and should be ignored. The most important thing is that you are marrying the love of your life! Do not get wrapped up on things that shift the focus from celebrating your wedding to a fixation on the ‘stuff’ of the wedding to make it perfect.
Lack of communication
You and your partner probably won’t agree on every major decision, but it is very important that you communicate with each other. These stressful conversations that will have when planning for your wedding with your partner and family will be like a rehearsal of what your marriage will be. So acknowledging that communicating, working things out, and deciding together is just part of this arduous but fun process.
Keeping constant communication with each other will also help you arrive at the best decisions by letting the other person what you want. Through communicating you will find better choices that both of you probably never even thought of.
Not having a backup plan
This is very important when you are having an outdoor wedding. Even if you’re getting married in a place that is generally sunny all year round, be prepared for rain. Ask your wedding venue if they have any alternative options in any event of rain - you must always have a backup plan. A lot of couples just hope that there won’t be any rain on their wedding day (1,4,7).
We understand that you don’t want to pay deposits for tents and umbrellas that you might not need - you pay 50% of the price and lose this money if you end up not having to use them. But if you decide not to book these early on and are getting married during peak wedding season, these items might not be available when the weather doesn’t cooperate with you. Meet with a company that rents out tents early on and think of the deposits that you will make as an investment for your peace of mind.
Not having fun
It is really easy to be consumed by the stress of having to go through lists upon lists of decisions to be made, but wedding planning isn’t all about organization (1). We can all agree on one fact - your wedding is a pretty big deal. But getting too wound up will make you and everyone around you a bit crazy. Do not become so wed to the details only to lose sight of the inspiration and the purpose. Let yourself have some fun.
Trying to please everyone
Of course, you want your guests to have a good time and have fun, but the bottom line is it’s your wedding. Worrying too much about what others might think about your wedding can take the joy out of planning your wedding and the celebration of your unification. As long as there is enough food, it isn’t too hot, plenty of seats and entertainment is good - know that your guests are already taken care of and are happy (4). Anything besides that - colors, dresses, theme, decor, and venue - is all about you.
Hiring a friend instead of a professional
Your friend from college might make amazing playlists, this doesn’t mean that he will be a great wedding DJ and entertainer. The same is true for your friend who is an amateur photographer with a decent Instagram feed - this also does not make her a wedding photographer. Even when your budget is limited, we highly suggest that you book professional wedding vendors with actual wedding experiences. Plus you would want your friends to enjoy your wedding day with you anyway.
Not asking enough questions
While it is important to be polite to your vendors and build a good relationship with them, it is also important that you get all the information that you need because this is why you’re hiring them in the first place. Do not be afraid to ask specific questions so that you understand what you are signing up for - you should understand clearly the terms and conditions of the contracts that your wedding vendors present to you. Ask your vendors to spell it out for you in detail. It may be uncomfortable to ask your vendors a lot of questions and you might think that you are annoying them, but this will help you and your partner understand your vendors more and help you make informed decisions throughout the wedding planning process.
Micromanaging your wedding vendors
If you have communicated properly with your vendors during the wedding planning process, then you should feel like you are in good hands. While you must be in control of your wedding planning you shouldn’t dictate your wedding vendors on what they should do. You are booking talented professionals who understand your vision, you must let them do their jobs (2,4,5). We understand that it is tempting to control every detail, but it’s best to take a step back and trust your wedding vendors to get it right.