When it comes to planning a wedding, no one really knows what they are doing! You have never planned a wedding before so don’t feel bad if it all gets a bit overwhelming! It’s a big task and there is a lot of things to consider that you would not know about in daily life!
Don’t worry though, you can have a fun time planning and the whole process can go along smoothly. That is why I have put together this guide of the top 25 wedding planning mistakes and how to avoid them!
1. You Blow Your Budget Too Early
Blowing the budget in general isn’t ideal, but finding yourself with a maxed-out credit card and suppliers still to pay six months before the wedding is panic-inducing. Money is a tricky topic but you need to have honest conversations with your partner, parents and own bank statements about what is affordable before you start booking things.
We know how exciting it is at the start, but don’t start ordering everything you see on Pinterest. Set a realistic budget, find your venue, decide your theme, book your photographer (cos photos are supper important, right?) and what flowers/décor/entertainment are non-negotiable, and work backwards to budget everything else.
2. You Let Other People Decide the Guest List
It’s your big day and it should be the people you love watching you walk down the aisle – not friends of your parents know. Family are hard to say no to, but you’ll save yourself a lot of expenses and stress if you learn how to set boundaries and stop them interfering with your guest list.
3. You Announce Your Engagement Immediately
As tempting as it is to share a picture of the proposal as soon as the ring is on your finger, give yourself time to enjoy your engagement first. Spend a few hours together enjoying the moment and then tell close family and friends. They might be really hurt if they find out on Facebook at the same time as everyone else.
4. You Include Traditions for the Sake of It
Here are some things you don’t have to do at your wedding: wear white, toss your bouquet, not see your partner before you get to the altar, be given away, cut a cake, have a best man or maid of honour.
My wedding last year we threw away most traditions! We had a first look, we walked down the aisle together, we didn’t have a bridal party nor did we have cake or favors! We concentrated on what was important to us and that was feeling comfortable, spending the budget on what mattered to us and making it about our little family & us not about traditions.
5. You Assume DIY Will Be Cheaper
Factor in the cost of craft products and your labour and sometimes it’s better to leave it to the experts. Plus you’ll save yourself some sleepless nights when your DIY invites definitely don’t look like the Pinterest tutorial.
6. You Order Your Wedding Dress Too Late
Start your dress search at least nine months before your wedding. You’ll need to go shopping, find ‘The One’, order it into store and get it altered – all of which will take longer than you expect.
If you are planning your wedding in a short space of time (like me 14 weeks) many bridal shops have a selection of sample dresses available to buy. Just remember that alterations will need time too.
7. You Skip the Videographer
Quite often the biggest regret we hear from couples is that they didn’t get a video of their wedding day. Photos are beautiful, but some moments – the speeches, the vows, the first dance, the bouquet toss – are most magical when captured on film. Is there somewhere you could find the money from in your budget? When the day goes by in a flash, you’ll be wishing you could relive it all again.
8. You Make Everything Last That Bit Too Long
You never want the day to end, but it’s not the same for your guests. Time dragging between your ceremony and reception can get boring; an hour and a half of speeches is tough for anyone to sit through; being expected to dance until 2am is hell in heels. Guest comfort should be a main priority.
Make sure you have entertainment, like a magician, during the drinks reception, and plenty of seats for tired feet. Set a time limit for speeches so you can move onto dessert. If you’re organising transport back to hotels for your guests, don’t make them stay until the early hours – have a couple of shuttle runs, including for those who want an 11pm bedtime.
9. You Don’t Have a Wet Weather Plan It’s Northern Ireland!
You’re just tempting fate by not having an alternative plan if it rains. If you’re marrying in the garden of a venue, speak to the coordinator to see if there’s another room that they could quickly dress and put chairs in if the weather turns. If you’re having a fully outdoor wedding, it’s in your best interest to put down a deposit about six months ahead with a marquee company and see what the weather looks like much closer to the day. You might lose a deposit but that peace of mind will be priceless. Damp guests and a muddy aisle aren’t the look.
10. You Elope Without Properly Thinking It Through
If you elope, give it some serious consideration. Eloping can be wonderful: you save money, stress, and get to have an intimate day exactly as you want it. But family members can often be upset by the decision and you may regret not having as “special” a day as you’d have with the big dress, your loved ones and photos that last forever. Weigh up the romance with the practicalities and legalities before you elope.
11. You Let Pinterest Get In Your Head
Once you’ve got a theme or you’ve ordered your flowers with the florist, stop looking at more ideas on Pinterest. You’ll start to second-guess all your choices and that’s silly: you’ll adore what you chose when you see it on the day. Once something is booked, cross it off your list and give your scrolling finger a rest. Also not everything on Pinterest is what it seems. Trying to get an exact pose you seen may have involved a lot of photoshop and you want those photos to look natural.
12. You Forget the Legal Bits
Most important on your wedding day is that you walk away legally married. In Northern Ireland you must give a minimum of 28 days notice to get married. If you don’t give 28 days notice, you may need to postpone your marriage. You can give notice up to a year before the date of your marriage. It is recommended a period of 10 to 12 weeks notice for a religious or humanist marriage
13. You Ignore the Hidden Costs
Your suppliers need feeding. The postage on your invites might be higher than expected. The venue could have extra security, cloakroom staff or cleaning charges. Hidden costs can sneak up everywhere so the best thing to do is set aside 10% of your total budget for these surprise expenses and don’t touch it unless absolutely necessary. Make sure you’re getting all your contracts with your suppliers in writing to avoid these issues in the first place.
14. You Don’t Call in Favours
An easy way to save costs is to borrow friends’ talents. Know an ace cake maker? Great amateur DJ? Graphic designer pal who’d love to do your stationery as a wedding gift? As long as you don’t take advantage, people are always willing to help. Spend your budget on those professionals that will truly help you on your day, like your photographer, makeup artist, hairstylist etc us industry professionals who know what you need on your day to make it magical.
15. You Bankrupt Your Dress Budget
Remember alterations, the veil, shoes, bag, jewellery, lingerie and other accessories come into this budget too. Be firm with yourself at the bridal boutique if a dress is right at the upper limit of the price you had in your head.
16. You’re Too Strict About Social Media
Unplugged weddings are brilliant: I’m a big fan but for ceremony only! I did this at my own wedding. No iPhones blocking the photographer’s shots, nobody sharing an unflattering picture of you on social media, everyone living in the moment rather than for the ‘gram. Your guests will completely understand if you want phones away for the ceremony, but don’t limit all their social activity. No doubt, they’ve dressed up, are feeling good and are enjoying the day – think carefully about how ‘unplugged’ a wedding you’re willing to enforce.
17. You Invite Too Many People
Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could invite everyone you’re friends with to your big day? Unless you’ve got the bank balance of Harry and Meghan, that’s a pipe dream.
You can expect around 10-20% of your guests to RSVP “no” to your wedding if you send your invites out the traditional 6-8 weeks in advance; if you’ve sent save the dates much further ahead of that (6 months+ for example), that “no” number can drop quite considerably. This means if you send out invites betting on a good fifth not being about to make it, you’re going to have too many guests on your hands. Create an “A” and “B” list and stagger your invites. When you’ve heard back from most/all of the “A” list, send out the “B” invites. Similarly, when you first get engaged, it’s easy to get swept up and promise an invite to every Tom, Dick and Harry you meet. Slow down and take time to work out a budget first. No one is expecting you to know your guest list right away.
18. You Try to Please Everyone
Everyone has an opinion – and boy, will they tell you it! You will never make everyone happy so only focus on making you and your partner have the day you want. The trick is to be kind but fair: say you appreciate their advice or opinion, but you prefer this and, as it’s your day, you hope they understand. A little “thanks but no thanks” goes a long way.
19. You Over Decorate
This is an intervention: you do not need those glittery tealights you saw on Amazon at 3am. Before you buy any decorations:
• Find out what décor is already in the venue and how much space is on the tables
• See what your florist has – they’ll often be able to lend you candelabras etc, as part of your centrepieces
• Draw yourself a plan of how you envision the room and tables – ask yourself if it feels too busy
Honestly, less is sometimes more when it comes to wedding venues. Instead of a flower installation hanging from the ceiling, Moroccan-style seating area in the corner, Prosecco pimping station to the left, and balloon wall on the other side, prioritise tasteful arrangements your guests will be able to speak over. Invest that money in an album photography package or a videographer, things that will mean so much more after the day is over.
20. You Micromanage Your Suppliers
They’re seasoned experts at this; put your trust in your suppliers. Never be afraid to ask questions of your suppliers or venue, but lecturing a caterer on how to present your lamb shank or your photographer on every shot you need them to get is frustrating. The basic rules are: be clear and honest about what you want, trust them and give them creative license, be constructive if you need them to change something.
21. You Don’t Have an Engagement Shoot
Getting comfortable in front of your photographer’s camera is essential for those perfect wedding photos. I always include an engagement shoot in your package. I call them Getting To Know YOu Sessions and that is what they are about before we spend up to 10 hours together lol.
Tip: get your hair and makeup trial done that day and you can see how they’ll look on camera!
22. You Don’t Have a Hair and Makeup Trial
Firstly, don’t do anything drastic like going from dark brunette to icy blonde just before the wedding. Secondly, don’t leave something as important as how your face and hair will look in every photo to chance. You’ll be looking at these pictures forever. Book a trial in for about three months ahead of the big day, which gives you time for a final trim and your hair to grow back to the practise length before the wedding.
23. You Reject a Wedding Planner
A wedding planner isn’t essential, but can be worth their weight in gold in saving you stress and solving problems. Don’t think they’re just for celebrities: there’s planners for every kind of budget and wedding style. It might be the first thing to go if money is tight, but actually a wedding planner can save you money because they can get great deals using their supplier and venue connections. Bear one in mind.
24. You Don’t Eat
In the whirlwind of getting ready, it’s easy for the bride and bridal party to skip a hearty breakfast and lighter lunch. The trouble is it could leave you all faint when standing up at the altar. Likewise, for grooms, you might want a beer or two to calm the nerves, but make sure you’ve lined your stomach too or you could find starting early hits you when it comes time for speeches. You’ll likely miss the canapes and may not get to eat your whole meal if you’re greeting guests so ask the caterer to set you aside a few nibbles and have something waiting in your honeymoon suite for the evening too.
25. You Forget What’s Important
Your wedding day is one of the best of your life, but the reason you’re doing it is to start a life together with the person you love. During planning, arguments happen and debts can build up – which isn’t how you want to start married life.
At all times, keep the wedding in perspective. Schedule in date nights where wedding chat is banned, have honest conversations when tensions arise and don’t allow costs to spiral. It’s the rest of your life together that’s important.
I hope you found this all helpful. Enjoy your planning, you will have an amazing wedding day!