We aren’t going to sugarcoat it — wedding planning is pretty stressful. Even when you have a dream venue, a top-notch planner, and an incredible person to exchange rings with, there are hundreds of decisions to be made when orchestrating such a major event.
Along the way, it’s easy to let certain things slip—however, that shouldn’t cause you any additional stress. As long as you are aware of some of the most common wedding planning mistakes (and put in the effort to avoid making them), you should be able to have a relatively seamless experience bringing together this important life milestone.
Since wedding planners see clients go through it all, we asked a few top industry names to share what mistakes they see couples regularly make. Read ahead for their insights to avoid these potential slip-ups.
Not enjoying the wedding planning process
While we fully admit there are some stressful parts of wedding planning, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with your partner that you should try to enjoy. “Enjoy every moment—including the ups and downs,” advises Heather Lowenthal of Posh Parties. “Keep in mind that the planning process is all part of key memories in your storybook.”
Her biggest piece of advice is to understand that it is a process and to take breaks when needed. “If it starts to feel overwhelming, take some time off planning and plan a fun activity or date night to get a refresh,” she recommends. “Remember the planning process is a marathon, not a sprint. Put together an organized checklist and tackle one thing at a time.” She adds, “Stay positive and remember you are planning a day that kicks off the rest of your lives together.
Miscounting your guest list
A huge part of your planning involves coordinating space and food for every single guest present. These numbers are essential for your vendors to account for your overall spend, reception layout, and the quantity of meals ordered. “A common mistake we find guests make is that they count a blend of both people and households when constructing their guestlist,” says Jeannette Tavares of Evoke Design & Creative. “It’s an easy mistake to make since you may just be considering the number of invites you’ll need to send. Unfortunately, venues and vendors don’t charge per last name—they charge per head.”
“An easy way to avoid this is to simply add a column to your spreadsheet that tracks the number of guests per invite,” advises Tavares. “That way, when your invitations go to print, you’ll avoid anchoring on that number when budgeting the rest of your event.”
Not tuning out the noise during wedding planning
One of the hardest parts of wedding planning is staying true to your vision of how you want the day to look and feel. With family and family all sharing what they think your ideal wedding should look like, you should make sure to take their advice with a grain of salt. “Once you announce your engagement, you are going to get everyone’s opinion under the sun about what they think you should do for your wedding. Remember it’s your and your fiancé’s wedding and do not let other people’s opinions interfere with what your vision is,” shares Lowenthal. “Write down with your fiancé what your wishes and priorities are so you have a clear vision of what you want for your wedding day. Kindly listen to what other people say and then take the advice for what it is. People are excited for you and want to relate their own experiences to what you are going through. Just because they offer their opinion does not mean that you have to oblige.”
You also should be wary of social media. While it is an excellent source of inspiration, don’t try to have a cookie-cutter replica of a wedding you saw online. “Instead, infuse yourself into it and really let your vibe represent you,” advises the team at Birch Event Design.
Leaving out videography
While photography is considered essential at weddings, it’s common for couples to overlook hiring a videographer—and then totally regret it. “While you have beautiful photographs that capture the memories of your wedding day, a videographer brings your day to life,” explains Lowenthal. “Having the motion of walking down the aisle, saying your vows, dancing and important speeches captured on video will be something you can always cherish and show your kids one day.”
Still unsure if you want a videographer at your wedding? Consider capturing more bite-size cinematic moments throughout the day with a content creator. “They are usually a more affordable option and will capture every moment of your day, get amazing behind-the-scenes shots, and put together reels from short video clips that you can post on social media,” says Lowenthal. “This gives you the motion and sound bites without having to do a full feature film.”
While many couples fear that giving into wedding trends might not give them a “timeless” celebration when they look back at photos may years later, planners share that it’s fine to go along with what’s current if it truly calls to you. “Couples avoid trends they actually really love for fear of being trendy—even if it represents them entirely,” says the Birch Event Design team. “If you like a certain trend and it’s really you, then you shouldn’t give a damn what people think.”
Waiting to sign a prenup in the middle of wedding planning
If a prenup is a part of your pre-wedding agenda, Lowenthal suggests getting those legal logistics sorted out earlier than later. “I have unfortunately seen times where when this has been put off until later in the process, it puts a wrench in the planning and even the relationships. The sooner you can prioritize this, the easier it will be,” she shares.
Not having a weather backup plan
If any portion of your wedding occurs outdoors, it is always necessary to have a plan in place to fall back on if the forecast turns sour. Even in the sunniest of destinations, there is the possibility of rain getting in the way of your day. Ideally, you should plan out your weather plan when you are touring your venue. “It’s much easier to visualize and discuss a Plan B ahead of time versus realizing nothing can be done when the 10-day forecast clouds over,” shares Tavares. “Without an emergency tent install, many venues simply won’t have the indoor space to use as a fallback.”
In addition to tenting areas or securing indoor alternatives for your celebration, make sure to plan out alternative spots for photos. Tavares notes, “If you see rain on the horizon, this might mean setting up a staged area with a backdrop, extra blooms, rentals, and lighting to ensure you are getting the final product you’ll be happy with.” She also advises securing protective rain gear like umbrellas and ponchos for both your guests and vendors.
Skipping a first look during wedding planning
While some couples prefer the drama of a big reveal the moment they walk down the aisle, most planners and photographers agree that doing a first look is incredibly helpful for the flow of the celebration. “Allow or plan in your timeline about two hours before your ceremony to do a first look and photos of the two of you, photos with your wedding party, and immediate family photos,” suggests Lowenthal. “This way you can enjoy every part of your wedding day including your cocktail hour.” Another perk? She says a first look can “ease your nerves, [and allow] private time alone together during the chaos of your wedding day.”
Originally published in Vogue.com