Anyone who's walked down the aisle knows that planning a wedding is not a piece of cake! Guest contributor Lynn Cole walks you through some of the biggest wedding planning blunders people make, so you can steer clear of these mistakes. Happy planning!
Planning a wedding is probably one of the most difficult things you will ever do. Whatever can go wrong will, but as long as you have planned well, and you have a few plan Bs in place for those crucial moments, your special day will go off without a hitch. Your guests will never know that a birthday cake was delivered instead of your 3 tier wedding cake or that white gerbera daisies weren’t your flower of choice. You can either try to do it on your own learning along the way or you can hire a planner to help you out. If you are keeping it simple and relatively local learning from the mistakes of others can be invaluable in your planning repertoire. But, if your wedding consists of over 50 guests and includes an exotic locale you may decide that the help of a wedding planner is the best way to go.
Here are ten blunders to learn by:
1. It’s All about the Dress
You have had an idea of what your wedding dress will look like since you saw Ariel marry Prince Charming on The Little Mermaid, Well, you are not five years old anymore and there are budgets to stick to. Your dress is one the most expensive items you will purchase for your big day and it is easy to go way over budget. Just remember that there are many places you can get a dress; from an atelier or bridal shop, have a bespoke dress made, buy off the rack or even find a vintage dress. If you are going to wear a dress that has been handed down from mother to daughter there are costs involved in cleaning and altering. Many a bride has been blinded by her fantasy dress and paid dearly in more ways than the wallet.
2. You've Got Personality
Giving your wedding that personal touch is a great idea but it can go so wrong in so many ways. Perhaps you want the day to reflect the place where you first met or the restaurant he proposed to you at. This is great but a bar or book store theme needs to be done subtly and the Michelin star French restaurant menu can be damaging to your budget. Have little wedding favours instead that reflect this special something about the two of you such as petit fours, little books with special sayings or you can even do cocktail sugar cubes with drink recipes – the ideas are endless.
Nothing like getting no headcount or sending your guests off on a scavenger hunt in order to get to the ceremony or reception. Plan your invites out carefully. Do a ‘Save the Date’ if possible in order to give everyone a heads up especially if you are having your wedding outside of the local area. You can be traditional or clever but be clear!
This depends on whether you are going the more traditional way or a more non-conventional way. If you are choosing a rabbi, priest or a pastor the bride and groom should meet a few times with them to discuss their idea of the ceremony and to get the feel of personalities. There is nothing worse than the pastor going off script and giving a sermon scaring the bejesus out of your guests! If you choose to have a friend or family member officiate make sure you go over the nuptials and you are all on the same page. You do not want your friend Tommy thinking this is his moment at the local comedy club on open mic night.
5. Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
Do this days, weeks or months before the big day. You do not want you and your soon to be wedded hung over on one of the biggest days of your lives or in the worst case scenario in a Mexican jail. Plan this way ahead!
6. Location, Location, Location
These days it is a competition who can find the most incredible place to have their wedding ceremony; on top of a mountain, floating on the Amazon and the beaches of Hawaii to name a few. Going to beautiful locales is a wonderful option to satisfy both the adventurous one and the traditional one in the relationship but choose wisely or you may end up swept away by a hurricane. Tuscany is a great place for a romantic get-away-from-it-all wedding. If you choose to go outside your area hire a great wedding planner like Alessia B. in Tuscany. A good planner will not only find you the most beautiful villa but will make sure all your documents are in a row which may spare you from finding out on your 30th anniversary you were never legally married!
7. Food and Drink
This can set you apart from the rest. No matter where you decide to hold your reception make sure the food is good and plentiful. This is the one beautiful thing about a wedding in Italy – it is a country that knows their food and how to feed a crowd. And don’t be stingy on the alcohol. Keep the bubbly flowing while you are taking the after ceremony photos, nice wine at the table and an open bar after the food. There is nothing sadder than a reception that doesn’t have enough food and wine to keep the masses happy. And think of how this will be brought up by the mother-in-law at every family function until the end of times…’well we can’t have Thanksgiving at Mary and Bob’s…remember the reception…?’
This can be as bad as it gets from Photoshop disasters to photobombers. Next to the dress this should be considered a priority. How you want the big day to be remembered in posterity is all wrapped up in who you choose as the photographer. Make sure to look at their portfolio or you could be the next ‘Worst Wedding Photo Ever’ on every search engine! If you are on a tight budget hire someone to do the before, ceremony and right after ceremony and have the guests handle the reception. Just be prepared for potty shots and the like if you choose the later. There is always a comedian in the family!
9. Keeping Perspective
This day is about you and your significant other and it is easily shanghaied by other interested parties. Monster-in-laws- and Momzillas abound and try to live vicariously through their children’s big day. Remember to have check-ins often to stay on the same page during the planning and even during the celebrations. Be each other’s support. This is the beginning of the rest of your life and precedents are set now.
Unless you are having a traditional wedding and your guests are well aware, you need to keep in mind scheduling. The length of the ceremony, photos before and after the ceremony, getting to the reception and length of reception are all important. Also, scheduling is imperative if you are having your wedding out of the country. Plan well because you do not have time to deal with any mishaps once your big day gets started.