Just as with any big show, your wedding day will not be perfect - but that's okay. While you cannot plan ahead for every little detail or problematic situation that may arise, you can arm yourself with some helpful advice to be prepared at all times for any potential wedding mistakes. But before you begin planning your special day, consider these five biggest wedding preparation and planning mistakes that amateur 'wedding planners' often make.
1. Not Budgeting Costs
It's hard to believe, but true - many couples do not create a budget when it comes to wedding preparation and end up in a deep hole of debt. The very first thing you should do to avoid disastrous (and bankrupting) wedding mistakes is devise an itemized budget, allowing for the necessary requirements, such as a venue for both the ceremony and reception, food and drinks, flowers, favors, decorations, etc. If anything is left over, either use this money for your honeymoon or spend it on something a little more frivolous, like a horse drawn carriage for your departure from the reception.
Budgeting ahead of time also involves your acknowledging the fact that you may surpass the total by at least 10%. Surprises do happen, so cutting back on other needless things will ensure that you don't go over budget too much. In these initial wedding preparation stages, you and your fiancé need to discuss who will be paying for what. It used to be that the bride's parents paid for everything, but this ideal is slowly fading away. If you're still coming up short on funds, there are literally hundreds of ways to cut costs for your wedding day, including having fewer guests, choosing an off-season date, selecting flowers that are in season, and having friends and family play a bigger part by making the wedding cake or trying their hand at photography.
2. Not Giving Yourself Enough Time
The image of the harried bride has been engrained into the psyche through a number of television shows that hype up the combination of little to no time and a 'my way or the highway' attitude. This is why giving yourself ample wedding preparation time is necessary to ensuring that your wedding flows seamlessly. If you want a large, extravagant wedding, you need to begin planning at least a year and a half in advance; for a smaller, more intimate wedding of about 50 guests, eight months to a year is fine. You need to take into account what your plans are for your wedding and adjust your schedule accordingly to prevent costly wedding mistakes from occurring.
Giving yourself more wedding preparation time allows you to order your cake, dress, wedding favors, flowers, decorations, etc. well in advance so that you don't come up empty-handed from last minute rushing. Allotting enough time also applies to your wedding ceremony and reception. Don't keep your guests waiting at the reception venue while you and your wedding party are taking hundreds of photos - consider taking a majority of the pictures before the ceremony and the all-important couple, wedding party, and family pictures after the vows have been exchanged.
3. Not Delegating Responsibilities
Delegating responsibilities, wedding preparation tasks, and roles is vital - you cannot do everything! For brides, their bridesmaids are there to help them with the important duties of the wedding day, so creating a short list of responsibilities for each friend is not unexpected. Mothers, family members, and friends are also glad to help run a few errands or make calls for you if you ask. Just make sure you ask someone you know will get the job done on time.
Part of the wedding experience also relies on a number of people who require detailed wedding preparation directives from you, such as the caterer, photographer, florist, transportation and/or drivers, and DJ. Discussing your ideas with them ensures that you can work together on the same wavelength and avoid embarrassing wedding mistakes during the actual reception. You should also arrange for the wedding party to meet at the church or the wedding ceremony location at a specified time. Corralling so many people at the same time is what leads many couples to pick up the wedding party members at their homes. Late arriving wedding party members is one of the most frequent and sometimes uncontrollable wedding mistakes a bride and groom have to deal with.
4. Not Hiring a Wedding Planner or Someone You Trust
Many brides swear by their wedding planners, and yes, it's true that they take care of just about everything involved in wedding preparation and planning, preventing a number of the more common wedding mistakes brides make. It's kind of like you and your fiancé are the stars, while the wedding planner works behind the scenes for your big performance, seeing everything from start to finish. Wedding planners know all the ins and outs of great wedding preparation and planning and can help the couple find reliable caterers, bridal attire and supply stores, transportation, and DJs at lower prices. Before signing any contracts, however, talk with the wedding planner to see if it's a situation you're happy with.
While incredibly helpful, wedding planners can also be pricey, unfortunate for the bride who is trying to cut costs. This scenario goes back to delegating responsibilities - ask someone you trust to help you make wedding preparation arrangements and appointments with each wedding supply store and/or vendor. You can even scale back operations and have a simplistic wedding that you plan or DIY completely to save money.
5. Not Fully Considering the Reception Venue and Details
Sending your guests on a wild goose chase to find the reception venue is something that happens more often than you'd think and is one of the biggest wedding mistakes couples overlook. For out-of-town guests, this is confusing; for in-town guests, it's an annoyance. Choosing a reception venue that's close to the wedding site is a must, unless you provide the transportation to and from the reception. More than 15 - 20 minutes away is a hassle, and some guests may not even bother going if it's farther than that.
Otherwise, if your reception venue is outside (or exposed to the elements), rain and windy conditions may appear so you should always have a back up in cases of inclement weather. A rained out wedding reception is one of the more common wedding mistakes brides have neglected to plan for. Part of the wedding preparation necessities should also include your requesting the venue's landscaper to spray for bugs so your guests aren't being bitten by mosquitoes and gnats.
Learn to Laugh Off Those Wedding Mistakes
Pre-wedding preparation, while helpful, will inevitably miss some little detail of your big day. These wedding mistakes (or, more likely, minor 'blips') are to be expected and may even provide a funny moment for you and your fiancé to laugh about in the future. Wedding mistakes do and will happen, but you shouldn't be bothered by them. Simply go on with the show and smile - no one will know the difference!