detail shot of champagne glasses at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia

Common Wedding Planning Mistakes To Avoid

Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life. It can also be one of the most stressful. The following list of common wedding planning mistakes to avoid will help ease your nerves as you start your trip down the aisle.

Mistake #1: Planning your wedding in the wrong order.

There are so many exciting decisions ahead of you. Unfortunately, many brides get caught up in the most exciting parts and let the less exciting details slip until it's too late to find the perfect match. By following this schedule, you won't be disappointed!

  • -Set a budget.
  • -Hire a wedding planner. If you're going to hire a wedding planner, this should be the second step. That way, the wedding planner can assist with the more humdrum details like emailing vendors, etc.
  • -Choose a venue/wedding date. Many brides leave this until late in the planning process and then realize that everything from the ceremony date to the number of guests they can invite to the style of the wedding dress is impacted by the venue's availability. By choosing the venue first and confirming it's availability, you can eliminate the stress of trying to decide which of your 400 guests have to be uninvited if the only venue available on your date can't hold more than 250 people.
  • -Pick your wedding party.
  • -Begin dress shopping.
  • -Begin ring shopping.
  • -Start your guest list.
  • -Order invitations.
  • -Book vendors. If you hired a wedding planner, they should already have a list of finalists available for you to consider.
  • -Finalize your guest list.
  • -Send save-the-dates.
  • -Mail invitations eight to ten weeks before your wedding.

Mistake #2: Winging the wedding budget.

Today, most couples will pay for some, if not all, of the wedding expenses themselves, so it's essential to know exactly what you have to work with before you start planning.

Sit down with your partner and anyone else (parents, godparents, grandparents) who have offered to help pay for your big day and have a frank discussion about what each party wants to contribute. Be sure to ask whether they will pass the cash over to you to lump into your budget or if they prefer to pay an invoice or two directly.

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Ritz Carlton Philadelphia Wedding|mother of the bride hugging bride

Mistake #3: Not learning the applicable marriage laws.

The laws governing how long a marriage license is valid for, whether or not there is a waiting period, and who can perform a ceremony vary from one state to another, and, of course, from one country to another. As soon as you have decided on a location for your ceremony, spend a few minutes researching the applicable laws to ensure that your license is valid on the day of your wedding.

And you’d be surprised how many couples forget to apply for their marriage license while planning a wedding! Sure, dressing up and having a party is nice but the actual, legally binding document that proves you’re married should be a top priority. And make sure you’ve done your research on your state as different states have different windows of time for applying and different windows of time for a marriage application being valid. Don’t forget to budget for this, too: States that are more popular for destination weddings, such as Florida, have higher marriage license fees.

Mistake #4: Bad dress planning.

When you find the perfect dress, remember to consider shoes, foundation wear, jewelry, and other necessities. The bridal shop should be able to either make recommendations for matching items or suggest other places where you can find them. Once you've found the perfect ensemble, be sure to check the delivery date! You don't want to risk ordering a dress that won't be delivered on time.

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Mistake #5: Over-inviting guests.

Of course, you want all of your friends and loved ones to be with you on your big day, but sending out more invites than seats in the venue can only result in hard feelings. While some people will tell you to plan for up to 10% of your invited guests to RSVP with their regrets, you don't want to have guests turned away at the door because the venue is over capacity.

Instead, keep a backup list of guests to invite as regret responses come in. For each person who can't attend, you can mail an invitation. It's better to send a last-minute invite than to have guests turned away.

Mistake #6: Not Having An Unplugged Ceremony

Let your guests know that your professional photographer and videographer will take care of documenting your ceremony for you and that they can put their phones and iPads away! I can't tell you how many times I've had a bride ask me if I can remove all the phones out of an image of her walking down the aisle (the answer is no unfortunately). Don't have any regrets, go unplugged!

Mistake #7: Ordering flowers without considering your outfit

  • Yes, those giant cascading bouquets on Pinterest look incredible, but they’ll also cover up most of your outfit in your wedding portraits. It’s really important to send photos of your wedding outfit and accessories to your florist when ordering bouquets and boutonnieres so they know how to design your florals. It also lets your florist know how dressy or casual your wedding is. Wrapping boutonnieres in burlap is cute for a rustic, barn wedding but not good for a black-tie affair!

Mistake #8: Trying to make everything perfect

  • I was once told that perfection is the lowest standard. Why you ask? Because it doesn't exist!
  • Most of us try to achieve perfection in our lives whether at work, in relationships or in our case here, planning a wedding. So much joy that we can be having in life is often diminished by something not living up to what we consider "perfection". Go into the planning process with your main goal being JOY! Enjoy this time and the process. Understand that you'll hit bumps in the road and that's ok. I've shot hundreds of weddings and not one of them has been "perfect". The sooner you focus on having fun and enjoying this time with your fiance and loved ones the better off you'll be!

By avoiding these common mistakes as you plan your big day, you'll be on track to having the amazing wedding that you've always dreamed of!

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