Night time view of a wedding at The 228. The 228 is lit up with lights and twinkle light decorations, and there is a large white tent to the right with people inside enjoying the wedding reception.

Wedding planning mistakes are common. Most couples planning a wedding have little experience with the process. Check out the list below to learn the most common wedding planning mistakes to avoid.

Having an Unrealistic Budget

The first thing you should do when planning a wedding is to set your budget. But this budget needs to be realistic. You can get estimates online or by calling a few vendors under consideration. If you have an unrealistic budget, you may invite more people than you can afford. This is one reason couples sometimes go way over budget. This is one of the more common wedding planning mistakes.

Not Setting Priorities From the Start

When making your budget, be sure to set your priorities. Prioritize two or three budget items, such as the food and venue. Agree that you’ll compromise on other areas to stick to the budget.

Going Over Your Budget

If you exceed your budget, you start your marriage with extra debt. This extra debt may mean delaying buying a house or going on vacation. It may cause arguments over finances. This is one of the main wedding planning mistakes couples make.

Not Accounting for Extra Fees and Hidden Costs

You may get quotes from a vendor that include a per-person cost. Ask about hidden costs and extra fees that may apply so you can factor these into your budget. Some caterers charge a fee for cutting the cake, for example. The base venue price may include just the venue without tables, chairs, linens, and other necessary items.

Inviting Too Many People

Don’t invite more people than your venue can hold or more than you can afford to feed hoping some of them will RSVP no. This is a recipe for disaster and one of the major wedding planning mistakes people make. Instead, have a B list. Send out the A-list invites a few weeks earlier. Then invite the B-list people as A-list people RSVP no. Just make sure you aren’t inviting people less than a month from the wedding date.

Making Any Other Plans Before Determining the Guest List

Your first wedding planning task is determining the budget, but the second is setting the guest list. You need to know the expected guest count to find a venue of the right size. The guest list determines what caterers and other vendors you can afford to use.

Picking the Date Before the Venue

You may not want to announce your proposed wedding date until you’ve chosen your venue. The perfect venue may not have the date available. You’ll either need to compromise on the date or choose a not-so-perfect venue.

Sending Save-The-Dates Too Early

Send out save-the-dates too early and you might not be that close to some guests by the time the wedding occurs. If you send invitations out before deciding on the budget and finding a venue, you may have trouble sticking to the budget because you’ve invited too many people. When you send a save-the-date to someone, you must invite them to the wedding.

Not Putting Enough Postage on Invitations

If you don’t put enough postage on invitations, one of two things will happen. They’ll come back. You’ll have to get new envelopes, restuff them, and send the invitations out again with the correct postage.

Assuming It’s More Cost-Effective or Easier to Buy Than to Rent

Renting is an easy and environmentally friendly way to handle wedding decor. It can be less expensive than buying the items, even at discount prices. You won’t want to deal with the wedding decorations after the wedding. You may not even have a use for them.

Waiting Until the Last Minute to Buy a Wedding Dress

Some brides try to wait until the last minute to buy a wedding dress hoping for a sale. The seamstress needs time to make any necessary alterations, making this risky.

Blowing Your Budget on the Wedding Dress

Your dream wedding dress may be beautiful. But if it costs too much, you’ll have to cut costs elsewhere. You’ll only wear this dress once. Check for a less expensive dress that’s similar.

Assuming Any White Dress Is Just As Good As a Wedding Dress

While you may think about buying just any white dress for your wedding dress, don’t. Keep in mind that wedding dresses include extra structure and linings to make wardrobe malfunctions less likely.

Choosing a Smaller Dress and Hoping to Fit Into It By the Wedding

Even if you are trying to lose weight before your wedding, buy a dress that fits you instead of one that’s too small. It isn’t easy to lose weight and keep it off. It’s much easier to take a dress in than to make it bigger.

Assuming a Non-Traditional Wedding Venue or Outdoor Wedding Will Be Cheaper Than a Traditional One

Traditional wedding venues have lots of experience with weddings. They can be less expensive than non-traditional or outdoor venues after taking into account the extras you need to arrange to make these venues suitable for a wedding. Think about renting chairs, tables, port-a-potties, linens, a tent to protect you from the weather, and other necessary items when calculating the costs.

Not Hiring a Professional Photographer or Videographer or DJ

Relying on friends to act as the photographer, videographer, or DJ instead of hiring a professional is one of the main regrets many couples have after their wedding. Without a professional photographer, you may not get the photos you want. And a video shows so much more than photos alone. An amateur may not be able to get guests dancing and enjoying themselves like a professional DJ.

Not Leaving Enough Time for Photos

Have the photographer estimate how much time he needs for taking photos. Leave extra time for rounding up people. You don’t want the photographer to rush your photos. You may end up missing out on good shots or looking stressed instead of happy in the photos.

Skimping on the Food Budget

You want the food to be at least good if not amazing. Most guests remember the food from the reception. This means you can’t skimp on the food budget.

Trying to Do Your Own Vows Without Writing Them Ahead of Time

The day will be so emotional that you may have trouble remembering what you wanted to say. Try to memorize your vows ahead of time and bring a cheat sheet just in case.

Insisting on Specific Flowers

Some flowers will be expensive at the time of your wedding. It may be a better idea to give the florist a few alternatives. You can get flowers in the right colors for your wedding without blowing too much of your budget on them.

Not Having a Seating Arrangement

Plan the seating chart. Seat guests who know each other or have similar interests together so everyone enjoys themselves. If a table is full of strangers, try to seat someone there that will carry the table. You want to keep the conversation going.

Micromanaging Your Vendors

Your vendors know their jobs better than you do, so try not to micromanage. Micromanaging will increase everyone’s stress during wedding planning. You’ll get better results by agreeing on the most important details and letting them do their jobs after that.

Telling Everyone Every Detail of Your Wedding Plans

Your wedding plans may excite you, but this doesn’t mean you should share every detail with everyone. It will be more fun if it’s a surprise for the guests. This way you don’t have to worry about anyone who is getting married before you stealing your ideas.

Not Leaving Enough Time for Hair and Makeup

Don’t leave your hair and makeup until the last minute. Schedule extra time for a relaxing experience and a beautiful end result. If you’re having a professional handle hair and makeup, ask them how much time to set aside.

Not Doing a Trial Run of Hair and Makeup

Have a trial run of hair and makeup figure out the timing and test out the final results. Otherwise, you may discover you don’t like something when it’s too late to do anything about it.

Attempting Too Many DIY Projects

One or two minor DIY projects can lend a more personal touch to a wedding. Aiming for too many of these projects will be stressful. Choose only things you know you can do easily. Do a trial run to verify this. You don’t want to take too much time out of your hectic pre-wedding schedule.

Not Getting Professional Help When Needed

If you know you’re not good at something, get the help of a professional. Those who aren’t good with details or who find wedding planning stressful should hire a wedding planner or at least a day-of coordinator to help them out. This will make it easier to avoid a lot of the other potential wedding planning mistakes.

Choosing Everything By the Cheapest Price

Keep in mind you get what you pay for. Check reviews and ask to see products and taste the food and cake before deciding on vendors. Don’t just choose whatever costs the least. This is one of the wedding planning mistakes that might lead to a last-minute disaster at the big event.

Not Checking Into and Following All Rules

There are a lot of rules about weddings and marriages. These include rules about getting a marriage license, how long the license lasts, and what type of dress and decorations the wedding venue allows. There may be religious prerequisites for a church wedding and residency requirements for weddings in other states or countries. Learn about the rules, regulations, and restrictions and follow them.

Stressing Out Over Every Detail

This is one of the wedding planning mistakes that’s easy to avoid if you have the right attitude. Your wedding isn’t likely to be perfect. Something usually goes wrong at some point. Your wedding doesn’t need to be perfect. Don’t get stressed about every detail. Prioritize a few items and make those as perfect as possible. Don’t annoy friends and family by being a perfectionist about every detail of the wedding.

Not Booking Hotel Room Blocks Early

Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests early. Otherwise, your guests may have trouble finding a place to stay. Give them different options, including one that is less expensive for those on a tight budget. Inform guests coming from out of town about the hotel blocks so they can get the discounts available.

Changing Your Mind at the Last Minute

Once you put a plan in place, don’t change your mind near the wedding date. This is one of the wedding planning mistakes that can be very expensive. You may not be able to pull off major changes. Don’t change your theme or colors or wedding venue.

Putting Too Many Wedding Day Responsibilities on One Person

It’s good to have friends or family members help with various tasks during the wedding. Don’t assign all these tasks to one person and overload them. They won’t be able to enjoy the wedding and might not be able to handle it all.

Leaving Tasks for the Morning of the Wedding

There’s enough rushing around the morning of the wedding just getting yourself ready and to the venue. Don’t leave major tasks such as decorating, a DIY project, or anything else that’s time-consuming for the day of the wedding.

Not Having a Contingency Plan

There’s always a risk of an adverse event. Plan for contingencies. This is especially true if you’re planning an outdoor wedding. The weather could cause problems with your plans. Not having a contingency plan is one of the wedding planning mistakes with potentially serious consequences.

Not Giving Guests Enough Information

Your guests need to know where they need to be, how to get there, and when to get there. They need to know details about the dress code. Be sure to convey this info to them, either through a wedding website, enclosures in the invitation, or an email or phone call.

Not Getting Detailed Vendor Contracts

Make sure all vendor contracts contain an itemized list of what you’ve agreed upon with the vendor, including what happens if you have to cancel the wedding or the vendor has to cancel. Otherwise, you may not get what you expect.

Trying to Please Everyone

This is your wedding. It should reflect you and your future spouse and your likes and dislikes, so trying to please everyone else is one of the wedding planning mistakes you should avoid. You don’t have to agree to any suggestions from anyone else, including family members and guests, although sometimes people helping to pay for the wedding may want some say in the planning since they‘re paying for part of the wedding. Decide whether the money is worth it and make an agreement about what these people can and can’t do as part of the wedding planning.

Not Shopping Around

Always check with multiple vendors to see which one has the best deal. Just make sure you’re comparing like with like and getting the same quality for the price. This can save you a lot of money.

Forgetting to Plan Meals for the Vendors

The vendors are helping to give you your perfect day, so they deserve food just like everyone else. Typically, they eat after the guests, but you must talk to the caterer to make sure there’s enough food for them.

Inviting Guests to Pre-Wedding Parties You Don’t Invite to the Wedding

This is a big social no-no. You can’t invite anyone to the pre-wedding parties you aren’t inviting to the wedding. If you invite someone to your engagement party or wedding shower, they’ll expect an invitation to the wedding. This is one reason you settle the guest list before doing anything else. It’s also one of the wedding planning mistakes that can lead to hard feelings, which isn’t the way you want to start off your married life.

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