Planning a wedding? Well, you’re in good company! Statistics show that over 2 million people a year get hitched in the U.S., spending an average amount of $28,000 on their nuptial bashes. Does this number shock you? Are you feeling super stressed even just thinking about all that you have to do and pay for? Don’t worry—everyone else is feeling the same way!
But there’s good news. Experts say that a lot of pain and frustration can be avoided by planning ahead and avoiding common mistakes. Hiring a wedding planner does help, but only 19 percent of couples are able to do that. Even if it’s not in your budget to get a professional planner, you can still learn a lot from them.
We’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes couples make when planning their wedding and how you can avoid them. From expecting too much, to not doing your homework—here are the biggest ones:
You don’t set a budget.
Money is listed as one of the top stressors for couples getting married. Who is going to pay for the wedding? Who will be in charge of the money? How will the money be spent?
In the case of the financial management of a wedding, this old adage is seems to be true, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The key to keeping stress at bay is sitting down together and setting a budget.
It’ll help keep all costs in check so you can (try to) avoid the stress and panic of figuring out where the money from unexpected items is going to come from. It may be helpful to also do what others suggest, which is allotting an extra 10 to 15 percent override—just in case.
As a rule of thumb, planners suggest that couples think in terms of how much they can spend, not how much they can stretch.
You forget about your guests.
Everyone knows that you’re the ones getting married, but often couples forget that their wedding isn’t all about them. They spend so much time thinking about what they want that they forget to think about proper etiquette and what their guests need. On the list of the biggest offenses are these:
– Sending out the “Save the Dates” too soon or too late. It’s important to give your guests enough time to plan for the wedding, but give them too much and they may actually forget about it.
– Including registry information with the invites. Planners say that this is tacky, and it’s much more discreet to keep the details on a wedding website.
– Making your guests wait too long between the ceremony and the reception. After a while, it starts to get awkward.
– Doing a cash bar. But if you have to, make sure guests are prepared. Nothing’s more embarrassing than trying to find an ATM in the middle of the event.
You don’t know how much you should be spending.
Part of setting a budget is figuring out how much exactly things cost. Although this is where the expertise of a wedding planner really comes in handy, if you’re going it alone, you can find a whole lot out by doing some research.
Should you have a band or a DJ? Is the coffee bar worth the money? Do the tulips make more sense or should you just have single, elegant roses? The more you know, the more you can plan.
Experts suggest using wedding planning software to keep track of your research. You’ll be able to compare and decide much more easily with everything in one spot. Additionally, when dealing with local vendors, it may be helpful to know how much competition is charging in order to negotiate the best deal.
When it comes to research, the more you do earlier in the game, the more successful you will be at getting the best prices, the best services, and sticking to your budget.
You’re planning someone else’s wedding.
Pinterest and Instagram are great for finding ideas for your wedding, but if you copy everything that you see on those sites you’ll end up with a wedding that is just like everyone else’s.
The picture perfect wedding is different for everyone and weddings don’t come in one size or color. What does make a wedding fun and memorable is the injection of the little things that are personal to the couple.
For example, if you and your SO went to Maine on your first vacation, serving mini lobster rolls would be perfect. Or if your late night dates always end up with a visit to the local coffee truck, bringing in a coffee truck at the end of the night with your favorite drinks is a great idea.
Guests love being in on your secret rituals and the more personal and cute they are, the better.
Your expectations are too high.
Lest your wedding turn into an episode of Bridezilla, it’s important to keep your expectations in check and to remember that not everything is going to be perfect—and it doesn’t have to be!
Whether the bridesmaids gowns turned out just a hair too dark, or the caterer showed up with calla lilies instead of tiger lilies, or your wedding cake is made with strawberry jelly instead of peach, you’ve just got to roll with the unexpected issues or risk ruining your wedding.
When things do go wrong, try to keep perspective and remind yourself that your wedding is about love, not perfection. It also may be helpful to learn that most of the time when things do go wrong, no one notices! And if they do, they don’t really care.
They’re at your wedding to have a good time and celebrate the two of you—and couldn’t care less that the caterer put two wontons instead of three in the soup.
You and your partner aren’t communicating.
There’s a whole lot of stuff that you need to figure out and decide on when you’re planning a wedding. And it’s not realistic to think that you and your SO will agree on everything—because you won’t.
Couples agree that their wedding day is one of the most stressful days of their lives, but planners say that the wedding day itself is cake (pun intended) after the months of stressful planning.
The key to a smooth and successful event is keeping the lines of communication open so that both members of the couple feel heard and respected.
Planners believe that in actuality, planning a wedding is really a dress rehearsal for real life. Couples have to effectively deal with stressful conversations about family, money management, and stress management—and end up learning a lot more about each other and being stronger in the end.
You’re not having any fun.
This makes wedding planners the most upset. The researching and the planning, along with the actual day of the wedding should be fun!
Couples get so caught up in over researching, micromanaging money, macro managing troublesome relatives, and getting too caught up in the details that they forget that a wedding is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, for everyone!
If you’re finding yourself caught in a negative spiral, try taking a weekend break from planning. It may give you the respite you need to start again with a new attitude, or give you the opportunity to assess which parts of the planning are causing you the most amount of stress—and if they’re worth it.
For example, if you’re hellbent on finding the perfect fondant wedding cake (and you realize that you’re becoming obsessed) maybe it’s time to find a new cake—or assign the job to someone else.