10 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Wedding

Now that your partner put a ring on it and you said, “yes,” you’re ready to start wedding planning! If you’re like most newly engaged couples, you’ve probably been dreaming about this day for what feels like forever. Maybe you have a vision board hanging on your wall or hidden Pinterest boards you’ve been secretly pinning wedding inspo to for years. You know exactly what you want and you’re ready to get this show on the road!

The reality is that no matter how long you’ve been planning for this day, you never really know what it entails until it becomes official. When your budget comes into play, things may change — even if your vision hasn’t. It’s easy to get swept up in the moment so much that you end up making some costly mistakes right off the bat!

Before you dive in, we’ve put together a few common wedding planning mistakes to avoid, so you can save yourself and your pocketbook the stress and heartache!

Mistake #1: Not working with a wedding planner. 

Planning a wedding on your own can be a huge undertaking. There are so many small details and extravagant arrangements that go into planning your special day. This is why I highly recommend hiring an experienced wedding planner, who can provide valuable advice and help keep you on track. It’s their job to make your transition from newly engaged to newlywed as seamless as possible. 

The right planner can also help you avoid costly wedding planning mistakes that couples commonly make.

Some couples might be hesitant about the expense of hiring a planner. But a wedding planner can save you time, money, and a whole lot of stress in the long run. They’ll handle everything from the small, intricate details of the wedding to the big negotiations that can save you bundles of money in the long run. 

If you’re not sure what kind of wedding planner you need, read more about the different options here

photo of tropical wedding ceremony with ocean views
Photo by Ryan Ray Photography

Mistake #2: Booking the venue before breaking down the budget. 

Your wedding venue (including catering and bar if provided through your venue) will be without a doubt your biggest area of expenditure. This is why it’s so important to avoid booking your venue before setting a realistic budget first and knowing exactly what the venue entails.

Setting a reasonable goal for how much you’ll spend on your venue — and catering and bar — can prevent you from having to compromise in other areas later on.

There are some easy ways to reduce venue costs. For example, you might consider having your wedding on a Friday instead of a Saturday or shutting down the open bar during dinner while you serve wine tableside. A good wedding planner will know the ins and outs when it comes to saving money on venue expenses. 

Sitting down and having a realistic discussion about your wedding budget will also help you determine who will be involved financially. It will give you a better sense of how much both families will contribute to the various weekend events, so you can allocate the budget accordingly! 

photo of bride and groom dancing with guests at wedding reception
Photo by Sarah Falugo Photography

Mistake #3: Inviting more guests than you can afford (or fit at your venue).

“We are inviting 200 guests, but expect only 150 to attend.” Having this mindset is a big wedding planning mistake! Your plans need to reflect the possibility that 100% of your guests will be in attendance. Your guest count can affect everything from the venue’s allotted space to your budget and can also help you to determine if the venue is the right fit for your big day. 

As a luxury wedding planner, the guest experience is always top of mind. For example, meal service and dancing can be difficult if a venue is booked to overcapacity, not to mention no one likes to be cramped into a space. How do you know if your guest count is the right size for any given venue? I recommend taking the maximum number of attendees a venue can comfortably fit and reducing it by 10 percent.

When it comes to budget, it’s important to be realistic about the number of guests you can afford to invite and stick to that number — even if it means trimming your list. It will be worth it, in the long run, to cut out people who you aren’t very close with in order to splurge on the photographer of your dreams or special guest touches such as welcome bags

Mistake #4: Choosing wedding vendors because they’re inexpensive. 

There’s no doubt that your wedding budget is important. But making a decision based on affordable pricing alone can be a big mistake that ends up costing you in the long run. When you look back on your wedding day, you might regret choosing wedding vendors just to save money. 

The unfortunate reality is that oftentimes, cheaper doesn’t always equate to better. If you truly have your heart set on a particular wedding photographer, band, or other vendor, it may be worth paying a little extra and cutting costs in another area to compensate for the price. 

While haggling over fees isn’t usually the answer,  your wedding planner may be able to use their relationship with the vendor to help negotiate concessions, such as additional hours with a photographer or an extra musician in a band, even if discounts are off the table.  

photo of bride and her bridesmaids posing for photo
Photo by Patricia Lyons Photography

Mistake #5: Trying too hard to make everyone else happy.

Wedding planning comes with tons of pressure! You’ll likely have friends and family members on both sides sharing their opinions on what they think you should and shouldn’t include on your big day. Some couples may change their wishes to please everyone  — which can be one of the biggest planning mistakes of all. 

It’s important to remember that it’s your day! That may mean that you don’t want to wear white or toss a bouquet. If you don’t want to cut the wedding cake (or have a wedding cake at all), then don’t do it! If you’ve always dreamt of a garden wedding, don’t let anyone talk you into a beach wedding.

Be true to yourself, and don’t compromise on the things that matter the most to you. When you look back on your wedding photos, you want it to be everything you envisioned. You don’t want to have regrets about not choosing roses because your mother-in-law convinced you to choose lilies instead. 

Mistake #6: Following wedding trends instead of your heart.

Wedding trends come and go like they do in every other industry. While trendy is okay sometimes, one of the biggest wedding planning mistakes you can make is revolving your entire wedding around what’s currently hot. The last thing you want to do is turn your wedding into something that you’ll regret 10 or 20 years from now because it’s so inauthentic.

As a luxury wedding planner, my suggestion is to find a compromise between trends you love (e.g. a cool pair of shoes or a fun piece of jewelry) and things that you’ve always wanted, such as your color scheme or venue style. Don’t ditch that white mermaid-style wedding gown you’ve been dreaming about for years just to keep up with the current dress trends and colors.

Even though wedding trends may seem fun to follow, remember that a timeless wedding will never go out of style! 

Mistake #7: Not hiring a videographer to capture your special day.

A videographer may seem like an unnecessary expense when you’re setting your budget, but it’s one expense that I cannot recommend enough as a luxury wedding planner. It’s always sad to hear when a couple’s biggest regret is not hiring a videographer because they chose to forego that vendor for budget reasons or because they splurged on a high-end photographer instead. There’s so much buildup to your special day, but it really does go by in a flash. Nothing compares to being able to rewatch it all unfold on camera in five, 10, or even 20 years from now. 

A videographer will be able to create a time capsule of your wedding day. From getting ready to exchanging your vows and your first dance to all of the fun that will happen at the after-party and everything in between, unlike a photograph, you’ll get to see, hear and relive those moments all over again. 

photo of wedding reception tables and centerpieces
Photo by Holly Clark Photography

Mistake #8: Not recognizing the importance of wedding stationery.

It might not seem like a huge deal to some couples, but the stationery you use for your wedding invitations plays an important role in the overall guest experience. The stationery sets the tone and gives your guests the first impression of what to expect on your big day.

Stationery introduces your wedding theme and can be used to create cohesion between all of the wedding paper goods, from your save-the-dates to your bar menus!

As a wedding planner, I often hear, “But my guests will just throw them away.” I have to disagree. If save-the-dates and wedding invitations are done right, no one will be throwing them away. Instead, they’ll use them for inspiration for their own wedding or next big event!

photo of tented wedding reception and ceremony space
Photo by KT Merry Photography

Mistake #9: Not having a weather backup plan. 

There’s nothing worse than spending the 10 days prior to your wedding glued to your weather app praying for the sun to shine on your special day. Or hoping the heat wave will break. Remember, weather includes rain, heat, and wind. You can save yourself the stress during the wedding planning process by having a weather plan from the start.

When visiting wedding venues, you’ll want to check out their weather plan options. Most venues offer indoor space to host your ceremony in case it rains on your wedding day for example. Another option to consider is adding a tent which can also help shade guests during the reception if the weather is hot.

If you do decide to have a tented outdoor wedding ceremony, keep in mind that there are generally additional costs for the event to go off without a hitch. You’ll be charged for things like bathroom rentals, kitchen facilities, lighting, and fans, heaters, or generators. It might be worth it for a little peace of mind.

When you have a plan in place, you can avoid worrying too much on your wedding day. And remember, rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck, according to superstition! 

photo of breakfast platter for wedding day

Mistake #10: Skipping breakfast on your wedding day.

It might sound silly that something as simple as skipping breakfast can be one of the biggest wedding planning mistakes, but we can’t stress this enough! So many brides forget to eat breakfast on their wedding day because they’re so busy getting ready.

This can lead to countless problems we’re trying to avoid! Skipping breakfast leaves you hungry during the day. This can be problematic if you have a tendency to get hangry. It can cause you to be tipsy at your wedding ceremony — especially if you’ve been drinking bubbles with your bridesmaids while you’re getting ready. Blood sugar drops and dehydration can even lead to some health issues.

The last thing you want is to faint while you’re at the altar because you didn’t eat or drink enough.

I advise all of my brides to order breakfast room service. You might also have your wedding planner organize a plate of appetizers to bring to you after the ceremony while you’re getting bustled. That way, you can continue to socialize with a signature sip in hand but do so with some food in your belly! 

Bottom line, wedding planning involves so much! It’s hard for a couple to do it entirely on their own. If you’re looking for a full-service luxury wedding planner to help you navigate the process so you can have your dream day without making these and other common wedding planning mistakes that can cost you time, energy, and tears, we would be honored to help you out at HauteFêtes. Please contact us to begin your journey to the altar! 

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