As a professional wedding planner, I see many mistakes that couples make when planning their wedding. Today I wanted to narrow down that list of mistakes, to the top 5 that I most commonly see, and tell you how to avoid those common mistakes.
Before we get started, I wanted to give you a piece of advice when it comes to planning your wedding, and that is to hire a wedding planner. Before I got started in the wedding industry, I would've told you that a planner or coordinator is a waste of money, and you'd be better off handling everything yourself. However, when I got involved in the wedding industry, I quickly realized how crucial having a wedding planner is! Not only do they help you on the day of your wedding, but they help you throughout the entire wedding planning process.
Even if you don't feel like spending the money on a planner or coordinator, it's important to designate others to help you with wedding planning. It's a lot of work and although you might think you can handle it at the beginning, it becomes even more stressful when you get down to the final few weeks before the wedding. With that being said, here are the 5 most common mistakes couples make when planning their wedding:
1) Booking Vendors Before Creating Your Budget
It is crucial to determine your wedding budget before hiring any vendors, including booking your venue. I know it can be overwhelming to research vendors and NOT book anyone, but if you start hiring people without considering your budget, it's going to hurt you in the long haul. Weddings can be very expensive, and if you book an $8,000 venue first and then create your budget after to find you can only afford $15,000 for your wedding in all, that means you only have $7,000 to spend on a photographer, DJ, florist, hair and makeup artist, caterer, décor, your dress, and more. Where instead if you had budgeted, you'd find that $5,000 is the max you could spend on your venue.
Some things to budget for would be:
- Engagement & Wedding Rings - Ceremony & Reception Venue - Wedding Planner/Day of Coordinator - Photographer - Videographer - DJ - Caterer - Dessert Caterer - Florist - Hair & Makeup Artist
- Décor & Rentals
- Alcohol & Bar
- Wedding Dress
- Wedding Favors
- Bridal Party Gifts
- Marriage License
2) Trying to Control Every Aspect
As a planner myself, I know exactly how I want my wedding to look on my (future) big day. I have a vision, and although I know I cannot be the one running around the venue before the wedding making sure everything is perfect, I know the importance of picking vendors who will ensure they take care of my day, just like I would for my clients.
Some couples however, do not like to hand over the reigns so easily. That's ok, it's an important day that you want to go perfectly, and you're afraid that if you put it in someone else's hands, something might go wrong. I get it, however, that's why I strongly encourage you to hire professional vendors. Professional vendors have many weddings under their belt, and they'll do what they can to help ensure your day is perfect!
The best advice I can give to couples who are worried about the execution of their big day, is to communicate with your vendors. Talk to your wedding planner and explain your vision to them so they can help to make your dreams a reality! I'm the type of planner that says, "Over communication, still isn't enough" because I want to have notes throughout your file explaining exactly what you want and how you want it. However, if you don't tell me, how will I know?
3) Not Consulting w/ a Wedding Planner
One of the biggest mistakes you can make, is not consulting with a wedding planner. I'm not saying that you need to book a planner, but at least sit down with one and talk about the services they provide to you on your wedding day. When I sit down with couples to talk about the services I provide, many people are shocked at all that I do within a wedding day to help alleviate stress from not only the couple, but your friends and family as well. Although you may not decide to hire a wedding planner for your big day, it's a good idea to talk with them to determine what all you and your fiancé will need to plan for. For example, a wedding planner might tell you that they will coordinate all of your vendors arriving to the venue and showing them where to set up and answering any questions they may have. If you don't have a professional planner to do that, you will need to decide which friend or family member will be doing that.
4) Not Doing Enough Research
I cannot stress this enough, DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE HIRING A VENDOR! Stalk their social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Website, Pinterest, etc.), read their reviews on all their platforms (such as Google, Wedding Wire, Facebook, The Knot), and have a face to face meeting with them. Although you may read some really great reviews on a vendor, you might meet with them face to face and realize they're not a great fit to your day. That's why I say do your research, and cover all the bases before hiring a vendor.
Stalk Their Social Media- A vendors best work will be on their website, so to ensure their work is consistent, take a look at their social media platforms. This is especially true with photographers and videographers. Don't be sold on the best work they showcase on their website, but really dig deep and see if you like their style fully, or if you just like their "best work".
Read Their Review- Do not EVER book a vendor before reading their reviews. More importantly, look at their reviews on different platforms. Most of the times when people write reviews, they won't post it in multiple locations, but rather on one platform such as Google, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Facebook, etc.
Have a Face to Face Meeting- Whether it's in person or over zoom, its a good idea to meet with the vendors you're considering hiring to see if they're a good fit for your day. You want to get a feel for their personality and vibes rather than just reading the about bio on their website and assuming they'd be a good enough fit.
5) Not Hiring Professional Vendors
This goes hand in hand with #4. Not only should you do your research for each vendor you're wanting to hire, but you want to make sure you're hiring a professional vendor. By that I don't mean hire the most expensive vendors you can find (because people typically seem to assume professional vendors are the most expensive), but look into each vendor personally to make sure they are in the wedding industry for the right reason, and that they have experience working weddings. You may consider hiring your close friend who DJ's on the weekend at the local bar, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll make a great wedding DJ. Even if you have a limited budget, I always recommend hiring wedding professionals over friends and family that want to "practice" their hobby. This is one of the most important days of your life, don't chance it by not hiring a professional. Not only should you avoid hiring non wedding professionals, but you want to make sure the wedding professionals you hire are in the industry for the right reason. Vendors that only care about making money, are in the industry for the wrong reason, and can hurt your wedding in a big way if you end up hiring them.
A professional vendor will:
Have experience in weddings
Get back to you in a timely manner rather than taking days to respond back to your emails
Have a professional appearance (won't show up to your wedding in a T-shirt and sweats)
Will uphold a professional attitude not only towards you, but to your guests as well.
Those are just a few examples, it's different for each vendor but that's the gist of it.
After reading the 5 most common mistakes, I hope you can better understand how to plan your perfect day free of these mishaps. Let me know in the comment section if there are any other mistakes that couples miss, and I'll include them in the '5 Most Common Wedding Planning Mistakes, PART 2'!