Mistakes are inevitable while planning a wedding, so try not to sweat it. But here’s a heads-up on 10 of the most common wedding planning mistakes so you can avoid them from the get-go.
1. Doing Anything Before the Guest List
You’re so excited to be engaged and plan the most amazing wedding. You can’t wait to get the ball rolling with save-the-dates, booking your venue, choosing your flowers and tasting cake flavors. But hold on—one of the most important factors that goes into wedding planning is your guest list. It’s what determines most of the other elements of your wedding, from the catering bill to the ceremony seating arrangement.
The solution: It’s not the most fun part of planning, but you shouldn’t make any decisions before you have your wedding guest list pretty firmly in place. Why? You don’t want to put down a nonrefundable deposit on a cozy restaurant room that fits 75 when your mother-in-law’s additions bump your list up over 200. Once you’ve discussed numbers with your fiancé and families, then you can move forward. That said, this means you and your fiancé can almost immediately start thinking about what you want the atmosphere of your wedding to be: an intimate affair, with close friends and family-only, or the bash of the season with 300-plus people (or somewhere in the middle)? Later, when you’re in the guest-list trenches, this bit of planning will help back up your gut instinct about whether to say yes (or no) to guest-list additions.
2. Freaking Out Because Someone Else Has Your Gown
Since wedding day personalization is so important to couples these days, it’s easy to lose it if another couple chooses the same favors or flowers or food. Before you decide to arm-wrestle for it, consider a healthier way to deal.
Instead of worrying about someone else’s wedding looking the same as yours, think about how to make the similar detail different. If a friend chooses the same gown as you, add accents to personalize yours: Accessorize with a brooch, add a sash, embellish the train with some embroidery (you get the idea). Has someone else swiped your fun favor idea? Find a way to package yours to set them apart.
3. Realizing Grape Isn’t Your Color (With Two Months to Go)
When you started planning your wedding, you thought you knew just what you wanted, but after scouring inspiration boards and wedding magazines for a few months, you’ve completely changed your mind. It’s not the best realization, but don’t worry—your wedding style could still be salvageable.
You should feel free to rethink, redo, and revamp any element of your wedding that you want. This doesn’t have to mean yet another huge investment or reneging on a bunch of contracts—you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make simple additions or subtractions and change your whole style. Already ordered those pastel bridesmaid dresses? Think about adding a bold sash or accessorizing with chandelier earrings to liven them up a bit. Unsure about the color scheme you chose? Pay an extra visit to your florist and work out changes to your bouquets and centerpieces—adding new blooms in all of your arrangements will introduce a new color throughout the room. Same thing if you’ve already ordered the linens: Spice them up with bright table runners or overlays. If you decide you really can’t live with it, chances are you can go back on your first choice, just remember it will have a cost. A good rule of thumb is that if you’ve already signed a contract or seen a proof, you will have to pay extra for any changes or additions you make. But if it’s still relatively early in your planning process, don’t be afraid to make the change. And don’t forget, you’re getting married to your husband, not your centerpieces.
4. Trying to Drop Two Sizes Before Your Final Fitting
You’ve found the wedding dress of your dreams, but it’s not quite a perfect fit on the real-life you. Your plan: Order the dress two sizes too small, and then do whatever it takes to make it fit.
Making a commitment to eat right and exercise is great whether you’re planning your wedding or trying to stave off the newlywed nine. On the other hand, crash-dieting and chaining yourself to the treadmill is a course likely to end in disaster—and an ill-fitting gown.
Instead of losing more sleep than weight, find a gown you love and order it in your current size. If you want to work on your body during your engagement, that’s great, just be sure to make your goals are manageable (toning up but not dropping 20 pounds, for instance). You’re more likely to stick with a routine that doesn’t require superhuman willpower. And if you still find that you are freaking about your figure, just remember that you’re about to get hitched to someone who can’t get enough of the way you look (really, truly) right now.
If you do drop some weight, this slow-and-steady approach will help you big time (and help you keep it off long-term). You’ll want to lose those extra pounds before your second fitting. Any big changes after that, and though you might be lighter, your alterations bill will be pretty hefty. Your final fitting should be for last-minute tweaks, not a total overhaul.
5. Doing it All Yourself
We love nothing better than seeing the clever projects that couples come up with to make their weddings unique. But even we have to draw the line somewhere. There’s doing it yourself, and then there’s overdoing yourself. There are plenty of benefits to DIY. You can be sure no one else has the exact same thing, you can keep your budget in check and (before you actually sit down to hand-tie 200 tiny ribbons) you probably think it’ll make a fun story.
Rather than taking on too many projects, pick the one (or two) that you’re really in love with and put your resources (both mental and monetary) into working on those. For the others, do a little research and try to find a ready-made version that makes you happy. With so many great prefab goodies out there, chances are you’ll find one that fits your style and saves you a ton of time.