14 Common Wedding Planning Mistakes (And how to avoid them)


Jan 21, 2021

Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks // Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them // Wedding Photographers in Huntsville, Alabama

Pink and Ivory Wedding Table Setting

Wedding planning mistakes. With all the thousands of decisions that need to be made, it’s easy to get lost in the swirling momentum. Want to make sure you’re not one of the brides that mistakenly falls into one of these common wedding mishaps? We’re here to help!

Chances are, you’ve never planned a wedding before. Even if you’ve helped a collection of best friends, cousins, and sorority sisters create their dream wedding, it’s completely different when it’s your own. The decisions suddenly feel so much bigger.

When planning a wedding, there are so many directions you can take. It’s overwhelming more often than not! Everybody has words of wisdom to offer. Your mom, his mom, your grandma, and you all have differing opinions somewhere along the way. And the more time you spend getting lost on Pinterest, the higher your dream wedding price tag likely becomes.

Planning a wedding isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t always have to be overwhelming! After over 10 years of being in the professional wedding industry, we’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of amazing decisions and ones that a bride would go back and do differently if she could.

Today I’m sharing 14 common wedding planning mistakes, along with a few tips to help you avoid them!

Huntsville Botanical Garden Conservatory

Mistake #1: Not reaching out to vendors before creating your budget

Most people will tell you to set your budget before reaching out to vendors, but I actually think there is a better way. I definitely agree with deciding on your budget before booking your vendors, but a little early research will make budgeting more accurate.

If you budget $800 for flowers early on and realize after talking to several florists that you’ll need at least twice that to create your floral vision, you’ll find yourself scrambling to take that money from another category. Reach out to your favorite vendors to get an idea of how much it could cost (it’s okay to ask!), then work through your budget with more realistic expectations. After that, you’ll be much more prepared to make great vendor decisions according to your priorities! Which brings us to…

Mistake #2: Not prioritizing what’s most important to you

Unless you have unlimited funds, you’ll probably have a limit on how much of your budget each vendor category will get. My TOP advice for every single bride starting the planning process is to decide which 2-3 categories you care the most about. That’s where you’re going to want to prioritize your budget. Hire your dream photographer, book the top wedding planning in town, find an LED dance floor, or splurge on the most fairytale venue. Whatever your priorities may be, put your money toward that!

Along those lines, decide which categories are least important to you. Every bride has different priorities, but there are very likely a few things you’re not particularly passionate about. Go budget-friendly on those or skip them all together. You know what? Nobody will care at all if you skip the party favors or have one less dish on the buffet.

Sunset Portraits at Burritt on the Mountain

Mistake #3: Skimping on the essential vendors before you skimp on the frills

This might be coming from a wedding professional view, but hiring professional vendors is so incredibly helpful! Especially when it comes to the people who are actually running your day (the planner, photographer, videographer, and DJ/band), it’s essential to hire a professional with experience and quality work. It might be tempting to skimp on essential vendors to add more frills, but a good team of vendors is going to make the entire day go by so much more smoothly!

Mistake #4: Setting Pinterest expectations with a DIY budget

The deeper you get into the Pinterest world, the more floral chandeliers and donut walls you’ll want at your own celebration. Pinterest is an amazing place for ideas and inspiration, but don’t let your dream boards make you feel less satisfied with the real deal. Your wedding will be beautiful and every bit as “perfect” as a Pinterest wedding because it’s uniquely yours.

Mistake #5: Ordering your wedding and bridesmaid dresses too late

Most brides are shocked when they find out how long it takes to get the wedding dress back. Our friend at White Dresses recommends that you schedule your dress consultation 8-12 months before your wedding day. The minimum time should be no less than 5 months.

(You can read all about the wedding dress timeline here, as well as what to expect at your dress consultation.) Even bridesmaid dresses often take longer than expected. Avoid the stress for your girls by checking off that box early in the process!

Wedding Dress at Riverside Event Venue

Mistake #6: Over-inviting too early

Save the dates are really helpful and something most brides want to send out as soon as possible. Before you do so, really think about who you’ll be inviting. I know from experience that your guest list often continues to grow. You’ll want to leave some room for some flexibility. You definitely don’t want to find yourself uninviting people. You also don’t want to end up with an overcrowded space and an upset vendue coordinator because you’re violating fire code with your extra guests.

Our friend Jacki at Salt + Paperie recommends sending out your Save the Dates between 12 and 7 months prior to the wedding. Especially in this pandemic season, you’ll want to think carefully about invitations to avoid awkwardness later.

(You can get the scoop on save the dates with Jacki here.)

Mistake #7: Skipping a videographer

Not only have we heard it from our own brides, but a quick Google search will tell you that it’s one of the most common wedding planning regrets. A quality photographer is amazing, of course, but photos and video are very different. One can’t take the place of the other.

Whether you prioritize video and splurge on the best (like the epic team at Colling Films or our good friends over at Awaken Films) or simply want someone to record the ceremony and first dances, it’s worth adding to your vendor list.

Behind the Scenes with Colling Films

Mistake #8: Feeling the need to create long picture request lists and other specific vendor details

Professional, experienced vendors will do their best work if you don’t micromanage them! So many sources will tell you to give your photographer a long picture request list, and these poor brides are spending hours struggling through something that’s only going to hinder their photographer in the end

The same goes for your other vendors. Giving a direction and clear vision of what you want and expect is vital, but then let them work their magic!

(To clarify, it’s totally okay to have a handful of “must have” pictures. Photographers want to know what’s important to you because we might not know! This shot list is referring to entire lists of pictures “needed” at the wedding. We dive even deeper on this topic here: The Picture Request List: Helpful or Hindering?)

Mistake #9: Waiting until last minute to know your legal details

You don’t want to find out later you’re not legally married! Every state has different requirements, so check out your state’s website or give the courthouse a call to make sure you have everything you need.

(If you’re getting married in Madison County, check out the marriage license details here.)

Mistake #10: Assuming DIY is the cheaper option

I definitely have plenty of DIY blood running through my veins, and I can confirm this from experience. DIY-ing several elements of your wedding sounds like a great way to save money, but that isn’t always the case. By the time you pay for materials, shipping, and more materials because you messed up the first time, sometimes you barely save enough to make it worth the time.

That’s the other big kicker – time. What you don’t pay in money, you will very likely pay in hours and hours of your time. Then there’s the stress of finishing in time. Is it worth it? Maybe it is! Maybe it isn’t. Think through the realistic material and time cost before deciding.

Mistake #11: Not allotting enough time for hair and makeup

This is a common timeline hiccup on the wedding day. When hair and makeup run late, it’s a domino effect on the timeline. Give your hair and makeup artist some extra time so neither of you feel rushed. Especially if your team is beautifying a crowd, you’ll all be thankful for the breathing space if needed.

Wedding Makeup

Mistake #12: Getting caught up in the little stuff

When you’re planning something as complex and important as a wedding day, it’s super easy to get tangled up in the tiniest details. What should be a minor thing all of a sudden feels monumental. Things that you didn’t think you cared about early on suddenly seem to be a big deal.

Whether your wedding colors were pale blue or emerald green, you opted out of a groom’s cake, or your grandma walked down the aisle to Für Elise, it’s all going to be perfectly okay.

Mistake #13: Forgetting to eat and hydrate on the wedding day

Between wedding day jitters and a pristine white dress, it’s normal for food to be unappealing. By the time the reception comes, you’re absolutely starving. Three bites in, however, and a continual stream of guests passes your table. Suddenly, it’s time for the first dances and your plate is eventually whisked away.

You need food and water to keep up your strength and make it through a day as long and emotional as your wedding day! Be intentional about it – you’ll feel soooo much better and have way more energy.

(Also check out these 3 Ways to Take Care of Your Bridal Party on The Wedding Day and 3 Reasons To Have A Private Meal on Your Wedding Day)

Customized Wedding Water Bottles

Mistake #14: Not budgeting for hidden/last minute expenses

The last-minute little expenses can really take you by surprise if you’re not ready for them. Things like registering your marriage license, alterations, lunch for your bridal party, tips for your vendors, postage for all your invitations and thank you notes, and dry cleaning. You don’t need to line item everything in your master list, but keep all those extra little expenses in mind as you decide on your splurges.

(Not sure who or how much to tip? Learn about Tipping Etiquette: When and How To Tip at Your Wedding)

Celebrate What Matters Most

Don’t lose sight of what this celebration is all about!! Your wedding day is about so much more than a swoon-worthy dinner and beautiful wedding portraits. The entire point of what you’re creating is your relationship and commitment to each other. No matter what happens on the wedding day, whether you had the best vendors in town or you DIY-ed the entire thing, you’re getting married. Promising to stay committed through the good times and the rough times.

That’s worth celebrating.

P.S. We love marriage so much that we have an entire blog series full of little real-life pieces of marriage advice called Marriage Mochas.


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