1. Blowing Off Your Wedding Budget
Money may not be the most fun topic to discuss considering your engagement, but it is so important. The first step couples should take is getting the decision-makers together and establishing a firm budget. Many times, excited to-be-weds start booking vendors and making purchases without having a budget in mind—and then are shocked to discover they have already spent most of their money and do not have all the things they need. Planning a wedding is serious business, so it is important to make a budget and keep track of your expenditures so you have all your ducks in a row and can relax on your wedding day.
2. Blowing Your Fashion Budget on Just the Dress
If you have $1,500 set aside for your bridal look, that does not necessarily mean you will be able to buy a gown with a $1,500 price tag. Tack on tax and, if you are not buying off the rack, shipping. You will likely need alterations too. Do not forget to factor in your undergarments, shoes, veil, hair accessories, and jewelry when budgeting for your overall look.
3. Sending Out Save-the-Dates Too Soon
It may be tempting to tell everyone about your wedding date as soon as possible, but do not send those save-the-date cards until you have finalized the guest list. Save the dates are typically sent out eight to ten months before your wedding date, and longer if you are planning a Destination Wedding. Also, be sure to send only to guests you are positive you want to attend.
4. Ordering Your Wedding Dress Too Late
If you are purchasing a wedding that needs to be ordered, which will most likely need to be, do so by the six-month mark at the latest. Since your dress will be custom-made (and possibly shipped from overseas), buffer in ample time to receive the piece and complete fittings. In addition, most off-the-rack wedding dresses will require alterations, so make certain you have enough time for that entire process. The same goes for the bridesmaid dresses.
5. Booking Hotel Rooms Too Late
This is an easy wedding planning mistake to make for newly engaged couples. To-be-weds will leave the task of securing hotel room blocks for out-of-town wedding guests until the last minute. If you are marrying during a busy time and you do not look into hotel availability in advance, you can end up with no rooms for your guests, so reserve as early as possible. Include hotel information in your save-the-date cards, wedding website, and emails.
6. Skipping the Videographer
Photos are a must for most couples, but they only take you so far—videos let you hear each other's voices as you say your vows and watch your friends tear up the dance floor. By hiring a professional photographer/videographer, you can document your wedding, you will be able to relive those special moments you may have missed on the day.
7. Inviting Too Many Guests
Your guest list and the maximum capacity of people at the reception site should match up. You cannot invite 400 people assuming only 250 will accept. If you end up with 300 acceptances, you may have to turn 50 guests away. As much as vendors would like to accommodate you, most wedding venues are prohibited from adding even one additional table. Analyze your guest list from the beginning, assume 80 percent will respond "yes" and limit that amount accordingly.
8. Micromanaging Your Vendors
You are booking talented pros who understand your vision, so it is important to let them do their jobs. We know it is tempting to control every detail, but after your initial meetings, it is best to step back and trust the pros to get it right. The pros know best and believe them when they tell you.
9. Hiring a Friend Instead of a Pro
Your friend from college may make amazing workout playlists, but that does not mean they will make a great wedding DJ. The same goes for your friend who is an expert Instagrammer—this does not make her a photographer. Even on a tight budget, we always recommend hiring professional wedding vendors with experience. Plus, it's more fun if your friends can fully enjoy your wedding day with you anyway.
10. Forgetting to Focus on What's Important
Keep in mind you are getting married and starting a life together. Be good to each other. Some tension, whether it is between you as a couple or with loved ones, is inevitable due to the heavy decisions that accompany weddings. Remember why you decided to take this leap in the first place.