I've been thinking long and hard about what, if anything, I would've done differently during the planning of our wedding (and there were a lot of mistakes I could have made, considering my death grip on the "design reins" of our wedding). I felt kind of like a football coach watching a video of the latest game to identify the weaknesses of the offensive approach. Then I got to thinking about things on a broader scale. What mistakes do most couples make as they plan their way through the emotional roller coaster that is a wedding?
Below, I've identified the 10 biggest mistake to be made and hopefully given some insight on how to avoid them. Let's take a look, shall we?
1. A Lack of Personal Touches. I think the biggest, most egregious error I see happen when a wedding is completely devoid of the personalities of the betrothed couple. Trust me, I don't mean everyone out there should have a theme wedding (can you imagine, oy), but seriously, if I have to see one more wedding with the Sonnet 18 reading (not that I don't love the Bard) or hear "Amazing" by Lonestar one more time, I'm going to lose it! I want to see that the couple has had a hand in the decor, music selection, and menu. This day should reflect your life and give your guests a glimpse of the wonderful life you'll have together. Instead of traditional table cards, try naming the tables with places you've traveled as a couple, your favorite colors, veggies or fruits, or piece of trivia. Put the Jordan almonds away and give favors from the heart. We gave everyone one of our FAVORITE cookies from a local organic grocery store.
2. Not Knowing When to Save. Let's face it. The wedding biz is just that. A biz. There's a ton of great sources out there for no-nonsense advice, we all know that. But there are just as many sources looking to turn a profit. I hate to see couples spending money they don't have in all the wrong places. Get to know your budget inside and out. Set guidelines for you and your SO and stick to them. Decide on a list of splurges and steals. Creating a united front will help safeguard you from impulse buys.
3. Forgetting What the Wedding is Really All About. The wedding ceremony is the main event, people. It's easy to get caught up in all the hoopla, but failing to take the time to remember why you two got together in the first place can take the fun out of everything. Leave the w-word at home and go enjoy each others company.
4. Not Establishing Positive Working Relationships with Your Vendors. These people are going to be executing your ideas. They will be delivering the flowers. They will be touching the cake. You need to get to know them. I suggest you and your SO get out and talk with them. How else will you know what kind of an MC you've been saddled with unless you talk with them. Make sure all your personalities mesh well. You need to feel listened to and respected.
5. Thinking It Can't "Rain On Your Parade". Have a contingency plan. Nothing ruins a wedding like not having a plan B. This is especially true for outdoor weddings. Have an alternative location. The best thing you can do is give someone you trust a list of contact information and arrival times so you and your SO aren't caught off guard. Bring an emergency kit for any last minute catastrophes.
6. Ignoring the Budget. As you plan, it becomes so easy to say to yourself, "Oh, well it's just 50 dollars extra." So many couples start out so well...but then as time goes on and you grow weary of shopping around.....you look up and you've blown your entire apparel budget on a designer dress. Do not throw caution to the wind! Use your budget to figure out what you can cut, what you can save on and what you can splurge on. Budgeting will only become more important as you and you SO begin your new chapter. Consider your wedding a trial run.
7. Ingesting Too Many "Liquid Calories" the Night Before the Wedding. Never plan your bachelorette/bachelor parties the night before the wedding. Just don't do it. Try to keep the rehearsal dinner drinks to a minimum, as well. The last thing you'll need on your big day is to wake up puffy, bloated, sluggish, cranky and headachey. Or worse...hungover. Just try to do yourself a favor and skip the drinks the night before.
8. Forgetting the Supporting Players. Of course it your big day, but don't forget the people that helped the two of you get there. Be gracious and considerate. Do not bark orders or take tones with your vendors, family and friends. All of these rules apply to the attendants as well. They are your friends, not your slaves. Consider thanking them in your speeches and be sure to get them a thoughtful gift commensurate with the infinite amount of patience they have for you.
9. Leaving out your Leading Lady/Man. This isn't the 50's. There isn't any reason the two of you can't be equally involved in the plans. I suggest meeting to talk about your ideas together. You'll be amazed how excited you'll both get just knowing the other is interested in hearing your thoughts.
10. Taking Your Eyes Off the Prize. Ever been to a wedding where the napkins match the chair ties and the chair ties match the details on the Bride's shoes. Ugh. There can be such a thing as too much. Don't get weighted down in details. Remember what's really important to you. Spend time thinking about what makes your SO special to you. If you hit a snag, take it in stride and think of the big picture. Laugh! Remember to laugh.
photo credit: Hay Adams hotel, Washington DC