Planning a wedding is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time, energy, inspiration, and about a million tiny decisions. There is a lot of emotion tied to the biggest event of your life, and everything feels crucial in order for it to be perfect.
As a wedding planner, recent bride, and six-time bridesmaid and maid of honor veteran, I've had my share of wedding experience. I can tell you that there is no amount of preparing that can completely prevent you from having some regrets.
But to help guide you if you are in the midst of wedding planning, here is a short list of the biggest mistakes I made during the course of my wedding experience.
1. Stressing about invitations. I stressed about this a lot, and thought having the perfect shade of gold and the right font was the key to the whole wedding coming together. I kept adding accents to it like calligraphed addresses, wax seals and silk ribbons, and before I knew it, I was at over $1,000 for less than 100 invites. I deeply regret this, because I don't think I even kept an invite myself! And to be honest, how many wedding invitations do you actually remember? Guests could not care less about this, and it's most likely going in the trash within moments of its delivery. Do not bother with this, and put the money towards good food and drinks -- your guests WILL remember that.
2. Worrying about having a variety of alcoholic drinks. I made sure to have at least five types of red wine and five types of white wine, different champagne options, as well as several types of beer. I was so worried about the fact that we didn't serve liquor, that I wanted to make sure my guests had a wide variety to choose from. The truth is, guests are easy to please. They will drink whatever white or red wine you serve, and will appreciate the fact that it's open bar! Most likely, guests won't even think to ask for other types of alcohol because they will typically go for a simple and easy choice of "red," "white," or "beer."
3. Not planning for an extra hour for hair and makeup. And I do mean an extra two hours. Everything will take longer than you think, people will be late, and there will be unexpected changes. Better to have extra time, than not enough!
4. Attempting to DIY anything. I had a few terrible ideas, but the one thing I didn't take into consideration is that I didn't have anywhere to store these homemade atrocities. I ended up spending money on all the craft items, wasting my time, and then changing my mind and throwing them all out. I am all about a good DIY, but when it comes to a wedding, I don't recommend DIY'ing anything since it means you will have to either do the setup yourself, or worry about explaining your vision for these items to someone else. You will also have to worry about transporting them, and tearing them down at the end of the night in your wedding dress, which you don't want to do. Research budget-friendly rentals for whatever it is you need, and save yourself the stress.
5. Blowing my budget. To be honest, I didn't set a budget, which was really mistake number 1. Which led to blowing the budget that was later agreed upon between my parents and I. We went way over because of all the shiny things, and the prettier, more special wedding dresses that were, of course, more expensive.
6. Losing my husband's hand-written vows. This was by far the biggest mistake, and most traumatizing thing that happened to me at my wedding. He handed me his vows at dinner so I could read them again, and I left them on our sweetheart table. During teardown that night, they got trashed. My sweet Maid of Honor helped me dig through the trash in the midst of my tears the next day, but they were gone forever. My advice would be to have a trusted and detail-oriented friend keep track of any and all special items throughout the night.
7. Going back to the the venue the next day once it's been torn down. Obviously I had to, in order to look for said vows, but it was truly disheartening to see the dreamy fairytale land from the night before, looking like a drab empty ballroom. I still remember the glass shattering in my mind as I walked in, and the reality setting in that it was all over.
8. Having too many wedding events packed together. I didn't realize how tiring getting married is. I always wanted a "wedding weekend," so I packed all these fun activities on Friday, then had our wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner... by the end of Friday, I was already tired and it hadn't really even started yet! Saturday was long and extremely tiring of course, but we were not done yet, since we still had the farewell brunch to host on Sunday morning. Needless to say, I cried for three days afterwards from pure exhaustion, and the overall emotional waterfall that happens over the course of a wedding weekend. Do yourself a favor, and don't overcommit yourself to too many activities!
9. Not making a list of photos I wanted. I had envisioned several shots, but my mistake was to assume my photographer could read my mind. She was amazing, but unfortunately several things I wanted to capture were missed. Be very specific as to what you want, write a list, and make sure your photographer has it. I am also very glad I hired a videographer for this very reason!
10. Not walking around my reception and stopping at each table. I actually decided NOT to do this because I thought it would feel forced, but as a result there were several guests I didn't talk to. I also didn't even get a picture with my parents at the reception! Make sure to set aside at least 30 minutes and be intentional (and quick!) about it, and you'll still have tons of time left to shake your bridal booty!
(photography by Kelly Rucker Photography)
This article was first published on Deborah Stachelski Events