The 16 Easiest Mistakes to Make While Wedding Planning

You might be making some of these errors already.
by The Knot

Even the most type-A, on-top-of-things couple can make mistakes during wedding planning.

Of course, some things are unavoidable on your wedding day (like an unexpected thunderstorm or your 5-year-old flower girl throwing a tantrum). But other potential issues—like managing your wedding dress budget—are completely manageable. Here, our top wedding mistakes that are 100 percent avoidable.

1. Blowing Off Your Wedding Budget

We know—it costs a lot of money to throw a wedding ($33,931 on average, to be exact). Many times, excited to-be-weds start booking vendors and making purchases without having a real budget—and then are shocked to discover they've already spent all of their money and don't even have half the things they need. If you don't have the money to pay your deposits—or make your final payments on your actual wedding day—that doesn't bode well for the wedding actually happening. Planning a wedding is serious business, so it's important to make a budget and keep track of your expenditures so you have all of your ducks in a row and can actually relax on your wedding day. Need help? Use our wedding budgeter.

2. Messing Up the Marriage License

There are lots of rules surrounding marriage licenses that you might not be familiar with. For instance, if you get your license 61 days before your wedding in Pennsylvania, you won't be able to legally marry on your wedding day because a license is valid there for only 60 days. (You could still have the ceremony, though—guests wouldn't ever know you weren't legally married on that day.) Go to obtain your license the day before your wedding, and you may not get it in time because some states have a three-day waiting period. A common mess-up for those marrying for a second time is not bringing official divorce papers when you go to get the certificate. Find other things no one tells you about getting a marriage license here

3. Getting Attached to a Specific Flower Type

When you book your florist a year before your wedding day, they can only guess which blooms will be in your price range and available for your wedding. If you just have to have orchids, you could be disappointed. Instead, choose backups to your main blooms and add them to your contract. Think in terms of colors and shapes instead of specific flowers.

4. Picking Your Wedding Party Too Early

Your wedding party should be made up of your closest friends and/or family members, but they have to be people you trust to be there when you need them most. You may not know new friends well enough yet to be sure they'll support you in tough situations (every to-be-wed encounters one at some point) and picking people because a family member demands it or so you and your partner will have an even number of attendants are decisions you'll likely regret.

5. Blowing Your Fashion Budget on Just the Dress

If you have $1,500 set aside for your bridal look, that doesn't necessarily mean you can buy a $1,500 gown. Tack on tax, and if you're not buying off the rack, you could get charged for shipping. You'll likely need alterations too. Consider your undergarments, shoes, veil, hair accessories and jewelry when budgeting as well.

6. Sending Out Save-the-Dates Too Soon

It may be tempting to tell everyone about your wedding date as soon as possible, but don't send those save-the-date cards until you've finalized the guest list. Friends could turn into mere acquaintances by the time you tie the knot. Send save-the-dates out eight to ten months before your wedding date, and send them only to guests you're positive will be invited.

7. Ordering Your Wedding Dress Too Late

If you're purchasing a wedding dress that needs to be customized or ordered, do so by the six-month mark, since your dress will be custom made (and, many times, made overseas). In addition, most off-the-rack wedding dresses will require alterations, so make certain you have enough time to get the gown fitted properly. You'll want to leave plenty of time for shipping and for your fittings. The same goes for the bridesmaid dresses.

8. Booking Hotel Rooms Too Late

To-be-weds often leave blocking out hotel rooms for out-of-town wedding guests until the last minute. If you're marrying during a busy time and you don't investigate hotel availability in advance, you can end up with literally not a single room for your guests to stay, so reserve rooms as early as possible. Begin your research up to a year in advance, and make sure your block is booked at least by the eight-month mark—if not sooner. Include hotel information in your save-the-date cards, wedding website and invitations. (FYI, you're just setting them aside—your guests will put down their own credit cards when they call to book the rooms.)

9. Skipping the Videographer

Photos are a must, but they only take you so far—videos let you hear your and your partner's voices as you say your vows and watch your friends tear up the dance floor. With a professional videographer documenting your wedding, you'll see special moments you may have missed on the day, like interactions with grandparents, that you'll definitely want to see.

10. Underpaying Invitation Postage 

You'd be surprised how many to-be-weds just stick a regular stamp on their invites and drop the whole batch into a mailbox. All but a few wedding invitations require additional postage, and the postal service will not take pity on you. Your invites will be returned, rubber-stamped with that ugly "insufficient postage" sign, and it will take more time and money to get those invitations back out the door. Get one invitation weighed at the post office before purchasing your stamps. Note: Square invitations require additional postage not only because of the weight but the shape too, so don't try to figure this out by yourself.

11. Inviting Too Many Guests

Make sure your guest list and your reception site capacity match up numbers-wise. You can't invite 400 people assuming only 250 will accept, because if you end up with 300 acceptances, you may have to turn 50 guests away at the door. Most wedding venues can't just add 10 more tables—fire laws limit the maximum number of people allowed in any room at one time. Analyze your guest list from the get-go, assume 80 percent will respond "yes" and limit your guest list accordingly.

12. Micromanaging Your Vendors

You're booking talented pros who understand your vision, so it's important to let them do their jobs. We know it's tempting to control every detail, but after your initial meetings, it's best to step back and trust the pros to get it right (and keep on good terms with them).

13. Telling Everyone About Your Wedding

It's hard not to talk about your wedding, but it's good to try. The more you share, the more opinions you're going to get about your choices, whether or not you ask for them. Plus, part of wowing your guests is surprising them. If they already know you're changing into a different dress for the reception or serving made-to-order pizza at your after-party, they won't be quite as astounded on your wedding day. People who aren't invited to your wedding may also feel hurt if they see any social media updates about your planning as well. If that's not enough to deter you, talking about your plans means opening yourself up to copycats (who—gasp—may actually be marrying before you do). 

14. Hiring a Friend Instead of a Pro

Your friend from college may make amazing workout playlists, but that doesn't mean he'll make a great wedding DJ. The same goes for your friend who's an expert Instagrammer—this doesn't make her a photographer. Even on a tight budget, we always recommend hiring professional wedding vendors with experience. Don't you want your friends to enjoy your wedding instead of having to work it, anyway?

15. Trying to Go It Alone

If you're a to-be-wed lucky enough to have been offered help by friends or family members, by all means, take it. Too many people try to do it all—which isn't a good idea. Delegate and use all the resources that are available to you. When people offer to assist, like your mom, future mother-in-law or best friend, find something for them to do, like researching a vendor or addressing invitations. On that note, it's important to keep in mind that these volunteers don't work for you, so accept their contributions graciously.

16. Forgetting to Focus on What's Important

Keep in mind that you're getting married and starting a life together, not just planning a wedding. Be good to each other. Some tension between the two of you (and among members of your family) is inevitable due to the sticky topics that weddings stir up, but don't let things get out of control. Remember why you decided to take this leap in the first place—and don't be afraid to preemptively download Lasting, a first-of-its-kind marriage health app

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, some of which may be sponsored by paying vendors.

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