The Most Common Wedding Planning Mistakes Couples Make

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At this point in the series, hopefully, you have picked up some great tips and tricks on how to start planning your wedding. I realize some of you are likely a bit further down the planning road and might like some sage advice on how to effectively finish planning.

No matter where you are in the process, you can take the info in the earlier posts and make them work for you. If you have not set a budget, set it now. If you haven’t set priorities, do it. There is no such thing as too late. Okay, I lie. The week of your wedding is too late unless you have a planner (last shameless plug I promise).

We work with couples who are at all different stages of planning their wedding. Unless we are with a couple from the very beginning we find these are some of the common mistakes almost every couple makes. After reading this, we hope you won’t make the same.


No Set Budget

 I bet you didn’t see that one coming. The number one mistake is not setting a budget. Too often people realize they cannot afford something they agreed upon until it is too late. Then they are left scrambling to find a way to pay for it.

We follow the saying “proper preparation prevents poor performance.” Even if you are mid-planning, stop and set a budget. This will ensure you are not one of the 45 percent of couples who go over budget.

It would also help if you are real about your taste and how much it costs. We often joke in this industry that couples have champagne tastes on a beer budget. You have now seen how quickly weddings add up. I understand you want the world for your wedding. However, if you don’t have the money, then prioritize and reconsider some of your wish list. Don’t forget, you get what you pay for in the wedding industry.

While you are at it, don’t forget to ask about and include service fees, tax, and tips in your new budget. Those three little words are not so little and can add up very fast.

At the end of the day, it is not about how much money you spent. The only thing that matters on your wedding day is you are married.


Spend Too Much on Venue and Dress

Oh man, I am about to become the bad cop here. Almost without fail all couples spend too much money on their venue and dress. Yep, I said it.

While we love a gorgeous venue more than anything, too many people think ‘if I book a beautiful venue, I won’t need as much money for decor.’ Almost every bride who utters those words wants to spend more on floral and décor than is in their budget. Trust me, you want some more money for the pretties.

Go with the venue you feel is right, but also includes several things like tables, chairs, linens, and security. Everything costs money. The more that is included is the less you pay later.

Okay, now on to the taboo topic. Ladies, I know it is THE DRESS. But please don’t spend 10-20 percent of your overall budget on a dress. No one will know how much your dress cost unless you tell them. And I will bet 90 percent of you forget to factor in the veil, jewelry, shoes, and alterations into your outfit cost. Those alone can cost you thousands of dollars.

I know the dress is special. You deserve to feel like a princess, model, royalty or whatever you want to be on your wedding day. Try to stay realistic, which means only trying on dresses within your price range.


Make Assumptions

Oh Lord, how many stories come to mind. Don’t assume something will be there if you haven’t talked with a vendor about. Don’t assume everything will magically happen if you haven’t planned for it.

Weddings don’t just come together. They take hours and hours of meticulously planning to ensure every single person is where they need to be at the exact right moment. There truly is an art to planning weddings.

With all that said, if you want something to happen, ask the appropriate vendor about how they can help you make it happen. If you are not sure if something is included, ask. There is no shame or harm in questions. The more prepared everyone can be the better.

Most wedding vendors got into this business to help people. You will find we will bend over backward to make your day everything it can be and more. Help us, help you by really telling us what you want and need.


Wait Too Long to Book Vendors

A simple rule to follow – if you like someone, book them. As we discussed in the last blog, there are several wedding vendors (venue, planner, DJ/band, officiant, photographer/videographer) who can only handle one wedding in a day.

I find it interesting when couples get mad at vendors for being booked. Like ‘how dare they are not available for my wedding?!’ Keep in mind almost every single wedding vendor is a small business. While they love weddings, they also want to make money so they can keep their business open.

This is why the majority of vendors work on a first come, first serve basis. Even if we love you, if someone else puts down a contract and pays a deposit before you, we will go with them. I know it seems unfair but think about the countless number of inquiries we get that result in nothing. We are never 100 percent sure until money or contracts are signed.

The same goes for any rentals or products. Let’s use transportation as an example. There are only so many party buses with seats that face each other in your town. And you guessed it, those go first. If you want one of those buses, book it immediately.

I know some great ideas come further down the planning road. By all means, try to make those happen, but don’t get mad at the vendors when they are not able to make certain things happen due to lack of time and resources.


Keep up with the Jones

I hate the Jones’. Truly, I do. They ruin so many people’s wedding planning experience.

Your wedding is exactly that, yours. You are the one who will have all the memories and photos. You are the one who is inviting your family and friends to celebrate in what will likely be the only time in your life you will have all these people together in one room. It is your day. Have the wedding only you can have.

Don’t listen to Carol down the street about how much she spent on her daughter’s wedding. Or Karen about how if you are not serving a plated meal, it is not considered a wedding.

Don’t get sucked into the Pinterest, bridal magazines and wedding vendors marketing tools, and think you have to do what everyone else is doing. As vendors we will always show you our most impressive weddings or events because we want you to be so wowed with us, you book us instantly and don’t consider anyone else.

As I tell my couples all the time… Do you. Don’t focus on what others have already had. Focus on what only you can have. Focus on why you are getting married. Focus on your partner. Focus on what it means for you to be in love.

Sarah Quinlivan is the owner and lead planner of Quintessential Events, an award-winning wedding and event planning firm that does events throughout the country. From classic to over-the-top, Quintessential Events prides itself on creating weddings that are uniquely you. Why have the day others have already had? Focus on having the day; only you can have. For more information, check out the company’s website and Instagram. 

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