You’ve been there yourself, you get engaged, everyone says a massive congratulations and then 5 seconds later you get told “You’ve got to get married here, you’ve got to book this guy, you need to do this, you can’t have a wedding without that” etc etc etc.
What people don’t tell you is what NOT to do so that’s what I’m here to do today – I’ve been in contact with a whole host of my very favourite wedding suppliers to get their advice on the biggest “DO NOTS” and mistakes they’ve seen people make as well as some helpful advice along the way!
I’ve learnt so much from my mistakes that I’m thinking of making a few more!
Let’s learn from other people’s mistakes instead as you only want to do your wedding once!
The 53 BIGGEST mistakes when planning your wedding!
- Not getting wedding insuranceJenna from Kingston Maurward Weddings explains
“Weddings can cost a lot of money so why not insure your wedding in case the unthinkable happens?! I have unfortunately had to assist with weddings which didn’t have insurance because the couple didn’t think they needed it. That has resulted in the couples either not having the wedding they had hoped for or couples having to spend even more money because a supplier has let them down or even redundancy in the family. Insurance costs as little as £20 – it’s definitely worth it!”
- Going over budget
More from Jenna –
“There are sometimes too many options for weddings now and it’s so easy to change your mind or “upgrade” what you had initially wanted/ had. Obviously a couple wants their wedding to be the best day of their lives but is it really worth getting into debt for?”
- Trying to please EVERYONE!
You’re just simply not going to be able to do it!
- Not listening to your suppliers
Advice from Mark Gerrard of Pegasus Discos My advice would be to trust your suppliers, ask for their advice on any ideas you may have to make your Wedding personal. They may have seen that idea or something similar and may be able to make suggestions to enhance and implement that idea.Also another one from Mark
- Thinking an iPod on shuffle is the same as a DJ!
- Over-complicating your wedding!
Bridal Reloved in Dorchester says “Your wedding your way! Often less is more and stick to what you want for your wedding not what others expect of you.”They also had this to add
- Confusing Wedding with Marriage!
You get married you don’t get wedding. Wedding is a celebration of your marriage and it’s that that counts the most really. A wedding should complement your union together.
- Thinking Bespoke items can be plucked off a shelf!
Neil from Goldcrest Jewellers – “We bespoke make jewellery including wedding rings and some people think you can pluck them off the shelf. We like to take our time with designs, this gives the piece love and attention which cannot be rushed. We on average take 6 weeks from start to completion. If a piece is rushed then it looks rushed and will need work later.”
- Not setting realistic budgets for suppliers
Just because you think something is not going to cost very much doesn’t mean that it is – do your research!
- Thinking that all your suppliers will be available even though your wedding seems ages away.
For me personally when I get booked is completely random – normally it is 3-6 months in advance but sometimes I’m booked 2 years in advance sometimes I’ve been booked two days before the big day.
If you like a supplier contact them immediately!
Nearly every supplier I spoke to said exactly the same thing!You can check my availability by filling in this form!
- Picking your wedding cake up from the designer.
Lisa from Lisa Notley Cake Design explains why “There are so many other things to think about on your wedding day, why add the unnecessary stress of picking up and transporting your cake! Leave it to the professionals who’ve moved a thousand cakes before!”More on cakes from Lisa
- Choosing cake flavours to make a few people happy.
More from Lisa – “When choosing your cake, choose flavours that you enjoy and don’t worry if so and so doesn’t like a flavour chosen, unless of course they are paying for the cake!”
- Inviting friends/family that you never see.
A surefire way to waste money unnecessarily on your wedding is by having guests there that you really don’t need to invite.
If you haven’t seen them or spoken to them in 2 years then why on earth are you spending extra money having them at your wedding – put the money towards the honeymoon instead!
- Booking suppliers based on price alone.
If someone is cheaper, especially much cheaper, then you should be questioning why that is.
Certain types of wedding supplier really do demand for a professional to be used, some you might get away with but tread carefully.
- Thinking the most expensive supplier is the best supplier.
Almost the opposite of the above but it’s important to mention.
If someone is charging more then it could be that their supply and demand level is such that they know they can charge what they do, it might be that they’re simply much better at their job.
A top wedding supplier will easily be able to show their value to you and then the cost pales into insignificance.
- Being afraid to ask a venue to hold a date
The Italian Villa go into more detail – “If you are keen on a particular date, don’t be afraid to ask your preferred venue to hold the date for you. That way you won’t miss out. They will need a deposit but this isn’t normally instantly!
- Being boring with dining choices!
More from the Italian Villa here – “Your guests may have been to many weddings, but yours WILL stick in their memory based on the choices you make. Take advantage of local and seasonal options too!
- Forgetting that some guests will have special dietary requirements!
Pretty self-explanatory this one!
- Not understanding the importance on contracts with suppliers!
If you don’t sign a contract with a supplier then neither you or the supplier has any security at all.
Make sure your wedding suppliers give you a contract which you both sign and make sure you read the contract and don’t just sign it!
- Thinking your guests are just going to get on with no encouragement.
Putting 100 people in a room when they only know 5 other people there and just expecting them to get on probably isn’t going to happen – it’s a recipe for small talk.
Provide entertainment for the quieter times of the day (Cocktail Hour and after Wedding Breakfast) to break the ice between guests and provide genuine memorable talking points.
- Thinking all suppliers are the same!
Carl from The Ultimate Photobooth with more on this – “Each supplier is different, especially when it comes to Photobooths -we for example have the Tuk Tuk and an inflatable – something totally different from the standard oval photo booths.
Couples need to compare the template designs too, you don’t just get a photo at the end you get a well designed photo card, with professional template design which complements the event… plus there are so many different printers on the market. We use thermal printers which are industry standard. We use DSLR cameras too. Many booths wimp out and use a £30 web cam to take the photo!
So many different things to compare! Each booth uses different quality props too!! Ooh don’t get me started!!
Some of my props cost £20 each – for example I have a genuine German military cap! I think attention to detail in this way makes it worth while!
- Not trusting what you heart tells you
Some lovely words from Sadie from Sadie Osborne Photography –
“When it comes to wedding photography, I feel the biggest mistake that couples make is not trusting what their heart tells them. photography itself is a art form that is much more powerful than couples realise.
As a photographer who has had the art embedded in my heart for over 10 years I have had time to realise this.The wedding industry I feel Is heavily driven by money and budgets, which distracts individuals on actually thinking of why they have chosen that supplier. I sympathise with budgets completely but when it comes to photography I heavily believe that it is a very very important part of your wedding.Photography is one of the vital parts that will last a lifetime, is it the pure documentation of what, when and how all the moments on that day happened. you need to find a photographer who is passionate about that, and also a photographer that your heart tells you is “the one”Something else from Sadie too!
- Going with the first supplier you find!
“Also I advise couples to always talk to as many photographers as they can, get to know their personalities, style and if they generally have a passion for what they do, if they have a passion for what they do, they will have a passion for YOU. Listen to what your heart tells you about a photographer, hearts have one thing in common, they love.”I do agree with this to a certain extent but sometimes you meet a supplier that you just click with and in that instance why shouldn’t you book them?
- Getting upset about the weather!
Yes, pretty much every bride wants glorious sunshine on their big day but sadly not everyone gets it – getting upset, angry or anything else other than acceptance is a surefire way to wind yourself up.
There’s literally nothing you can do about the weather so just accept it as it is and get on with your day whatever the weather!
- Being unprepared for bad weather
“To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail” – You can thank Benjamin Franklin for that quote.
It’s one thing to not accept the weather but to be unprepared for the weather being bad is just plain stupid – if you’re having a marquee wedding and you’ve not thought about wellington boots in case of showers then you’re setting yourself up for a fall!
- Not understand that the most important part of the camera is 6 inches behind it
Dan from Dan Roads Photography with more on this – “When you come to decide on your wedding photographer(s) ALWAYS meet, ask to see previous images from more than just one wedding, engage with them and see if you ‘click’ excuse the pun. You need to feel comfortable around them, think to yourself “Will they be fun to be around on my wedding day?”More from Dan below
- Not asking questions!
Do NOT be afraid to ask questions, if they are professional they’ll have the answers!And one more from Dan….
- Stressing out on your special day!
Finally, on your wedding day do NOT stress! You should be enjoying every moment and not worrying about anything. It will all work out and be fine in the end… trust me I’ve SEEN A LOT happen throughout weddings and none of them have ended badly.
- Not taking time for you and your partner on your wedding day!
It’s such a whirlwind that the wedding day can just disappear, don’t be afraid to take some time out of the day just for you and your new partner – yes you’re with them all day but not all of it is “quality time!”
- Not thinking of the height of your centrepieces
This was mentioned by several suppliers as well as being a gripe of my own as a magician and something I’ve heard countless guests say.
Make sure your centrepieces are either lowdown so they can be seen over or so big you can see under them – having centrepieces which are head height means guests opposite each other cannot communicate properly.
I’ve actually been at weddings where guests have taken expensive centrepieces off of the table and put them on the floor so that they can talk!
- Not having an order of service!
Guests need to know where they need to be and when.
Love by Weddings had this to say – “There’s been instances before when it comes to important parts of the day like first dance, cake cutting, photos, where guests can’t be found as they’ve snuck off for a smoke or a nap!”The next few are all from Love By Weddings too
- Hiring a friend instead of a professional!
This applies for anything, especially photography – it’s a recipe for disaster!
- Having too many guests and not enough room around the tables or on the dance floor.
- Forgetting to budget for a professional venue decorator!
- Underestimating the cost of a venue decorator!
- Not setting a budget.
Unless you’re super rich!
- Or blowing the bulk of the budget on one thing and having to scrimp on the rest.
Having one thing which is truly incredible will not make up for the rest being below par!
- Becoming blinded by Pinterest or other people’s opinions on social media.
It’s your wedding – do it your way, not a copy of someone else’s day.
Be inspired, not blinded!
- Not matching the names on your table plan to your place cards.
So on the plan it said mother of the bride and mother of the groom but our place cards had their first names and we didn’t know who was who when setting up!Wonderful and insightful additions there from Love My Wedding!Moving on!
- Forgetting about the children!
Won’t somebody please think of the children!
Weddings are boring for kids, give them games, colouring in, professional children’s entertainers or just a big space to run around in and they’ll be happy – their parents will thank you no end as well!
- Thinking having speeches at the start of the meal is a good idea!
Perhaps controversial but speeches should be after the meal – people have been surviving on small canapes and strong booze for the last 2 hours, they need their meal much more than they need to hear 30 minutes of speeches!
- Not thinking about skin care until your make-up trial
As Make-Up Artist Tara Sanger explains “You need to get your skin in good condition a few months before”More from Tara below
- Not thinking of a good space with good light to get ready in
You need a big enough space for your bridal party to ready without being on top of each other, and you need really good light so your makeup is flawless and the colours are right for you.
Natural light is always best!
From one of my favourite make-up artists to another, these next few are from the lovely Kirsten Sare Make-Up Artist
- Being persuaded away from what you want just to suit the supplier.
Sometimes suppliers will sell you what they want to sell you rather than what you actually want or need, if you’re set on an idea and you don’t like what the supplier is suggesting then don’t go for it!
- Not getting to know your suppliers before your wedding day.
Whether this is meeting up in person or chatting on the phone building that rapport with your suppliers is really important.
- Brides not having a plan for themselves for the day.
Working out important timings are key to a smooth running day, have a bridesmaid in charge of the plan so you can relax!
- Not keeping yourself fed and watered!
Eat and drink plenty (of water!) the day before and the morning of the wedding, you don’t want to feel dehydrated or light headed.
- Being afraid to ask for different options from suppliers.
More detail on this from Tash from The Diamond Baker “from a cake makers point of view is that I think some couples make the mistake of not asking questions regarding price options and immediately assume they cannot afford your services . For instance if I get sent a picture to quote, I like to give a few different options not just the one.”
- Underestimating how long it takes to get your wedding dress ordered and fitted!
Tracy from Wedding Time Bridal Salon explains “Dresses generally take 5/6 months to order in and fittings can take up to 8 weeks. We always have sale dresses on our rail which we can alter straight away and we have been known to provide quite a few last minute dresses for late notice weddings. Because we do all of our own alterations in house we can work around this the best way we can but through the height of the summer, it is always best to be organised.
Suits – the same really. Don’t leave to the last minute please guys. We do keep all of our own stock but sometimes we have to organise special sizes in and this can take a bit of time.”
- Not allowing enough time for group shots (if you’re having them)
Thanks to Thomas Whild Photography for this “Especially for family and group photos it’s surprising how long they can take and how tricky it can be to get all the right people in each photo and for all of the combinations of photos to be done. Of course bigger families take longer so my tips to avoid the mistake would be to think about what group photos you want well in advance and talk to the photographer so that they can be prepared. It also helps if one of the ushers or bridesmaids can be given the job of collecting all the people for each photo.
- Not using your bridesmaids and ushers properly.
Having someone as your usher or bridesmaid isn’t just about making them feel better with a special dress or suit they can and should have jobs to do on the day.
They should 100% be there to make your day flow better, work more fluidly and remove stress for you.
Use them wisely whether it is gathering people for photos, paying suppliers or helping the bride go to the loo (probably not one for the ushers!)
- Not checking supplier needs
Stacey from Happily Ever Afters gives more information here – “Table sizes are often overlooked, it’s so frustrating to have told a couple what we need and then we have to try and squeeze a cheese wedding cakes and a full cheese bar onto one small table!”
- Scheduling in some time to relax!
Oana from Tell Your Story Wedding Photography and Film supplied this one
“After the ceremony and the confetti throw take 10-15 min off. If the timings permit ask the photographer to delay any family photographs and just let you enjoy some time with family and friends. Time will pass quickly and moments like this are precious. Plus this will offer an opportunity for candid photographs.”