10 Wedding Planning Mistakes to Avoid

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AFTER A DECADE IN WEDDINGS, I COME TO YOU BEARING THE GHOSTS OF WEDDINGS PAST. THESE ARE THE HEADACHES, THE FRUSTRATIONS, AND THE MOMENTS LEADING TO RBF…OTHER COUPLES DID IT FOR YOU, SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO.

MISTAKE NO. 1 – NOT HIRING A PLANNER

At first glance you might think that you’re saving money by not hiring one, but I SWEAR that’s incorrect. Planners work to make your dreams come true and have a million connections. In fact, some planners even have a floral person on staff. What!? All of your dreams, your florals, and an inside track to all the best professionals with one swoop. Yes. Planners have connections that can get you a spot when there are no spots left and even special rates. They are also clinically proven to prevent mental breakdowns in brides, mothers and photographers. 


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MISTAKE NO. 2 – PLANNING A WEDDING OF SOMEONE ELSE’S DREAM

This one should go without saying, but chiquita, ain’t nobody’s role to tell you what traditions to keep or skip. If you want McDonald’s for your wedding dinner, have McDonald’s! Listen, you get to add in any details you’d like and do things in any way you like. You don’t need white flowers, unless you heart says you so. You don’t need a bridal party, unless your soul says you do. You don’t need to do ANYTHING, unless you love it and unless it’s going to create something special and make your heart and soul sing! Please plan a wedding full of meaningful details that bring a smile to your face and peace to your heart. It’s ok, actually even BETTER, if nobody you know has done it. Pick things YOU love, put them together and make an amazing day. You want to create something that you will find joy in forever as you live out your day and revisit it for youears through your photos.

MISTAKE NO. 3 – NOT MAKING A TIMELINE

You have a finite amount of time on your wedding day. Did you know that? How on earth are we going to pull off your wedding, without a timeline!? I will make a sample timeline available for you, but we MUST go through this together. I will go through every step of this with you, but this is what we need: an estimated ceremony time. That’s it. With that, and you, we have everything we need to make a perfect timeline down to the MINUTE…a timeline that you can use in planning with your vendors, a timeline that you can share with your bridal party to keep them on track, and a timeline that will be the skeleton of all of your detail decisions. Are you sold? All your vendors will wear hats…some will wear many hats, allow me to wear this hat and let’s make a timeline.

MISTAKE NO. 4 – AVOIDING A FIRST LOOK WITH YOUR GROOM

I have to express the importance of the first look. I’ve got a write-up on this for you, but in short: in most cases the first look is the only thing standing between your guests enjoying a cocktail HOUR vs. your guests sitting for 3.5 hours between the ceremony and reception while you take ALL of your family, couple, and bridal party photos. There are very rare exceptions, mostly at elopements and tiny weddings of 15 people. If you have questions, we will talk, no worries. But trust me when I say this will give you peace of mind, reduce stress, and give you and your fiancé a private moment that you will cherish forever. Oh and rest your groom’s worrying heart and tell him that nothing can take away the beautiful moment of seeing his bride walk down the aisle. With or without a first look, that moment is special all the same.


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MISTAKE NO. 5 – NOT PICKING WELL LIT VENUES

From your bridal sweet where you get ready to your reception facility – LIGHTING. IS. KEY. Allow light to stream in when you are getting dressed and let that dress be illuminated. For your family portraits, let’s get natural light to perfect skin tones and keep people in a beautiful airy environment. For your ceremony, pick a church or synagogue with gorgeous light and historic or meaningful decor. At the reception, if you can find windows…DO IT. In some cases windows are an option, in some cases not. When not, invest in lighting. Uplighting, spotlighting, backlighting. Do it. You won’t be sorry. And for the love of God, DO NOT turn your lights off during your first dance. Light that sh*t up so we can see you!

MISTAKE NO. 6 – SKIPPING THE ENGAGEMENT SESSION

Your engagement session is a gift. You will get stunning photos with the love of your life – why would anyone turn that down, right? You’ll naturally use the session to get comfortable on camera. And most importantly, you’ll get to know your photographer better which will make a world of a difference on your wedding day. I always recommend an engagement session to my clients. In fact, I include a complimentary engagement session as a gift in all of my full day and elopement packages because I find it to be that impactful to the wedding day photos. Promise me you’ll do an engagement session?

MISTAKE NO. 7 – AVOIDING THE HAIR AND MAKEUP TRIAL

On the day of your wedding you want great hair and make up. I think you’ll agree with me when I say there are no options here other than to look perfect on your wedding day. When you feel beautiful, you’ll radiate more beauty. The positive loop in that is priceless. Schedule a visit with your stylist and make up artist to test out your options. If your engagement session is in the same city as your wedding, you can plan your hair and make-up trial on the morning of your engagement session. When you’re finished trying wedding hair styles and lashes, have your stylist set your hair with some loose curls and get over to your engagement session with hair and makeup perfection. 


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MISTAKE NO. 8 – NOT UNPLUGGING YOUR CEREMONY

As you know, ceremonies are a time of sanctity. Religious or simply a still time of intimate commitment. One of the most beautiful ideas I’ve seen couples have is go unplugged during their ceremony. Have you thought about asking your guests to put away their cell phones during the ceremony to be fully present? The first time I saw this I was so moved watching the guests emotionally invest in the ceremony: crying, laughing, praying; it was beautiful. Consider asking your guests to their cell phones and cameras away. Share your image gallery ahead of time with guests on your wedding website so they know where to find photos from the day and where they can download their favorites. And of course, don’t forget the wedding day sign that will serve as a gentle reminder of the unplugged ceremony.

MISTAKE NO. 9 – HIRING A FRIEND OVER A PRO

We all have amazingly talented friends. But I need to warn you that unless the friend is a professional, you’re better off not taking the risk of missing a complete portion of your wedding. There are no redos and you don’t want a slip up from the inexperience to cost you the moment or the friendship. Florists are trained professionals that know how to make arrangements look good, stay intact, and make an impact. Someone who likes arranging florals may not have the experience needed to create the scale or style for a wedding. Same goes for photography and navigating the intricate timeline, number of people, and endless details of styling and directing. Pick vendors that will capture the beauty created for your day. Your wedding day is worth it. 

MISTAKE NO. 10 – RECREATING PHOTOS FROM PINTEREST

You’re creating a unique, gorgeous, sentimental day. You’re hiring the most talented artists to turn your ideas and dreams into lucid reality. Leave Pinterest out of it as much as you can. Every artist thrives and creates their best work when they are inspired and free to create. Use Pinterest to show shape and color, but allow your professionals to create something extra beautiful for you…UNIQUE to you. If you give your photographer a list of shots to recreate, their head will be buried in the list all day and they’ll miss all of your precious moments. So use Pinterest with grace and caution.  

I ONCE READ THAT IF YOU WANT TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FRENCH BOOK, YOU’LL NEED TO PARTNER ALL OF YOUR LEARNING WITH YOUR BEST FRENCH ACCENT. COME TO YOUR WEDDING WITH YOUR BEST. YOU’VE INVESTED IN MAKING IT PERFECT, DON’T MISS OUT IN THESE CRITICAL AREAS.

More Wedding Planning Resources are waiting for you.


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