Planning Mistakes to Avoid { Wedding Tips }

grace and serendipity - 10 things not to do when planning your wedding

Happy Wedding Wednesday, lovelies!  Today I have something special for you - wedding planning tips on things to actually try not to do.  As a planner this one has been something that has been on my mind for a while, and in the last five years in business, I have seen my fair share of these things happen, so I thought you all would like a little heads up on sometimes, what not to do.

Read the below post for all ten tips!

1.  NOT having your personalities reflected on your wedding day.  Y'all, this is the one and only day that you seriously get to have a party that is all about you.  About the two of you - what you love, the things you like doing together, it seriously is a day where to a point, you get to say "it's all about me!" ("me" meaning "us" as a couple, of course.)  So often, I have brides tell me, "well, I love basketball and football and would love to bring that in somehow - but isn't that something not appropriate for a wedding?  What if the guests don't like it?" That last sentence - what if the guest don't like it - when it comes to the overall look of your wedding, it is totally, 100% perfectly okay to do something that reflects you as a couple - if the guests know who you are, and know that you love football and basketball, it is completely okay to have it shown in some way on your wedding day.  The same goes for so many other things, including entrees, desserts, flower types, colors chosen, everything - it is your wedding day.   The day celebrating the two of you, so please be confident to share a piece of yourselves with your guests on your day.

jessica and blake - museum of commerce and old christ church wedding - grace and serendipity

2.  Don't be set on what you find on Pinterest pictures.  Now, I love Pinterest as much as the next person - but Pinterest has only been around for a few years.  What do you think all of the brides did before that?  Imagine if you had to come up with everything on your own - not copying another idea that you saw on Pinterest, or in a magazine - what would you do then?  Do that.  And if it takes you a little while to come up with what you want to do, or it changes a few times during the planning period, that's okay!  Use your imagination and be creative with what you want to do.  (and if you need help in that department, that's where professional wedding planners, florists, and decorators can come in to help)

3. Don't send out your Save the Dates too soon.  I know that the second that you set the date, you want to shout it from the rooftops and share it with all of your friends - and make sure that they all really do save the date - however, I would highly advise not to send out your save the dates until your final guest list is figured out.  Friends you're close with when you become engaged may be acquaintances by the time you get married (especially if you have an engagement of a year or more).  Or, you may find that a dwindling budget after hiring all of your vendors and making catering decisions may cause you to have a smaller wedding.  Reserve your save the dates for only the guests you know will absolutely be invited, like your families and closest, closest friends, and try your hardest not to send them out more than six months in advance.

richard and mirela - henderson beach state park vow renewal - grace and serendipity

4.  Don't micromanage your vendors on your wedding day.  When choosing your vendors,  have a meeting or two with them before hiring them, get to know each other a bit, and then if you do decide to hire them, you decide to hire them because you have a sense of trust with them, that they'll do an amazing job, and that you will be in excellent hands on your wedding day.  After you have signed with them, trust them to take care of you.   The vendors that I work with are all very experienced in their fields, have a combined total of hundreds of weddings that they have done, and they know how to handle a lot of different situations that may pop up on a wedding day.  You hired a professional - so let them do their job, and know that you should be in fantastic, loving, caring hands.

5.  Don't start your hair and makeup too late in the day. Or, only have one person to do both for the entire bridal party of ten women.  This one is a biggie.  A huge one.  Please, ladies, schedule your hair and makeup earlier in the morning, rather than in the afternoon.  Hair and makeup is the one main reason that pre-ceremony timelines tend to get completely behind.  I know that it is so important to have perfect hair and makeup by the time that you walk down the aisle, but sometimes, hair takes longer to curl, or makeup takes longer to apply.  This is not any fault of any hair or makeup people - they care with the results and want it to be perfect as well. If you hire a professional, they know how to make your hair stay all day, and your makeup look like it was just applied, even if it is five hours after it was done.  And on that same note, as great as it may sound to have you, the bride, be the last one to get hair and makeup done, I would suggest fitting yourself into the middle of the lineup.  Simply because if you do happen to be running late, it'll be more important for your hair and makeup to be done so that you can get into your beautiful dress (which, if it's a corset back especially, can take up to thirty minutes or more), while your bridesmaids finish up their looks after you are already beautified.  Also, if you are planning on having pictures with your bridal party, you want to allow time to relax before the ceremony - you definitely don't want to be taking photos as guests are arriving before the ceremony, and you losing that "ooh la la" moment of them seeing you for the first time as you walk down the aisle.

sarah and dan - christ church parish and palafox house wedding - grace and serendipity

6.  Don't blow your budget on the dress. I love the show Say Yes to the Dress - but so many times, brides spend $5, $10, or even $20,000 on a dress alone.  I would love if we all could do that - but, spending $10,000 on a dress if you only have a $20,000 budget will make other things much more challenging throughout the process.  A lot of dresses are absolutely beautiful, at a large variety of price points.  Keep your mind open to ones that cost less if they are more in your budget.  And, remember that alterations can cost sometimes as much as the dress did, particularly if you are taller or shorter than the average height woman that dresses are designed for.  Take into consideration all of the pieces you'll need - your gown, veil, shoes, hair accessories, and jewelry when you are trying to figure out how much to spend. It is amazing how adding a gorgeous crystal belt can make a dress look so much more expensive, or adding lace cap sleeves or a statement necklace can really increase the wow factor.  And more important than any of that - do not ever let yourself try on a dress that is way out of your budget, even if you love it.  Because, it is likely that that one is the one you'll fall in love with.  Just don't even let yourself get into that predicament.  Find yourself a beautiful gown that you adore, look beautiful in, and can see yourself marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life in.  That is when you know you've found "the dress".

7.  Don't speed through your photos or be in a "hurry up" mood with your Photographer. This is another biggie.  You spent the money on a fantastically artistic professional photographer, but like anyone else, they need time to make sure that they get to use their creative skills that you hired them for.  If you have a bridal party of 20 people, but don't want to take any photos before the ceremony, and then only want to take photos for 30 minutes after the ceremony so that you can get to cocktail hour, you simply won't have time to get all of the amazing shots you hired them for.  If you choose not to do a first look and see your groom before the ceremony, take pictures separately beforehand so that the only photos left to take after the ceremony include family photos and the two of you, with a handful of both of the bridal party photos.  And on that same note - please smile.  Please don't go into your wedding day with the mentality of "I hate getting my picture taken so I'm not going to smile".  You will regret this one after the wedding, I guarantee it.  And on that same note - guys - have some fun with it too - it's your wedding day.  Smile, be yourselves, forget the camera is there - and you'll get some amazing photos to remember your day by.

kristin and jeremy - nas pensacola officers club mustin beach wedding - grace and serendipity_0036

8. Not having a rain plan.  Especially if you are planning an entirely outside wedding.  Here in Florida, it rains off and on all of the time.  This especially can become a problem if you are planning an outdoor wedding, and even a tent wedding.  Tents are fantastic - but if it's lightning outside, it is plain not safe to be under a metal tent.  If it's super windy, tents can collapse.  And even if it's not raining on your wedding day, if it did the day or for a few days before, underneath tents, it can be a mud pit from the grass not being able to dry (and yes, I have had this one happen for one of my own recent weddings).  The one thing that all of us wedding professionals wish we could control is Mother Nature.  For one of mine a few weeks ago, I even asked her to put a bubble over my wedding site where only sun came down - can you imagine how great it would be if we could just look up to the heavens and say "please don't rain", and it actually not happen?  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  Have a backup plan for rain (or a Plan B and a Plan C), even if you're convinced it won't rain.

9. Please don't hire a friend instead of a professional.    If you have a friend that owns a business and they are in the wedding industry, and you hire them for your wedding, that's one thing.  However, you may want your friend who is in this industry to come to your wedding as a guest and enjoy it (trust me - we love to do this too, we love being guests at our friends weddings rather than working the whole night of it!).  But, if you have a friend who has an iPod and can make a good mix CD, that does not make them a wedding DJ.  If you have a friend with a Flip camera, they are not a wedding videographer.  If a friend hosts fantastic dinner parties for a few people, this does not make them a wedding caterer for a lot of guests. Or, if they know how to make one pretty centerpiece, this does not make them a wedding florist.  And the same goes for wedding planners, and so many other industry professionals.  Even if you have a tight budget, I promise you that you are better off finding a way to make it work to hire professionals, with a lot of wedding experience, to take care of you on your wedding day.  Let your friends enjoy your wedding day - hire a professional to work for you on the one day you want everything to go perfectly.

kayley and brian - this is love - grace and serendipity

10.  Lastly, please don't let yourself forget what a wedding really is.  This one is so, so, so important.   Your wedding is a celebration of the fact that you have found the one person your soul loves, the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, the one that you want to love, for better or worse, richer or poorer, for the rest of your life.  Put time into what song you want to dance to, what you want to walk down the aisle to, and remember that at the end of the day, if things haven't gone perfectly, the only thing that truly matters is that you are married to the person you love.  Just remember that, and you'll have a beautiful, perfect, wonderful wedding day.

Happy planning, lovelies.

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