Few couples have been through the wedding planning process prior to their engagement. Unfortunately, there are pitfalls everywhere. The most important resource to dodging these problems is a couple’s vendors. Your professional vendors have years, sometimes decades, of experience. They have seen all different types of emergencies, mishaps, and more. They are limitless in their knowledge. Contact your vendors with questions and concerns that you have so that you are on the same page come your wedding day.
- Not having a backup plan – No one wants to think of torrential rain, high winds, or hail on their wedding day, but nature is uncontrollable. The most skilled wedding coordinator cannot guarantee you a bright, sunny ceremony. They can, however, make strong recommendations for your day as well as create a rain or inclement weather alternative plan. Listen to them. Even if it has rained all day and suddenly stops 10 minutes before your ceremony the grass will be soaked, there could be mud issues, and your dress could get ruined before your take your first set of formal photos. Listen to your wedding coordinator even if it doesn’t match your ideal ceremony plans.
- Not having a solid budget before signing contracts – Talk with your fiancé about your money, where it is coming from, and what parts of the day are most important to each of you. While you think a photographer is most important, your fiancé may think a DJ that can really make the reception a celebration is far more important. To avoid financial strain, arguments, and later discourse, set a budget. If a vendor that you desire is above your budget, but you both still would like to book with them, agree where that extra money is coming from before signing a contract.
- Not feeding your guests in a timely manner – Most receptions in the midwest follow a simple pattern of introductions, speeches, meal, and dancing. However, on the East coast, the timing is very different. From the moment you sit down with your venue, lay out a solid plan for the comfort of your guests. An elderly, diabetic grandmother may collapse from insulin issues if there has been no food available until 8pm and she has taken part in the champagne toast. Your guests are celebrating with you the entire day and will need energy to dance the night away!
- Poor timing – Whether it is not allowing enough time hair and makeup or leaving too little time for your photography photo list, timing is key. Create a skeleton of a timeline with your venue and review it with every vendor to coordinate the amount of time that they need and want to accomplish the tasks required that day. Each one will have insight to your timeline that is crucial to a smooth day. After the timeline is firm, share it with all pertinent individuals including wedding party and family involved in family photos.
- Not trusting your vendors – It is understandable for a couple to be anxious about their day going smoothly. Checking in here and there with an occasional email or a final meeting is perfectly understandable. However, trust your vendors unless they have given you true reasons not to. Second guessing hair and makeup by your artist who has already executed the perfect practice hair is not needed. Asking your photographer whether or not they have gotten this shot or that shot (especially photos that are common) is going to distract them. Questioning your DJ to see his entire playlist for the whole night won’t work as he will be reading the crowd to keep the dance floor full. Mothers, bridesmaids, and the two of you should all relax and enjoy the day to the best of your abilities. The professionals that you have hired want your day to be as amazing as you do.
- Not allowing for the random issues – Your programs were left at the hotel. This is not a state of emergency. One of the bridesmaid’s bouquets dripped water down the front of the dress prior to the ceremony. It will dry. Small issues can seem so much larger on a wedding day. Accept that something somewhere will go wrong, but as long as you get to say “I do”, your day is wonderful!
- Not getting all the details from your vendors – Did your catering promise you free cake cutting, but it isn’t in the contract? Request they send you the correction in writing. Did the videographer offer a free highlight reel, but it is missing? Getting the details on paper is crucial. You will be seeing many, many vendors while making your decisions and it is imperative that you can clearly see the terms of your contract before signing it. You may be mistaken and have been offered a print credit with a photographer that you did NOT book, but thought that your contracted photographer offered it. Be understanding that unless you have something in writing in a contract or email, you may also be mistaken. Bride brain is a real issue, but can be prevented with careful notes and reading all the fine print.
- Not limiting speeches – We have all been to weddings where the father of the bride’s speech is 42 minutes long or every member of the wedding party is offered a chance to speak. While this may seem endearing in theory, some of the things said may be too personal for the entire crowd. Your caterer may be holding your food until speeches are done resulting in cold, overcooked meals. And your photographer may only use 3 photos of a 40 minute speech. Consider keeping the speeches short, meaningful, and to the point as well as limiting the alcohol of some of the more boisterous speakers until after they’ve given their toasts.