wedding planning mistakes

Wedding planning mistakes and how to fix them

By Terry Meadows

4-minute read




Are you having nightmares of disasters overshadowing your wedding day? Do you worry about unruly guests, upset family members, or vendors not turning up? 

Every bridal couple gets nervous about what could go wrong, but if you are prepared in advance, many of these issues can be dissolved before they ever develop.  At Zion Springs, we have held hundreds of weddings and helped brides and grooms overcome and solve their problems to ensure a dream wedding they can enjoy and remember with delight.  

In this article, we address the most common and some not-so-common issues that couples encounter as they begin planning their wedding give you thoughtful solutions on how to deal with them.

Common mistakes before you begin planning your wedding

Before you even begin the planning process for your wedding, you need to set your budget and create a calendar of events for each month leading up to your wedding day.

Failing to budget your wedding correctly

Without a doubt, the most important thing you must do before you do anything else is determine your budget.  Your entire wedding plan is based on what you determine you want to spend.  By having a budget, you can keep your costs in check.  

You might decide to adjust it later on by spending more on one item that is then offset against another item that has less significant value.  No matter the temptation, don’t blow your budget.  

It is easy to get carried away with the excitement of a beautiful cake or a gorgeous dress, but if you have a limit on your expenses, you are more able to manage those impulsive purchases.  

It also makes it easier when working with vendors, as you have a set amount for their product, and you are less likely to be subjected to upsold and pressured into spending more than you wanted.

Solution: Do careful research on what you can expect to pay for each item, and make a realistic assessment of all the costs.  Your budget should include hidden costs such as taxes, gratuities and fees, etc., as well as a contingency plan. 

Failing to use a wedding checklist

When do you get the wedding rings? How far in advance do you order your wedding dress? Did you pay the florist a down payment three months ago? Have you sent your shot list to the photographer?  You have left too much to do in the last few days.  

There are too many moving parts when planning a wedding for you to keep in your head. You need a way to keep track of what you do, when you do it, when it’s completed, and any follow-ups required. 

Solution: Creating a checklist keeps you on task by the month, the last four weeks, and the last few days.  With a comprehensive checklist, you can alleviate the stress that comes with planning your wedding.  You need to check this list regularly and keep it updated.  Keep a folder of all your notes and correspondence. 

If you feel that the planning and organizing of a wedding are too much for you, or you don’t have the time needed to dedicate to wedding planning, you can consider using a wedding planner, especially if you have a wedding larger than 20 people.  

Alternatively, if you want an absolutely stress-free experience where all your expenses are covered upfront and surprise-free, go with a truly all-inclusive wedding venue.

Mistakes when planning your wedding

As you move towards your wedding day, you are working with vendors such as the caterer, florist, photographer, furniture rentals, etc., and don’t forget to include service costs for setup and delivery.   You are also dealing with the requests and requirements of your family and guests,  and oh, will your dress arrive on time?

It is rare that one person can bring together an entire wedding all by themselves unless they are a wedding planner.  If you are working full time, you have even less time to devote to all the various aspects of your wedding.  

Be prepared to lean on others for help and to compromise on some hard and fast decisions by avoiding the following 7 mistakes:

wedding planning mistakes

1.  Trying to do it all yourself

If you plan on organizing your wedding by yourself, then you are very brave.  Or crazy.  Or both.  Unless you are having a very small and intimate celebration with just a few guests, you are going to need help. 

Solution: If you are having a wedding of 20 or more guests, consider hiring a wedding planner or using an all-inclusive wedding venue.  

If you are having a smaller wedding, tap into your family and friends to help you out.  It is a nice way to involve others in your celebrations, and giving them a task relieves the pressure off you.  

2.  Wedding vendor issues

There are so many horror stories of couples abandoned on their wedding day by a vendor who didn’t turn up, who didn’t provide the expected service, who overcharged with surprise hidden costs.  Your vendors are invariably one of the biggest stressors for your wedding. 

Solution: Don’t rush to pick your vendors.  You will want to research a number of suppliers and pick one that best suits your budget and theme.   And remember, cheaper is not always better.

A wedding planner has tried and true suppliers and their industry knowledge can be a helpful resource for you when picking out your vendors.

Draw up a very detailed contract with your vendors that includes:

  • Expectations of the vendor on your wedding day
  • Deadlines for deliveries of service
  • Costs, including hidden fees
  • Contingency plans for non-delivery
  • Contingency plans for inclement weather
  • Cancellation policies

If a vendor cancels at the very last minute, turn to your other vendors to see if they can call in favors from vendors they know. 

If all else fails, let your guests know what has happened.  They will be sympathetic to your situation and might even come up with a brilliant alternative. 

3.  Ignoring hidden costs

Did you include heaters for your winter wedding? What about wedding insurance in case you have to postpone? Who knew you had to pay for the tasting trial run? There are so many hidden costs, some of which you wouldn’t even have thought to consider. 

Solution: Get that contingency fund ready.  Anticipate you need about 10% of your wedding budget to cover unexpected expenses. 

Use a comprehensive checklist to account for all your costs, including things like gratuities, fees, setup, and takedown charges.  

4.  Not having a weather contingency plan

Brides often dream of a sunlit celebration with light dancing off her dress, maybe some birds singing in the background, and her handsome groom waiting for her at the end of the sun-dappled aisle.  In reality, it could be snowing, with a blizzard barrelling down the highway.  Or it could be such a sweltering humid day that even the candles are melting from the heat. 

Solution: Plan on inclement weather disruptions with your vendors.  Should you need to postpone your wedding, verify their terms and policies before you sign a contract.  

If you plan on an outside wedding, check with your venue if they can accommodate a last-minute dash for cover. 

If you have a winter wedding planned, you need to pay particular attention to contingency plans in case your vendors can’t access your venue.

5.  Not ordering the wedding dress in time

If you are buying your wedding dress from a bridal salon, you must anticipate it will take around three months for it to arrive back at the salon.  Usually, dresses are made (often overseas) with standard measurements for your dress size. You then schedule alteration appointments so your dress is tailored to your figure. 

Solution: Start shopping for your wedding dress as soon as possible. You need around six months for the dress and alterations.  

If you are getting married in a much shorter time, consider buying a dress off-the-rack or online.  You can also check out consignment stores or wedding dress rental websites.

6.  Worrying about other people’s opinions

Everybody has an opinion on what you must do for your wedding.  Many people are only too ready to tell you about their own wedding celebrations, and you may end up feeling pressured to live up to their expectations. 

Solution: Stop! Don’t listen, and don’t get swayed from your dream wedding.  They had their chance for their special day, and now it is your turn.  

While it is definitely worthwhile listening to suggestions and advice from others, make sure they are somebody whose opinion you respect.  It if is reasonable, then take it into consideration. 

Unfortunately, there are always a few people who will have negative comments to share, whether it is your wedding or somebody else’s.  It could even be a close family member.  Thank them for their opinion, and ignore it.  Keep true to your dreams.

7.  Refusing to compromise

You absolutely must have this, and you are not willing to forego that.  You are also setting yourself up for possible disappointment when things don’t go to plan.  Because a wedding is an assembly of many moving parts, one small hiccup could have a domino effect.  

There might be any number of reasons why you don’t get exactly what you initially wanted, whether it is because a vendor can’t provide it, it costs too much, or it’s not available that time of year. 

Solution: Remember what this day is all about, you are joining in marriage with your partner.  Be prepared to compromise.  (Alright, this holds true for your marriage too.)  Choose a few things that are absolutely important to you, and be flexible on the other stuff.  You will find your stress diminishes a lot.

Stay true to your overall theme, and make your decisions judiciously.  It is okay if you need to switch out one flower for another or go with wine and beer instead of a full bar.  You will not remember these things in years to come, and they will not define your wedding.

Avoiding planning mistakes on your wedding day

It is absolutely normal to be anxious about getting everything right as you plan your wedding. You want to have your dream wedding that is seamless, and yeah, just perfect. Preparation is everything and arming yourself with knowledge is where you begin. 

Using our checklist that covers all aspects of your planning will keep you organized and allay some of those fears.

If you’re looking for more information on avoiding mistakes, might we suggest checking out our articles on different aspects of wedding planning?