There are many small things that can go wrong on the wedding day. The flowers aren’t the exact hue you were expecting, the cake table linen is a few inches short of the floor, or maybe a skunk has conveniently drenched the outdoor ceremony area with its offensive odor. And while all of these stink (pun intended) to have happen on your wedding day, they aren’t deal breakers. The wedding will move forward, you will become husband and wife, and in two years, or maybe less, you will have completely forgotten the small mishaps. Let’s put the small things aside and focus on the big picture, what lessons can you learn now that will help you enjoy your wedding to the fullest? Here are ten mistakes most commonly made by couples as they plan for their big day.
1. Remembering that love is the reason you are here in the first place, nurture it.
Planning a wedding can be stressful and can tear you down at times. And usually, the person closest to you that takes the brunt of the frustration of the unanswered RSVP’s and impossible seating chart is your fiancée. Make an effort to enjoy your engagement, for it will go by fast. Go on date nights, take vacations, and if setting back the wedding date will allow you to enjoy your engagement more, then so be it! Love brought you to the place of planning a wedding, and once the wedding has passed, love will remain. Nurture your relationship as it evolves into a marriage.
2. Not understanding that nobody will know what you didn’t pick.
A wedding is a culmination of decisions determined by the bride and the groom. And with a world of inspiration and ideas at our fingertips, deciding between one thing or another can be difficult. Don’t let the choices that you have to make get the best of you. Your guests will never know about the venue that you didn’t reserve, the duo-entrée option that you decided to forego, or the bar package that would have annihilated your budget. Instead, they will see you on the happiest day of your life, in a stunning gown, and with a smile on your face. Guests are coming to your wedding to share in the happiness of the celebration, regardless of which choices you made along the way.
3. Not addressing an awkward family dynamic before the wedding day.
Let’s face it, there is an elephant in the room. And there is no better time than BEFORE the wedding to address it. Whether it be related to divorced parents, estranged siblings, or another smothered relationship in the family, it would be best to mend relations prior to the wedding day. Even if it doesn’t pertain to you personally, it would be wise to ask the individuals involved to find resolve in order to prevent any confrontation that might make others feel uncomfortable. If a resolution is not possible, then as the bride, take the precautions needed to separate the individuals that are at odds. As an example, if your parents are divorced and do not wish to sit next to each other at the ceremony, then decide who will sit on the first row and who will be seated on the second. Then prior to the rehearsal and wedding day, share what you have decided with each parent so that they know what to expect and so that their feelings will not be hurt. Of course, the wedding day is about you and your fiancée, but having negative vibes around you can impact your happiness. Drama is a fun killer, don’t let it stiffen your day.
4. Expecting nature to be on your side.
We live in the land of uncertainty; we can have a heatwave in February or find snow falling in May. While you are picturing a perfect, 74-degree cumulous cloud kind of day, Mother Nature may have something else in store for you. Never assume that you have nature on your side, and take precautions early in planning to prepare for a Plan B in case it is needed. That way, if an unlikely storm comes rolling through, you don’t have a bridezilla moment, freaking out that your wedding is going to be ruined. Always prepare for the undesired circumstance: excessive heat, endless rain, record-breaking snowfall, strong winds, saturated grass, and relentless bugs.
5. Deciding when it is a good time to stop pinning.
It is all so pretty, isn’t it?! The breathtaking tablescape with an elaborate floral runner spanning the 12-foot head table, the custom lettering on a hand-written invitation enclosed in a laser cut wrap and satin ribbon, and the swooping fabric throughout the tent with large chandeliers and a tall floral backdrop behind the cake table. It is all so darn pretty, and we want it all! And such the problem is created; the photographic nature of what we see online has created the unhealthy habit of relentless window-shopping. And like any other bad tendency, we keep going back for more. It’s perfectly fine to start planning your wedding with ideas that you find online, but at a certain point (usually, after colors have been selected, bridesmaid dresses ordered, and the look has been communicated to and priced out by vendors) it is time to stop searching for new ideas. Find confidence in the choices that you’ve made and stick to them. If you just can’t help yourself, add to your wedding through small details and personal touches.
6. Waiting until the last minute to plan and assuming that things will take care of themselves.
There is an elegance in being the laid-back bride, but not if panic is going to set in three months prior to the big day when you realize that you still have an endless to-do list. Even the simplest of weddings have nearly the same amount of work in them, so putting off the details of a 50-person wedding is nearly the same as putting off the details of a 300-person wedding. While you have hired wedding professionals to execute the specifics of your big day, they are not responsible for making decisions that make the wedding unique to you. DJ’s are not expected to select the song to be played during your father-daughter dance, caterers are not responsible for providing vegetarian meals if they were not informed of them in advance, and photographers should not be expected to know the specific family photos you want without an organized shot list. While hiring a wedding coordinator is undoubtedly a step in the right direction to keeping the planning and wedding day organized, there are still details that cannot be decided by anyone other than you and your fiancée. To prevent doomed stress, take planning in stride, making it a point to discuss all options with your fiancée and making decisions together in a timely manner. The to-dos won’t magically disappear before the big day, so you might as well not let them pile up.
7. Expecting that everything will go perfectly as planned.
The reality is, things happen. And there are two ways you can go about reacting to a wedding-day problem. You can freak out and start crying, making everyone around you feel uncomfortable, or you can take a deep breath, realize that there is nothing you can do about it, and move on with marrying the love of your life. While obviously, the second option seems more ideal, it isn’t so easy to stay cool when the wedding that you have been planning on for months suffers a mishap. You have to prepare emotionally long before the wedding day arrives, knowing that no wedding is perfect and that yours, like many others, will most likely have some unforeseen circumstance arise. Guests will not remember the details of your centerpieces, the song you walked down the aisle to, or what you served for dinner. However, they will remember seeing you and the emotions that you portrayed throughout the day. Everyone knows you are bursting with excitement and happiness to be marring your best friend. So shut away feelings of stress and concern, and focus on sharing the happiness of your wedding day with those you love.
8. Not remembering that your important moments are important to others too.
This day is undeniably about you, about the relationship you share with your fiancée and the family that you are starting together. But it is also a monumental day in the lives of your parents, siblings, and grandparents. The day you get married is the day that your immediate family gains a new member. For your parents, it is even more of an emotional experience as they toggle between memories of you as a baby and their daughter as a bride. Remember that small moments on a big day create lasting memories. One-on-one coffee with your mom before getting ready, a hand-written note for your dad to find in his coat pocket, or a special gift are all ways you can show love and gratitude to your loved ones.
9. Believing that you can DIY your entire wedding.
Where there is a will, there is a way…that is until you are sobbing on the floor because the floral arrangements that you swore you could make for your wedding tomorrow are turning out to be a disaster. There is a Pinterest Fails website for a reason, you aren’t the only person to be standing in the midst of a defeated dream. When deciding to make handmade items for your wedding, it is important to make sure that they are not time sensitive (like flowers) and can be rescued by a professional if needed. Save the crucial pieces, such as the wedding gown (girl, you know you have no clue on how to alter a wedding gown), bouquets or boutonnieres, and DJ’ing to the professionals. The professionals that service these areas of weddings are true artists of their trade, and will not leave you disappointed. Instead, focus on things that you can create easily that adds character to your wedding, such as a polaroid guest book, a photo collage, or a memory table.
10. Not appropriately thanking those that take part in your big day.
It goes without saying that everyone that participates in your wedding day, from family, to the bridal party, to all of the guests, should be shown gratitude and appreciation. Without them, the day would have felt less like a celebration and more like a fancy elopement. Express your love and thanks to family and the bridal party through personal gifts and notes. Be courteous to the rest of your guests by hand-writing a thoughtful thank you card, and sending it in a timely manner after the wedding.