Top Five Wedding Mistakes

It’s this time of year clients start to second guess themselves about the decisions they have made.  My advice is trust your gut, and trust your instincts! In my 14 years of service — I have learned the client is always right.  However this topic made me think, What do clients regret? And, what do vendors see that they want clients to know? I asked some of my most favorite clients and vendors for some great advice I could share with you and came up with at “top five” list of “wedding mistakes.”   With that being said, this list is more general guidelines and very unscientific! The goal is to only get you thinking, and in the end — remember — it’s about love. In the end — you’re married! and that is what counts. Which leads us to number 1…

TOP FIVE WEDDING MISTAKES:

  1. Sweating the small stuff

Remember it’s about you and your Fiance committing to one another for a lifetime.  This helps you to not sweat the small stuff. Mom insisting you have a chocolate layer of cake?  Just do it. Your groom has to have the bartenders wear Philadelphia Eagles bowties? (true story) Why not?  Your Maid of Honor doesn’t feel comfortable giving a toast? Let her off the hook. The happiest Brides and Grooms I work with let the small stuff roll off their backs and remember, in the end, they are getting married!  That is the real purpose of the gathering.

  1. Trying to please everyone — it’s impossible

If you are thinking this might be contradictory to #1 on the list –you are right.  There is a fine line. And only you can decide what is sweating the small stuff and what is trying to please everyone!  One great example is many couples struggle with picking the “right” wedding date. Can Aunt Millie Make it? Cousin Sarah is due around that time!  My college roommate can only come in the summer months! How do you pick? My advice: There is a 100% chance that not everyone you invite will be able to make your wedding date.  So speak to those that are nearest and dearest to you, as well as coordinate with your personal schedule, and pick a date that suits most. Know that not everyone will be able to make it — but if your nearest and dearest will make it — then your day will be a good one.

  1. Not spending enough for an important-to-you vendor category

I meet with clients all day long and each one almost always has a category that is important to them.  Flowers, to photography, food and beverage. Whatever your passion is, I encourage you to find it and fund it.  I had one of my most favorite brides tell me she wished she spent more on the flowers and the arrangements were bigger.  Another bride told me they loved their photographer’s personality but didn’t love their photos but went with them anyways– and they regretted it.  While I hate to hear of regrets — I think one thing rings true. If it is important to you, don’t be afraid to splurge and cut out something else that might not be as important. Or, find a way to get the best, but in a limited fashion.  For example, go for the high end photographer, but maybe only reserve a 6 hour package. Or, love the dramatic flower look? Get a fabulous florist and do amazing arrangements on ½ of the tables and do a glorious candle arrangement on the other half.  Fell in love with a 10 piece band? Why not seek out a great 5 piece band at ½ the price without compromising with a DJ? Love a high end DJ? Then skip the photo booth. Life is about choices and I encourage you to spend where you love but do so sensibly.

  1. Not taking the good advice of your qualified vendor team

I heard from many vendors –and the biggest complaint was couples who invested in their services but then did not listen to their advice.  This too, is a fine line, as I believe the client knows their audience best but if several vendors are telling you the same thing — you should strongly consider taking their advice.  I had a client that was having an outdoor wedding and all the vendors told the client they needed more lighting than just lights around the perimeter of the tent. They chose to only go with basic lighting and all the reception photos after sunset were in the dark.  I also had a photographer that was trying to tell the client they needed time to get to the reception site before guests arrive to take room shots (set up of the room before guests arrived). They had invested heavily in florals and linens and the room was stunning! The client did not want to spend more for a second shooter and was unwilling to do photos before the ceremony.  While we got many lovely photos during the reception, we were unable to get many shots with the beautiful table settings that the Bride had so carefully planned over the 16 months of planning.

4a. Not helping your vendors help you

This was something many vendors contacted me about, and something we occasionally experience at Wedding Savvy as well.   You’ve gone and hired a fantastic DJ — everyone says they rock!! But if you don’t get them your music choices with enough notice — they will be flying blind.  One DJ reached out to me to tell me about a client who e-mailed him his parent dances while he was in the shower getting ready for the gig. He was (as all professionals do) able to download the songs, but it turns out he downloaded the right song by the wrong artist.  He didn’t have time to check with the Bride and Groom before the event because he was given the information too late. At Wedding Savvy – we ask for a copy of all contracts two months before the wedding so we can confirm all the right details. When clients don’t give us the cake contract or the floral contract — we normally track it down from the vendor.  But in some circumstances –for example — a friend is doing the flowers and they don’t get back to us — we are flying blind. We have no idea if the flowers on the table are what you ordered. Do your vendors a favor and provide the details they ask for. It is for your best interest, and will help to provide your vendors with the tools to make your wedding –AWESOME!

  1. Not setting a budget before you set expectations, book vendors, and invite guests.

200 guests for $10,000?  completely possible for a casual BBQ party.  Expecting a plated dinner with china and steak?  Think again. Many clients decide on the guest list before they figure out what they can afford with their budget.   Talk with your family and figure out the type of event you are comfortable hosting and then be sure your budget can handle it for your guest count.  Often times, before clients book us they reserve a fantastic reception site but when they add up the amount of guests they want to have there and then add in a photographer, DJ, florals — they are over budget.  Take the time to research reception sites and plug those numbers in a budget for the amount of guests you are expecting. Then, research Entertainment, florals, and photographers to see if you can afford all your top choices.  If not, are you willing to splurge on a reception site and scale back on entertainment? If not, maybe look into another site that is more in line with your budget that allows you to get all the top notch vendors you’ve been dreaming of.  We had a client that was in love with a garden site at the tune of $6000, but that means she couldn’t have the DJ, photographer, and decor that she was in love with. In the end, she chose a less expensive site at $2000 and was able to get all the vendors she loved … and she was over the moon happy!

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Raquel Shutt

Raquel Shutt is the owner of Wedding Savvy Inc., a premier full-service wedding planning company located in Annapolis. For more than 10 years, Wedding Savvy has been featured in many regional publications such as The Knot Magazine, The Washingtonian, and The Capital, as well as featured on We TV’s “platinum Weddings.”

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