Planning

5 Mistakes Brides Make and How to Avoid Them

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Even the most calm-under-fire bride can morph into a bridezilla when faced with certain stressful wedding situations. While there’s no real right and wrong when it comes to wedding planning, there are a few potential pitfalls to avoid to ensure you keep your cool – and keep your big day running smoothly.

Mistake 1. Underestimating Costs

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Financial stress is something that can really creep up on you – and linger long after “I do”. Without honest communication and compromise it can be a real trigger for arguments too, especially if you’re going to be left with a post-honeymoon debt. Once you have your head around what things actually cost, it’s easy to start adding up the ‘big’ items but the trick is to leave enough in the kitty for those things you may not think of straight away or you might want to add later as your planning progresses and your guest list increases.

Solution:

Be realistic, do your research and always read the fine print to avoid an unexpected blow out. Make a list of everything you might need and then divide it into priority/dream items and items you’re willing to compromise on or ditch all together. This ‘splurge and save’ list will be your guide throughout the planning process. Give yourself a rough budget and then start costing, itemising and refining your list.

If several items are really important to you, be willing to allocate a significant chunk of your budget to ensure they meet your expectations. It might be a couture gown, the best photographer around or snagging your dream venue at your ideal time. Also look out for seasonal deals including designer gown clearance sales and off-peak venue packages.

Figuring out how you are actually going to pay for everything is a big step. Are you parents pitching in? Will you need to take out a loan? Will you need to take a second job? Are there relatively painless weekly costs you can save on to help realise your budget, eg.  going out less, curbing your shoe habit, cooking at home more?

We find a visual chart or checklist can be really helpful for this. If it all seems too overwhelming, consider working with a planner who will help you research real costs and help you get the best deals.

Mistake 2. Not keeping an open mind

That mood board you’ve been working on since you were five may need a little tweaking when it comes to your actual wedding. If you get too hung up on replicating an exact look rather than giving yourself a few options, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Solution:

Working with wedding experts will help you find the silver lining in any ‘cloud’. For example, if peonies are out of season your florist will be able to show you some gorgeous roses that will also work beautifully. If your grown-up body shape just doesn’t suit the gown of your childhood dreams then embrace the chance to try new styles, or have a gown custom made. If your budget won’t stretch to accommodate the venue of your dreams, look at saving in other areas or consider changing your date to an off-peak time for a better deal. Alternatively, get busy checking out other similar venues – you might be surprised to find you discover a new favourite.

Mistake 3. Leaving DIY until the last minute

Real Wedding of Melanie and Lee. Photo: Mefoto - Cairns

Real Wedding of Melanie and Lee. Photo: Mefoto – Cairns

Indulging your inner Martha Stewart can be fun. In the early planning stages it’s easy to imagine all the things you can do yourself to cut costs and tap into your crafty side. However, when it comes to the morning of the wedding and you’re still madly sticking menus to card, wrangling unruly bunches of flowers and trying to act cool when you hear that the cake-of-your-dreams is still in the oven you might wish you’d left a few more things to the experts… or at least started earlier.

Solution:

Delegate, delegate, delegate. This might mean putting your project in the hands of a professional you know will get it done on time and on budget (yes, DIY can blow the budget too) or a trusted friend with a proven track record. For projects you do want to tackle yourself, allocate about twice as much time as you think it might take to complete the task. Ensure everything is done at least two days before the wedding. Those last hours will be so much better spent calmly attending to any last-minute issues, having your nails done or hanging out with your bridesmaids.

Mistake 4. Not providing enough warmth/shade/food/drink/information for your guests

Byron Loves Fawn Photography. Catering: Seawood Cuisine. Styling: Victoria Cameron

Byron Loves Fawn Photography. Catering: Seaweed Cuisine. Styling: Victoria Cameron

While it is your day, you want your guests to have a fantastic time too. And guests talk. If you don’t want to hear rumblings about how no one could hear the vows, the sun was too bright, the reception gave everyone pneumonia or your gran grabbed a burger on the way home, then take a few common sense preventative steps.

Solution:

Ensure your guests know what’s happening at what time and how to get there. This starts with your invitations which should include information on the ceremony and reception sites, starting times, dress code and gift preferences.

Always have an alternate venue close by for outdoor ceremonies and receptions in case of inclement weather. If you’re having a sunny beach ceremony, parasols or sunglasses are a great idea and look fab for photos. For a chilly winter’s reception think about cosy rugs or wraps. Many of these ideas double as bonboniere too!

Keep the food and drink flowing. Better too much than not enough. And this includes plenty of light cocktails, juice and water at the beginning of the night (guests going too hard too early can make for a very messy speech time) and ample canapé trays if you’ve having a cocktail-style event.

Mistake 5: Not eating and drinking

Nerves and adrenalin can trick brides into thinking all they need is a swig of Champagne to get them through the day. Sadly, not the case. Many brides also tell us they are so swept up with guests at their reception they don’t even get to try their own wedding cake!

Solution:

Supplement your wedding morning bubbly with a light breakfast and plenty of water so you don’t pass out during the ceremony. Then ask a member of your bridal party to organise refreshments to go round during the photo session which can involve lots of walking around, often in warm weather. Bottled water or juice with straws and muesli bars usually do the trick – nothing that will stick in the teeth or ruin your lippie.

When you reach the reception, make sure you make time to enjoy the cuisine with your new husband – you spent hours choosing it after all! By the end of the evening you’ll probably need a sugar hit so don’t let the plates of cake pass you by, even if it means asking your mum or maid of honour to cut you a slice!


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