There are countless pieces of advice out there from brides who have gone before you in the art of wedding preparations. As a vendor who has experienced hundreds of weddings first hand, I would like to share some of the most common mistakes I have observed. I’ll share some humorous (or horrifying) stories, and then suggest tips on how you can prevent the following mistakes.
1. Underestimating the Benefit of a Wedding Planner
Super into DIY projects and trying to be budget savvy? That’s cool, but I wouldn’t rule out a wedding planner (WP) just yet. You might have a gorgeous vision and even S.M.A.R.T goals to get you there. But the bottom line is, you don’t want to be dividing your attention and energy on the day you make the biggest commitment of your life. Here are some ways that a planner enhances your wedding experience:
- They ensure that your vision comes to fruition! A WP hears your ideas, finds you all the resources, brings and sets up the decor, and makes sure that nothing is missing!
- Your WP is in charge of your timeline, managing all the moving parts, and being a liaison between your vendors and key people. Can you be in 10 places at once while you’re having your make-up done?! Didn’t think so.
- One of their superpowers is their ability to mediate between conflicting ideas. Say you and your partner are having a disagreement about how the decor should look for the reception, or whether or not you will include a cocktail hour. A good WP will hear out both sides and offer a fresh idea or compromise. This is definitely a key player you will want on your team!
2. Not Making Announcements
Two Times Where You Need Transitional Announcements:
- At the end of the ceremony, the officiant should announce what guests can expect to follow. It should include the location of the reception and what time the cocktail and dinner hours start. If you have requested that we take family photos immediately after the ceremony, then this should be announced at the same time! That way, family members know to stick around before heading to the reception.
- During the reception, the DJ or MC is in charge. The DJ will be communicating to guests when to sit down for dinner, when the couple will cut their cake, and especially what not to miss.
Avoid What Happened to This Couple!
One time I shot a wedding that had no MC, and after dinner it was time for the bride and groom to sneak away with me to do sunset photos. It had been part of our timeline all along, but no one communicated to the guests that we would be back in 30 minutes for the couple’s first dance. When we got back from the magical golden field, half of their guests were gone! People didn’t know any special events were to come, they assumed it was wrapping up and just took off. It was super disappointing to the bride & groom to be missing people during that special moment!
3. Opening up the Mic During Toasts
Toasts can either get too roasty or too long!
This is a big no-no in my book, especially if you have an open bar! There is nothing more uncomfortable than a guest who has had way too much to drink, having the freedom to speak into a microphone! I’ve seen it happen too many times. A groomsman once got up, literally slurring his words and started talking trash, trying to be humorous of course but just made everyone cringe, including the bride! So, my advice is: keep your toasts to your maid of honor, best man, parents or pre-selected honorary guests. It is risky to open it up to anyone else who might take the slant of a roast. Another incentive to not opening it up is just to keep it short & sweet! Open mics become extremely long and guests have a hard time sitting through them patiently while they wait for the cake and dancing. Let’s be real.
4. Forgetting Ceremony Etiquette
The Top 2 Mistakes I See During Ceremonies:
- Remember to face each other, don’t face the officiant with your backs to your guests! Your guests traveled far and wide to witness this moment, and you might not realize, but it feels disappointing to them to only see your backs during the entire ceremony. Make sure you communicate with your officiant about the importance of how and where you stand so that your guests have a beautiful view!
- Go unplugged! Totally biased here but, have the officiant announce to guests before the ceremony starts that you have hired professional photographers and videographers. Have them please put away phones and cameras. All too often I am just about to get the perfect shot as the bride walks down the aisle, and then someone pokes their head and arm into the aisle, and now they become the new foreground to your gorgeous processional. Just some friendly tips for consideration!
5. Not Sorting out Family Drama Before Your Big Day
By far this is one of the most difficult parts of any wedding – family relations. And some of it is unavoidable. I’ve had brides who haven’t seen their dad in 8 years, and then he shows up to the wedding and everyone is out of sorts. Or the bride’s sister hadn’t spoken to their brother in years because of some conflict, and now she has to face him. I’ve had couples hire body guards for their wedding in case a fight breaks out between certain family members. It’s real! And it’s bound to be emotional or stressful unless we do our best to sort it out in advance.
- To encourage key players to address the underlying conflicts way before your wedding day.
- On your wedding day you shouldn’t have to split your attention between solving your family issues, wiping your cousins tears, and soaking in this beautiful, once in a lifetime moment!
When people ask me, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?!” I tell them a story about some major family drama. And let’s just say… it involved car smashing in the parking lot, a missing groom, the police, and a prank that went way too far.
So, I hope you learned from these top 5 mistakes that have happened at other weddings. May it set you up for a successful and glorious day when your time finally comes!