These days, there are a plethora of fantastic websites available to help you in almost every aspect of wedding planning. Across the web, you can get advice on all kinds of things, from wedding dates to avoid, to how to choose your maid of honor, but few articles explain what not to do. We spoke with the beautiful Maggie Richard, Owner of new event planning, styling, and design boutique, Maggie’s Misc Events, about the biggest mistakes she sees couples make in wedding planning, as well as on their actual wedding day:
Waiting until the last minute to hire vendors: This is one of the biggest mistakes that brides and grooms make. Waiting until the last minute “makes it challenging, because some couples start planning their weddings as far out as 17 months, and when you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of vendors already being booked. In addition, pulling things together quickly can cause you to not enjoy the process and leaves more room for error, especially if you are planning most of it on your own,” says Maggie. Even casual weddings take quite a bit of planning. “There are still a lot of moving pieces to work out even with fun, casual weddings.” Ideally, some of your big vendors (venue, planner, and photographer) should be booked at least 10-12 months out from the wedding to make the entire process, not just the wedding, more laid-back and less stress inducing.
Drinking heavily before the ceremony: You should definitely be celebrating on your wedding day, but drinking too much prior to the ceremony can cause issues. “When people are under the influence before the ceremony begins, they are less likely to be present or fully take in the gravity of what’s happening. Further, it can become problematic if the venue has restrictions and it can also make the responsibilities of your vendors more challenging.” Maggie recommends keeping the bar closed until the cocktail hour, because logistically, and from a liability standpoint, things tend to go smoother this way. Bonus – it will also save you money! Light beverages like Champagne and mimosas for the bridal party and groomsmen (and of course the bride and groom!) are fabulous while getting ready, but save the party for the reception.
Asking family members to do your vendors’ jobs: When there are too many “chefs in the kitchen”, it makes it difficult for your hired vendors to do their job. For instance, don’t ask Aunt Meryl to also bring her digital camera and take photos if you already have a paid photographer present. They may get in the way of the photographer doing the best job they can. “Trust the professionals, and try not to supplement with your family and friends.” Doing so can compromise the staff’s ability to do their job, and you don’t want your guests to have too much responsibility when they should be enjoying your wedding!
Having cell phones at the ceremony: Maggie recommends going “unplugged” for the ceremony, meaning that guests turn their cell phones and other electronics off. “Not having cell phones on during this time enables your guests to be much more present, and makes it a more meaningful experience for everyone,” says Maggie. Unplugged ceremonies are becoming more and more popular for this reason, and Pinterest is full of ideas about how to let your guests know via adorable signs. Your family and friends are there to honor you, so people will respect your wishes, especially if you announce them on a beautiful chalkboard sign like this!
Forgetting about the ceremony: Speaking of the ceremony, “Couples often get so caught up in planning the reception, that making arrangements for the ceremony can get put off until days before the wedding,” says Maggie. Readers, the processional and recessional music, seating plan, whether to have communion or not if you’re religious, ushers, and even vows are things that couples fail to plan for. Even if your main focus is on your reception, “try not to put so much emphasis on it that you completely forget the ceremony.”
Stressing too much about the process: Last but certainly not least, try to relax, and realize the purpose behind everything that you’re doing. “Don’t forget that this is one day, and it does not define the rest of your life. You’re about to marry your best friend, so try not to get too consumed in the process.” Maggie recommends taking some time off from planning, and putting aside time for just the two of you in order to remember the love that has inspired the occasion. “People aren’t going to remember if something goes wrong (and sometimes those things are memorable and even funny) – what they will remember is how your wedding made them feel, and how happy the two of you were together.”
For more wonderful advice from Maggie, and to learn more about her flourishing business, be sure to check out her website!
Photo by Annamarie Akins