Many brides start planning their wedding the second the ring is on their finger, but rushing your decisions can cost you big time. Here are... Read More
Many brides start planning their wedding the second the ring is on their finger, but rushing your decisions can cost you big time. Here are ten common planning mistakes and how to avoid them so you don’t lose sight of your budget (or your mind!).
MISTAKE #1: ASKING ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS TO BE IN YOUR BRIDAL PARTY THE SECOND YOU GET ENGAGED.
We know when you’re engaged you want to shout it from the rooftops. And that’s great! But it doesn’t mean you need to ask everyone who hears about it to be an attendant.
What it’ll cost you: Putting your whole sorority house in the wedding party will run you a major tab. Bridesmaid bouquets aren’t cheap. The average price of a wedding bouquet is around $75, so you probably can’t afford to buy one for every woman you’ve ever known. The gifts you will buy them to say thank you at the end of the wedding can quickly stack up as well.
How to avoid it: Don’t ask anyone to be in your wedding more than six months out, and determine the number of people you ask by what your budget allows, not by your cell phone contact list. If anyone hassles you about not being asked, just explain that you’re so excited to have them support you as a wedding guest. You can also think of other ways to include special friends, for instance, by having them give a reading during the ceremony or be in charge of the guestbook at the reception.
MISTAKE #2: SKIMPING ON THE FOOD
Just because it’s a buffet style wedding doesn’t mean your guests should be rationed portions of food. Nothing left for second helpings? Time to re-think the menu.
What it’ll cost you: If you think your future mother-in-law can be a little unpleasant now, just wait until you see her on an empty stomach. Being short on food is a big etiquette no-no. Buffet style dinners are fine, but you need to make sure there is enough food, plates, and napkins to go around.
How to avoid it: Work with your caterer ahead of time to make sure you have a menu that’s within your budget but still allows you to have enough food for everyone. There’s no excuse for adding filet mignon if it means you’ll have a limited portion. Food is one place where it’s best not to cut corners. Instead, try saving in other ways, like by throwing your wedding on a Sunday (cheaper than Saturday) or simply trimming down your guest list.
MISTAKE #3: BUYING A WEDDING DRESS ONLINE
When you’re looking at a gorgeous wedding dress online, the “purchase now” button can become mighty tempting. But if it’s a gown you’ve never tried on (or even seen in person), you should take a breather before you buy.
What it’ll cost you: There’s no way to know what a dress will really look like on you until you’ve tried it on. If the dress that arrives isn’t as lovely as you thought, you could be stuck with an expensive gown you’ll never wear. Even if you like the dress, unexpected fitting problems could mean hundreds in alterations.
How to avoid it: Two words: return policy. Triple check that the website you’re ordering from lets you return dresses if they aren’t as stunning on screen. Better yet, go to a bridal salon to make sure you get the real thing.
MISTAKE #4: CHOOSING OUT-OF-SEASON FLOWERS.
Before you set your heart on those pink peonies or Lily of the Valley for your fall wedding, keep one thing in mind: your budget.
What it’ll cost you: The average cost of wedding flowers is around $700, but when you start incorporating out-of-season blooms, which often have to be flown in from another country, the price will leap.
How to avoid it: Research is key. Ask your florist which blooms are in season or locally available during the time of your wedding to cut down on costs. And unless you’re really set on a particular flower, ask if there is another (cheaper) bloom that can stand in its place. For instance, pale pink peonies (available in spring) look similar to pink dahlias (available in summer).
MISTAKE #5: DOING EVERYTHING YOURSELF
You’ve started planning a year ahead of time, so you’ll definitely have time to do the bouquets, programs, seating cards, invitations, favors, welcome baskets, centerpieces, and guestbook.
What it’ll cost you: Whoa there, Wonder Woman! Wanting to be involved — really involved — in planning your wedding is a great idea. Still, you’ll want to keep yourself at least a little sane, and you may be surprised at how quickly those months can pass. You don’t need the stress of pulling all-nighters the week before the wedding to finish too many projects.
How to avoid it: It’s simple: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Pick and choose your projects wisely, and be honest with yourself about how much time you have to devote to them. For instance, if you work a 40-hour workweek and want some free time on the weekends, do you really have the discipline to come home every night and work on a few projects? Keep a few DIY projects and leave the rest to the professionals.
MISTAKE #6: HAVING A FRIEND BE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
You’ve got a friend with lots of professional grade equipment and a really great eye — you should just see her albums on Facebook! She’d be a great photographer, and she’ll do it for practically nothing. Sound too good to be true? It is.
What it’ll cost you: Though it might seem like a great idea, it usually doesn’t turn out well. When the wedding is over, all you have left are your wedding photos. You don’t want them to be blurry or out of focus. And who’s to say on the night of your wedding your friend won’t decide to act more like a wedding guest and less like the photographer?
How to avoid it: It usually just pays to hire a professional. Wedding photographers often offer several packages at different price points, so you can pick the one that suits your budget best. Look for packages that include a wedding album or other perks, like prints or small albums for the parents. Start this search early, so you have plenty of time to find the right person.
MISTAKE #7: HAVING A CASH BAR
You’ve already paid for the food, music, and venue, so can’t your friends just foot the bill for their own drinks? Answer: No.
What it’ll cost you: More than anything else, this one will cost you some serious wedding etiquette embarrassment. It’s not acceptable to ask your guests to pay for anything — ever — at the reception. It can make you look tacky or cheap — two words you do not want associated with your wedding day.
How to avoid it: If you’re on a tight budget, consider limiting the bar options to beer and wine only, plus a signature cocktail. You can also limit the hours the bar will be open (shorten your reception) or ask about using bar brands instead of top shelf liquor. You might even consider hosting an afternoon or brunch reception, so guests drink less. It’s all right to host a reception sans alcohol, but it’s never okay to ask your guests to pay for their own drinks.
MISTAKE #8: NOT CREATING A GIFT REGISTRY
Maybe you’re already living together and have had most of your household items for a few years already and just feel like you don’t need that much. It’s still better if you create a registry.
What it’ll cost you: Unless you and your in-laws have exactly the same sense of style when it comes to furnishing a home and kitchen, you should probably offer them a limited list from which to pick. Plus, even if you do really just want money, it’s still considered crass to ask your guests straight out.
How to avoid it: Just register! Creating a registry is fun for most couples (it’s like shopping but never having to pay for anything yourself!), and you’ll be happy with the gifts you receive. Consider creating a registry at a couple of stores, and include multiple price points to fit all budgets. If you genuinely don’t wish to receive gifts, consider registering with a charity or creating a honeymoon registry as an alternative.
MISTAKE #9: “SAVING” TASKS TO DO FOR THE WEEK BEFORE
You’ve planned well up until this point, and since you’re taking the week off before the wedding anyway, you’ll have lots of free time to wrap up the loose ends. Right? Wrong.
What it’ll cost you: Unless you really think the most “fun” you and your family can have is tying ribbons on 150 favors and shuffling last minute seating changes, there are better uses for your time. Plus, you don’t want to be tired on the day of your wedding or stressed about whether a last minute decor item will arrive on time.
How to avoid it: Last minute issues will always come up, so the best thing you can do is get everything you can think of done ahead of time. Don’t wait until the week before to do anything. Bottom line: You’ll want to have plenty of energy to spend time with your family and friends, so get as much as possible done ahead of time.