Celebrating your engagement is an incredibly special time. But after the initial excitement has worn off a little, it doesn’t take long for the reality of wedding planning to well and truly sink in!
Let’s be honest – planning such a huge event is a pretty monumental task, from liaising with suppliers to budgeting for your day and communicating with guests. It’s no wonder so many couples feel completely overwhelmed before they’ve even really begun!
If you’re feeling a little out of your depth with this whole wedding planning thing, understand that you’re not alone. Wedding planning can become stressful without any kind of guidelines to follow, which is why we wanted to share our top 8 wedding planning “dos and don’ts” to help steer you in the right direction!
From task management and budget tracking to finding the right suppliers, keep reading for our words of wisdom to help you plan a seamless and stress-free event.
Don’t: Rush into Booking Suppliers
It can definitely feel tempting to just get stuck into your wedding planning right away. But slow down for a second, because rushing into making any big decisions can be a huge (and costly) mistake, particularly when it comes to booking your suppliers.
Remember, each of your chosen wedding suppliers will be playing a pivotal role in your event. It’s really important to take your time before signing any contracts or putting down deposit payments, to ensure you find the best vendors to suit your requirements.
Make sure you thoroughly research each of your potential suppliers during the early stages of your wedding planning. Browse their portfolio of work online, read their testimonials, and ask questions upfront to determine whether they are going to be a good fit for your day.
This is particularly important for vendors who you’ll be working closely with, such as your wedding planner, wedding photographer and wedding celebrant. You may even want to reach out to any friends or family members who have recently tied the knot to get some personal recommendations, or check out an online wedding directory to find trusted suppliers in your local area.
Do: Take Time to Figure out Your Priorities
Defining your overall wedding vision and figuring out your top priorities is the best way to ensure you find the right suppliers to bring this to life!
Knowing exactly how you want your day to unfold will help you communicate your ideas more effectively, and you’ll be able to find vendors whose style of work aligns with your vision.
Before moving forward with making any key decisions, you should first sit down with your partner and really discuss how you want your celebration to look and feel. What elements are the most important to you both, and what elements could you do without? Our free wedding vision worksheet is a great place to start when it comes to narrowing down your top priorities.
Creating a mood board on Pinterest is another helpful step to really hone in on your ultimate wedding vision. A cohesive vision board that clearly showcases your desired “look” for the day will help your suppliers understand exactly what you’re envisaging.
Don’t: Lose Track of Your Spending
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the wedding planning process is losing track of your spending. There are so many different costs involved in planning a wedding, and it can be all too easy to lose track of deposits paid and due dates for final invoices.
The last thing you want to deal with after your wedding day is a mountain of unexpected debt while you’re trying to relax on your honeymoon! Instead, create a spreadsheet or utilise a budget tracking app to record every deposit payment and wedding-related expense.
Make sure you clearly outline your due dates for each invoice, so you can plan and prepare for upcoming payments. You’ll also want to make note of any additional costs you may need to budget for after the day. For example, some furniture hire companies may have a cleaning fee for dirty items, or your venue might charge extra for rubbish removal.
It’s best to ask all of your suppliers upfront regarding additional costs to look out for, to help you track your budget accordingly.
Do: Create a Realistic Wedding Budget
The best way to stay on track with your spending is to create a realistic wedding budget in the first place. Remember, the key word here is “realistic” – you want to figure out how much you can actually spend, not how much you’d love to be able to spend in an alternate universe!
Try not to estimate or make guesses when it comes to your wedding budget. Sit down and go through your finances properly to create a wedding budget that you will both be able to stick to.
It’s important to ensure your wedding vision is going to be achievable within this budget, too. If you can realistically spend $10,000 on your day but your wedding vision includes a 10-piece band and a helicopter entrance, you may need to rethink your plans!
Once you’ve determined a realistic wedding budget, you can then start allocating funds towards each element of your day, depending on your top priorities. Be wary of those expenses that are often overlooked, like dress alterations and hair and makeup trials. A good rule of thumb is to allocate 5% of your budget to cover these miscellaneous costs!
Don’t: Feel Pressured by Outside Opinions
Something that nearly every bride-to-be will experience throughout the wedding planning process is the outside opinions of friends and family. Although they mean well, it’s important to remember that this is YOUR day – so ultimately, the only opinion that matters is you and your fiance’s!
Whether you want to plan an adults-only reception, a destination wedding or an intimate elopement, your wedding day plans are completely up to you. Remember, you’re only going to do this once, so try not to be influenced by outside opinions. When in doubt, keep referring back to your wedding vision to remind yourself of what’s important!
Do: Be Considerate of Your Guests
While it’s completely your prerogative to plan your wedding day according to your own personal preferences, it’s still important to be tactful when communicating these details to guests. There’s a difference between gently setting expectations, and being downright demanding!
Etiquette will go a long way when preparing guests for your wedding, particularly when it comes to those trickier topics such as kids and plus ones. If you’ve made any wedding day decisions that could potentially lead to awkwardness with guests, be mindful of the tone of voice and wording you use on your invitations or wedding website.
It’s best to take a polite and compassionate approach to communication, so consider how you can phrase these expectations in a more positive way. We have some great wording examples for tricky situations on the blog to help you with your phrasing!
Don’t: Leave Guests Unprepared
Have you ever turned up to a cocktail wedding dressed to the nines, only to be confronted with a rustic barn reception on the lawn? What about showing up without any money, only to realise a cash bar has been organised for the evening?
Neglecting to mention these practical details is a definite “don’t” when it comes to communicating with guests. There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable at a wedding, and leaving guests unprepared can lead to some really awkward predicaments!
Instead, put yourself in your guest’s shoes, and think about the details they may need to know in advance.
Do: Communicate Details In-depth
It’s really important to make sure your guests are well prepared for your day, and this essentially comes down to you giving them the right information.
Creating a wedding website is one of the best ways to cover all of the nitty-gritty details in-depth before your big day. Not only can you help guests prepare accordingly, but you can ultimately save time on communication without having to answer the same questions over and over again!
Consider utilising a wedding website to outline those practical details that won’t necessarily fit on your invitations, such as venue directions or notes regarding appropriate footwear. A wedding website will help your guests feel as comfortable as possible on the day, while also building excitement and setting the tone for your celebration!
Don’t: DIY Absolutely Everything
Taking the DIY route with your wedding planning can be a great way to save some extra dollars here and there, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of your sanity!
Putting too much responsibility on yourself can really turn your wedding planning into a time-consuming, stressful and unpleasant experience. While there are definitely some benefits to taking the DIY route, don’t feel like you need to DIY every single thing.
Certain elements like floral installations, lighting, AV and wedding day coordination are really best left to the professionals. Do you really want to spend the night before your wedding organising place settings for 150 people, or would you prefer to relax with a glass of champagne instead?
In many cases, hiring professional suppliers to take care of certain elements for you is well worth the investment when you consider the time and stress you’ll actually save along the way.
Do: Get Creative with Your Styling
While you should avoid putting too much pressure on yourself when it comes to planning a DIY wedding, that doesn’t mean you can’t put your own personal stamp on your styling!
Your wedding day should be a reflection of you and your partner, so DIY styling can really help to showcase this. Opt to DIY just a few elements of your day, such as your guest favours, candle holders or table numbers. This way you can still get creative with your styling, without having to be responsible for absolutely everything!
If you’re searching for modern DIY inspiration, we’ve recently blogged 10 of our favourite DIY wedding styling ideas to get you started.
Don’t: Leave Important Tasks until the Last Minute
Procrastinating on your wedding plans will only end in tears, so try to avoid it at all costs!
Leaving important tasks until the very last minute can lead to some serious panic and overwhelm in the weeks leading up to your big day.
For example, if you don’t book your key suppliers early, they could become unavailable on your wedding date. Or, if you don’t give yourself enough time to source and order your wedding dress, you may have to deal with some stressful last minute alterations.
Make sure you’re aware of when you need to complete each key task – you may be able to procrastinate on some elements, but not on others. Our 12-month wedding planning timeline should help you tick off your priority tasks first!
Do: Use a Task Management System to Stay on Track
To stay organised and on track, it’s best to set yourself clear deadlines. This way, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done, and when!
An online task management system is a great way to organise all of your wedding planning tasks in one easily accessible place. By setting yourself due dates and reminders, you can feel at ease knowing your wedding plans are on track. And let’s be honest – nothing beats that sense of accomplishment when you can physically tick something off your to-do list!
Get Hitched Without a Hitch
It’s totally understandable to be feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of your wedding planning journey, but it really doesn’t have to be a difficult process. In fact, it can even be fun when you know what to look out for!
From preparing your guests to defining your vision, keep these 8 wedding planning dos and don’ts in mind to help you bring your dream day to life, without any stress.
And finally: remember to have fun and enjoy the journey. Yes, there may be some hiccups along the road, but don’t forget what this day is ultimately all about – saying “I do” to the love of your life, and starting the next exciting chapter of your lives together!