The 20 biggest wedding planning mistakes

(By AMY EISINGER — | Posted: 4:00am on Jun 16, 2011)

These little problems can add up pretty quickly. fills you in on the planning mistakes every bride should try their best not to make.

1. You don’t stick to your budget

It’s simple: You have a budget for a reason. Prioritize early on what you want to splurge and save on. Do you care more about your flowers or more about the music? Having an idea of how high you’re willing to go in each of the major categories will also help you narrow down your vendors and negotiate exactly what you’re getting.

2. You hire a friend or family member as your photographer

We understand that your aunt or your bridesmaid’s boyfriend might be great with a camera – but at your wedding, they should be guests. Hiring a pro means all of your guests really get to enjoy themselves and it means you won’t stress out when you spot your aunt at the bar or on the dance floor when you thought she’d be taking photos.

3. You plan your own bridal shower or bachelorette party

Let your maid of honor, mom, aunt, close friend – or anyone else plan these events for you. We totally understand wanting a “no strippers allowed” bachelorette, and it’s fine to give specific guidelines. What you shouldn’t do is book the hotel rooms and write a detailed itinerary. Your friends will have fun planning, and take it from us – you’ll be better off having more time to focus on planning the main event.

4. You ask someone to be a bridesmaid out of obligation

Despite what some may say, you don’t have to ask someone to be a bridesmaid just because you were a bridesmaid in her wedding eight years ago. Take time to come up with your bridesmaid lineup – pick as small or as large a bridal party as you want, and only include your besties – you’ll have way more fun.

5. You decide to do your own hair, makeup or flowers

While you might be able to make your own favors or print your own menus, there are certain aspects of the wedding you should leave to the pros. Hair, makeup and flowers usually top our list. Having your hair and makeup done ensures you’ll look great from start to finish. And trust us; there simply isn’t time to do all of the centerpieces, aisle decor, bouquets and boutonnieres yourself.

6. You don’t have a Plan B for an outdoor wedding

Ask about rain plans when you’re checking out potential venues, even before you book. That way, you’re guaranteed to get something that you’re equally happy about, regardless of the weather. And consider other weather conditions – get heat lamps if you’re planning an early fall wedding, and offer paper fans in case of an extra sunny summer wedding.

7. You behave like a Bridezilla

As one of the cardinal sins of wedding planning, we think this one’s a no-brainer. Being a bride doesn’t give you carte blanche to behave however you want for the next year and a half. Remember: While you’ve got a leading role, your supporting cast are the ones who will make sure things run smoothly.

8. You haven’t thought about the ceremony too much

Even if you’re having a church ceremony and reciting traditional vows, you’ll still want to think about ways to personalize it. Don’t forget to plan your ceremony decor, the exact way you want the program to run and any music you want before, during and after your “I dos.”

9. You don’t write down your vows or speech

Even if you’ve practiced it in front of a mirror a million times, we’d suggest tucking a small piece of paper with your vows or speech into your day-of bag. You never quite know how you’ll feel until you’re standing at the altar, and you don’t want to blank during a heartfelt moment. Just think of it as your safety net.

10. You try on your shoes the day of the wedding

We know you want to keep your Louboutins in pristine condition, but try wearing them at least around your house for several hours on a few different days before the wedding to avoid painful blisters or pinched toes. Even if you’re planning on changing after the ceremony, you want to make sure you can comfortably and confidently walk down the aisle in your heels.

11. You pack for the honeymoon last-minute

Why wait? The trip is booked, and you’ll have enough to do the morning after the wedding without also trying to remember if your toothbrush and contacts are in your suitcase. Do yourself a favor and start packing about a week ahead of time so that all you’ll have left are the last-minute items.

12. You assume you’ll coordinate anything day-of

The only thing you should have to do the day of the wedding is enjoy yourself. If there are issues that simply can’t be resolved beforehand, try to hand them off to your maid of honor, mom or a helpful family friend to take care of. Better yet, look into hiring a day-of coordinator to ensure everything runs smoothly.

13. You haven’t thought about transportation for your guests

Whether you’re hosting your wedding in a major metropolitan area or having a destination day, planning out transportation for your guests is a must. Having the numbers of a few cab companies on hand will be a real help at the end of the night.

14. You plan to use an iPod for music

We know you’re super-picky about the tunes that will play at your reception – but that’s still no excuse not to hire a pro. Give your DJ complete “play” and “do not play” lists so you’re sure to get what you want. What you shouldn’t do is use your iPod and run the risk of losing your music halfway through the night with no idea how to fix it.

15. You do the seating chart last-minute

This one isn’t just a pain for you – it’s also an inconvenience for your coordinator and caterer. Hand in your seating chart one to two weeks before the wedding to give everyone adequate time to plan.

16. You don’t register

Even if you think you don’t need much, failing to create a registry means you run the risk of ending up with five toasters. Plus, registering is one of the wedding planning to-dos most couples say they really enjoy. Already been living together for several years and think you have everything? This is your chance to upgrade to nicer cookware and linens or opt for a honeymoon registry with your travel professional. Also consider signing up for a charity registry.

17. You have a cash bar

Asking your guests to shell out for drinks at your wedding is a major faux pas. If you’re on a limited budget, consider offering just wine and beer, or just a signature cocktail. You could also consider hosting the wedding earlier in the day or having a brunch reception, where guests are likely to drink less.

18. You don’t do any hair or makeup trials

Assembling your day-of look head-to-toe prior to the wedding is an absolute must. How else would you know that the magazine hairstyle you’ve been dreaming of just doesn’t look that great after all? Make it more fun by inviting a bridesmaid over or by having your mom put together her complete day-of look too.

19. You don’t have a day-of itinerary

Create a timeline for the day, starting from the time you wake up to the time you make your reception exit. Give the itinerary to all the major players, like your mom, bridal party and wedding vendors.

20. You stress out so much you don’t enjoy anything

Even though every detail can seem like a big deal, keeping yourself relaxed throughout the planning process will make it way more fun. Also, if you find yourself feeling all-consumed, take a break from wedding planning, whether that means hiding the wedding magazines or scheduling a weekend getaway. Get plenty of rest the week before the wedding, and make sure you have a bite to eat the day-of too.

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