As a wedding photographer that is currently planning a wedding myself, I've become extra attune to what works and what doesn't leading up to, and on a wedding day.
When you see as many weddings as I do, you start to see how making some crucial errors during the planning process can make your dream day feel more like a stress-filled dream that you wish you could wake up from
Here are some things I'm definitely avoiding on my own wedding day, and I highly suggest you do too.
1. Too much travel
It's exhausting, it's time consuming, and it just really sucks all around for everyone.
Planning on getting ready at one place, taking a 30 minute drive to the photo location, then again to the ceremony, and again to the reception? Stop, just stop.
The more you can limit travel the better. Having your ceremony and reception at the same place is a great place to start. If there's a pretty photo location within walking distance, even better.You will save money on transport, and can save on your photographer and videographer because you're not wasting the time you're paying for driving around.
And most importantly, you get to spend more time with the one you love.
2. Leaving everything too late
Whether that's booking your vendors, buying your dress, doing your tasting, or writing your vows, do it all well in advance. If you leave it too late, it's very unlikely you will get your first choice, or you'll just become way too stressed at the time when you should be the most excited.
3. Ambiguous invitations
Couples who are not clear on the invites about exactly who's invited may end up with a headache on their hands. When it comes to plus ones and children, whether people are invited to the ceremony, reception or both, and the time they need to be there, don't leave much room for interpretation.
Inevitably, even with the most foolproof invitation, you're still going to get some guests who just don't get it. So have a polite but stern email ready to go if your third cousin decides to add the girl he's been dating for three weeks.
4. Too much or too little time for photos
I recommend 30-45 minutes for first look and couples photos, 30 minutes for bridal party and 20-30 minutes for family photos. Add travel time on top of that.
Any more time than that and you're going to be sooooo over it. Any less, and you'll be stressed or might miss some shots.
5. DIY disasters
Brides and grooms often way under-estimate the time it takes and the costs involved to create their dream decor.
If you're a Martha Stewart in training, awesome, go for it. Just be aware of what you're getting into. It can be hours and hours of your time, plus, more costly than you think to source all of the materials yourself.
Often, it's more cost effective and WAY easier just to pay a professional. And that way, your DIY decor won't end up on Buzzfeed's next Pinterest Fails list.
6. Not putting someone in charge
For the love of the universe, you need to have someone to run the day. Yes, some of your vendors can help for sure, but often they have only a specific area of expertise or are only there for part of the day.
You need some to run it all. From setting up the ceremony, to running the ceremony, to ensuring everything is set up the way you want at the reception, to moving the gifts and cards to a safe place, to having the speeches and dances happen when they're supposed to. The list could go on and on.
I've seen brides break down into tears because things aren't running smoothly. Why? They assumed everyone would just know what to do. Nah-uh.
Have a good coordinator. Full stop. Or at the very, very, very least, get your bossiest friend to do it, and make sure they know every little intricacy of the day.