Though the planning process can be one of the most rewarding and memorable aspects of your wedding, there's no denying it can be one of the most overwhelming experiences at the same time. Each decision—from the dress to day-of logistics—takes careful consideration as the fear of regretting any detail (minor or massive) weighs heavy in every couple's heads. Fortunately, Martha Stewart Weddings makes a few things clear about wedding planning woes to avoid before heading down the aisle. The publication rounded up some of the best in the business to reveal a few mistakes you don't want to make. Check out some of the most common matrimony missteps below.
Overextending your invites. As difficult as it is to draw the line when it comes to your guest list, it's necessary in more than one way. One being your budget—you can't afford to entertain your entire hometown. Another is ruining the entire experience for your guests by crowding people into a too-small venue. Your guests won't be able to hit the dance floor if every square inch is occupied, and no one can actually enjoy cocktail standing elbow-to-elbow. A good rule of thumb is to always stay slightly under your venue's maximum number to ensure you have space to spare in order to accommodate all of your loved ones comfortably.
Leaving your guests guessing. This one is important on both sides—as much for the couple as it is for their guests. The last thing you'll want to deal with on your wedding day is an influx of inquiries (calls, texts, emails, personal confrontations) about "what time," "where," and "what to wear" from your wedding guests. By failing to give them the information they need, you're causing yourself unnecessary stress. Anticipate any questions and answer as many as you can ahead of time on your invite, wedding website, or by email. Give your guests even more info than they'll need (i.e. step-by-step directions because Google maps isn't always accurate) to help them come prepared and save them from worrying during your wedding weekend as well.
Allowing too many toasts. Opening up the mic to anyone is dangerous; everyone wants the opportunity to tell you how happy they are for you and your significant other. This will lead to an extremely long series of speeches (most people can't stop themselves once they're on the microphone due to nervousness or an impromptu decision to speak), and it will most likely be boring for the rest of your guests who may not know everyone at the party. Avoid a potential catastrophe by making a clear speech schedule for your planner, DJ, or band and the people you want to toast you. Give them a general idea of when you're expecting them to speak and stagger the speeches to avoid breaking up the party with nonstop narrative.
Booking before budgeting. You'll have to compromise all of your dream ideas if you blow your budget on one piece of the planning puzzle. By setting financial parameters first, you won't have to cut your guest list in half, choose a less enchanting venue, or skimp on other special touches because you failed to plan according to what you can afford when all is said and done.
Refusing to believe in rain. You'll be able to plan for almost every aspect of your wedding day, but the one thing you can't control is the weather. For outdoor weddings especially, you'll save yourself and your guests from the big bummer (that's an understatement) of being caught in a downpour by drawing up details for unexpected elements. It's extremely important to have a rain plan in order to decide where everyone will seek shelter and how you'll best be able to enjoy your day as if rain were part of the plan all along.
Holding hostages. This is a playful way of saying don't keep your guests captive for a party that lasts too long. As the saying goes, "leave them wanting more" rather than exhausting them until they're allowed to exit. A five-hour reception is the maximum allotted reception time agreed upon by industry insiders, so remember this timeframe when sorting logistics for your cocktail, hour, dinner, and dancing. As for the ceremony itself, if you're planning to have a lengthy one, do your best to be sure everything and everyone is sticking to the schedule to avoid starting the festivities off on the wrong foot.
For several more wedding planning mistakes couples make, head over to Martha Stewart Weddings, and give yourself another perspective with a few reasons why NOT to use Pinterest when wedding planning. If you're in the invite stage of planning, check out a few new designs from Paperless Post's 2016 wedding collection.
Will you use these tips to help you avoid wedding planning mistakes? What is the most common misstep you've come across when wedding planning? Let us know in the comments below.