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Getting married is an amazing experience, so of course you want every step of the process (and every moment of the wedding) to be perfect. But since this is probably the biggest party you've ever planned in your life, it's only natural to run into some hiccups.
We asked three experienced wedding planners who have done it all to share the most common mistakes they see brides make — and how you can avoid them.
1. They start working with their wedding planner too late in the process.
If you decide to hire a planner, then make sure to involve her as early on in the process as possible, says Angela Nevarez, owner of Baton NYC. Many brides wait until after they've already booked their venue or made another huge financial commitment before bringing in their planner. "What ends up happening is that brides misallocate their budget — for example, they put 80 percent of their available funds towards the venue and then only leave 20 percent left for the rest of the event. Plus, planners are usually savvier at negotiating contracts and can help get the best deal for their clients."
2. They try to appease too many people.
"When most couples start planning, they have a pretty good sense of who they are and what they want," says Nevarez. "But then your aunt wants to pass down her veil or your fiancé's mom wants you to do the things she didn't get to do at her wedding. Couples can start to lose sight of what their wedding means to them very quickly. Stick to what you want — too often brides become overwhelmed and try to please everyone and that is a mistake."
3. They don't work through their planner.
"Let your planner handle the relationship with your vendors," says Nevarez. "When brides start interfering with logistics and scheduling, it can slow down the process, stress you out and sometimes start relationships off on the wrong foot. If your planner tells you that something isn't going to work, trust her and work with her to find an alternative. Don't just go to the vendor directly and demand answers."
4. They get "blog brainwashed."
While blogs and Pinterest are a fantastic way to gather inspiration early on in your planning process, at some point you have to stop looking at them, advises Annie Lee, principal planner at Daughter of Design. "Don't try to incorporate every cute thing you see on Pinterest into your wedding," she says. "Think about what makes sense for your style and your venue. And once you've finished planning, stop looking for more ideas. Otherwise, you'll just keep second guessing yourself."
5. They forgo video.
"One of the most common regrets brides have is that they didn't hire a videographer," says Lee. "They're afraid that video is going to be cheesy or disrupt the flow of the wedding. But these days, videographers have very high tech equipment that's not intrusive or require artificial lighting, and no one is going to put a microphone in front of your guests and interview them. Having a recording of your big day is a great way to capture a lot of the moments that a photograph can't — for example a hilarious speech or a special song."
6. They can't get over little mishaps.
Don't let little things (or even big ones) get to you on your wedding day, says Lee. "I've seen brides be grumpy the entire time because they just could not get over something that happened. But remember, even if you know something went wrong, chances are no one else has even noticed. Think about all the wonderful and happy things that are happening, and don't focus on the one or two things that didn't go according to plan."
7. They worry too much about the weather.
If you're planning an outdoor wedding, it can be very stressful the week leading up to your event if you think it's going to rain. "But the further out you are from the day, the less accurate the weather forecast is, so don't waste your energy worrying," says Lyndsey Hamilton, Creative Director of Lyndsey Hamilton Events. And even if it the weather doesn't cooperate, you can still have a great time. "Make sure you put just as much thought into Plan B and feel good about it," she advises. "Don't let rain be a huge deal on your day."
They don't focus enough on the guest experience.
When you're entrenched in wedding details, it can be hard to step out of your own shoes and into your guests'. "One big mistake is that brides don't focus enough on the guest experience," says Hamilton. "A wedding guest might not recall the exact shade of your centerpiece flowers but if they feel well taken care of, they'll remember that your wedding was fantastic. Similarly, if you make them wait three hours between the ceremony and reception with nothing to do, that's what will stick with them." So make sure your guests feel like they were included and thought about during the planning process. For example, if you have an outdoor ceremony, welcome guests with some kind of sun protection or beverage, and if you're hosting a destination wedding, don't leave them trying to figure out their own transportation. "Of course how your wedding looks is important," says Hamilton. "But the experience is what really sticks with people."