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Procrastination is a problem that comes back to haunt most brides and grooms in the month prior to their wedding. All those little wedding homework items you thought you could put off until later — because surely you would have some free time — will come back to bite you when you've crossed that 60-day out mark before your big day.
Even when you hire professionals to execute every aspect of your wedding day, there's still some homework brides and grooms should not ignore. There are some things that only the couple can choose.
Brides and grooms who put off the wedding homework get hammered trying to get it all done at the last minute, while doing the regular wedding tasks that come at that time as well. Guests who haven't RSVP'd must be tracked down once the deadline has passed. Gifts, arriving daily, must be acknowledged with a personal thank-you note. Dress fittings, shoe shopping, practice hair and makeup appointments, etc. all suck up time.
The three things my clients have consistently put off (and regretted) are as follows:
With only a few exceptions, all of my clients put off planning their wedding ceremony as long as they can get away with it. I think perhaps it feels like real homework to some, as they have to do some reading and thinking to make the decisions. Others are uncomfortable choosing the words to express what they are vowing, despite the millions of examples readily available out there. Whatever the case, those who wait too long always regret it, as it becomes a real chore at the 11th hour with the wedding planner and the minister both needing to know the game plan for the big day. Remember, nobody can run a wedding rehearsal if they don't know what's going on at the wedding. And nobody can choose vows for somebody, unless it's a particular religious tradition and there aren't many options.
Choosing the song the bride processes to, and the recessional after the ceremony for the couple, can be a real dilemma. Couples have to choose reception music too. When using a DJ (meaning there's an unlimited list of songs to choose from), they have to create a "play list" and a "do not play" list unless they want to see all their friends doing every line dance that was ever created. Couples who start early by writing down songs as they think of them, are much happier with the results.
Most couples who postpone planning the honeymoon are doing so because they don't know how much money they'll have left after they've paid for the wedding. If they know it may be too tight from the outset, better to consider doing a "mini-moon" for a few days after the wedding, and put off the real honeymoon until they have the money and time to do it. Those who rush to plan at the last minute often spend more than necessary and don't get everything they want.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.