Timing really is everything. And when it comes to wedding planning, this statement certainly couldn't be more true. When exactly should you send those destination wedding invitations out? And how far in advance is it necessary to secure hotel blocks? When do you start reaching out to vendors?
It's a lot to manage, but fear not—we're breaking it all down for you here, with expert tips from professional wedding planners, so that you can avoid some of the most common timing mistakes brides and grooms make while wedding planning.
- Erica Taylor Haskins is the co-founder of the NYC-based event design and planning company Tinsel Experimental Design.
- Dezhda "Dee" Gaubert is the owner of No Worries Event Planning.
- Rachel Jo Silver is the founder of Love Stories TV,
- Sandy Malone, the owner of Weddings in Vieques, is a destination wedding planner.
- Marilisa Schachinger owns Martel Event.
- Greg Jenkins is the founder of Bravo Productions.
1. Reaching Out to Vendors Too Early
Seriously, it happens. Erica Taylor Haskins, co-founder of NYC-based event design and planning company Tinsel Experimental Design has had people reach out to make inquiries before they're even engaged! Or couples that reach out with a wedding date three years away. "While flattering, it's a bit premature and takes up our time that we could be devoting to other, more timely clients," she says.
2. Putting Deposits Down Prior to Hiring Your Planner
If you plan on hiring a wedding planner, always consult them first before making major wedding decisions, like securing a venue, rentals, or hiring a florist. "Most event design firms also do in-house florals and recommend rental items as part of their contract package so this essentially duplicates efforts (and money spent)," she explains.
3. Procrastinating on Booking Key Vendors
Waiting too late to book your vendors, particularly for a high-season wedding, is a common mistake couples make, notes Dezhda "Dee" Gaubert, owner of No Worries Event Planning. If your wedding is in the peak season (for most regions, this is the summertime), and you wait until even six months prior to book a high-quality vendor, you may miss out on the best of the best, she cautions. "This includes DJs, photographers, coordinators, and some florists. "Suppliers that can handle a higher volume, like cake bakers, caterers, and some florists, can be booked closer to the event date, but don't risk it. Good vendors book up fast!"
4. Booking a Videographer at the Last Minute
Rachel Jo Silver, Founder of Love Stories TV, has seen this happen again and again: the bride puts having a wedding videographer under the "optional" column on her to-do list and then panics trying to find someone at the last minute when she realizes it's actually a must-have. In fact, not having a videographer is the number one regret she hears from brides, so take her advice and don't put this one off!
5. Sending Destination Wedding Invitations Too Late
According to destination wedding planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques, destination weddings have entirely different timelines for invitations (and RSVPs) than weddings at home. "Because everybody has to travel to get to a destination wedding, you should send out save-the-dates and travel information as far out as 18 months prior to the big day. Formal invitations can be mailed at the one-year-out mark, and they should still have an RSVP date of eight weeks from the date you mail them." Do not delay sending out your invitations or you'll have trouble planning and budgeting for all of your various events at your wedding destination, she warns.
6. Not Securing Hotel Blocks Early On
Waiting too long to book hotel block accommodations, especially in a major city, is a big no-no, notes wedding planner Marilisa Schachinger of Martel Events. "While it can seem like a simple task to put off until later, if a city is hosting a large conference or sporting event the same weekend as your wedding they may be completely booked even six-plus months in advance."
As soon as your date and venue are confirmed, Schachinger suggests locking in hotel blocks at two to three hotels to ensure your guests have plenty of options and time to secure their lodging.
7. Focusing Too Much on the Small Details First
Some brides concentrate too much on the "small details" from the get-go and fail to resolve some of the bigger planning elements until too late, says Greg Jenkins, founder of Bravo Productions. "For instance, deciding on napkin rings, wedding colors, and linens should come after you've already contracted with a venue and caterer."