Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dumb Wedding Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Everyone makes mistakes. When it comes to your wedding, mistakes can be costly and stressful. Here are the top mistakes brides make when planning their wedding and how you can avoid making them.

Being disorganized is the number one reason brides go crazy. Organization keeps the planning flowing and keeps stress at bay. Buy a wedding planner , wedding organizer or wedding planning software and use them!

Letting your guest list get out of control. Being the bride means that sometimes you have to be a strict taskmaster. You have to limit the guests invited because of costs and because of space constraints. If your future mother in law wants to invite her bridge club, her hairdresser and the garbage man, then you have to get tough. You have 75 invitations. You figure it out. Not 76, not 80, 75 invitations and we'll accommodate them. Your groom wants to invite his ball team, the guys in his fraternity and his friends from kindergarten. He'll have to cut the fat from his list. Allocate by percentages: Brides family, grooms family, friends of bride, friends of groom, mutual friends. Its a tough decision to figure out who makes the cut, but you have to control your guest list.

Not hiring professionals
to do the job is a huge mistake. Uncle Bill may be a camera geek, but can you trust him to take your priceless wedding photos? Read How to Hire a Wedding Photographer to help figure it out. Make Uncle Bill a back up photographer, but hire a pro who brings additional cameras in case a camera malfunctions.

Taking on too many tasks. This is a common mistake, the "I can do it myself better for less" syndrome. Maybe you can, but do you have the time to do it yourself? Do you
have the commitment to complete the tasks yourself? Sure, it seems like fun to print your own invitations, but can you follow through and finish the job in time? Or is it easier to just buy some rocking invitations and deal with addressing them?

Poor Time Management I'm guilty of this and its hard to manage your time when so many things are going on at the same time. You (and I) need to eliminate distractions, like texting, instant messaging, cell phone and other time wasters that keep you from getting the work done. Allocate a certain amount of time a day to accomplish your task, turn off all distractions, and get the job done.

Listening to your friends. Too many brides can't trust their own judgment, they trust their friends to guide them and end up being upset and frustrated. Sure, your friends have opinions and maybe some even have good advice to offer. Listen to their opinions, but trust yourself to make the right decision. Just because your friend had this and that at their wedding, doesn't make it the right this and that for YOUR wedding. Accept their advice gracefully and do your own thing.

Making the wedding the focus of your life. When its over, then what?
You are married. The focus should be more on the marriage than the wedding. The wedding will be history, the marriage is center stage for-evah! Take premarital counseling from your pastor or church. Spend quality time with your fiance. Spend less time dwelling on the party aspect and stop talking about it 24/7. It may be the focus of your life, but your friends and fiance will get tired of hearing about it. If the wedding is taking over your life, ask yourself "Am I excited about marrying the love of my life or do I just want to have a wedding?" The answer may shock you.

Going over budget and wasting time with unnecessary details. Your wedding budget is set for a reason. Its the amount of money you have to spend to execute a wedding and reception. Too many brides get so caught up in unnecessary details that bust their budget. Do you really need to spend hours and money on place cards, or can you just reserve tables for immediate family and trust the guests to sit with whomever they choose?
Get the idea?

Competition for the best wedding. Too many brides and their mothers want to trump every wedding they've ever attended. What's the point? Weddings should be personal, intimate and meaningful.

It won't make the marriage stronger, better or last longer because you:
  • A: Spent more money,
  • B: Hired a well known chef ,
  • C: Had flowers flown in from Hawaii,
  • D: Had your dress custom designed by Vera Wang.
I have a relative who mortgaged her house to throw a blowout she couldn't afford to impress the groom's wealthy family. The wedding cost 6 figures and the marriage didn't last long enough to pay it off. Have the wedding you can afford. Don't worry about any other weddings, concentrate on yours.

Not communicating with the wedding party. You need to let your wedding party know what is expected of them. They need to know that they are expected to pay for their dress, shoes and whatever other expense you think of when you ask them to be in the wedding. This gives them the option of opting out before things get out of control and you are dealing with a Maidzilla. Don't assume they'll figure it all out themselves. Don't assume they'll be able to afford all the extras you want them to wear at the wedding. Discuss it with them! Give them a schedule of dates and times you'll need them in advance to go shopping for their bridesmaid dresses, rehearsal time, etc. and then follow up with a call to make sure they can make it that day. Don't assume they'll get the email. Don't assume anything. Keep the lines of communication open without being a control freak.

Turning into Bridezilla. You know what I mean, if you feel it happening, you need to learn how to deal with wedding stress. No one likes a Bridzilla!

Not making decisions in a timely manner.
Too many brides have trouble making decisions. I've always said a bad decision is better than no decision. In wedding planning, you have to be able to make a decision in enough time to secure the vendors you want for your wedding, the church, the location and the dress. You'll avoid major disappointment and stress if you make a timely decision and stick to your gut feeling.
Every day brides come into the bridal salon who can't decide what they want. They have to keep shopping because even though this is THE dress, it's perfect, its the right price and needs minimal alterations...because they might find something they like more. When you find what you like, forgawdsake, stop shopping. The more you shop, the more confused you get. If you wait too long to order THE dress, it may be discontinued by the manufacturer, have a price increase or be unavailable in a short time frame. Or, you may have to pay extra costs for a rush cut by the manufacturer.

If you can't decided on a photographer, florist, DJ, or cake bakery, you risk the person you really want will be booked and can't accommodate your wedding. Disappointment and stress follow. Make a decision before another bride makes it for you.

I've always wanted to ask a bride: "If you can't decide what you want, how did you ever decide to get married?"

Not reading the fine print in contracts. When you hire a vendor for your wedding, read the wedding contract before you sign anything. Ask questions BEFORE you sign. This will avoid unnecessary surprises and conflict. Don't be afraid to negotiate with your vendor, and make sure ALL changes are noted in the contract. Don't expect anyone to remember what you wanted, get it in writing.

Turning into Martha Stewart.

Either you are creative and crafty or you aren't. If you are, fine, its OK to craft some details of the wedding yourself. But if you aren't, you suddenly aren't going to wake up with creative talent. Find someone creative, and pay them to do the things you can't do yourself. There is so much pressure on the internet for brides to become Martha and handcraft so many things herself. Why spend money on components to make something you can't do? You've wasted money, time and effort.

And then we have: Not having time to complete your Martha tasks.
When you tackle something bigger than your available time, you get stressed, frustrated and cranky. Mom nags, your friends nag. Arrrrggghhhh. When you go out with your fiance or friends, you see the judgement on their faces: You should be stenciling tablecloths, baking personalized cookie favors and hand printing the invitations. If your schedule is full, nix the tasks before you start. You can't make time when it isn't available. And forgawdsake, don't feel guilty that someone you never met on a wedding chat board is building her own altar for the wedding.

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