Early on, sit down with your fiancé and work out how much you can afford to spend and where to allot your money. Build in some room for surprises and extras that inevitably pop up. Your Wedding Planner should be able help you keep within your budget and negotiate better deals for you.
Don’t: Let parents take over your guest list.
In the past when parents footed the bill and the guest list was more Mum and Dad’s idea of a good party than including the couples friends. Times have changed, but that doesn’t stop some pushy parents from insisting on having the whole golf club or yoga club at the wedding. Your wedding planner is impartial and can help as a mediator between the couple and family if needed. Once you have a budget in mind, you can rough out the number of guests it’s feasible to invite. Then ask both sets of parents for invite lists, in order of preference, so you can cut from the bottom if necessary.
Do: Delegate your hen and stag nights
You’ve got enough on your plate to be involved in the planning of your hen’s night. And the groomsmen will definitely want to plan a good stag do.
Let your Maid of Honour and your bridesmaids organise the hen night, as is tradition. That way, you can focus on the million other things you need to do and actually worry about. If they need some help or advice your Wedding Planner may be able to help.
Besides, it’ll be a welcome surprise not knowing what they are planning and this will probably make the event even more fun. If, however, there’s something you’re dead against or know you won’t enjoy, be sure to let your hen’s party organiser know before her planning beings.
Do: Choose the bridal party you want
It can be tricky in choosing your bridal party. Should you choose relatives, friends or both? Some brides feel obliged or pressured to add people to the bridal party that they may not actually want.
There may be family pressure to add a cousin or sister and sometimes there is a pressure to return the favour if you have been a member of the bridal party in another wedding.
At the end of the day, the best choice is having who you actually want in your bridal party because they’ll be the ones standing beside you at one of the most important times in your life.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to avoid it, but try not to be (too) influenced by the wants of others. Use your wedding planner to mediate if there is potential for family disagreements. After all, it’s your day, and it’ll make a difference having your nearest and dearest present in the bridal party with you.
Don’t: Forget about your fiancé.
It may not seem like something you would do, but you can get sidetracked deciding on which flowers and colours and how they should be arranged and displayed when all our men know is that there will be flowers at the wedding. We are missing our regular TV and pizza night in favour of dress fittings. So remember: You’re not just having a wedding, you’re getting married—to that great guy, sitting on the couch, munching a cold slice of pizza. Using a wedding planner gives you time to focus and talk about your life together not just the wedding. Talk about what colour you want to paint the bedroom, what you want to name the puppy you’ll adopt—whatever. Anything but flowers and appetizers!
Don't: Make guests cool their heels for hours between ceremony and reception.
Sometimes it can be hard to plan a perfectly seamless schedule, especially if your heart is set on sites that are wildly inconvenient to one another or if your ceremony and reception times don't line up. But do your best. If you really must wed at, say, your childhood church, confine your search for reception locales to local spots. If that's truly impossible or if you can't avoid a time gap, provide transportation and/or a comfortable spot for guests to hang out while they wait.
Don’t: Let the drinks reception dominate the whole day.
If it’s too long, those in high heels will suffer and some people will drink too much. Aim for two hours maximum. This leaves time for photographs without being rushed. Note that it’ll take about 30 minutes to get everyone seated as half the guests run to the loo and half crowd the table plan.
Do: Plan your bar costs
Having a cash bar where guests pay out all day for part of the fun, is a recipe for bad feelings! However, having a free bar all day could blow your budget. Keep in mind that you don't have to have a top-shelf bar; in fact, there are plenty of other ways to serve and save. You could offer wine and beer only or create a signature cocktail. You might have an open bar during the cocktail hour only and serve wine at dinner. Ask your Wedding Planner and caterer to suggest lower-cost options.
Do: Avoid blisters
Take every measure possible to ensure you are comfortable on your big day. One way is to wear in your shoes. Sore and blistered feet are not pleasant, especially on your wedding day.
So, walk around the house and, if need be, invest in a shoe-stretcher. Your feet will thank you!
Similarly, try on everything you’re wearing before your wedding, including your jewellery and underwear, just to get a feel for, well, how it will feel together on the big day. You don’t want to find out that your bra digs into your back thanks to the design of your wedding dress or that your earrings are so heavy, they hurt. If you do it early, you’ll have time to find replacements.
Don’t: Be a Super-bride
It’s your weddings, your special day but remember you're still one woman. Super-brides—those engaged gals who devote every waking hour to wedding planning, brushing aside all offers of help—eventually run out of steam and end up near the big day with favours unassembled, invitations unstamped, shoes undyed, heads uncounted. How to avoid this fate? Call in a wedding planner. They are professionals who know exactly what they are doing and can ensure it all happens just as you want it to, so sit back and have your beauty treatments and toenails polished.