Wedding planning can be stressful and it’s easy to forget something or encounter problems in the lead up to your big day. Having a clear plan before you even begin will keep you on top of everything, and this guide from our very own Hannah Wilkinson will show you the most common planning mishaps and how you can avoid them…

Not considering hidden costs

It’s so important that you’re clear from the start about what you can and can’t afford to avoid any disappointment. So many brides forget additional expenses such as dress alterations, gifts and beauty expenses, which can all add up.

Make sure that you ask questions whenever you book and buy anything for your wedding to reveal hidden costs or VAT that isn’t included in the quote. Bands, for example, can ask for more money if they need extra equipment at a large venue. Make sure you agree everything in writing beforehand so you don’t get caught out later on.

Similarly, factor in any overtime costs and make sure you know the rates you’ll be charged if the party carries on into the early hours!

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Inviting too many guests

Creating a guest list can seem like a daunting and impossible task, but don’t panic! Inviting the wrong guests, or too many guests, can lead to complications, so it’s worth taking your time with the guest list. Think about your wedding location – are you marrying in a small venue or abroad? This can determine how many guests you can invite.You don’t want to find out later that the venue you’ve fallen in love with can’t cater for your chosen number of guests. It’s best to have a rough number in mind when researching venues to avoid disappointment.

It’s also important to take into consideration your guests’ relationships with each other and whether it’s really worth inviting that friend who’s a badly-behave party animal! You shouldn’t be afraid to cut your guest list, so don’t listen to anyone who says you have to invite everyone you know.

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Having no back-up plan

We know you don’t want to think about all the things that could go wrong at your wedding, but it’s so important that you do. This could be anything from the band not showing or the caterers being late, to rain at your outdoor ceremony. Think of alternatives for each scenario so you’re not left panicking if things don’t go to plan. There’s nothing worse than being stressed out and upset on your wedding day.

Going over budget

Every bride needs to have a strict budget for their wedding, but it’s vital that you’re realistic when you estimate how much you think you’ll spend on the big day. If you can’t afford a massive wedding, don’t try and make it happen or you’ll end up disappointed and potentially in debt! Just because your budget is small, it doesn’t mean you can’t have the perfect day.

There are so many ways to save money on your wedding, from making your own decorations to having a wedding during off-peak season. For handy tips and ways to save, check out weddingideasmag.com and while you’re there, why not download our handy budget planning tools, too?

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Running out of time

It’s easy to run out of time when you’re organising your wedding, so start planning as soon as possible. Break things down into realistic weekly tasks and stick to it so you don’t lose track of time or forget something important.

Leaving things until the last minute, no matter how small a task it may seem, will only lead to added stress in the run up to the day, when you should be relaxing. Plan everything thoroughly and you’ll be able to enjoy your day feeling amazing and stress-free.

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Rushing dress shopping

For so many brides, the most exciting part of the planning process is the dress shopping. While it may be tempting to buy the first dress that you see, try and hold back from doing this. It’s important that you shop around to get an idea of the different styles and prices that are available, so you can really discover what you do and don’t like. If you’re still dreaming of that first dress after shopping around then you’ll know it’s ‘the one’!

Also, make sure that you don’t shop alone. Not only will this make the experience much more fun, but it’s also useful having other people’s opinions. People you trust will be able to tell you honestly what does and doesn’t work and they may give you some great suggestions, too. Just don’t take too many people with you – your whole bridal party might overwhelm you. One or two should be enough!

Be open to trying dresses that you wouldn’t usually pick – you might discover a different style, fabric or colour that really suits you and that you fall in love with. Don’t forget your location and the date of your wedding either when shopping for your dress. A beach wedding abroad in the Summer will require a different dress to a Winter church wedding. The dress that you choose should make you feel amazing – if you’re not sure about it, move on to the next until you find something you really love.

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Not being flexible

It’s great if you know what you want for your big day, but always be open to other suggestions and ideas just in case it isn’t realistic. Some venues have strict rules against having firework displays or using candles, for example, so it’s worth asking as many questions as possible to establish what is and isn’t possible and change your plans accordingly. Be flexible and you might actually discover an alternative that you love even more.

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Choosing bad bridesmaids

You may immediately think to ask your BFF or closest friends to be your bridesmaids, but make sure you really think about who will be the best people for the job before asking anyone. Upset or difficult bridesmaids can cause drama on your big day and make the planning process much harder, so making the right choice is essential.

Choose people you know you can trust and try to get them as involved in the planning process as possible, so they understand your vision for the day and what their role is. Consider your girls’ individual shapes and styles when selecting their gowns to avoid any tantrums, but remember that if you’re paying, the ultimate decision is yours.

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Choosing the wrong photographer

Your wedding photographs are one of the most important keepsakes of our day, so it’s important to research your photographer carefully. Your wedding album should be filled with gorgeous, happy memories so ask to see a portfolio of their work before you commit to anything. Requesting to see another couple’s whole wedding album, rather than selected shots from the photographer’s website will give you a feel for their style, the type of shots you can expect throughout the day.

Having a pre-wedding or engagement shoot is a great way to get to know your photographer before the big day and ensure you like their photography style. Plus, don’t forget to provide your photographer with a list of all your must-have shots well in advance to ensure you get what you want.

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Planning alone

Always ask for help and advice – no one should go through the planning process alone. Your family and friends will be more than willing to help and will probably love being involved in the planning of your special day. With the help of those you love and trust, you’re more likely to notice anything you’ve overlooked.

Don’t forget it’s your fiancé’s day, too! Most men want at least some say in the planning, and he may have some great ideas of his own! It’s easy to become a bridezilla and block everyone out, so if you find yourself panicking, remember to take a step back and remind yourself what your wedding is really all about – we guarantee you’ll have an amazing day!

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