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7 Tips to Avoid Wedding Planning Disasters

If you’re a bride or groom to be, you know already that planning a wedding is a huge challenge. There are so many choices, so many details to manage, and often, too many people giving you their opinions about your wedding. To help you out, we offer these 7 tips to avoid the worst wedding planning mistakes:

Tip 1. Leave ample time between your ceremony and reception.

When it comes to planning a wedding everything takes longer than you think. Even if your ceremony and reception are at the same location, you always need more time than you think to move people from one spot to the other, finish the formal photographs, organize the receiving line. So ask the experts, your wedding professionals, how much time they recommend for moving from ceremony to reception. Then allow a little extra. You’ll save yourselves, your wedding professionals, and your guests a lot of unnecessary stress.

Tip 2. Don’t hire amateur friends or relatives instead of wedding professionals.

We’re big fans of including your family and guests in your wedding, so go ahead and invite your aunt to sing Ave Maria for your ceremony. Just don’t have your photography loving uncle be your wedding photographer, or your cousin the home baker make your wedding cake. A wedding is a highly planned and complex event where you cannot expect amateurs and hobbyists to deliver professional level services. An amateur may miss some important timing, and worst of all, if something goes wrong, an amateur won't have a backup plan, which usually means that things will get worse.

Tip 3. Plan the ceremony location and details before you book the reception.

If a church wedding or another special location for the ceremony is important to you, make sure that you can reserve the right church or ceremony space on the right date first. Then book your reception venue and your wedding professionals. There’s nothing worse than laying out for your reception, photographer and all the other details, only to find that you have no acceptable place for your ceremony, because the nearby churches either aren’t available, or aren’t right for your family.

Tip 4. Have a plan for bad weather.

Of course you are hoping for a beautiful beach ceremony and a reception with dancing on the terrace under the stars. But always consider the worst weather scenario as well: what if it rains or snows? What if it’s swelteringly hot, or too cold for an outdoor ceremony? Make sure that both you and the event planners at your chosen venue have a bad weather fallback plan, so you and your guests stay happy and comfortable no matter what Mother Nature is doing outside.

Tip 5. Get all your “last minutes” done at least a week before the wedding.

When you're planning a wedding, your to-do list seems to grow by the minute. Without fail, some of those things will fall to the bottom of the list. But leaving something undone until the last minute guarantees that you will either have something critical forgotten or unfinished, or exhaust yourself trying to get everything done right before your wedding and will be too stressed to enjoy the day. So make your due date on all wedding tasks least two weeks prior to the wedding. That way, you’ll have enough time even for the last minute tasks.

Tip 6. Have a realistic wedding day timeline

Just as with your planning to-do list, wedding day tasks also take more time than you think. And if you fall behind schedule on your wedding day, there is no catching up. Your party starts and ends at the contracted time whether you're ready or not. So don’t crowd your wedding day with last minute tasks, or with any task that can be done beforehand. Get realistic estimates for everything you have to get done on the big day, so you can relax and enjoy every minute of the day, knowing you have plenty of time.

Tip 7. Do not try to please everyone.

Your wedding is a celebration not just for you, but for your family and friends. But often, too many of them have strong ideas about what they think your wedding should be like. Trying to make everyone happy is not only exhausting, it’s impossible. So choose your battles carefully. Maybe you can let your mother have her way on something that doesn’t matter much to you, but matters to her. But if something is really important to you, stick to your guns, and make sure that your wedding makes you happy in the ways that matter most.

So have fun planning your wedding and make it your best day ever, no matter what.

Don Fuchs October 7, 2014