When helping brides plan their weddings, the one question I get asked frequently is, "what are some things you have seen at weddings that couples should not have done." I always give my brides my full and honest opinion, but I want to add a disclaimer to this blog post. Your wedding is what you make of it. YOU do what makes YOU happy because ultimately that is all that matters. However, as I have gained more experience with wedding planning, I have seen things that personally, I would avoid. Here are 5 tips I give to my couples when they begin their wedding planning journey.
1. Don’t have an extensive guestbook.
We all love Pinterest, but sometimes it can take us down the wrong path when it comes to cute ideas for a guestbook. For some couples today, a traditional guestbook just doesn’t cut it anymore. They want something a little jazzed up, something they can actually use or display, and something they can be creative with. Understandable. You don’t want a book that is going to be stored in a box, collecting dust, and never opened again. However, here is where couples go wrong.
They try to do something too complicated. You don’t want to have a line at your guestbook table because there is so much included in it that it takes people forever to complete it. One idea I have seen is having your guests sign a puzzle piece and then put it together. Although that is an adorable idea, you do not want all of your guests trying to figure out where those puzzle pieces are supposed to fit. A guestbook should be a quick action so your guests can proceed to find their seats after signing.
Getting really creative with the artwork you want people to sign, but not having the right utensils to sign the artwork with. Unfortunately I have seen one or two guestbook artwork pieces that I know did not turn out the way the couple had imagined it. Either the names are smudged because the marker is not the right kind for that surface, or the names just don’t show up because the surface is too dark for the marker. Test it out! Make sure you have the right markers on the right surface so it shows up the way you want it to.
Having more than one guestbook. Although they are probably all very good ideas, you should only choose one. For starters, having more than one guestbook takes away from that one special creative idea that will be cherished forever. Second, it makes your guestbook table way too cluttered. Whatever theme or style you have for your wedding should be carried over onto your guestbook table. When you have more than one guestbook, then that takes up way too much space and doesn’t leave enough room for that style to be represented.
2. Don’t use your family as your staff.
This is as much of a special day for your family as it is for you. Find a venue that does the work for you, you won’t regret it later. I have been a guest to several weddings where they have the parents cooking the meal, their siblings are setting up, and their extended family are running around completing the odds and ends. You want your family to enjoy your day as much as you do. Your family loves you and they want to be a part of your special occasion, but have them be a part of the planning, not the manual labor. You may think that having your family do all the work will save you money, but in retrospect it isn’t that much of a difference. Their happiness is worth spending a little extra on a hired staff. Not to mention that if your family is stressed, you will be stressed, and there is no reason to be stressed on YOUR day.
3. Don’t wait till the last minute to make decisions.
When you start planning your wedding you typically have at least a year before you tie the knot. Although that may seem like a lot of time, couples often take that time for granted. They tell themselves, “I have a few months before that needs to be decided.” Getting ahead of the game is always your best bet. Plan ahead, make a monthly schedule of what needs to be handled each month, and stick to it. Our coordinators here at Four Oaks Manor are good about keeping you on track, but it is still important that you make sure you are getting done what needs to be done.
4. Don’t take things too seriously.
Yes, it is important to stay organized to make sure you eliminate any stress that comes with procrastinating, but it is also important that you have fun throughout this process! This is something that you should look back on and only have fond memories of. Being engaged is such a fun time because you get to plan out the start of your life with your fiancé. Don’t take things too seriously, don’t let your family take the fun out of it, and don’t forget that this is a once in a lifetime experience so enjoy it while it lasts!
5. Don’t wait to choose your songs.
Choosing songs is easier then couples make it out to be. Start thinking about your song choices when you first start planning your wedding. Start making a list in your phone or your wedding binder of songs you hear on the radio that you like. Make a list for your ceremony songs which should include a song for your grandparents and parents walking, a song for your wedding party and groom walking, and a song for the bride and her escort walking. You can combine them and have one song for everyone and then a different song for the bride, but either way, have a plan early on and know what songs you would like. Next, you need about an hour long of music selection for your dinner. Your DJ can help you with this or you can just choose a genre like jazz and play that through your dinner portion. Last, you need your dance music. This is the most important part because it’s what determines whether you have an upbeat reception or a slow one. DJ Crashers compiled a list of their the top 100 dance and party songs, which is a great place to get started. A lot of couples think that music is not as important, they put it off, and then have to scrounge something together at the end. Your music helps create what kind atmosphere you have, so keep your music in mind throughout your wedding planning process.
I hope these tips help you through this amazing time in your life! Couples who read this also enjoyed our Wedding Day Checklist!