When planning your wedding there are thousands of questions you will have to consider. What will your bridesmaids dresses look like, what will your center pieces be, or what will be your first dance song?
With everything you have to plan, sometimes it can be easy for a few key things to slip through the cracks. Here are 10 of the most important things couples often overlook when planning their wedding.
1. Hiring a Wedding Planner
A good wedding planner is worth their weight in gold. They can take a lot of pressure and stress off the couple on the wedding day. I realize not everyone can afford to hire a wedding planner, so in that case I would recommend enlisting the help of your family and close friends. Give them a job to do and be specific as to what you want. It can even be a good idea to just have a couple of people to be assigned to "gopher" duty. He or she can be your runner and get stuff you need the day of the wedding which frees you up to focus on the important stuff.
2. Not Prioritizing the important stuff
The old cliche of your wedding day flying by so fast is very true. Make sure you do the most important things earlier in the night. Things will almost always take longer than you think and the wedding will probably not start on time. If you have a photographer or videographer for a limited number of hours you may want to plan out the day with them so that they can capture the moments that are most important to you. During the reception, prioritize what is most important to you and do that. Your guests will fill in and do what you do. If you want to dance, get on the dance floor and your guests will join you. If you want to chat, make time in the schedule for conversing with your guests. If you want to get really great sunset photos, make sure you plan time in the schedule to do that and tell all of your vendors so they can help make sure it happens.
3. Expect that something will go wrong
Chances are more likely than not that a friend or relative will embarrass you, a vendor (not us) will mess something up, there will be some sort of miscommunication or misunderstanding that causes an issue. Assuming that something will go wrong or not as planned will allow you to have more prospective and enjoy the day more.
4. Forget to Eat, Drink too much, or Not Enough
Your wedding day will fly by and your adrenaline will be pumping. You're probably going to feel anxious, excited, overjoyed, and many other different emotions all at once. You need to make sure you have a plan to eat something. It's a long day. Make sure you have the energy to enjoy yourself by eating some food, pacing yourself when drinking alcohol, and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. I've been to plenty of weddings where one or both of the newlyweds were completely exhausted, hangry, or trashed by the time it came to the dancing portion of the night. Don't let that be you.
5. Toasts, Speeches, Blessings
Sometimes couples overlook planning enough time for the toasts, speeches, and or a blessing and so the dinner can get served cold. Sometimes couples forget to ask people to give a toast or a blessing and so no one is prepared. But the biggest thing I see is making sure that the people giving the toasts are practiced, prepared, and use the microphone correctly. Nearly 8 out of 10 weddings I attend someone giving a speech decides to "wing it" and so they either are so nervous they barely say anything or they are anxious and ramble on and on forever. Make sure that you communicate with those giving a speech or blessing about how important it is to prepare, practice, and keep it short but sweet.
6. Have a plan for talking to your guests
I'm a big talker, my wife is not. So, my biggest regret was not planning enough social time at our wedding. In hindsight I really should have set aside more time to interact socially with my guests. One of the best ways I've seen couples do this is to actually eat dinner during the cocktail hour (privately in a separate room). Then when dinner is served they walk around to all of the tables to talk with their guests. It works out great too for guests who you don't want to speak with for very long because they will be hungry and want to eat. Whether you do a receiving line, walk around to the tables, or plan a special other event around the wedding weekend, make sure you have a plan for talking to your guests if this is a priority for you.
7. Having a Kid Policy or Planned Activities for Kids
Kids are great! But weddings can be difficult for kids (especially when they're younger). There is a lot of sitting and being quiet involved. The best weddings I've seen either have a kid policy for not allowing kids to attend or they have a planned activity for the kids who do attend. Whatever you decide, it might be something you want to consider when planning your wedding.
8. Having a Plan for the other Events Surrounding the Wedding
This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with number 2 and number 6. Your guests from out of town will appreciate some planned activities and some unplanned options in the area to visit and do. Having a rehearsal dinner is a great idea. Having an afterparty the night of the wedding can be great as well. If you're like me, you love brunch and rehashing the last night's events the next morning. So, I would recommend planning a group breakfast or lunch for the day after the wedding. It's a great way to spend more quality time with those who matter most to you.
9. Transportation Issues
Sometimes your venue can be hard to get to and even harder to find. I would hope you know where your venue is, but your guests have never been there before. Having some clear directions on your wedding invites and website can be a huge help, but better still is having signs made that direct your guests where to go is a lifesaver. Also, sometimes, couples will have a plan for their transportation to and from the festivities but not have a plan for their guests. If your event is in a rural area with a lot of drinking, you may want to consider booking a bus to take your guests too and from the hotel. This will save lives and will help encourage everyone to have a good time.
10. Tearing Down, Cleaning Up, and What to do with the Gifts
Most couples want to leave right after the reception, so it's important to make sure that you have a group of people who can help tear down and be responsible for your gifts. It is also important have a plan for what to do with the decorations. Whether you want to give away the center pieces, sell them, or keep them yourself, deciding this in advance will save you time later.