Congrats on getting engaged! Now it’s time to conquer the wedding planning process. As fun and festive as weddings are, there’s a lot of thought and care that goes into planning. Go ahead, wear a pink wedding dress, dance instead of walk down the aisle, break the rules! We’re just here to remind you that there are some rules that aren’t meant to be broken by even the most daring of brides. These are the BIG mistakes you don’t want to make at your wedding!
1. Having A Cash Bar
This is a huge no-no. Your guests have done their part by RSVPing and showing up to celebrate with you. Don’t dump the added expense on them. Plus most guests won’t be carrying cash with them to a wedding! Make sure they’re not in for an unpleasant surprise at the bar.
2. Inviting Someone To The Shower And Not Wedding
Ouch. We know not everyone can get an invite, but if you can’t quite squeeze Katie D. from college into your wedding day, don’t lead her on by inviting her to the bridal shower. Let your MOH know ahead of time who you’re planning to invite and who she should leave off of the shower e-vite.
3. Inviting Too Many Wedding Guests
Please, for the love of all that is good, do not put yourself through the stress of adding last minute tables or the embarrassment of taking BACK an invite. Just please, for us.
4. Not Accounting For Non-Alcohol Drinkers
Not everyone drinks, and that’s fine! Ensure that your caterer has sparkling cider on deck for the champagne toast, as well as a nice variety of non-alcoholic drinks. Above all, make sure the person or people don’t feel alienated. A drink station makes it easier for your guests, that are not partaking, to go ahead and serve themselves. Flavored lemonades are a crowd favorite for virgin drinks!
5. Writing “Adults Only” On The Invite
It’s 100% acceptable to have a child-free wedding. That’s your right, but letting your guests know, on the invite no less, that their child is not welcome, is NOT the way to go about this. Instead, make clear the names and number of guests you’re inviting on each invitation. To save face, Invitations by Dawn suggests wording your response cards as follows:
We can’t wait to celebrate with you!
Please respond by November 1, 2016
_______ Adults will attend
_______ Sorry to miss it!
Please respond by November 1, 2016
We have reserved two spots for you.
_______ Will attend
_______ Sorry to miss it!
6. Sending Your Invites Too Late
This one is a major faux pas if you’re planning a destination wedding, or if you have out of town guests who will be making a trip. You owe it to your guests to give them time to clear their schedule and line up their travel plans. Always send invitations no later than 3 months in advance for a destination wedding, and 6 to 8 weeks ahead of time for a local wedding. “Local” for a non-destination wedding meaning anything under 3 or 4 hours from your hometown. The more lead time the better!
7. Sending A Last Minute Invitation
This one goes along with creating a “B-List”. Everyone does it, we know, but that’s why you should always send your invitations early! If some of your closer friends and family can’t make it, you’ll still have ample time to invite some work friends you previously didn’t have room for. Make sure you send out your “last –minute” invitation no later than 8 weeks ahead of time. Remember, this person didn’t receive a save the date and may need to clear their schedule!
8. Procrastinating Your Thank You Notes
We know you have to get to your honeymoon ASAP, but do make sure to send out timely thank you cards. After all, your guests traveled to your wedding, bought you a nice gift and celebrated with you!
9. Not Tipping Vendors
SO important! Just like you’d never leave a restaurant without tipping your server, you shouldn’t leave your wedding without tipping the people who made it your dream day! Here’s a list of people you should tip and how much to tip them:
Planner: 15% or a meaningful gift
Venue Setup/Rental Staff: Tip the individuals $5-$10 per person
Hair and Makeup: 15% to 20%
Band or DJ: $20 per person in band/ $50-$100 for the DJ
Waiters: $15-$20 each
Photographer: If they do not own the studio, $50-$100 per person
Valet: $1 per car (assume that some of your guests will also tip)
Coat Check Attendants: $1 per coat
Bride & Groom Chauffeur: 15%-20%
Bartenders: 10%-15% (let your bartenders know ahead of time so they feel comfortable refusing tips from your guests)
Officiant: Make a donation to their church or place of worship of about $100
10. Big Gap Between Ceremony And Reception
Great events are all about good timing, and it’s never okay to keep your guests waiting. If you’re hosting your ceremony and reception at the same venue, this should be simple. However if you’re having your guests move from ceremony to reception ensure that transportation is arranged and that everything keeps moving swiftly following your ceremony.
11. Not Feeding Your Vendors
Everyone has to eat! Make sure your band, photographers and everyone in between has a meal for the evening!
12. Not Enough Food At Cocktail Hour
You’ve got a long night ahead of you so you don’t want guests getting too drunk at cocktail hour. The best way to avoid this is by offering enough food. People are typically starving by the time your ceremony is over, so make sure there’s something for them to pick on pre-dinner.
13. Not doing your rounds
You don’t have to have a receiving line, but make sure you and yours go from table to table saying hello and thanking your guests for coming. Every single person in that room is there for YOU so make sure to personally thank them.
14. Too Much Pressure On Your MOH
Your maid of honor is not a vendor you’ve hired, although sometimes it feels that way. She’s your best friend or sister or cousin who you’ve entrusted this sacred girl duty with. That doesn’t mean she’s your wedding planner 2.0! Yes it’s okay to ask her to send mass texts for you, plan your bachelorette party and help DIY a couple of hundred wedding favors with you, but don’t push it! Your MOH had a life before you got engaged, so don’t take hers over!
15. Including Registry Info On The Invite
Just like hinting that you’d rather receive cash than a physical gift, this one is T-A-C-K-Y. The only place your wedding registry information should be is on your wedding website. It is, however, acceptable to include your website URL on your invitation. Don’t worry; you’ll get your cheese platter!
16. Obligatory “Don’t Sweat The Small Things” Advice:
As cliché as it sounds, seriously don’t stress too much about the details. You’ve hired the best people to ensure that (almost) nothing goes wrong, and at the end of the day, you’re marrying the person you love and having an amazing party with everyone you care about. A smudge in your wedding cake or a rip in your veil is NOT going to change that!