Top 6 Wedding Pre-planning Mistakes To Watch Out For
Did anyone tell you that planning your wedding was going to be easy? While it is claimed that today’s bride in the tech savvy world of the 21st century now takes over 400-man hours to plan an Indian wedding. I think it's apparent why these pointers will help to ease the stress, from what can sound like a mammoth task ahead for the next few months to a year.
Believe me, weddings are magical when everything comes together. However, the lead up can be quite a daunting experience where all eyes are on you during the celebrations. Don’t worry, the small oversights will be forgiven by family and friends, because, in fact, they are generally a forgiving bunch, and some won’t even clock if something is missing because they are just happy to be there with you, sharing your special day!
Here's my list of top tips for those of you doing a DIY wedding...
Finalising the number of guests, plus/minus a few
My first bit of advice has to be for both parties, really needing to sit down with both sides of the family before all else, and put together a list of who is being invited and how many from each family, as this can help determine the size of venue you need to be looking for, and also impacts the budget in so many ways.
Perhaps at this stage a secondary guest list can be collated. If a venue has already ben shortlisted and there’s restriction on numbers of guests then this exercise will help. If primary guests decline the invitation, it can allow the bridal party to invite someone extra from the secondary list, if that is appropriate. Probably not wise to share this information with your guests, as they may get offended if they think they’ve been added through a secondary list - it’s quite a sensitive topic, where everyone likes to feel important.
At this stage to make things easier, it is wise to highlight anyone who may need a wheelchair or children/babies that require cots and high chairs. This information would be helpful to any venue hosting your events at some stage of the planning - enough notice means they will have time to arrange if they do not have the required quantities.
Decide on events and number of hours
It’s so important to decide on which events you want to host because each event cuts into the budget. The rule of thumb is that the longer the hours, the more your guests will eat and drink - so make this a consideration in your pre planning. Tradition in this day and age does not dictate that you have to make a huge event for every celebration - pick and choose the ones that you consider the most important and do these really well.
When it’s a destination wedding, the truth is that you will be expected to host your guests throughout, for breakfast, lunch and dinner whether it’s formal or not, so ensure your budget will stretch that far.
Also take into consideration the set up times and whether the venue will allow your vendors in early enough to set up and dismantle without additional charges being incurred by venue or vendor.
Setting a realistic budget based on your taste and desires
Every couple has a different idea of what their dream wedding will look like, no two are ever the same and so the man-hours plays a big role in logistics and budgets. Build an estimation budget using a wedding budget planner so you don’t overlook the essentials and keep a buffer of around 10-15 percent fo miscellaneous and contingency expenses. Read up and research online for an approximation of costs for each part of your wish-list. Venues, bar bills and catering are probably your biggest expenditure, ensure to work this out systematically and break things down to ensure no expense gets overlooked from changing rooms, to honeymoon suite, to canapés and champagne reception.
The frequency of the question asked “well how much will my wedding cost?’ is so dependent on many factors that it’s a crazy question to ask at the start, without having a very clear idea of what you want. As they say it can be a bottomless pit!
The value you put on each element of your wedding is a very personal decision. Whether it be that the flowers have to be flown in from Holland to get the best quality flowers, to reminiscing that you want to look picture perfect and so the expense on your hair and make up artist budget increases, or that the photography and cinematography must be of the highest standard because that is all you are left with after the big occasion…remember it’s your day and you get to decide what's important to you!
Plan for contingencies always
Why do you need to contingency planning if you’ve appointed great people around you, I hear you asking?
Well, with the best laid plans, even your wedding planner cannot predict weather changes and play God on the day in question, or control third-party genuine mishaps! The job of wedding planning does entail contingency planning but just in case you are a DIY bride we want you to plan ahead for contingencies.
What we mean, is a risk assessment process where if it rains, where will you host a planned outdoor event, or one of you chosen vendors arrives late, how and who will be responsible on the day to ensure things get done the way you want, or making sure you have surplus stock of alcohol available if it runs out and you are providing the alcohol.
Venue contracts that miss out the detail
A venue contract is only as water tight as you make it. If you haven’t insisted on putting the detail down on paper, it becomes your word against the venue representative, and worse than that is if the member of staff has left the organisation and you have no confirmation in writing and only hear-say, you can bet your bottom dollar someone else may not honour what you’ve agreed verbally.
Venue contracts give you some element of a safety net to safeguard you and your interests during the planning process. As wedding planning is one of the most stressful occasions you get to plan in your life, it helps to be a bit smart about these things and get things in writing from the venue co-ordinator in detail.
Discussions about numbers of guests, detailed cuisine, selection of beverage pricing and late night extensions, types of rooms and inclusions and what is not included should be standard protocol. However, many venues fall short of this basic requirement only wishing to discuss in detail the above once you’ve signed the contract. Take time to consider what you need from a venue and make sure you get it written into your contract before signing on the dotted line.
The last thing you want is having to compromise your occasion. If you can’t fit the number of guests for a seated dinner, or the menu they offer you after signing of the contract is standard mediocre and you had expected something more lavish and inspiring, or you can’t party until the early hours of the morning because you forgot to check if they had any restrictions. And in retrospect, you wish you’d asked to see the beverage list in advance to know that you were not being charged three times more that the MRP which really can be the case in India!
It’s all in the detail and clarity is a must especially in the Indian context. Take heed and be prepared to save yourself a lot of stress.
You send the Save The Date out to early without finalising the hotel and the events you plan to host
The moment you send a Save The Date to any of your guests, you can guarantee that you’ll have a bombardment of messages and calls asking about the details. Well you only wanted to pencil in the date you thought, so they can keep free on the day.
And though you have hundreds of things to organise in preparation of your fabulous wedding, the guest generally are interested in knowing the who, what, where and when. And if you haven’t answered these important questions then be prepared for the onslaught!
Guests mean well and don’t realise the stresses that go with the planning, so forgive them in their naiveness of making you feel inadequate if you don’t have the answers yet.
But I do suggest you wait to send the Save the Date and get prepared to send the details in succession of one another. Whether it be the accommodation card, where they will be staying or details of the hotel that they need to book detailing any discounts you may have secured for them. Guests really like to know where they are going and for how long, and what outfits they need to prepare for depending on number of events, and whether there’s any down time in between, how much time might they need off from work.
Hope you get my drift why to get all your ducks in a row before you start sending things out. Just finalise the main things that concern the guests and then you can work on the rest at your leisure.