When you start planning your wedding, it’s common practice to just dive in and start doing what you can. A few months down the line, you’re knee deep in confusing guest lists, venues that you’ve only half-reviewed and bakers you forgot to ask the most important questions. Before you start, here are some of the top planning mistakes and how to avoid them.

Wedding advice book

Not starting with the guest list

Not the most glamorous of places to start but the guest list is the most important thing you can start with. Who you can and can’t invite gives you an idea of the size of your wedding and everything about your budget will be based on this number.

Emily's Pantry - Brosnan Photographic

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Trying to do it all yourself

Planning a wedding can be very overwhelming and as one of the most important days of your life, you want it to be perfect. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help and trust it will be done properly. Involve your groom so that you’re doing it together and don’t be afraid to utilize your bridesmaids too.

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Trying to drop dress sizes before your final fitting

You’re playing with fire here. It’s important to have goals, but they have to be realistic so that you will stick to them and you will look fantastic on the day. This does not mean starving yourself or crash dieting ahead of your final fitting. Not to mention, your alterations bill will be sky high. Always get your dress in your current size.

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Blowing your budget too soon

It can happen. You might get carried away with an expensive gown thinking you have the budget before you realise that that budget was supposed to also cover shoes and accessories. To avoid this, make sure you break down your budget into exactly what you can afford to spend, bearing in mind where you’re willing to pull money from if one or two things are more expensive. Give yourself leeway but always remember just how much leeway you’re allowed.

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Hiring a friend instead of a professional

There are two problems here. Firstly, unless your friend is a professional and they really do DJ weddings for living, or are a professional wedding photographer, you may not be happy with the results. Just because they’re better than you at something, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re as good as a professional. Secondly, even if they are a professional, don’t forget you’re drafting them in to work on a day they would have originally enjoyed as a guest.

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Sending out your Save the Dates too early or not sending them at all

Save the Dates can be a tricky business. Once you’ve picked your date you might be dying to send them out. But once again, the guest list rears its ugly head. Although it’s not a formal invitation, it’s bad form to send a Save the Date out to someone who won’t get an invite so just be careful. Equally, it’s important to make sure you do send them out, as by the time formal invitations will be sent out, many people might have booked their holidays.

Save the date

Planning too much to enjoy any of it

There are so many thing for couples to have at their wedding, from sparklers and lanterns to photo booths and alternative guest books. But try to avoid picking too many things to entertain your guests. If you overpack the schedule you will cause yourself unnecessary stress about where all the guests are and how to organise everything and when to do it all. Yes, it’s important that your guests have a good time but it’s more important that you have a good and stress-free time. It is your wedding day after all.

Not taking regular breaks from planning

Particularly if you’re living with your husband-to-be 24/7 then it can be hard not to mention wedding plans at the very least, and pouring over bridal magazines with him for hours at the most. So much planning can cause tension and don’t forget: long before the wedding, there was a relationship based on anything but a wedding. It’s important to leave at least one day a week completely free of all wedding plans and discussion to focus on yourselves together.

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- Jenny Darmody

Image Credits: Advice book: Etsy | Table number: Elizabeth Anne Designs | Table: Weddingomania | Centrepiece: Melinda's Weddings | Save the date: Minted