A Wedding Planner’s Top Tips for Wedding Planning

11 Jun

6 Common Mistakes that Couples Make

130906-Riki-Wedding-4649Throughout my own wedding preparations, I found myself wondering how a professional wedding planner might plan their own wedding, and what lessons learnt from their day job they would apply to preparing their own big day. Jessica English, bride and wedding coordinator from Red Letter Event Planning, shares her very honest advice on how to make the preparations for your special day run more smoothly.

When a couple gets engaged, it’s natural to get caught up in the excitement surrounding the thought of planning the wedding they’ve always dreamed of. However, with a wedding comes expectations, and constraints. It can be difficult to maintain a budget and your sanity while counting down to the big day. As an event planner, and a bride, I’ve learned a few things that help that process along the way. Here is the best advice I can offer to someone in the midst of that process:

1) You shouldn’t DIY everything. While DIY is a nice way to add a personalized touch to a wedding and stay within budget, it’s not realistic to think that you and your bridesmaids are going to make center pieces, favors, decor, signage and napkin swans yourselves. You have enough on your plate, as does your bridal party. Setting out to do-it-yourself on every aspect of your wedding is setting yourself up for failure, and animosity from those you recruit to help at all hours of the night. Find an event rental company or event stylist that has on hand the items with the look you want to achieve. Renting is a good way to cut costs and ensure you get the vision you want.

Matt_Shumate_Photo_K_C-572) On that note, stay off Pinterest. I said it. Pinterest is a planner’s nightmare. It creates unrealistic expectations, disjointed theme ideas and breeds copying, instead of trying to achieve an original event that reflects the couple. Unless you have an incredibly specific idea you’re looking for, such as lanterns lining the aisle, just limit your time on Pinterest. The stars in your eyes will fade when your planner points out that your wedding board is an eclectic mix of nautical decor, rustic venues and glam invite options. Strive for originality and cohesiveness.

3) Have realistic expectations. Your wedding should be everything you’ve dreamed of, and your planner is there to help make that happen. However, we can only work in the constraints you give us. That beautiful flower wall you saw (on Pinterest) can not be achieved with the same grandeur for under $100. You don’t have time to DIY 300 favors and sleep. You can’t expect steak with a $10 per person catering budget. We make beautiful weddings, not magic, happen.

4) In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, hire a planner. You’ve heard it before – do you really want your mother directing the caterers where to go while you’re getting ready, and your soon to be father-in-law cleaning up linens while everyone else celebrates your union? No. Friends and family are guests, and should be allowed to enjoy the day as such. The same goes for the bride and groom! You deserve to focus on the first look, not the first vendor to arrive. A planner is there to take care of all the logistics from inception to the “I do”s, so that you don’t have to worry.

Matt_Shumate_Photo_K_C-1195) Mistakes will happen and things will go wrong. The beauty of it is that no one will know except you, your planner and maybe your groom. If there’s a cardinal rule of event planning, it’s to roll with the punches. Brides should take the same advice: if your florist shows up with ranunculus instead of peonies, or your bridesmaids have different earrings, no one will notice – unless you point out the mistake. So roll with it! Don’t sweat the small stuff. This day will be over before you know it, and wouldn’t you rather spend it relishing in the moment than yelling at someone?

6) Pick your big-ticket items. Too often we see brides wanting a $70,000 wedding on a $7,000 budget. It’s just not possible! You get what you pay for. One of the first questions a bride and groom should ask themselves when they begin the planning process is what is most important to them. For me, it was the venue and photographer. We spent big bucks on those and scrimped in other areas, such as favors and hair and makeup. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you’ll have to pick your battles.

Every wedding, and couple, is unique. It’s important to find a planner that understands your vision, and you mesh with well. Each planner, and bride, has their own experiences and input to contribute to the wedding planning journey. When you combine the two, you get a truly remarkable event to signify the beginning of an even more remarkable chapter.

Jessica-wade-18-2138244082-OOriginally from Chicago, Jessica English grew up in Boise, Idaho, and attended Boise State University while studying Journalism and Public Relations, graduating in 2012. She enjoys skiing, traveling, attending Seahawks games and being with her dog, Lola. She resides in Coeur d’Alene with her husband where she works for Red Letter Event Planning. Follow on Facebook,  Instagram (@RedLetterEvent and @JessicaEnglish35) and Twitter (@RedLetterEvent and @JessEnglish35).

(All images provided by author.)

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2 Responses to “A Wedding Planner’s Top Tips for Wedding Planning”

  1. Bliss By Sam September 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Yes! To everything in this article, especially the hiring a wedding planner part. Wedding planning should be fun and exciting, not stressful and tiring. And cutting costs by DIY-ing is one of the best ways to tire and stress yourself out before the big day.

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