THE 12 MISTAKES BRIDES MAKE WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING
Listen up, brides: The Robert Carter Photography wedding-planning class is now in session.
With more than 200 weddings under my belt, it’s tough to find a type of bride or disaster I havn't experienced. Below, I reveal the 12 most common mistakes brides make – and how to avoid them.
Here are 12 of the biggest mistakes past brides made at their weddings and how you can plan to learn from them:
1. Didn't give yourself enough time.
"We did not budget enough time for hair and makeup for bridesmaids, mothers, and me. I was last, and ended up being soooo rushed. I didn't even look in the mirror before we raced out of the house to get to the wedding (20 min late) which just added more stress to an already stressful situation."
"My makeup artist was running late and we ended up doing what we could with the time left, which is not at all what we discussed. Hello, purple eye shadow and huge fake lashes."
My takeaway: The first version of my wifes day schedule gave her two hours for hair and makeup, which is twice as long as she'd usually take for a special occasion. My married friends advised that you double even that time! If you're getting married at 4 PM, your hair and makeup artists ahould be arriving at 12 PM so you have ample time to get ready, eat lunch, and relax before it's go time.
2. Didn't place enough value on Photography.
"At the time, we thought of spending more on the dress and smaller things. Neither of these can make up for the terrible images we have to look at each anniversary because we went for a cheap photographer".
"We found a photographer with amazing images and was reasonably priced. Turns out, the images weren't his and we had photos that didn't meet our expectations".
My takeaway: Take your time when booking a photographer. Your photos are one of the only things you'll have to look back on in years to come. Do your research and make sure you place a higher value. Good Photography isn't cheap, Cheap photography isn't good".
3. Made changes day of.
"I had a simpler look at the trial and hated my bridal makeup day-of."
"I went a different direction with hair and regretted it too. Was too short, not the right curl I wanted, and I just ended up not feeling very 'me' on my day."
"Tried a new hairstyle and I never do my hair, even as a bridesmaid. They kept trying to fix it and I ended up hating it. I wish I just took it down, brushed it out and called it a day."
"Got my eyebrows done by someone who wasn't my normal girl and it didn't go well..."
My takeaway: While my wife wasn't initially planning on doing a makeup trial (again, budget!), She decided to foot the bill and do it so she can make decisions about and changes to her makeup weeks ahead of her big-day, instead of day-of.
4. Didn't get the photos you wanted.
"The pictures were stunning, yet I didn't request specific photos, such as a pic with my sisters or a group photo with all of the wedding guests."
"We didn't have a photographer for the rehearsal dinner which I regret!"
"Make a list of the photos you want well in advance! I trusted that I'd remember, but I wish I'd made a list and given it to someone I trusted to make sure every pic happened!"
"I only have one 'posed' picture of me and my parents and not with my best friend. I would give your photographer a list of must-have shots, both candid and posed."
My takeaway: We wasn't planning on doing many posed shots (we hired a documentary-style photographer), but wished we'd taken a few minutes away from my cocktail hour to make sure I have photos with the kids and key family members.
5. Forgot to prepare your own toast.
"We were living in the moment and totally forgot to do a toast to thank all of our guests for joining us. I've always felt bad about it."
"I wish I had written a little speech so that I was more prepared during our toast."
My takeaway: It hadn't even occurred to me to do this! Wish we had prepared a toast with my wife.
6. Didn't trust your own gut.
"I allowed myself to be talked out of the cake that I wanted, my mom hated my reception site, etc. We could've just saved money and headaches if we eloped."
"I let my makeup artist go way too heavy and didn't have the courage to say anything bad when she asked. Four years later, I can look back and laugh at it at least. Stay true to yourself!"
"I wish I took my jewelry off because I'm usually very minimalistic."
"Fell in love with my dress with a sash, but after alterations, I was told that I couldn't add the sash back. I should've advocated for myself better and insisted."
My takeaway: I stood my ground on a lot of wedding decisions (especially the fact that we're having a small one) and am lucky enough to have friends and family that stood behind most of my decisions. These served as a good reminder, though, to be my own advocate in cases where I may feel awkward standing up for myself.
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"Definitely get a second dress for the party! Changing into something fun and comfortable feels incredible."
"Wearing a dress for an hour in a shop is very different from wearing it for 8+ hours! I got a second, shorter dress for dancing, but, looking back, I wish I got something I would have been comfortable in the whole time."
My takeaway: My wife only had her wedding dress and high heels for the full day. Looking back she wished she'd have had maybe a second dress for later on, and most definately some flat shoes for dancing through the night.
8. Didn't take a moment to rest and breathe.
"I didn't have a plate of food put aside for me and my husband and we barely ate at the reception. Make sure the caterers or your friends make up a plate for you to eat later."
"Take 20 minutes post-ceremony, pre-reception to eat something, toast to Champagne, and enjoy being with each other."
My takeaway: I often hear about taking a moment to breathe before joining the party, but I'm not sure we wanted to do this! You'll think you have plenty of time to have a few moments with just the 2 of you, when in reality you wont. Not unless you make time for it.
9. Didn't ask for help when you needed it.
"100% I felt so much guilt asking for help and took on way too much myself the weekend of our wedding (*cough* hosting a cocktail party and doing all the catering myself for 120 ppl the night before)."
"I had my SIL be my coordinator and she got too drunk to stand before the wedding even started!"
"Hire a day-of wedding planner. I wished I had someone on the day to just make sure everything was executed."
My takeaway: I have a huge issue asking for help, and would rather carry all the weight than ask for someone to do the tiniest thing, even if it makes me unhappy. Leading up to my wedding day, I was mentally preparing myself for the reality of asking for help from family, so I don't ruin my own wedding day by pure stubbornness.
10. Got too drunk.
"Between mimosas getting ready, etc., by the time I was halfway through the reception I was spinning since I hadn't eaten anything."
My takeaway: Even though I'm not a big drinker, I found I'd already had 4 pints before dinner. You should plan on not having a sip of alcohol until dinner, at which point you can stick beer or wine, not cocktails, so you never find yourself in too deep!
11. Didn't hire a videographer.
"Not getting a video of the day. Biggest. Regret. Ever."
"I didn't video. Wish I had."
"I didn't hire a videographer but looking back on it I really wish I had someone there to capture the moments that went by so fast."
"Not hiring a videographer,"
"I would have fought harder for a videographer."
My takeaway: This was easily the most repeated piece of advice, but I won't be hiring a videographer because of budget restraints (we're already spending nearly half of our budget on a talented photographer). I may, however, assign a friend to film the ceremony and speeches on an iPhone!
12. Wasn't in the moment
*Even after all of the advice above, My dad wisely advised me, "Don't worry too much! None of it is important in the long run." As my head spun reading about all of your words of advice and mistakes, these comments kept me grounded:
"Overall biggest mistake was getting caught up in what I thought I "should" do vs. what I needed/didn't need to actually just enjoy the day."
"I was so scared about being a crying mess that I suppressed my feelings and wasn't fully present."
"Don't drive yourself crazy worrying about making mistakes—if you're married at the end of the day, nothing else matters."
Thank you to everyone who contributed, and feel free to add your take in the comments below! I love all the advice!
ARE YOU STILL SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER??