I've planned over 50 weddings, and there are some regrets that many couples share.
Be mindful about what you can afford to spend, and don't waste your budget on unused party favors.
Make sure you take some time for yourselves on the big day to enjoy your newlywed feelings.
As a professional wedding planner, I have a courtside seat to the ups and downs that couples experience as they plan their big day.
Here are the top regrets I hear about and how to avoid them.
Be realistic and mindful about what you can spend
Traditional wedding planning may suggest you hire 15 different vendors for your big day, but that only works if you have tens of thousands of dollars to spend.
Wedding favors are often left behind
I've sent countless couples home with a box of forgotten favors.
It's not that the favors were bad or the guests were ungrateful, but people were often traveling and drunk or simply didn't want another monogrammed koozie.
Be mindful of what you buy. See if there is a way the favor could be used on your wedding day so it doesn't just end up in a landfill.
Don't burn yourself out with day-after activities
It's tempting to stuff the day after — or increasingly, the days before — your party with wedding-related activities.
If you get energy from multiple social engagements, then do it. Otherwise, it's OK to pace yourself. You don't have to attend every event.
Know why you're inviting everyone on your guest list
Every wedding is going to have at least one or two attendees the couple would rather not be there, but pause to consider your guest list if you're inviting five, 10, or even 15 people you haven't talked to in over a year.
Are they people that someone on your wedding board (financial contributors to your big day) wants to be there? Can you celebrate with them in a different capacity, like getting a meal together or planning a long phone call?
If you're having trouble coming to terms with the polite non-invite, consider that every wedding guest costs an average of $70 to feed — and that's before alcohol.
You may regret not having a moment alone together on your wedding day
Couples often tell me that they just want their guests to have a good time. But don't worry — they will. Who wouldn't have fun with free food and available booze?
Instead, focus on you and your partner. Take five or 10 minutes after the ceremony to hang out together and luxuriate in those newlywed feelings. Your guests will understand.
It's nice to give yourselves some time before jumping back into real life
Understandably not everyone can swing it, but it's nice to take at least one day off between the wedding-related fun and real life.
You don't have to plan a honeymoon — settling in at home can also be lovely. The goal is simply to give yourself time and space to embrace the new identity you've just created.
Don't let the stress distract you from what really matters
Wedding planning can be a stressful ordeal, but try to focus on the reason you're doing it in the first place.
Hindsight is helpful, but take it from me: If you've found someone you love enough to marry, you've already won at wedding planning.
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