Updated: Aug 23
There are so many steps involved in planning a wedding. From choosing the perfect date to finding a venue that can host the ceremony that you have long been dreaming about, and perfecting your centre pieces, wedding planning can be an involved process. For couples that are just starting out on their journey of putting their big day together, the process can seem extremely daunting. But one of the best ways to get your wedding planning off on the right start is to pick up tips from those who have gone through the journey themselves. Through my experience in planning my own wedding and through my work and other colleagues’ experiences, here are 50 dos and don’ts to consider when planning your upcoming wedding.
(Photo taken by happywed.co.uk)
Wedding Planning Do’s and Don’ts
24 Top Tip Do’s:
1.Do throw the rules out the window. The first rule of wedding planning is to remember that there are no rules. It is your special day, and the important thing is that you make it everything you have dreamed of—even if that means disregarding the status quo or politely declining your loved ones’ opinions.
2.Do finalize your budget. This should be the first step in your wedding planning process. Once you have a budget, you can start mapping out the rest of the logistics, such as the wedding date, venue, and guest count. Though if your parents or relatives are contributing to your wedding budget, keep in mind that they are also entitled to an opinion in the decision-making. If someone offers to pay, consider asking them to put money toward a specific wedding vendor or detail where you are comfortable sharing control, such as the flowers, music, or attire.
Do include your wedding dress, tuxes, shoes, accessories, nail appointments, etc. in the overall wedding budget. This is often not included, and is such a large, integral line item/budget category that can cause you to unintentionally exceed the overall wedding budget.
3.Do start a Pinterest board. It will help you organize and get creative with or without a wedding planner.
4.Do get your ring cleaned. So, it is beautiful and sparkly for on the day.
5.Do put yourself first. Initially when planning my wedding, I kept thinking of all of the guests and what would be the best experience for them…but then I quickly realized it’s not about the guests, it is about my husband and I. It is our special day, not theirs. Turning your wedding focus to what you and your husband-to-be want/envision, not what your parents or your Aunt Cathy wants. This is a memory that you and your husband will hold dearer than any of your family members so make sure you are both happy with what you decide to do.
6.Do pause to enjoy the moment. If you have time to sneak away and just watch everyone, take a few minutes to breathe and watch your friends/family make new memories together.
7.Do arrange guest transportation. If possible, have a shuttle for guests to safely travel to and from the ceremony/reception/hotel. If this is not doable, have taxi information handy or encourage Lifts or Ubers.
8.Do spend more money on a photographer and videographer than flowers. Flowers die and no one truly remember the flowers at your wedding. However, photos and a video will last forever and can capture memories that you will have forever to hang in the hallway of your home to show your grandkids one day.
9.Do consider a first look. If not sure what this is it is also called the pre-reveal a ‘first look’ is when a couple on the morning of their wedding break with the old traditions of not seeing each until the bride is coming the aisle to share a little time together before making their way to the ceremony.
10.Do get a second dress. Especially if you want to get down on the dance floor, or if you are drinking you might spill or if you are the bride at the end of the night that stands in the bar and starts rapping Cardi B. I mean who wants to do that in a big, huge wedding dress.
11.Do make sure you take the time to have a moment to yourself before you walk down the aisle. Everything goes by so quickly that day. Making sure that you take the time to have a moment to yourself before you walk down the aisle and really let the moments sink in.
12.Do get crafty with decorations. To save money on décor, going to shops like The Range, B&M, Hobby craft and even Home Bargains are great shops that do, do it yourself wedding decors.
13.Do see your wedding venue in person. While pictures and video tours are a great start, understanding the flow and making sure there are not any hidden flaws requires someone to have walked the actual space, even if that is a wedding planner you have hired.
14.Do find a photographer that matches your style. For photography. It is good to find a photographer that matches your style and is not going to shoot you like some cheesy staged photos you typically see at weddings, unless that is what you are looking for.
(Photo taken by happywed.co.uk)
15.Do make planning a joint effort. My partner was involved in our wedding planning and I never felt like I was shouldering the responsibilities by myself. It was fun building our day together. He even got involved in helping me and supporting me when it came to re-booking all our suppliers due to COVID.
16.Do register for whatever you want. That rental camper you and your partner have been discussing for your nano moon (small, stateside honeymoon) road trip. Add that to your registry. Oh, you also needed a set of matching bowls, plates, and Nebbiolo glasses from Crate, and that matte flatware. Target line for holiday festivities? That too. What about a cash fund for your new puppy? You can add everything and anything you would like in one place even a charity or because you believe in.
17.Do consider mismatched seating. First was the trend of mismatched bridesmaid dresses, now comes mismatched seating arrangements. Long gone are the days of uniformity, but still—there is a symmetry and a creative flow to mismatched seating charts.
18.Do investigate tents and lighting. Having dinner under the stars and twinkly lights can add a romantic and whimsical touch to your big day. As outdoor weddings become the trendy norm and preferred venue ahead, talk to rental companies and your venue about what a tented dance floor and dinner space could look like. Lighting and sound also make big differences to the ambiance, so she suggests checking out your options there.
19.Do add personal touches. Throughout her wedding-planning process, my partner and I added extra special touches to both the invitation and wedding process. This included creating our own wedding invitation that linked to our wedding theme.
20.Do add a cash fund. Many couples want to know if it is okay to ask for money instead of material gifts. The key is to do it in a tactful, respectable way. Avoid the faux pas of asking for cash outright, and do not spell it out on your wedding invitations. Instead, spread the word by adding a cash registry option or honeymoon fund to your wedding website, along with a small list of ideas for guests who prefer the more traditional gifting route.
21.Do ask for help. People are more than happy to help and support you in this exciting chapter. Rather than getting wrapped up in the stress yourself, delegate where you can. You cannot —and should not do everything yourself.
22.Do talk with your fiancé about what is most important for you for the wedding day. So many times, I have seen couples not discuss this and then their budget gets blown, arguments creep in, stress increases and they get carried away watching what everyone has on social media.
23.Do choose the three things that are most important to you on your wedding day. As you are going through planning and having to choose between things, or make budgetary decisions, remembering the things that are the most important elements of your day, and putting your money towards those is what is going to ultimately give you what you want and can help you with decision making throughout the planning process
24.Do consider guest comfort. Think through accommodations and each piece of your wedding as your guests will experience it. Plan for cooling/warming stations, beverages, snacks, welcome amenities, etc. These special touches will leave your guests feeling much more connected to your celebration.
19 Top Tips Don’ts:
1.Do not worry about everyone else’s schedules. Do not coordinating your dates to make them possible for other people to join your bachelorette party and bridal shower. It could be virtually impossible. If everyone does not make it, do not worry about it!
2.Do not let anyone dictate the rules of your special day. I know a couple that had initially planned to have their wedding at this venue, but kept running into issues with the venue, family being difficult about wanting them to have it where they wanted it, so refused to let anyone take the joy out of their special day.
3.Do not buy expensive flowers. At the end of the day, you must remember the flowers die, so do not waste too much money on them. Buying flowers that are easy to be pressed or dried so you can save them for a long time.
4.Do not do website invitations. Some couples found they got so many text messages and calls asking the same questions over and over even though they had a website with all details. A lot of the older generations do not know how to use websites or anything virtual.
5.Do not wear shoes you cannot move around in. Bad idea!
6.Do not invite people who you do not want to invite. They are not worth wasting time or money on. Save your guest list for those who mean the most to you.
7.Do not invite people whom you do not really talk to and are just a second cousin or long-lost family member. My rule is if they said ‘happy birthday’ this year to you, then invite them and if they are a close friend. You do not have to invite every single person you know.
8.Do not forget to have fun with the process. When it comes to wedding planning, have fun, and follow your gut. Do not let wedding planning overtake you and suck the fun out of your day. Who wants to be stressed on their wedding day? Not me! Exhale the stress and inhale the fun.
9.Do not go way over budget on your wedding dress. You and your husband will be the centre attention—no matter what you wear.
10.Do not make your bridal party shell out for expensive outfits. I set up a budget for my bridesmaids and stuck to it and did not compromise budget or style I want.
11.Do not put off dress shopping. If you are planning to wear a wedding dress, it is best to start shopping sooner rather than later—ideally at least nine months before your wedding date. A wedding dress can take a surprisingly long time to arrive after you purchase it unless you are buying a sample style off the rack, which you will be able to take home the same day in most cases. On average, a wedding dress takes six months to be made and shipped from the designer, so do not wait until the last minute! Once your wedding dress arrives, you will need to schedule fittings and alterations appointments, which can take up to three months depending on the amount of work required and your tailor’s availability.
12.Do not bring the entire “I Do” crew to dress shop. As the bride, you have the chance to bring one to two—or maybe no guests—to your dress fitting appointments to clearly make the decision for yourself. And while dress shopping is a big tradition for brides, it has become disproportionately crowded in the last decade. Even bridesmaids made jabs at the experience of rolling into a bridal salon with your entourage. Instead, decide for yourself, ultimately, and consider calling in a few select stakeholders whose opinions you value—while diminishing the rest of the noise.
13.Do not lose sight of your vision. From colours to décor, it is exciting to brush up on the wedding trends of the moment, but do not lose sight of your initial vision (and more importantly, the budget you set for yourself). You should make sure not to feel pressured to add something to your wedding or celebrate in a certain way just because it is trendy. You should genuinely love every detail you choose for your big day.
14.Do not hire your vendor team based on price alone. The most important factor should be whether they are a good fit for you, and you’re wedding. Basing a decision on price alone will rule out some incredible options and, remember, the budget is always flexible and can be refined as the planning progresses.
15.Do not let your big event space overtake your wedding. We are seeing a lot of couples with paired down guest lists that are now dealing with filling a large venue that they booked pre-COVID. In these circumstances, it can be a struggle when it comes to making sure your huge event space does not swallow up you are wedding. But there are plenty of creative ways to maximize the room and make it feel more cozy and intimate. Overgrown greenery is perfect to ‘plant’ around the space, whether that’s pampas grasses or strategically placed arrangements that give your wedding that whimsical garden feel.
16.Do not clean your dress before your wedding day. Wedding gowns are made ready to wear for your special day. You do not clean your gown before your wedding day. Wedding gowns are often treated with optical brighteners that come off during the cleaning process. Additionally, gowns made using a linen fabric have added stiffeners to enhance that crisp look which also comes out during cleaning. Heavily embellished gowns risk damage during the cleaning process unless they are thoroughly tested, covered, and secured. With that said, per Brown, do “spot clean” areas that might have small spots from trying on your dress and do have your gown and veil professionally pressed and or steamed prior to your wedding day. Many gowns get over-handled between shipping in a box, during your fittings and any alterations that get made for that perfect fit. Pressing and steaming will bring your dress back to life.
17.Do not assume what the prices of wedding items or needs are. Do your research or ask your planner if you do not know. Many times, couples are seeing things that they want on social media thinking they can have exactly what is in the picture. In reality it may not be in your budget. It is your wedding, and you can have what you want but it must fit your budget and your needs. For example, the price of a floral centre piece may look like £100 to you online but there is labour, delivery and set up costs involved in getting that centre piece to your wedding. The internet is full of helpful information to guide you in the wedding planning process. However, a wedding planner can really help you home in on what things might cost for your wedding day.
18.Do not skip marriage coaching/mentoring/counselling. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that life is hard, unpredictable, and sometimes only plain ruthless. Planning a wedding and building a marriage that will last takes intentionality. Learning marriage survival skills, finding common values, understanding how to support each other’s passions, and shaping your future goals together will help your romance not only survive, but thrive through all the highlights and hurdles of life. “You will not regret taking time to invest in your relationship!”
19.Do not forget to relax. The best tip I have for brides-to-be is not to stress out too much on your big day. All the work is already done. Now just relax and enjoy it. It will be the best day of your life.
So, there you go lots of tips to think about; 24 do’s and 19 do nots when planning your wedding. These are just tips that can help and support you on your wedding planning journey. If you would like to discuss these more or would like me to help you with your planning journey, contact me through
www.emmalouiseweddingplanner.com/contact or call me on 07445276667