Congratulations! You’re getting married! This is an exciting time for you and your fiancé! In the upcoming months, there will be plenty of decisions to be made. Because of this, it’s best to be prepared for all of the wedding planning details involved. With that being said, here are 32 things engaged couples wish they’ hadn’t overlooked before the big day.
1. Prioritizing Engagement Photos.
I may be a little biased, but getting this out of the way has multiple perks. Most couples eventually need updated photos for wedding announcements, invitations and other forms of media. Having this ready to go helps you move on to other things. As the wedding date approaches, it’s harder to make this a priority.
Waiting too long to schedule an engagement session usually leads to putting it off all-together. Many couples settle on using images from social media. But nothing compares to intimate portraits of love in its prime. It’s a special season of your lives together.
Hiring a professional for this also gives you a chance to start working on a theme. If you don’t already have a go-to photographer, pre-wedding shoots can also double as an interview! Besides, the more the two of practice in front of a camera, the more confident and comfortable you’ll be on your wedding day.
2. Putting Together a Wedding Website.
This isn’t crucial to the wedding experience, but it’s usually very helpful. Creating a personal wedding website gives you and guests a central point for all information (timeline, important events, addresses, nearby lodging, registries, etc). It can even help you remind people to RSVP or notify them when your wedding planning details change.
A digital resource also keeps your phone from ringing when guests can’t find the invitation you mailed out 2 years ago. Setting one up, with a unique domain (URL) and pretty design is not as complicated as you may think. If it’s too much, I’m sure you can find someone to help.
3. Wedding Invitation Details & Costs.
You might be excited to send out amazing wedding invites – but it’s important to be mindful of the time and money they cost you. Since formal announcements are usually one of the first marriage tasks you work on together, the process tends to get dragged out longer than it should. All you really need is something simple that matches your theme.
Anything overly excessive can become rather expensive and turn into your first argument as an engaged couple. Before you spend a lot of time on the save-the-dates, understand how the weight, size, material, image quality and overall design can affect the overall price tag.
Card dimensions can even increase mailing costs. Certain types of postage, square envelopes and other enclosures carry extra fees. The last thing you’ll want to do is overspend on something that usually gets lost or ruined anyways. So be smart and get it over with.
4. Accurate Guest Count, Seating.
After talking to a few vendors, I found out it’s pretty common for couples leave themselves off of their wedding attendee list. It’s best you don’t make any assumptions. So, before confirming the guest count, make sure you’re on the list. Including your restrictions and other personal preferences is also a great idea!
Once you have a good estimate, you can finalize food and seating arrangements. Also plan for more guests. It’s not uncommon for 30-50 extra chairs to be put to good use. Aside from the guests that don’t like sitting next to people, you’ll probably run into a few unexpected arrivals and vendor employees looking for a chair.
6. Surveying Guests for Food Allergies.
When it comes to selecting the food for your wedding menu, it can be tempting to focus on your own taste buds. But your guests should be able to enjoy their meal as well! Now, I’m not suggesting that you ask everyone for personal preferences – but it’s a good idea to be aware of guest’s dietary restrictions and food allergies.
Doing so will help you show hospitality and avoid inconvenience. Some caterers provide options if you give them a “heads” up before the big day.
7. Buying Gift Bags for Travelers.
Since the bride and groom don’t have a lot of time to mingle (or even see late arrivals), leaving a gift or welcome basket for out-of-town-guests is an amazing gesture. Wedding experts say the experience actually begins when people arrive at the hotel. So finding a way to say hello and outline their stay is one of the wedding planning details worth doing.
8. Reserving Convenient Lodging.
Although some of your guests may have no problem booking their own lodging (based on preference), it’s never a bad idea to set up a room block at a nearby hotel. Not only does this bring people together, it also makes visiting everyone a lot easier for the bride and groom.
Most hotels offer five or more rooms at a discount with guaranteed availability. It’s perfect for last minute RSVPs!
9. Bridal Party Transportation Options.
Leading up to the big day, the bride tends to be a pretty busy gal. This usually leaves her bridesmaids and close family members bored. Taking care of their transportation is a great way to show the bridal party a good time and make sure they’re on-time for the wedding. An escort would improve their experience even more.
Considering your remaining guests is also smart. Take some time to find out what might hinder their experience. Is parking at the venue outrageously high? Have you inspected the hotel rooms you booked up? Will you have a car service, shuttle bus or designated Lyft drivers on demand? What else can you to do thank them for celebrating your marriage with you?
10. Travel Arrangements for You!
One of the wedding planning details you definitely don’t want to overlook is your personal transportation. It might be fun to take a few rides with the gang, but having some privacy is normally a breath of fresh air.
Many couples hire designated chauffeurs for scheduled events, but they have to “wing it” for the remainder of the day. Having a way to get around is something you won’t regret – especially if you’ll be drinking! Riding in a boat, horse drawn carriage, hot air balloon or even a tandem bike would be something to remember.
11. Premarital Counseling Sessions.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “believer” of anything, couples counseling before the wedding is definitely something you shouldn’t overlook. Personally, I wish I would have known more about before my husband and I got married. There are just so many things you can’t foresee. Learning about the issues you’ve yet to face and how to resolve conflict (together) is important and real encouraging!
It’s easy for any engaged couple to be overwhelmed by the wedding planning details. Setting aside time for intimate and vulnerable moments is wise. It only strengthens the relationship as a whole and sets you up for the long haul.
12. Assistance Managing Your Vendors.
If you’re not working with an assistant or wedding planner, you may want some help with the vendors. Even if you think you’ve got everything under control, it can easily become a burden on the day of your wedding. Do yourself a favor and ask a close friend or family member to work with each company.
On the day of the event, wedding vendors have enough on their plate. Angry newlyweds rarely help the situation. So give someone else a chance to handle problems. Whether it be the caterer, sound technician, florist or the venue – you don’t even gotta know! In case you’re unable to find competent helpers, a day-of-coordinator could be worth your while.
13. Asking Vendors About Overtime.
Thinking through every possibility is one of the best things you can do when discussing your wedding planning details. If you and your guests are having the time of your life, would you consider extending the celebration? How embarrassed would you be if you made the announcement then found out the bartender and DJ had to leave for another gig?
This is why the bride and groom should always ask their vendors who’s available for overtime. Even if you have to pay a few extra hours just to make sure they’re free, it might be worth investment.
14. Eating Arrangements for Vendors.
This is one of those things that’s usually overlooked when a coordinator isn’t in place. Many couples don’t even think about feeding those that are working at their wedding. But if you take the time to read vendor contracts, you’ll find that some require specific meals (and even break rooms) on top of the cost of their services.
These types of situations often involve conversations with the venue and the caterer. If they’re not included in your head count but expecting food then you’re going to run into a problem. It’s pretty routine for caterers to discount vendor meals. So get going on this sooner than later.
15. Staying Fueled & Hydrated.
While you’re choreographing food, see if the caterer can also set aside a meal or two for both of you. There’s no telling how much time you’ll actually get to sit down and enjoy your food. Having something waiting for you in a reserved room or back at your hotel can be lifesaving!
Whether you have food waiting for you or not, eating and drinking throughout the day is super important. Fatigue and dark circles around your eyes is not a good look on your wedding day! So ask someone to keep a few healthy snacks and water bottles on hand. They can also help you manage your liquor and hold the coffee so you don’t get dehydrated.
16. Planning for Wedding Gratuity.
This is something that can really catch couples off guard – especially if their budget is already tight! Some of the more professional services will expect a tip for doing their job during the ceremony and reception. So be prepared. Many wedding experts suggest a tip of around 18-22% for the caterer alone. After you’ve made your calculations, set the money aside and organize it in envelopes for each vendor.
17. Potential Adjustments, Alterations.
When you’re finalizing the budget, it’s easy to overlook some of the little things regarding your wardrobe. Although you’re paying a set price for the dress or tux rental, you may also be on the hook for tailoring.
This can be one of those irritating wedding planning details – but you’re going to want the wedding party to look and feel their best. Photography ain’t cheap and discomfort makes it a long day.
18. Selecting Accessories for Attire.
Be careful not to spend too much time picking out wardrobes that you forget to select your accessories. With all of the wedding planning details in motion, this is something that can easily slip between the cracks. Scrambling to find some earrings that match your fiancé’s watch or whatever can be vexing. But jewelry isn’t the only thing. Pocket squares, cuff links, hair decor, shawls and even the veil can be forgotten and throw you for a loop on your wedding day.
19. Wedding Wardrobe Details.
First and foremost, make sure you have an extra set of clothing waiting for you after the wedding. The last thing you’ll want to do is wear a wedding dress and tux longer than you have to. Having someone in charge of this is a good idea – but having someone in charge of your entire wardrobe is even better. Leaving for your honeymoon and forgetting hang up wedding outfits or return them can be costly.
20. Rounding Up Personal Belongings.
One of the wedding planning details you definitely don’t want to overlook is the collection of personal items when the party is over. If the reception is in a different building than the venue and hotel then somebody will need to help you locate and transport all of your stuff. The same can be said for the bridal party and groomsmen.
Trying to keep track of personal belongings, wedding gifts and your wardrobe isn’t something you’ll want to be doing. So designate someone (or some people) as soon as you can.
21. Gathering Guests for Photos.
Another role you might want to fill is what I call the portrait corraler. People always tend to disappear when it’s time for pictures. This can really mess up your timing. So it’s helpful if you can find a commanding presence to help your wedding photographer round everyone up for group pictures. Somebody with a loud voice and a keen sense of locating key members of the wedding party (like your mom) is ideal.
Another designation worth considering is a bathroom buddy. You never know what might come out of place after a tinkle. If you have a sister that’s a straight-shooter and doesn’t mind attention, she’d be perfect for both gigs!
22. Knowing if You Need Lighting.
Believe it or not, bad lighting can really affect the experience at a wedding. It’s one of the most overlooked wedding planning details. So much work goes into the presentation of your big day. So why not let it sparkle a little? While a dimmed setting may work for the reception and dance floor, a lighter mood is more ideal for formal settings where guests mingle.
If you’re wedding is outside, during the day, you don’t have a lot to worry about. But if you don’t have any shade, it can sure cause a lot of squinting. Since this will affect the contrast of your pictures, you’ll want to have a solution in place. Sometimes, it’s simple. I use a big diffuser for direct sunlight.
Either way, analyzing your lighting at certain times of the day will help you plan accordingly. If the sun is going to set half way through the ceremony, make sure all of your vendors have what they need to see. Testing the lights you’re going to use and keeping a lighting technician in mind are also good ideas.
23. Song You Don’t Want Hear.
When it comes to wedding planning details, song selection may seem like a breeze. But listing your favorite music for solo dances or an entrance theme isn’t always enough. Many couples forget that the music played in between is requested or looped from the DJ’s generic playlist. If certain songs (or genres) are inappropriate, hated, or they bring up bad memories – you should probably let your DJ know. Don’t wait until the last minute!
24. Welcome Signs For Guests.
No matter how well your wedding is announced or put together, confusion on the big day can really hinder your guest’s experience. Not everyone is going to know where to park, register, put their gifts, or even go to the bathroom! Welcome signage, that matches your wedding theme is easy to do and makes your guests feel important – especially at a shared venue!
25. Walking Through Your Look.
Many brides assume their stylist, makeup artist or hairdresser will automatically know how to make them look their best. But not everyone’s personal preferences match up. Even though confidence in these professionals is good, it’s always best to give them an idea of the way you want to look on your wedding day. Finding inspirational photos can be a big help.
The same can be said for your florist. After communicating your expectations, schedule a few trials so everyone is on the same page. This is where they can offer suggestions that’ll help you look your best. It’ll also help you plan ahead if they’ll be unavailable for touch ups during the ceremony. Lipstick or mascara in the pocket of a groom or father–of-the-bride is clutch!
26. Breaking In Wedding Shoes
I think we can all agree that feeling good is just as important as looking good on your wedding day. That being said, the reception can be a real drag if you start to blister early on. I’m sure you’ll still have a blast – but sore feet can be tough to bear during the honeymoon.
So find some time to loosen up your wedding shoes. Trot or dance around the house if you have to. Even if you break a heal, it’s probably for the best. It’d be so embarrassing to sprain an ankle during the chicken dance and end up in a walking boot.
27. Reviewing Speeches & Readings.
If you’ve given somebody either of these responsibilities, it’s definitely a good idea to look over what they have to say. Even if it makes you seem uptight, it’s your wedding. Discussing your expectations as a couple is important. I think we all know of a few instances where readings have been rather embarrassing. So it’s best to avoid discomfort and any future remorse.
28. Discussing Fallback Plans.
If this were a list on the most important wedding planning details, a contingency plan would easily be near the top. It’s not uncommon for engaged couples to get caught up in their ideal wedding preparations. But what happens if the venue has a last minute emergency or a thunderstorm ruins everything?
Here in the Midsouth, the weather is pretty unpredictable. But storms with high winds isn’t your only concern. A cold front or intense heat can also rain on your parade. Even flooding can affect parking or shuttle services. By walking through these details, you’ll keep the unexpected from ruining your special day.
29. Reducing Stress Beforehand.
One of the most overlooked details of wedding prep is self care. Getting married can be a whirlwind to say the least. Even with everything in place, a couple’s tasks can seem endless the week before. This can create tension and stress.
So, do your best to find time to relax, breathe and decompress before the final stretch. You’ll be glad you did. A spa day, fitness class, massage, hike or bike ride can offer solitude without sacrificing time together.
30. Marriage Documentation.
This is pretty straight forward. If you forget or lose your marriage license, then you won’t be able to make it official. Having documents completed and organized is a must. In some cases, couples have have to fill out certain applications or even get blood tests done. So don’t wait until the last minute.
If you plan on traveling out of the country for the honeymoon, make sure you have updated identification and passports handy too.
31. Guest Book Setup.
No matter how well you prepare, minor wedding planning details will always pop up at the last minute. One thing many couples overlook is the sign in sheet or guest book. Whether they place it in a bad spot, forget a pen or don’t buy one altogether – it’s usually an instant regret.
They miss out on some of the most amazing comments, tips and stories. So don’t let this fall between the cracks. You’ll find yourself scurrying to give your guests something to sign on your wedding day.
32. Losing Tech chargers:
How many times have you gone on a trip and forgot a charger? I’m guilty. It’s really not that big of a deal. But a low battery or a dead smart phone during your wedding can be rather stressful. Even as a guest, it’s not the most convenient affair. Although someone usually has one on-hand, it can be a setback.
If you plan to lean on your phone for selfies and footage, then have a plan to keep it powered up! In some cases, a charging station is worth the investment. It’s also a good idea to make sure your DJ has connectivity options for guests that want to play media or songs from their device.
BONUS TIP: Consideration.
After all of the wedding planning details come to pass, couples usually look forward to a few weeks of peace and tranquility. But this is the best time to send out your gratitude for everyone that played a role in your marriage and wedding.
While the two of you may have endured the most stress, plenty of people exhausted themselves for your special day. Your vendors, loved ones and volunteers won’t get a honeymoon like you. So leave your reviews or let them know how much you appreciate them while the memories are still fresh
Thanks for stopping by! I really hope you were able to pull a few things from this article and finalize all the details of your wedding plan. I’d love to be a part of your wedding if you happen to live near Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I also offer a small wedding venue in Olive Branch, Mississippi! Either way, I wish you nothing but the best and tons of happiness together!