“I Do” Should-Do’s

With so many wedding details to plan for, it’s easy to run into problems on your big day. A professional wedding planner can help, and Anne Churchill, owner and senior event/wedding planner of AnnaBelle Events, is happy to share some free advice that can help brides and grooms avoid some common wedding-day woes.

One mistake Churchill often sees is couples avoiding the big budget discussion with everyone who is contributing to the wedding. “It can be a hard conversation, but not having it will create an even harder planning process,” Churchill says. “When you don’t have a set budget, nobody is on the same page and the funds go fast. It also creates opportunity to overspend and underspend on items, leaving you short on funds or underwhelmed the day of your wedding.”

Another common mistake couples make concerns the flowers. “Many couples go in thinking you must have floral on every table,” Churchill says. “You don’t! Get creative and incorporate other décor that fits your theme and style — like candles and vintage collectibles. These can be centerpieces that are DIY while you leave the floral to an expert.”

A third area of concern is the venue. Churchill says that some couples book a venue for the wrong reasons — such as location, price or capacity — rather than basing the decision on whether it can accommodate what they envision. The venue may be right next to your church, but if draping, lighting and the rest of the décor can’t transform it into what you dream of, it’s not a good choice.

The guest list is another potential landmine, Churchill says. “First mistake is not sharing it with their parents right away. While it’s your special day, it’s also a great day of celebration for them and I’m sure they have a list of friends and family they would like to attend that you have not thought of,” she says. “Create a complete list from the start, including everyone you could possibly invite and their plus-ones. Then divide it into A and B lists as you price out expenses and select a venue.”

She suggests that if you’re tight on venue space, make an addition to the RSVP card. “On the line for how many are coming, add a backslash and a number, so when your guest fills it out they see they have one, two or three spots to fill … not five! So then they are saying 1 of 2, or 3 of 3.”

Churchill offers some final advice: “Do the planning together! This day is about the two of you and should reflect that,” she says. “When it’s one-sided, there is a lot of decision making and stress falling on one person, so instead share it and do it all together. Also communicate. It’s safe to assume people don’t just know what you are envisioning. So whether it’s family that needs to be on the same page, or a vendor fulfilling a contract, you cannot overcommunicate. Provide your vendors inspiration photos, lists of what you’re thinking. Even visit their blogs and pick out past work you love.”