Planning a wedding should be one of the happiest, most exciting times in someone’s life—but unfortunately, that’s just not always the case. In fact, wedding planning can be very stressful, and it can bring out the bride- or groom-zilla in even the nicest of folk. What is it that makes us want to scream at our vendors, stress out our loved ones, and generally make the planning process a nightmare? It all boils down to bad habits.
Below, I’ve listed some of the most common pitfalls couples experience while planning a wedding. If you are careful to avoid these bad habits, you can make the wedding planning process better for vendors, your family, your bridal party, your partner, and yourself!
1. Being a Perfectionist
Some of us have been planning our weddings since we were kids. We know exactly how we want everything to look, down to the very last detail. But it’s important to remember that any time you bring a perfect vision to life in the real world, there are bound to be some…complications. Odds are, your wedding just isn’t going to be perfect.
Your dream dress may be out of your budget. Your partner may want a different kind of cake. The tooth fairy and a unicorn probably won’t be available to co-officiate. And most importantly, while your wedding will be many things—beautiful, memorable, joyous—it probably won’t be perfect. The sooner you let go of that “p-word,” the easier planning will be.
2. Expecting Everyone’s Attention
It is so easy to get swept up in the excitement of planning a wedding. You can spend hours pouring over bridal blogs and magazines, lose your Saturdays at your local wedding expo, and allow the planning process to monopolize all your conversation. People understand—you’re happy, you’re in love, and this is a big deal…for you. It’s important to remember that the folks around you might not be that interested in your impending nuptials.
While your wedding is a major milestone and the start of a new chapter in your life, for others around you (your friends, your co-workers) it’s basically just another day—a day when they’ll be attending a great party, but just a day nonetheless. If you make every conversation about your wedding, or you expect people to drop everything to help you plan, you’re just going to come across as selfish and inconsiderate.
3. Getting Competitive
Nothing kills the romance of a wedding faster than, “But so-and-so’s wedding had more flowers!” Unfortunately, our wedding culture has become very performative over the years, and many couples want to show off as much as they want to celebrate their love. If you find yourself constantly checking Instagram or Pinterest to see how your wedding stacks up to a friend’s (or even some online influencer’s), it’s time to step back and take a breather. Remember, this day should be about you and your partner; there’s no contest here.
4. Ignoring the Budget
This habit goes hand in hand with getting too competitive during the wedding planning. When a couple feels like their wedding isn’t measuring up, the budget is the first thing to go. In fact, with wedding costs climbing so high in recent years, many couples go into debt to keep up with the Joneses—a whopping 74%, according to a 2017 survey from The Knot. To put it bluntly, this is BAD NEWS. Starting your married life saddled with debt can be incredibly difficult, so please, please, please do everything in your power to stick to your budget.
5. Not Listening to Your Partner
Throughout the wedding process, you are inevitably going to hear vendors, family members, and even kind strangers say something like, “This is your big day!” They usually say this when they want you to make a decision, to remind you that other people’s opinions shouldn’t influence you. While this is a nice thing to say (and sometimes can help block out the stress of getting competitive), it fails to recognize that you are sharing this day with someone else: your partner.
It’s very important that both you and your sweetheart feel like they have a part in creating this amazing celebration. Take some time to find a planning style that works best for you. Delegate roles if you want to (you’ll handle decorations, he’ll handle food). Whatever you do, just make sure that your wedding is a reflection of both parties up at the altar.
6. Not Listening to Yourself
A wedding comes with a lot of emotional baggage. Your family members might be trying to recreate their own special day from years ago. Your vendors are trying to upsell their services. The latest magazines and Instagram stars are pushing the latest trends. With so many viewpoints coming at you from all angles, it can be easy to get swallowed up and forget what you really want. But if you want to remember your wedding fondly years and years from now, you have to listen to yourself.
Take the time to process your feelings before you make a decision. Make sure the dress you wear, the flowers you buy, and the meal you select are what you (and your partner) want, and not something being pushed on you by another party. Your wedding will always be a success if you listen to your heart. After all, that’s what led you to your wonderful future spouse!