Top Five Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Wedding

I have planned dozens, if not hundreds, of weddings and one thing I am sure of is wedding planning is great fun - really! Still, in even the best-planned weddings, sometimes things can go wrong. Keeping your sense of humor is a must in this scenario; your reaction will feed the responses of those around you. Let’s face it - there is nothing more disastrous in a wedding than a bride who loses their composure. So it helps to know where the common “gotchas” are and how to avoid them. What follows are the type five mistakes I have seen over my time as a wedding planner, and my tips for avoiding them.

Inviting too many people too early. Sure, we get it - you’re super-excited and want to get the word out as soon as humanly possible. My advice? Wait until you have secured your venue and finalized your guest list. After all, there is no way to un-invite someone, so don’t rush. Focus first on your venue capacity and next on your budget - both will dictate your maximum guest count. Conventional wisdom, by the way, says 10% of your invited guests won’t be able to attend. Pay no attention to that - your wedding, thankfully, will be unique and the number of no-shows may be higher or less than that magic percentage. 

Failing to set a budget. Be sure to agree on a budget before you do anything else. We have seen couples dive into a venue or dress before setting up a comfortable budget, forcing them to cut something out later. Setting up a wedding budget is a two-stage project; first, agree on a number and next talk about priorities. Our advice is to have your budget in place, set your guest list up, and then, and only then, book your venue. 

Forgetting to make a Plan B. The weather in Northern California is fantastic, and that’s why so many couples opt for this area. That being said, rain and earthquakes are also the reality here. Setup a time to talk with your planner and venue about contingency plans such as an alternate venue or a tented ceremony and reception. Sure, your venue may want to charge extra for Plan B, but it is oh-so worth it!

Cutting out your videographer. Sadly, a video is often seen as a nice-to-have rather than a must-have. If you are topping your budget, think carefully before you cut the video of your wedding. Think of your vows, speeches, and dance floor shenanigans - a video is so much more memorable than photographs. 

Obsessing over details. Yep, we get it - your wedding day is a big deal, and you want everything to unfold perfectly. After all, this is the reason you hired a planner, right? We will sweat the small (and large) stuff and ensure your vision comes to life. We’re serious about making you a guest at your own wedding, so you will never forget the reasons you are getting married in the first place.


To be sure, every wedding is unique and bring unique challenges. Remember, every problem has a solution, and as your wedding planner, we have your back. So take a deep breath and relax - this is your time to shine.

Lura Albee