Another busy wedding season is approaching, and couples who are still in the planning stage might be getting overwhelmed.
Guest lists, food, photography — it's a lot to think about, but it doesn't have to be a nightmare, a wedding planner tells Yahoo Canada.
We asked the expert: What are the biggest mistakes couples make when preparing for their special day?
Here's what Chan said:
1. Not building in enough 'buffer' time
Most couples start planning a schedule and plug in times to do tasks, but they often forget to build in buffer for:
Putting on the wedding dress while taking photos
Moving the whole wedding party from the hotel to the limo
Getting to and from the venue
Clearing plates during the reception
Taking photos with guests
Remember that the wedding day has so many moving parts, and it is important to build a buffer so you don't feel rushed and so you can enjoy the day.
2. Not hiring a videographer
Wedding photos are timeless, we get that. Videographers can also be expensive, so I understand couples may not want to spend on this.
I find couples look back at wedding photos sometimes, but they always look back at a wedding video.
Video captures the spirit and energy from the wedding day that is hard to capture in photos. It is also something that can easily be shared with friends and family.
3. Not creating a realistic guest list
A lot of couples start shopping for a venue before they finalize a guest list.
It sounds counterintuitive to figure out the guest list before the venue, but you need to know how many people will potentially come to the wedding.
Most venues will have a cost per head, or minimum overall spend that you must meet that corresponds with the size of the space. You also don't want to book a venue that is too small for your guest count and then have to cut people.
4. Not expecting to get what you pay for
If a vendor is much less expensive than others you have researched, ask why.
Usually, it is because they are starting out (lacking experience) or not very popular (lacking quality). That's not to say that anything cheap is bad, but be wary of deals that are too good to be true.
Your wedding day is special and you won’t be able to redo it. Don’t compromise on the items you really care about; spend on quality and experience.
5. Forgetting to feed your vendors
Your wedding vendors love their work and they are there to celebrate with you, but many couples forget about feeding them.
Some vendors, like planners, photographers and videographers, are there for 10 to 12 hours. Venues sometimes serve a "vendor meal," which might be a dainty chicken breast.
I always recommend feeding your vendors at least two courses, a full meal if possible, because they are there for such a long day. It shows that you appreciate them. Most vendors have strict clauses about getting fed for dinner.
6. Asking loved ones for too much help
We get it — weddings are expensive and you could use all the help you can get.
But, weddings are celebrations at the core, and if your loved ones are running around, managing the day, they likely won’t be able to enjoy it as much.
If it is within budget, hire professionals so that you and your loved ones can enjoy the day.
7. Getting DIY-happy
Some couples are quite ambitious when they start out and hope to DIY everything.
The month leading up to the day is one of the busiest times for wedding planning. Everyone needs something from you, you have to create the seating chart, make plans with family and friends who have flown in, and it's when final decisions are due.
We don’t recommend anything that would require too many DIY tasks close to the day.
8. Not prioritizing you
Wedding planning is stressful for many reasons, but the biggest reason is because there are so many people to please.
It is easy to get caught up in doing what "everyone else does" and not because it really matters to you.
If you don’t love cake, get a donut station or gelato bar instead. If you don’t love it, it’s OK to skip it.
9. Shopping for a wedding dress too late
We recommend shopping for your wedding dress, like, yesterday!
It can take a few months to shop around and make a selection, then six to nine months for your dress to be made and shipped, and another couple of months for alterations. Dress shops may have some off-the-rack dresses for if you don't have as much time, but your options will be much more limited.
10. Not budgeting enough photo-time
When you set out to book your photographer months or years in advance, it’s hard to know exactly how much time is needed.
We always like to plan out a rough itinerary in the beginning, so we can get an estimate. But closer to the day is when you should take a look at the time needed for photography again.
Usually, we like to budget at least one hour of getting ready photos (after your makeup and hair is done), and we like to have the photographer there for at least 30 minutes into dancing, or until the program is done. Typically this ranges from 10-12 hours, and if you book the additional time in advance, it can be less expensive than deciding day-of that you need more time.
11. Not hiring a wedding coordinator or planner
For most couples, it is their first time planning a wedding and it is likely the biggest expense they will have outside of purchasing a home or a car.
Navigating this, alongside the many other stresses of wedding planning is a lot!
Hiring a day-of wedding coordinator to execute the details of the wedding day is a must, so you can enjoy the day with ease. As with all wedding vendors and big purchases, do your homework and remember: you get what you pay for.