1. Picking the first venue/vendor that you meet or see.
When looking for a venue, many people often fall in love with the first one they visit. The first one is always beautiful and at least barely in the budget. When speaking to many brides and coordinators, most brides openly regret not looking at multiple venues or speaking multiple vendors after they have gotten married. There are almost always a more affordable and just as beautiful often. And falling in love with how it looks often makes you overlook the smaller details. Which leads us to the next point.
2. Signing contracts without learning all the rules.
Many venues have a plethora of rules. Unfortunately, the more you pay for the venue, the less wiggle room and the more rules there are. It's important to ask the questions;
Can you use real candles?
What adhesives/decor is allowed?
Real or fake floral allowed?
Do we need to go through the venue for everything or can we use our own venders???
What are the boundaries when it comes to alcohol?
Are we allowed to use disposable items?
Can dishes be washed on sight?
What does your food storage look like?
Are your bride and grooms suites close to one another?
Will the venue fit my desired guest count/is it too big?
3. Not doing assigned seats.
Look, it is okay not to do assigned seats. However, it causes chaos. It is always 100% of the
time to do assigned seats. There is very little difference in cost, but it saves a lot in time and definitely makes things more organized. You do not have to deal with splitting up families, the awkward photos of some tables having 10 people and some tables having 4, and it prevents unwanted people at the "head tables" such as the wedding party, sweetheart table, close friends and immediate family table, etc.
4. Not communicating with your day-of coordinator.
When you decided to add things the day of or change how you want things laid out without telling your event coordinator, those changes may not happen or will not happen on time. For example, if your family brings extra desserts that you do not tell your wedding coordinator about, those desserts may not make it onto the floor.
You have to remember that the person who is running your day for you and running the behind the scenes so that you don't have to deal with a single issue is going based off your conversations with one another. If you never talked about it, then they will assume that you are not on the same page about those changes. Even if it seems like a small change, any change is important to communicate.
5. Being unrealistic about the budget.
Lets be real: weddings are not cheap. The best advice we can give is if you cannot get help from others, donations, or you are just plain unwilling to dial back, set your date farther out. When you give yourself more than a year to plan the wedding, you are also giving yourself that time to make payments.
It sucks that most average weddings cost $30-50k, but that means if your budget is under 30k, you have to know where to cut the budget. Remember- you get what you pay for.
Wedding decor for a handful of groomsmen and bridesmaids, 15 tables, and maybe a few extra decor pieces tend to run $1,500 without labor. That is a non-extravagant decor description. Food is more expensive the more guests that you invite.
The average amount of wedding guests is typically 100-150 people. Changing that number will drastically change your cost. Every person eats, takes up a seat, uses utensils, and takes up space in the venue. A lot of venues have a maximum guest count or a minimum guest count for food/alcohol.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with ball'n on a budget, just as long as everyone is being realistic about their expectations. Do not be sad with a modest wedding if that is what you can afford. Some of the most beautiful weddings have been small, intimate, and subtle. Just remember that your wedding day is not about how much money you can spend or how big your flower arch is or the goody bags that you hand out, your wedding day is all about showcasing your love for your friends and family.
That being said, here are the top areas where I would not skim the budget.
Photography- trust me, you definitely get what you pay for!
Venue- there is nothing wrong with inexpensive, or even free as long as there are no strings attached. Don't go with something completely against your taste or just plain ugly just because its cheaper.
DJ- Something you immediately notice going incorrectly is the music. You want someone who will play your music, who won't let anyone play things you won't enjoy, who plays things on time, who starts and stops music when you're supposed to.
You can always cut back on decor, go with a less expensive food, and get volunteers to help with things like being the officiant or hair and makeup.
At the end of the day, when planning, be patient, communicate well with everyone you hire, and most of all remember that the day is about you and your partner and how in love you are. If the day is focused on how in love you two are, they aren't going to pay attention to the lack of decor or the venue or any of those things.