There are right and wrong ways to do most everything in life, and that includes planning a wedding. Of course, most of it is personal preference, but there are some major mistakes to avoid as you plan your wedding. Have you committed any of these faux pas?

Jeff and Sebastian, Lake Tahoe. Read their Real Wedding feature. | Photo by Nick Kova Photography

There are right and wrong ways to do most everything in life, and that includes planning a wedding. Of course, most of it is personal preference, but there are some major mistakes to avoid as you plan your wedding. Have you committed any of these faux pas?

1. Telling everyone you know they’re invited.

This one’s an easy-to-make mistake, and not an easy mess to clean up. You’re newly engaged, you’re over the moon about it, and, of course, everyone’s invited!!!!! Right? Wrong. Unless you’ve helped your besties plan your wedding or this isn’t your first wedding rodeo, you likely haven’t crunched the numbers yet. Hint: It’s pricey. And unless you’re doing a BYOB potluck, you probably can’t afford to have everyone at your office, church, mother’s book club and your neighborhood association attend your wedding. And even if you could, do you really want someone you barely know taking up space on this most personal day? So hold off on telling anyone they’re invited until you guys have gotten a little further into the planning and at least have a headcount of who you can afford (and who will fit into your venue).


Yes, bridal crowns are gorgeous. But don’t think you’re entitled to be cruel or demanding just because you’re the queen for the day.
I love this jewel from Etsy crafter Letters To Jane.

2. Looking for your crown.

Of course, you’re excited to be getting married. On this day, you get to dress up like a prince or princess or super hero or whatever floats your queer boat. And your guests are sure to ooh and aah at all the right times. But try to respect that as titillating as your wedding planning is to you and hopefully your very best friends, the rest of the world is going on about their business. I’m telling you this so you’ll not get your boxers in a wad when not everyone wants to know every last detail about your wedding or that not everyone is willing and/or able to shell out the cash to come to your wedding and all your accessory parties and events. It costs money to be a wedding guest, too, you know.

3. Forget why you’re doing this.

I’ve known so many brides and grooms who are so caught up in making the day absolutely 100 percent perfect so they can impress people. All well and good, sure, but the trouble with focusing on trying to control what others think of you is that you can easily lose control of how you think of something. Ultimately, you lose sight of who you are and what this day is about (celebrating your lifetime commitment to your one and only, of course).

4. Assume everyone knows what to do.

This is your party. You’re the ringleader, the taskmaster, the director, the ruler, the king, the queen, you get the point. Don’t be timid when telling people exactly what you want from them. Have wedding attendants? Tell them where to be, what to wear and how much you appreciate them for it. If you want them all to show up at the salon 5 hours before the ceremony to get their hair done and then go with you to the ceremony place to help in all of the last-minute stuff of getting you ready, tell them! They’re ready and waiting for the information. Just be careful to not make unreasonable demands and to say everything with a smile and follow up with much graciousness. They’re your attendants, not your slaves. And they also didn’t set aside a lump of cash for your wedding, so keep their budget in mind, too. (Refer back to “looking for your crown.”)

Also on the assumption front, unless you were born into an etiquette-heavy family, you likely knew only the bare minimum about wedding etiquette before you started planning your own wedding. So consider that fact when examining why your family isn’t doing the things you thought they should know to do. Help them out by gently asking for what you would like. Start the conversation with “It would really mean a lot to me if…”

5. Enjoying the day, your beloved, and your guests.

This seems so obvious yet at least 80 percent of couples I have interviewed all say the wedding day was a blur to them. Here are some suggestions on how to slow it down and be mindfully present:

Have help: There’s so much to keep track of that I highly suggest hiring a day-of wedding coordinator or a full-fledged wedding planner (make THEM the ringleader).

Sip, don’t gulp: Your nerves might be going crazy with anticipation of everything going right and this is IT, the BIG DAY! But trust me, shots and heavy pours of alcohol are not your friend on this day. Have one flute of bubbly while getting ready, and then after you’ve said “I do,” stick to the same type of alcohol all evening. Consistency is key, and of course, don’t over do it. You want to stay alert the whole night through. (I’ve heard from many embarrassed brides, brooms and grooms who passed out as soon as they fell into their wedding bed.)

Also, ask one of your attendants to offer you water during the evening. Not just so you won’t get sloppy drunk, but also so you don’t have a raging headache on your honeymoon flight or at your farewell brunch the next morning.

Appoint friends with tasks: Someone needs to make sure all the appropriate people get their boutonnières and bouquets, and it doesn’t need to be you. The florist or coordinator might not know who’s who, so have a friend agree ahead of time to making sure that goes well, along with any other tasks you just aren’t sure your coordinator can handle (not everyone’s J.Lo, y’all).

Remember everyone: Maria and I kept our wedding intentionally small so we could have special moments with each guest at our wedding. And I think we did succeed in that, though I’ll always regret not having a dance with my brother, who recently passed away (but I’m so thankful for all the sweet moments we did share that evening). Overall though, Maria and I made the rounds without (hopefully) seeming like we were “making the rounds.” Your wedding isn’t just a party where you’re paying for your guests to have a good time. This meaningful day of love and commitment is about you as a couple, and the people who took time and money to come and witness it and help you celebrate. Remember them, remember your love for each other, and remember your manners, and everything should go swimmingly! (And if it doesn’t, that’s OK, too.)