When you are planning your wedding, it can be easy to get caught up in the emotions and overall feelings about what the day will be like and forget about some of the more unexpected things that need to be considered. From the budget to the guest list, there is a lot to think about when it comes to tying the knot. We teamed up with Keiana + Hailey of Simply Golden Events to share our top 5 unexpected things that you should keep in mind when planning your big day.
Let’s begin with one of the most common and least fun surprises—budgeting for your wedding. Despite your best efforts, there is a good chance you will end up going over your initial budget; whether it’s because you underestimated costs or simply fell in love with something that was more expensive than you expected it to be. It's imperative that you figure out how much you can actually spend on your wedding before you start making any big decisions. This will help you stay on track and will require you to prioritize what is most important to you. You will also need to consider that your guest count will affect your budget -- the higher the count, the more funds you need available.
Weddings are such a specialized niche that the vendors who actively service weddings will likely charge more for their expertise. As wedding planners in the metro Nashville area, Keiana + Hailey say that "you get what you pay for" with your vendors, and that if couples hire a vendor who doesn't have a lot of experience managing a wedding booking, it can be detrimental to the timeline and to the day overall. In terms of budget, couples should expect services from seasoned wedding professionals to cost more than the average everyday services they offer.
It’s also important to remember that weddings cost more than just the obvious venue fees, wedding gown, decorations, and catering. There are additional costs like flowers (which can vary greatly depending on the desired look), photography, rentals (tables, chairs, linens, plates, etc) and music that all must be taken into consideration as well. These services may also require additional delivery fees, service charges, sales tax, & gratuities on top of their base fee. Keiana + Hailey often find that most couples really don't have any idea how much the "wedding of their dreams" will cost, so it is their job as wedding planners to help prioritize the budget and help the couple put funds toward the items that will make the most impact on their wedding day (and beyond).
The vendors you choose can make or break your wedding day. But, it is important to note that not all of your top vendor choices will be available on your specific wedding date. This is why it's always wise to book certain vendors early so you don't miss out on the ones you really want due to scheduling conflicts or high demand.
Keiana + Hailey assist their couples with booking their vendors, and they say that they always settle on the venue first, choose a wedding date based on venue availability, and then go down the list of priorities from there. Priorities should be based on overall budget, and then individualistic vendors such as a specific DJ or Band, Photographer, or Officiant. Those vendors can only service one wedding at a time, unlike other vendors who operate with a team and can service multiple weddings in one day, such as catering, hair & makeup (team based), florist, cake, transportation, etc.
Vendor availability can also vary greatly depending on the time of year you choose for your wedding, as well as how far out you are scheduling it. The more "in demand" vendors will book peak dates (Saturdays in October & May, for example) much further out than dates during the off seasons.
Another unexpected challenge on your wedding day could be timing - there simply isn't enough time in the day to accomplish everything you want to do! What time should your ceremony be? How long do you want the reception to last? First look or no first look? These are some of the many timing-related questions couples face when planning their wedding.
Wedding venues almost always have timing restrictions - what time the very first person can access the property, to what time everyone has to be out of there. Consider that first, when building out the timeline of your wedding day. Most vendors and venues also have the option to condense or expand the timing of their services for an additional fee, so that is something to consider as well, while you are weighing out your options. Keiana + Hailey also say that hiring seasoned wedding vendors that will actually follow the timeline is important as well.
If you are working with a wedding planner, they will create a solid timeline for your wedding day that has a realistic flow and buffer time built in, which will allow for slight delays without having to completely push back the entire day's events. Trust them! Some other things that will greatly affect the overall timeline are: time of year/available light for photos, if a room flip is required at the venue (ceremony to reception), serving a plated meal versus a buffet meal, relocating from one ceremony site to another site for the reception, etc. Keiana + Hailey also note that often times they see guests (especially extended family) arriving an hour or more early to the ceremony to ensure a good seat and visit before the ceremony starts, so it's important that photos are finished up by the time guests start arriving.
Another challenging surprise during the wedding planning process is family drama. No matter how well you get along with your family members, there will always be some level of disagreement or tension when planning a big event like a wedding. Most couples also have the new task of navigating family dynamics with their fiance's family, which adds another level of delicacy to the mix.
Keiana + Hailey share some really great advice when it comes to navigating the family drama: "Just remember to keep communication open and honest with your family, and be prepared to compromise if needed. Every single person is going to have an opinion about your wedding, so it's important to make sure everything comes back to what is important to you and your partner."
A lot of family drama comes about due to budget & the guest list. Especially in a "hot" city like Nashville, it is not wise to invite people you don’t think will come (because they might surprise you!) Keiana + Hailey recommend having an A invite list and then a B invite list, to ensure that you don't have too many guests at your wedding. In regards to budget, a lot of times we see parents footing the bill for the wedding, which in turn can lead to them taking over the invite list to ensure their friends are included. This may mean that couple has to leave off their own friends to keep the guest count in check, which can lead to resentment. With that being said, it's important to consider what could happen if this conflict arises and how to navigate it.
Lastly, if your family doesn't have a history of getting along well, especially at events and/or when alcohol is involved, sit everyone down before the wedding day and have an honest, open conversation about their behavior expectations. You should also make sure your key wedding vendors are “in the know” regarding family dynamics, so that they can help mediate any issues before, and during the wedding.
No matter how hard you try, your wedding day will not be 100% perfect. You may have painstakingly planned out every little detail, but chances are something (or several somethings) won't go as planned - and that's ok! It’s important to manage your expectations and understand that perfection isn't possible on the big day - just enjoy the moments as they come.
Keiana + Hailey have some great advice for helping prevent multiple mess-ups on your wedding day. They say that the right team of vendors can make or break the entire day, so it is important to trust your wedding planner and hire vendors they have worked with and trust to get the job done for you. You should also make sure your planners/coordinators have ALL information they need before the wedding day, so they don't have to bother you with little details on the day of the event.
Planning a wedding can bring about its share of surprises - both expected and unexpected ones! From budgeting issues to family drama, managing expectations and booking vendors early (to avoid scheduling conflicts) all the way down to prioritizing certain tasks over others due to lack of time. These are just some of the challenges couples should anticipate during their wedding planning process. Even though these scenarios may sound daunting at first glance, don't worry -- with proper planning and preparation beforehand, these five unexpected challenges shouldn't get in the way of having a beautiful wedding. Remember that, at the end of the day, you are getting married to the person you love the most in the world - and that's all that matters.