If you're not a bride that's hired a head-set wearing wedding planner, never fear. To help make sure you’ve thought of everything, we spoke to Hamish Shepherd, of online wedding planning website and app Bridebook, to uncover the most common mistakes people make when planning a wedding, and his best tips on how you can avoid them.
Not making a schedule for the day
Ceremony, drinks, photos, dinner, speeches, cake cutting, dancing; there’s a lot to get done on your big day. And as with any big event, inevitably things end up running over time and into valuable dance floor time (and no one wants that!).
According to Hamish, to avoid running out of time, make sure you sit down before your wedding day and write an itinerary with action points.
“For example, when it’s time to seat guests, allow around 30 minutes for 80 to 100 guests. Cutting the cake can take up to 15 minutes,” says Hamish. “It is also a good idea to allocate one usher or friend with the job of clock watching so he can hurry things along when needs be!”
Neglecting to plan for wet weather
Given our relationship with the Great British weather, you would think planning for rain would be on the top of most couples list’s, but, according to Hamish, you'd be surprised by how rarely it's thought of!
“Always have a “wet weather plan” even if your wedding is planned for August,” Hamish recommends. “Embrace the rain if it is forecast! It means the dance floor will be fuller for longer...”
To plan ahead, think about providing large umbrellas to guests and making the most of the rain with romantic photos. For more inspiration, see this romantically rainy midsummer wedding.
Not allocating enough time to photos
You’ve walked down the aisle, you’ve said your ‘I-dos,’ and now it’s time for photos. From romantic couple photos to family snaps, this part of the day can be quite time consuming and tricky to co-ordinate, especially if you're wanting large group photos.
To save time, Hamish recommends capturing all the group shots as quickly as possible and asking a couple of friends to help round-up people.
“Make sure you don’t miss the cocktail reception by being clear with your photographer from the beginning about the sort of shots you want, and how long you're willing to commit to get them done.”
Ordering Too Much Wine
Whether it’s ordering too much or too little, ordering wine can be a tricky task when planning for your wedding reception, and one many couples get wrong.
As a rule of thumb, Hamish recommends allowing one drink per 30mins at the pre-reception drinks, 1/2 bottle for dinner, one glass for toasts and one drink per hour for the party.
“Most off-licences and speciality wine shops will allow you to buy on a “sale or return” arrangement. This allows you to buy a little more just in case. However, I would advise couples to seek advice from their chosen supplier and caterer on how much wine they recommend to allow for each guest as they are the experts!”
Letting the speeches drag on for too long
We’ve all witnessed it. One bad or boring speech that just kills the wedding good vibes completely. While you can’t quite help what the father of the bride or best man will say, you can make sure they keep it short by giving them a 10 minute time limit.
“Also, have your speech written down and practice beforehand," says Hamish. "You may be very good at standing up at a conference and giving an adlib speech, but don’t leave it to chance. You could regret it!”