We sat down with wedding planner Lynzie Kent to find out some of the biggest mistakes brides make while planning their wedding – and the sure-fire ways to fix them!
Today’s Bride: You’ve helped your fair share of brides plan their dream day – so what’s the most common mistake brides make when planning their wedding?
Lynzie Kent: The most consistent mistake I see is failing to set a concrete budget for the big day. Not everyone who is getting married has oodles of money to spend, so it’s very important to establish a budget. By setting financial parameters, you know exactly what you have to spend on each aspect of the wedding from the venue to the flowers to the dress. This will lead you to the right vendors faster and will simplify your process when searching. The budget can always be adjusted along the way, but you must start somewhere.
TB: When it comes to a couple’s budget, what advice do you have for the bride and groom?
LK: I lead couples through a budget tracking spreadsheet that helps them watch the money as they spend it. This keeps your budget top of mind and enables you to see when you’ve overspent or how much you have left. I also recommend being very up front with your vendors with what you have to spend. Your vendors will respect your honesty, and in exchange they’ll have a starting point to work from. Being realistic is very important. If you want a five-course sit-down meal for over 200 people, then you should expect to pay for all of the costs associated with that.
TB: Choosing the dress is one of the most important decisions a bride will make. What should brides remember when buying the gown…and all that goes with it?
LK: Bringing the wrong people to your dress shopping appointment is the quickest way to spoil what is meant to be a joyful experience. When you consider your bridal gown “entourage,” remember to bring family and friends that will uplift you when it comes to your style, body image, and self esteem. Also, leaving the gown choice to the last minute is a huge no no. You’ll need six to eight months to order in a new dress and have it altered to t you. If you cut it any closer, you’ll need to keep an open mind for options like samples, vintage dresses, and off-the-rack pieces. Lastly, remember that the sales people want to help you find the perfect dress, so customizing the gown is a great option if it’s missing that special something. Talk to them about adding sleeves, lace boleros, beading or removing unwanted embellishments.
TB: You’ve said that couples must consider the “guest experience.” Why is this an important step in the wedding planning process?
LK: As wedding planners, one of our main concerns and the secret to a great wedding is a flawless guest experience. This means mapping out how your guest will live at your wedding from the moment they pull up to when they leave at the end of the night. Will you need to consider valet? What can you add to the bathrooms that will make guests feel taken care of? Will there be enough seating for everyone? Will the outdoor ceremony make them chilly? Consider their creature comforts along the way and add in little touches that let them know they were highly considered. These small touches will leave them believing it was the best wedding they ever attended. The very best weddings actually aren’t completely about the couple – they are about everyone, all their nearest and dearest, coming together in a joyful, comfortable, exciting place to celebrate the couple.
TB: Vendors play such an important role on the big day. What advice can you offer to ensure the partnership between vendor and bride is a pleasant one?
LK: Adequately researching vendors’ aesthetic presentation or service style is the first step in finding the right vendors for your wedding. When you meet with them, your conversation should embody a sense of ease – maybe you have a similar sense of humour or share an interest in the perfect pink peony – something that gives you that comfy gut feeling. After this has happened and you’ve locked them in for your date, my biggest piece of advice would be to trust them, whole-heartedly. Most vendors get into the wedding industry because of their immense love for their cra and the opportunity to be creative. They have spent years developing accurate processes that ensure great customer satisfaction and beautiful results. Give over a little control and allow your vendor the chance to dazzle you. Stepping outside of your box will thrill you with stunning results and your vendor will go that extra mile for you.
TB: Finally, what are your no-fail tips that every bride should know?
LK: I’ve got three:
- Always keep the bar and the music close to each other – If you really want a raging dance party, then don’t put the band and the bar in different rooms!
- Prioritize! – Before locking anything in, make a list of what is least important to most important to you in a wedding. When you are feeling pressured or uncertain, review this list again to remind yourself what matters.
- Stay true to yourself, above all – Sure, your BFF had a horse and carriage and a 30-foot train, but is that your dream? If you want to ride bikes with streamers on the handles in a tea length dress with pink Chucks, then do it. Don’t let over-bearing family members, pressure from the wedding world and opinionated friends call the shots. is is your one chance to throw the party of your dreams. Guests will love you for giving them something that is uniquely you.
Originally published in Today’s Bride magazine, Spring/Summer 2015.