7 Wedding Planning Mistakes Couples Make Without a Wedding Planner

Although a majority of our couples hire us for full wedding planning and design, we still do offer wedding coordination (commonly referred to as “day of coordinator” or “wedding management”) for couples who choose to DIY their wedding planning for whatever reason. Because we unapologetically admit that we don’t love ballroom weddings, most of the wedding venues we work in DO need a wedding planner of some kind, even if it is just for that “day of” role. Because we know engagement season is right around the corner (that’s right – most couples get engaged between December – February!), we thought it would be the perfect time to share the top wedding planning mistakes we see couples make when they DON’T hire a full service wedding planner (so you can avoid them!). Then, when you are ready, you can head here and learn more about working with us for wedding coordination!

long tables with flowers- Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Photo Credit: Roey Studios

#1 – Not creating a floor plan before you start designing 

Although it might not be the most exciting design element, creating a floor plan is one of the most important steps you need to take before starting design. Often times, we will see couples rush into hiring a floral designer, or choosing their guest count based on the wedding venue’s maximum occupancy, without really mapping out how many guests the space can fit once they have added all of their design elements (like that 3-dimensional seating chart or velvet couches for the lounge area you may have been considering!). Don’t forget the dance floor either!

From time to time, we see couples make this mistake when we come in at the final four weeks to help them tie up loose ends! We hate to be the bearer of bad news, so if you are planning your wedding on your own please don’t miss preparing a floor plan before you start designing!

floor plan under wedding tent

not leaving enough room for lounge seating is a top wedding planning mistakes

#2 – Not asking if guests will take the shuttle on their RSVP card

In the Hudson Valley especially, it’s quite common for guests to take the shuttle from the hotel to the wedding venue. That being said, we don’t want to overestimate (OR underestimate!) our shuttle numbers. We always recommend couples ask guests to indicate if they are planning to take the shuttle on their RSVP cards so we can ensure we will have enough transportation!

couple gets transportation for guests

#3 -Assuming Guests will want to Attend an After Party

You know your guests better than anyone but as wedding planners for the last decade or so we have to tell you: not everyone will want to attend an after-party. Weddings are a LOT of fun, and your family and friends will likely be more than happy to meet you on the dance floor. But, when closing time comes around, they may just want to go home (especially if this is a destination wedding for a majority of your guests and they will be leaving town the next day!). Often we see couples splurge on an afterparty only to find out that not as many of their guests wanted to attend as they anticipated.

packed dance floor at wedding after party

Photo Credit: HereNorth

#4 – Not Hiring a Wedding Planner Before Booking Vendors or a Venue

This is for couples who don’t necessarily want to DIY their wedding planning but aren’t sure when to book their wedding planner. The reason we offer wedding venue scouting as a completely separate service is that we know the EARLIER you receive professional wedding planning help, the better. When couples book their wedding venue before hiring us for full wedding planning and design, they often wish they had found us first! Your wedding venue eats up so much of your wedding budget and often makes more wedding planning decisions for you than you realize! 

If it’s not in the budget to hire a wedding planner for full planning a design, consider wedding wedding coordination + a few additional wedding planning hours to ensure you make the right venue and vendor decisions. This is one of the biggest wedding planning mistakes we see.

Aubrey Farmhouse Wedding

#5 – Sending out Invitations Too Late

We have a whole post about your wedding invitation suite timeline here, because another one of the most common wedding planning mistakes we see is sending out invitations too late. You need to give your guests time to respond (especially if you may be considering a B list or C list). On top of that, you’ll want your shuttle numbers (see wedding planning mistake #2) and your catering numbers finalized well in advance of your wedding day.

wedding invitation suite

This brings us to our next wedding planning mistake…

#6 – Not Securing Hotels and Shuttles early enough

This might be a bigger problem in the Hudson Valley than in other places, but we are an extremely popular destination wedding location from NYC, and hotels and shuttles can often come in limited supply. In order to ensure you’ll have your choice of hotel and shuttle company, we recommend booking as soon as possible! Don’t wait for us to bring it to your attention when you hire us for wedding coordination because by then, it might be too late.

photo booth bus -scribners

#7 – Sending a Save the Date without a completed wedding website 

I know you are excited to send out save the dates! That’s a good thing. You want your guests to have as much notice as possible. Especially for a destination wedding weekend location like the Hudson Valley. With that said, one of the biggest wedding planning mistakes we see couples make is sending out “Save the Dates” before their wedding website is completed. Guests won’t refer back until they have received their official wedding invitations so you want to have as much information on there as possible before they receive their Save the Dates!

sending save the dates without wedding website

Which wedding planning mistakes were you guilty of?

We hope you’ve found this post BEFORE you’ve made any of these wedding planning mistakes. For more information about working with our team at Elite Wedding and Event Planning, head here. Whether you book us for full planning and design or wedding coordination, we want nothing but the best for you! Make sure to come find us over on Instagram and say hi too! We are always sharing wedding planning tips, behind-the-scenes, and a lot of Hudson Valley wedding inspiration!