When it comes to coordinating a flawless affair, no one knows weddings better than a planner who lives and breaths bridal. Although a wedding planner will do everything in her power to steer a bride in the right direction, at the end of the day, it’s not her wedding. She’ll offer insight on major decisions, but she may bite her tongue when a bride feels passionate about certain details or a Southern mama puts her foot down.
So, what exactly wouldn’t a Southern wedding planner do at her own soiree? We looked to Arkansas and Tennessee wedding planner Katherine Shell Benson of Bella Baxter Events to get the scoop. After planning a million and one weddings below the Mason Dixon, we knew she'd have a solid list of mistakes she might avoid at her own event.
Mistake 1: Inviting too large of a crowd
Big guest lists come with added food and décor costs, but they can also stir up drama. “Guest lists over 150 people tend to create more emotional headaches with in-laws and parents than you may realize,” says Katherine. “Some couples even risk being able to invite guests they actually want to attend, because all sorts of people will come out of the woodwork when word of a wedding gets around. Wedding guests should personally know the bride and groom well. Otherwise, it’s just random people you’re supplying with a night on the town.”
Mistake 2: Keeping your guests waiting after the ceremony for refreshment
Katherine advises you should never leave wedding guests waiting too long without any kind of food or refreshment. She’s experienced this issue herself as a thirsty wedding guest. “After-ceremony pictures with the bride and groom can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes, which is too long to keep your guests waiting for refreshments,” says Katherine. “I highly encourage couples to have cocktail hours with passed appetizers to keep their guests happy while they wait for the newlyweds to arrive.”
Mistake 3: Cutting costs by hiring an unseasoned photographer or wedding vendor
Be weary of friends, family, or work acquaintances who suddenly become wedding planners, photographers, or DJs the moment they hear you’re getting hitched. “A good wedding photographer is worth their weight in gold,” says Katherine. “They can take the smallest of weddings and create the most magnificent wedding gallery you’ll treasure forever. The same can be said for all of your wedding vendors.”
Mistake 4: DIY-ing your own wedding flowers
“Unless you are a professional florist, it’s not worth the last minute stress,” Katherine advises. “Who wants to stay up all night the evening before your wedding day to work on flowers? Especially after you have just left your rehearsal dinner and are exhausted from greeting your guests and possibly a little tipsy from a good time, too.”
Mistake 5: Setting up or breaking down your own wedding (or asking family and friends to do so for you)
“Who wants to work all day on their own wedding day and pay for everyone to come party? Nope! I wouldn’t ask my family or bridal party to set up or break down the event either. They are there to celebrate, so let them. It’s worth the investment to hire good vendors to take care of this for you.”
WATCH: Wedding Etiquette with Gayden & Charlotte
Mistake 5: Getting married on a Saturday
Sure, Saturday weddings are easy on guests’ schedules, but the costs may not always outweigh the weekend convenience. “Saturday events cost more money than any other day of the week,” says Katherine. “Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays are where it is at. Often vendors and venues have price breaks for these days.”