It’s been less than a month since I got married! In fact, we just got back from our honeymoon this past Friday. It’s been a whirlwind and I have a lot to say about the whole process. Before I got engaged, I heard a lot of positive stories about wedding planning. I now believe that everyone was lying. For me, wedding planning was awful. And I’ve now heard that from a bunch of my friends too! It’s expensive, it’s stressful, it’s overwhelming, and it’s all over after one day. Throw in the fact that I’m a control freak and there’s a lot of uncontrollable pieces involved in wedding planning, and you have my nightmare! But planning and having a wedding doesn’t have to be awful for you, so I want you to learn from my mistakes.

For me, wedding planning was awful.

Only Looking at One Venue

This is definitely the biggest mistake we made, in terms of cost. I fell in love with our venue over a year before we even got engaged. We visited the space to do a wine tasting on a day off, and I immediately knew I wanted to get married there. I even told Dan, “I know we haven’t talked about marriage yet, but if you proposed to me right now, I’d say yes.” So, once we did a tour of the space when we knew we’d be getting engaged, we decided to have our wedding there. We didn’t even look anywhere else!

Maybe we would have decided to get married there even after looking at other venues! It is a beautiful space that had a lot of what we were looking for. But at least with other estimates and options, we would know if we’d had more affordable venues to choose from. I would have also gotten a more realistic idea of what venues charge and what they provide. I could have compared the opportunities and limitations of each and made an informed decision. But we didn’t do that, so every time we were frustrated with our venue, we wondered if we’d made a stupid (and expensive) mistake.

I highly recommend looking at multiple venues, even if you think you’ve found “the one”.

Not Always Listening to My Gut

We spent more than double what I wanted to spend on our wedding. Yes, I had unrealistic (and nonexistent) expectations of how much weddings cost. Yes, I got a little carried away with things being beautiful. But I’m still a little regretful (and slightly ashamed) of how much we ended up spending on the wedding. Luckily, we aren’t going into debt for it, but on principle, I wish we’d spent less.

Anyway, what does my gut have to do with this? There was spending that I didn’t feel great about that I wish I had pushed back on more than I did. For example, I loved our florist and how our flowers turned out, but we absolutely paid too much for flowers in general. We spent more than double what I wanted to spend, but I gave in because I didn’t want to DIY the flower arrangements.

If you feel strongly about something, especially when it’s expensive, speak up and stand strong.

Inviting People I Didn’t Want to Invite

The guest list and RSVP process was a lot more stressful than I expected. There are a lot of politics and emotions involved that I didn’t anticipate. Inviting people out of obligation made it so that I wasn’t able to invite certain people I would have preferred to invite. It also brought up a lot of negative emotion and stress when RSVPs were due. Ultimately, a lot of those obligatory invitees declined the invite, which makes it even clearer that it wasn’t necessary to extend the invite in the first place. (Plus, many of them didn’t RSVP at all, and I had to reach out to them.)

It can be tough to navigate family politics in this area, but it’s important to feel good about who will be at your wedding. I feel even more strongly about this if you and your partner are paying for your wedding yourselves.

Not Asserting Myself with Our Vendors

One of our vendors provided a day-of coordinator for our wedding. We didn’t want to hire this vendor at all, because they were pushy and wanted to overcharge us for everything, but we were required to use them for a few things by our venue. We considered using them for the bare minimum, but when we found out they provide a coordinator if you do a slightly larger package, we decided to go for it. We figured that would be a whole lot easier than setting up the wedding ourselves, or delegating friends and family to be in charge of everything.

It turns out, we were wrong. The day-of coordinator was pretty unreliable throughout the entire planning process. So much so that I didn’t trust that the day would go smoothly at all. She would take up to two weeks to respond to us, she always seemed like she had no idea what our wedding details were, and she just seemed to do the bare minimum in her communication with us. If I could do this over, I would first be up front about our expectations and needs for the coordinator. I would speak up when I felt like she was not serving us well.

So you should speak up when you feel frustrated with your vendors! Be clear and honest (but also kind!) about your needs and expectations. That will help everyone to be on the same page.

Not Asking for Help

As a woman and a financial coach, I hear a lot of complaints about weddings. But I’ve actually heard them most from wedding guests and bridal party members. So I went into this process very aware of how frustrating it can be to be involved in a wedding. I didn’t want my friends and family to feel resentful or irritated about my wedding. I didn’t want anyone to spend too much money or have a difficult time getting to the wedding itself.

Turns out, I was a little too worried about everyone else’s feelings! That ended up making me resistant to asking for help when I needed it. This made me feel isolated and frustrated myself. And then, when I finally did ask for help, my friends and family were more than happy to oblige! So I’d spent all that time feeling stressed out and alone for no reason.

So, you should ask for help during your wedding planning process! Ask your friend to help plan your bachelorette party (you’re already planning a whole wedding, after all!), ask your family to help set up the venue on the day. Whatever you need, ask for help, and you may be surprised at how willing people are to help you. Just make sure you say thank you!

How did your wedding planning process go? Are there things you wish you could do over? Share in the comments!