Eight Wedding Don’ts: Tips for Stress-Free Planning

Eight wedding planning tips to help relieve stress when planning your wedding.
Photo: Mackenzie Reiter Photography | Venue: Corinthian Houston | Cake: Susie’s Cakes | Registry: Bering’s

From the Archives 

By: Denise Schipani

You do want to have a fabulous wedding. You do want to be smart and thrifty as well as a stylish and generous host. What don’t you want to do? A couple of biggies: You don’t want to go into debt. You don’t want to lose sight of the fact that you’re getting married first and throwing a party second. Here are eight helpful wedding planning tips to help ensure a winning wedding. 

Keep scrolling to discover these eight wedding planning tips.

1. Don’t be superbride. You’re smart, you’re focused, you’re energetic.

The bride stands along the Texas Gulf Coast holding her wedding bouquet.
Photo: Amy Maddox Photography | Venue & Cake & MUAH: The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center | Jewelry: Shaftel Diamonds | Gown: Belle Âme Bridal

But you’re still only one woman. Suberbrides—those engaged gals who hit the ground running, brushing aside every offer of help—eventually run out of steam and end up near the big day with favors unassembled, invitations unstamped, and heads uncounted. But the truth is, besides not being able to do everything, you don’t really want to. Understand that people want to help and that you deserve their assistance. 

2. Don’t include registry info on invites. 

Photo courtesy of L’Atelier de Veronica Halim

When eager gift buyers are helpfully steered to the things you actually want and need, it saves them time and saves you from having to contend with a pile of cut-crystal candy bowls. But registry info does not belong on your wedding invitation. Why? Giving wedding gifts is not an etiquette directive, though the vast majority of attendees want to and will give you gifts. Registry info is best offered through word of mouth or on bridal shower invites. 

3. Don’t boss around your bridesmaids. 

The bride and her bridesmaids stand outsider her wedding venue in Houston.
Photo: Mustard Seed Photography | Flowers & Decor: Plants N’ Petals | Cake: Cakes by Gina | Wedding Planner: Irresistible Events & Services

In the most traditional sense, your bridesmaids, in particular your maid of honor, are there to stand up for you as you take your vows, to act as witnesses to this solemn event. Along the line, somehow, bridesmaids have become, well, more maid-like, and to an extent, there’s nothing wrong with that. These are your sisters, cousins, best friends, and future in-laws, and there’s something sweet about the way they gather around you dressed in finery you picked out, helping you pin up your bustle and holding your flowers. But some brides ask far more: that their bridesmaids shell out for needlessly expensive outfits, that they run endless errands, and that they attend (and buy gifts for) countless all-for-you parties. Be sensitive to how you’d feel if the tables were turned. A thoughtful bridesmaid gift always is welcome, naturally. But a little kindness and care go a lot further than any pashmina shawl or monogrammed trinket. 

4. Don’t make guests cool their heels for hours between the ceremony and reception. 

A wedding planning tip is to host a cocktail hour between your wedding ceremony and reception to entertain your guests.
Photo: Amy Maddox Photography | Live Painter: Rendered Moments

I once attended a lovely wedding in a quaint, wooden church in a rural area. It was delightful, except for one thing: The reception was scheduled for much later in the day, at a location a good 45-minute drive away on unfamiliar roads. Sometimes, it can be hard to plan a perfectly seamless schedule, especially if your heart is set on sites that are vastly distant from one another or if your ceremony and reception time don’t line up. But do your best. If you really must wed at, say, your childhood church in your hometown, confine your search for reception locales to local spots. If that’s truly impossible, or if you can’t avoid a time gap, provide transportation and/or a spot to hang out in between events. 

5. Don’t go DIY crazy. 

Pink and white floral centerpieces decorate the reception space at The Astorian.
Photo: RaeTay Photography | Venue: The Astorian | Florals: Plants N’ Petals | Wedding Entertainment: Intensity Bands

You know that clever bride who sewed her own dress and made her own invitations? Or the one who baked her own cake? I say, good for her if she managed to do it while remaining stress-free. The point of do-it-yourself projects is to use your designing/ decorating/cooking skills to save money and to put a one-of-a-kind stamp on your wedding. The point is not to drive yourself around the bend hot-gluing tulle and folding fiddly favors until 3 a.m. the week before your wedding. Do only what you can, and beg, borrow, or buy the rest. 

6. Don’t let your parents (or his) steamroll your invite list. 

A wedding guest seating chart is set out at the reception.
Photo: Franny Pullin Photography | Venue: The Bell Tower on 34th

Back in the olden days, when parents footed the bill and brides were barely out of high school, the invite list belonged to the folks. Times, thankfully, have changed. But that doesn’t stop pushy parents from insisting on having the whole book club/golf club/Elk’s Lodge at your wedding. There are no hard and fast rules here, but the best advice is to brush up on your negotiating skills and start early. Figure out a rough number of guests that is feasible on your budget, then ask both sets of parents for invite lists in order of preference so you can cut from the bottom if necessary. 

7. Don’t alienate your fiancé.

Wedding planning tips: don't alienate your fiancé while planing your wedding.
Photo: Stephania Campos | Venue: Corinthian Houston | Florals & Decor: Plants N’ Petals | Cake: Susie’s Cakes

Brides tend to get their heads stuck in a glossary of floral terms when all their men know is that there will be flowers at the wedding. Brides neglect their regular romantic movie-and-pizza night in favor of dress fittings. Hey, listen up: You’re not just having a wedding, you’re getting married. See that guy over there, the one on the couch with the half-cold pizza? Put aside the bridal binder and go give him a hug, would ya? Under the considerable stress of wedding planning, you two may not need couples therapy, but you do need couple time. Talk to each other about your life together, about what color you want to paint your bedroom, or what you want to name the puppy you’ll adopt. Anything but tussy-mussies and tuna tartar, please. 

8. Don’t bow to bridal peer pressure. 

The bride and groom celebrate with pouring champagne over a champagne tower.
Photo: Morgan Brooks Photography | Jewelry: Shaftel Diamonds

You just got back from a wedding, and you’re battling the green monster: She had an eight-piece band while you booked a DJ. She had Dom Perignon; you’re having a nice sparkling wine. If you bow to peer pressure and scramble your plans to best hers or anyone else’s, two things will happen: You’ll go over budgetand you’ll veer off the course you set for yourself when you imagined your own dream wedding. And you’ll hate yourself for both. Her wedding was hers. But your wedding is going to be yours and your true love’s, now and forever. Dream big. It’s not just about your wedding but about your life. It is the next greatest chapter in the story of you. Imagine how wonderful married life can be, and you’re halfway there. 

Remember these eight wedding planning tips as you envision your dream wedding. To alleviate some of the stress associated with planning your wedding, explore these Houston Wedding Planners to transform your dream wedding into a reality.

“Eight Wedding Don’ts: Tips for Stress-Free Planning” Spotlight WiH Partners- Photography: Amy Maddox Photography | Venues: San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center | The Astorian | The Bell Tower on 34th | Corinthian Houston | Florals & Decor: Plants N’ Petals | Cakes: Susie’s Cakes | Cakes by Gina | Registry: Bering’s | Wedding Planner: Irresistible Events & Services | Jewelry: Shaftel Diamonds | Gown: Belle Âme Bridal | Wedding Entertainment: Intensity Bands | Live Painter: Rendered Moments

Contributors- Photo: Mackenzie Reiter / Mustard Seed Photography / RaeTay Photography / Franny Pullin Photography / Stephania Campos / Morgan Brooks Photography / L’atelier de Veronica Halim / Belle Events

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