What Are the Things Not to Overlook When Planning Your Wedding?

how do you plan a wedding on a small budget

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the task of planning your wedding? You’re not alone. But we’re here to help by highlighting some of the most important things not to overlook when executing your dream day. From adequate lighting to powder room essentials, we’ll help you plan a dream day that your guests will remember for years to come. Take the stress out of planning your wedding by ticking off these often overlooked things essential for a smooth-running and memorable celebration. Looking for a Wedding Event Planner? Look no further, Vines of the Yarra Valley have you covered.

Planning your wedding can at times seem like a mammoth task, with a never-ending list of things on your “to-do” list. But once you’ve got the building blocks in place (a venue booked, a style sorted, and a wedding dress in the works), you can start thinking about all those little details that often get overlooked. 

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Wedding Planning Tips

So to ensure you’re on top of everything, we’ve put together wedding planning tips not to overlook when planning your wedding. 

A Contingency Plan for Bad Weather.

Many couples forget to have a plan B in case of inclement weather. Sometimes this is not taking into account how hot and sunny it will be, severe cold fronts, or even rain. They often get so wrapped up in the beauty of their venue they forget to have a contingency plan.

What Time the Sun Will Set.

Sunset is a golden hour for photographs, and it might be a time your wedding photographer would like to pull you outside for some magically lit photos. If you know what time the sun will be setting, you can make sure you’ll be available rather than, say, cutting the cake.

Transportation for Your Bridal Party.

They’ll often leave the hotel—or wherever they’re getting ready—at a different time than the bride and groom but earlier than the rest of the guests.

Having a Day-Of Point Person.

The first point of contact for your wedding vendors is essential. Brides sometimes forget this because they assume they will answer their cell phone, but it’s already going to be a whirlwind day for them. There’s no need to add more responsibilities to their list. Instead, select a close friend, family member, or someone from the wedding party to be the first point of contact. Yes, you may have to be pulled into decisions, but let someone else be the one to take the call.

Budget for Gratuity.

Gratuity is often overlooked during the budget planning process, especially if you don’t have a planner to guide you. When looking at your catering costs, for example, remember that you’d typically want to include an 18-22 per cent gratuity on top of the final bill. You’ll also want to be mindful of tips for wedding professionals on the day of the event. While it is certainly not required, it is appreciated if someone has gone above and beyond. In this instance, prepare in advance with tips (cash or check are usually fine) in envelopes and designate someone to distribute them.


One of the biggest mistakes couples often make is thinking the scheduling will figure itself out, and their special day will run smoothly with little planning on their part.

But the truth is, a wedding day needs to be planned down to the very last detail, including enough time for a first look session, portraits, getting to and from venues and mingling with guests during the cocktail hour. 

It’s essential that you create a detailed schedule and that this is distributed to your vendors, so they know where to be and when. Inevitably, things run late, so always add in some buffer time just in case. If you’re unsure how to go about this, perhaps partnering with a wedding planner would be a good idea. Bonus: you can check out an example wedding timeline right here.

Personalised Touches.

is it worth making your wedding invitations1

Maybe you’ve been inspired by friends’ weddings or those of strangers on Instagram. But at the end of the day, your wedding is all about you, so you should make it as personalised as possible.  Perhaps you want to create a signature cocktail infused with some of your favourite flavours, or maybe you designate a space where guests can recount your relationship through photos and special mementos.

Don’t overlook the importance of creating touches that are distinct to you and your future spouse because these little things will set your wedding apart from all the others. Build some cushion into your wedding budget. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll run into some hidden fees or other unexpected expenses, so make sure to give yourselves a cushion. We recommend using about 5% of your total budget as a buffer to cover any unanticipated costs.

Prepare for an Inbox Explosion.

You may want to consider creating a separate email address specifically for your wedding because all the e-newsletters, wedding show follow-ups, vendor correspondence, etc., can get pretty overwhelming. It’s much easier to have it all in one place—where both you and your fiancé can access it—without having it clutter up your primary inbox.

Factor in Plenty of Time for Your Gown Order—and Alterations!

Unless you purchase a perfectly fitted and ready-to-go gown, you’ll need to begin your dress search 9–12 months in advance of the big day. To be safe, you’ll want to allow 6–8 months to receive a custom-made dress. And leave plenty of cushion for alterations, with your first dress fitting scheduled at least three months out.

Keep Vendor Contact Information on Hand.

Use a service like Google Drive to keep a running list of all your vendors along with their contact information, in case you need to get in touch with them quickly (or on the go!). These files are hosted online, shared with anyone, and accessed anywhere from your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Check With Your Venue on Décor Limitations.

You may love how sparklers look in photos, but many venues don’t want to deal with the fire hazard. Your barn wedding venue could use some sprucing up, but they may not allow you to hang anything from the rafters. And rice is no longer thrown during weddings because birds can choke on it! Read your venue contract carefully and talk with your venue manager about the vision you have for your wedding as there may be restrictions on what you can and can’t include.

Build Some Cushion Into Your Timeline.

Hair and makeup always take longer than you’d think, as does wrangling up all your nearest and dearest for formal portraits. Building a bit of wiggle room into your wedding-day timeline will ensure that a minor delay here and there won’t throw the entire event off track.

Have an Rsvp-Tracking Strategy in Place.

The struggle with tracking RSVPs is real, people! You’d be surprised by how many guests will fail to write their names on the RSVP reply card. All you’ll know is that two people are coming, and they both want the salmon. To circumvent this problem, write a little number on the back of your RSVP cards that correspond to your own numbered guest list. That way, you’ll know who each reply card belongs to.

Update Your Wedding Website Regularly.

Create your wedding website before you send out your save-the-dates, and keep it updated as you go. For example:

  • Link your gift registry once it’s been established.
  • Add hotel room block information so guests can begin booking.
  • Add maps to your venue(s) along with nearby attractions.
  • Include the weather forecast for the big day.

Well-informed guests are happy guests.

Bring Your MOH to the Final Fitting.

Or whoever will be bustling your dress. They’ll learn how to do it and get a bit of practice at your final fitting so that it won’t take as long (or be as stressful!) on the day of.

Pay Attention to the Weather—and the Sunset!

You’ll want to have a bad-weather contingency plan in place, but you may not realise that it’s essential to keep an eye on what time the sun sets, too. Ask your photographer about the infamous golden hour, the period shortly before sunset that’s usually the prime time to take outdoor wedding photos. It’s worth fitting into your timeline!

Put Together a Wedding-Day Emergency Kit.

This is a small makeup bag filled with “just in case” items that can fix most of those minor wedding-day problems. Got a pounding headache pre-ceremony? Pop an Advil. Corner of your eyelash coming unglued? Whip out that tube of DUO. Did you spill some red wine or bust a seam? Luckily you’ve packed some wipes and a mini sewing kit! From double-sided tape to deodorant, an emergency kit can be a real lifesaver on the big day.

Bring Along Your Rings and Marriage License.

Many couples forget one (or both) of these items on the day of. Sure, your wedding will be a fun party, but the main point is actually to get married. So don’t forget to bring your rings and marriage license to the ceremony, along with a pen so you can sign it!

Bring a Nice Hanger for Your Gown.

Most wedding photographers will take a photo of your wedding dress, hanging in all its glory in front of some picturesque setting before you put it on. Make sure not to use the same wire + clear plastic hanger you got from the alterations shop.

Consider an “Unplugged” Wedding.

You’re paying for a professional photographer, and the last thing you want is 27 iPhones making an appearance in your ceremony photos. Ask your guests to keep the phones, tablets, and bulky cameras at home (or at least under their seats), so your trusty photographer can get that gorgeous, unobstructed shot of your walk down the aisle and subsequent “I do “s. And you’ll want to remind everyone to put their phones on silent before the ceremony begins!

Ask Your Moh to Fix Your Veil and Hem When Necessary.

As you’re standing up at the altar getting photographed like a Kardashian on the red carpet, you’ll want to be sure the train of your dress is beautifully laid out and that your veil (if you’re wearing one) isn’t awkwardly folded upon itself. Ask your MOH to keep an eye on these things and have her discreetly fix them during the ceremony if needed.

Kindly Ask Your Officiant to Get Out of the Frame During Your First Kiss.

Unless they’re a seasoned pro, after the “You may now kiss the bride/groom” directive, your officiant may hang out awkwardly in the centre of the shot—overcrowding your photos. Remind your officiant to get out of the frame ASAP to let your photographer capture that perfect “first kiss” moment.

Designate Someone for “Wedding Photo Round-Up” Duty. It’ll be handy during your formal portraits to have a close friend or family member in charge of gathering together the necessary VIPs for their photos.

Figure Out Tips and Gratuities in Advance.

You’ve itemised your wedding budget down to the last cent. But with all the numbers tallied up, you might be forgetting a costly but necessary expense. We recommend going to the bank before your wedding, pulling out cash, and putting each tip into a labelled envelope. Then you can assign the most responsible member of your bridal party to hand them out throughout the event.

Ask About Vendor Meals.

Vendors aren’t superheroes who can work an entire 8-hour wedding with no food or water breaks—so please remember to feed them! Ask your caterer what they offer for vendor meals, and give them the final “vendor meal” count while you confirm your last guest count. Looking for a Wedding Event Planner? Look no further, Vines of the Yarra Valley have you covered.

Bring Along Some Comfy Shoes.

Yes, your Jimmy Choos are magnificent. But no, they’re not precisely dance-floor friendly. Bring along a fun pair of Converse or cute-but-comfy wedges so you can dance the night away without being crippled by blisters.

Assign Someone to Pack up Your Gifts/belongings After the Reception.

This could include personal items and wedding accessories like your guest book, toasting flutes, and cake-cutting utensils. And don’t forget the top tier of your cake, if you want to save it for your first anniversary!

Have a Plan for Guests Who Will Want to Keep the Party Going.

If your wedding ends relatively early, many of your friends will want to keep the fun times rolling! Scope out the local dive bars or late-night hotspots near your venue so that guests who aren’t ready to call it a night can get there quickly—and won’t be loitering outside the wedding venue asking, “Soooo, where’s everybody going now?” Also, don’t forget to bring your IDs!

Don’t Neglect Honeymoon Prep.

If you’re jetting off to your honeymoon right after your wedding, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the big day that you neglect the logistics of what happens next! Ask your MOH or best man to be in charge of returning the tuxedo or any other rentals like linens or décor items. Also, make a honeymoon packing list well in advance, and have your suitcases ready to go!

Event Lighting.

How Important Are The Wedding Photoshoots 2

Lighting helps to set the mood and vibe at a wedding. After all, the decisions are made, and hard work put into every little detail; lighting is the most critical component to ensure those elements look their very best.

This is one of our favourite wedding planning tips! While you might be looking for that low-lit romance, if you skimp too much on the lighting, your guests will struggle to see, and your photographer will have to use every trick in the book to capture beautiful shots. The proper lighting can help create a sense of intimacy and highlight specific features while transforming a space into something special. 

Consider investing in uplighting if you’re planning a ballroom reception or hang string lights around outdoor spaces for that extra sparkle. Are you getting married in a dimly lit church? Check if any additional lighting is permitted to give the ambience a little boost. wedding planning tips

Extra Seats for the Ceremony.

Take into consideration the fact that people do not naturally sit next to each other. So you will always need roughly 20 more chairs than there are people.

Designating a Photo Wrangler.

Along with a shortlist, designate a sister, brother, cousin, or aunt who can be the ‘photo wrangler. The photographer is not going to know who your important family members are, so when he gets to the ‘photo of the bride with aunts and uncles,’ your photo wrangler can quickly grab these family members for you, and you can stay on track with timing.

Building a Website Before Mailing Save-The-Dates.

The site does not need to be fully finished, but you should have a URL that you can put on the cards and a few essential pieces of information, such as the location and nearby hotels. People are often so excited to get the save-the-dates out that they don’t think about the fact that six to eight weeks before the wedding is pretty late for out-of-town guests to make travel plans.

Post-Reception Transportation for the Newlyweds.

Transportation is a must-have for the wedding day, but often, brides forget that they need to arrange a ride from the reception to their next destination, be it their home, a hotel, or even the airport. The couple rarely drives themselves on the wedding day, so don’t be left calling an Uber in your formalwear because you haven’t arranged a car to get you where you need to go.

Correct Invitation Postage.

Not only does the weight matter, but the size as well when it comes to your invitations. Square envelopes and specific enclosures can carry an additional charge. This can fall through the cracks simply because people forget to ask or don’t know all these funny rules from the post office.

Asking Guests About Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions.

Be sure to note all the guests who have food allergies or are vegetarian or vegan. Provide a list for your caterer, registering where each of these guests is sitting—your caterer will love you.

Potential Overtime for Vendors.

Check-in with your vendors ahead of time to see if they might be willing to stay later. Even if you don’t think you’ll want to take advantage of this option, you never know how you’ll feel that night. It’s better to find out what those fees would be like from vendors, such as your DJ and bartender, ahead of time, as well as giving them the heads-up that overtime might be a possibility.

Factoring Yourselves Into the Guest Count.

Couples forget to add themselves to the guest count all the time. Make sure you’ve included yourselves as well as any dietary restrictions when giving the final count to the caterer.

Ordering Vendor Meals.

Vendor meals can be easily forgotten if there isn’t a wedding planner to coordinate them. Many vendors require meals in their contract, and some, like bands, will also need a separate break room altogether. Coordinate this with your venue and caterer early to make sure you have met all of the obligations.

Bringing a Change of Clothing.

Make sure you pack a small bag and enlist the help of a friend or family member to help get it where it needs to go.

Assigning Someone to Take Your Wedding Dress.

Many couples forget to make arrangements for the wedding dress and tuxedo. If you are leaving for your honeymoon the morning after the wedding, make sure you have a friend or family member to pick up your dress or return a rented tuxedo.

Booking a Hotel Room Block.

If you’re having guests from out of town, make sure to set up a room block. Most hotels offer them five or more rooms. With hotel room blocks, your guests will get a discount (at no cost to you) and guaranteed availability.

Welcome Bags for Out-Of-Town Guests.

It’s easy in the hustle and bustle of planning to forget that your guests’ wedding experience begins when they arrive at their hotel. Include pertinent wedding weekend details in the welcome bags for out-of-town guests.

Asking Someone to Gather Gifts, Decor, and Personal Items.

Assign someone the role of removing personal items at the end of the night. It is essential to assign a helper to make sure these items don’t get left. Surprisingly, the number of bridal parties makes no plans for personal belongings at the end of the night.

Leaving Enough Time (and Budget) for Alterations.

When one finds their wedding dress, they think the hard part is over, but you are likely to have something altered when the dress arrives. Even if the dress fits you perfectly, you may still have to pay for ties to be added so you can bustle it for the reception. Be mindful of this with your budget, and ask your gown shop in advance for pricing.

Directions and Signage.

It might be evident to guests where the ceremony is being held and grab drinks during cocktail hour in small wedding venues. But if you’re getting married at a sprawling vineyard or ranch, then a little signage can go a long way to ensure your guests don’t get lost. 

Make sure you provide directions for how to access your wedding venue and create some playful signs indicating where the toilets are or how to reach the ceremony site from the parking lot.

Don’t Forget About the Kids.

If you’re inviting kids to your wedding, have a game plan in place to ensure they don’t disrupt the ceremony proceedings and that they’re entertained during the reception. Something as simple as having colouring books will keep them busy as you exchange vows, while a few toys and board games in a designated area of the reception space will guarantee you’re in good standing with your parents. Too busy with life to really plan your wedding in detail? Have someone else do it for you and check out our list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help take the stress away.

Eating the Day-Of.

Last but not least, among the things brides forget is to eat. Your wedding day is a hectic, overwhelming day. Get a good breakfast and plenty of water. And as you schedule out your wedding day prep, make sure to have snack breaks. 

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