3 Things Most People Miss When Planning a Wedding

Wedding checklists are a bride’s best friend, so make sure that you’re not missing these often-overlooked items.

1. Plan for Vendor Tips

Not to freak you out, but you might be missing an important column on your budget sheet. Couples often forget to allocate a percentage for tipping their vendors (like their caterer, DJ, and makeup artist).

The amount can vary based on the service provided. Tips should be handed out on the day of your ceremony—so it’s best to assign this task to a reliable groomsmen or family friend. An easy way to keep up with this task is by putting each vendor’s tip in an individual envelope and labeling them, making distribution on your big day seamless!

You can also provide vendors that you have become to—such as an officiant, coordinator or photographer—a small gift as a token of your appreciation for being there for your big day.

Martha Stewart Weddings also notes the value of a follow-up thank-you note and referrals to your friends as other ways to show your gratitude.

Pro tip: Make sure you read the fine print of your contracts, as vendors will occasionally include gratuity in your total fee.

2. Include a Regional Tradition

Something borrowed, something blue—but what about something that represents your heritage or where you’re getting married? Including a fun regional wedding tradition can be a simple way to set your wedding apart from the masses. Here are some ideas of traditions in different parts on the US:

Northeast: Having a cookie table instead of a cake table is common in the Northeast. Make it extra special by serving cookies made from old family recipes or from a favorite bakery you and your fiancé had a date at.

Southeast: There’s a unique Southern wedding tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon at your ceremony site. It’s said that if you bury it on a day with good weather, you’ll experience good weather on your wedding day as well. Bonus? You get to dig it up on your big day and share the libations with your guests!

West: It’s no secret the West Coast is home to stunning beaches, lush greenery and majestic mountains—which is why it’s common to see environmentally friendly weddings. Think about using reusable materials, finding an eco-friendly venue, and buying clothing made from Fair Trade fabrics.

3. Prepare for Marriage

Let’s do some math. The average length of engagement is around 13 months, and the average wedding—from the walk down the aisle to the last dance—lasts only about 6 hours. Considering the average age when a person gets married is 28 years old, and our life expectancy is hovering around 78 years, that’s fifty years of marriage you’ve got to be prepared for! But we often spend more time preparing for those 6 hours than we do the 50 years ahead of us. Take time during your engagement to prepare for marriage by adding these to your checklist:

Date each other: Plan a date each month and make a rule that you can’t talk about wedding planning. Just enjoy each other’s company, celebrate your time together, and talk about what you’re looking forward to doing on your tenth, twentieth, fiftieth anniversary together.

Enroll in premarital counseling: Some studies have shown that by doing premarital counseling you can reduce your chance of divorce by up to 50%. Psychology Today points out that you don’t have to be religious to take advantage of this important step, and that it’s ‘the smartest thing couples can do before saying “I do.”’ Premarital counseling is usually strongly encouraged (and provided for) in most religious institutions, but you can also seek out couple’s therapy if you’d prefer to take the nonreligious route. Seth Meyers, Psy.D says, “No matter how cohesive a couple may be, problems and differences will inevitably arise, so premarital counseling really functions like the best insurance policy a couple could ever purchase.”

Read a book about marriage, together: Start your own book club with just the two of you! Aim to read a chapter a week and sit down to discuss what you learned. Some frequently recommended books are Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage, Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, and John M. Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

Now that these things have been added to your wedding checklist, cross some of your other “to-dos” off by browsing our wedding products that will help set your day apart and UP THE MOMENT!

Need help staying organized with your wedding?

We’ve created an easy “what to include” template for you to follow as you create your dream wedding (binder)!

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