The Biggest Mistakes Newly-Engaged Couples Make
1. Broadcasting the News Right Away
You may want to shout from the rooftops when you get engaged, but take a deep breath and enjoy those first few moments with your fiancé — and only your fiancé. There’s nothing like planning a wedding to dredge up old family drama, so take a few minutes (or even a few days) to reconnect as a couple and remember what it’s all about.
2. Immediately Posting Your Bling on Social Media
Before you start sharing ring selfies, think about who you’re going to tell and how you’re going to tell them. Newlyweds Becky Mastin and Louis Weil purposely avoided social media when they got engaged. “We wanted to make sure that the people who meant the most to us could celebrate with us in person, or over the phone at least. After we told our immediate families, we had a gathering to tell close friends in person. It really got us even more excited about starting this journey together.”
3. Prematurely Choosing a Color Scheme
Many couples make the mistake of selecting their color scheme before they select their venue. But if you settle on a color scheme too soon, you may realize that it completely clashes with your ballroom. And it’s easier to change your invitations and your bridesmaids’ dresses than it is to change the carpeting or the curtains.
4. Getting Your Heart Set on a Particular Date
Most wedding planners recommend setting your date before proceeding with all other elements of your wedding. After all, you can’t book your vendors until you know when you’re going to need them, and you can’t design your invitations if you don’t know your date. But getting locked into a date too soon can seriously limit your chances of finding the perfect venue. This is particularly true if you’re looking to have a spring wedding; to ensure you get your first choice, put together a short list of potential dates, and run these by important friends and family members before you book.
5. Booking Vendors in the Wrong Order
With so many decisions to make, it’s difficult to know where to start, but selecting your venue is one of the first steps you should take — so determine your budget, set up a few appointments, and nail it down. Once you select your venue, you can move onto the fun stuff, like choosing your color scheme and designing your centerpieces.
As a newly-engaged couple, you and your fiancé may feel pressured to secure your dream venue, your favorite DJ, or that to-die-for photographer with a hefty deposit. But before you open your wallet, make sure you are completely, 100% comfortable with your decisions and the terms of the contract. “Ask someone to help you look over the terms and check on cancellation policies, too,” advises CPA (and groom-to-be) Mike Montenegro advises. “An awkward conversation now will save you a headache (and potentially a significant amount of money) later.”
6. Shopping for Your Gown
Many brides are ready to hit the ground running when it comes to selecting a dress, but before you say “yes” to the dress, take a deep breath. If you have a lengthy engagement, your tastes may change over time, and if you lose (or gain!) weight, you may end up needing costly alterations. Aim to purchase your 9-12 months before you’ll need it. And follow the advice of Wendy Yan, co-owner of Ieie’s Dress Boutique: “When choosing where to purchase your dress, the first thing to check is their returns policy. Avoid stores with vague language and when in doubt, Google is a great place to check out past client’s reviews.”
And leave the shoe-shopping for later on. For many brides, wedding shoes are almost as important as the gown itself. But wait a few months before you select your stilettos (or sequined Chucks). Feet often swell during the summer, especially if you spend most of your days in flip flops, so aim to go shoe shopping around the same time of year that you’ll be getting married (i.e. in the winter for a winter wedding). Consider your venue as well. If you buy a pair of spiky stilettos and end up getting married in a field or at the beach, you’re going to spend the entire ceremony sinking into the ground.
7. Firing off Your STDS
Save-the-dates, that is… and although you want to ensure your besties will be there, you don’t want to end up uninviting people when you fall in love with a venue that can only accommodate 100 guests. Before sending invitations and STDs, make sure you know what your venue can accommodate and how much you’re able to spend.
8. Trying to Get a Head Start on DIY Projects
If you’ve already spent the past few months pinning DIY ideas on Pinterest, you may be tempted to run out to your local art supply store and start crafting. But, as wedding planner and florist Debi Echevarria warns her brides, “If you haven’t settled on a color scheme or an overall theme for your wedding, you may end up with a bunch of useless supplies that no longer match your vision. Before you begin, make sure you know exactly what you need, how you’re going to store your décor projects until the big day, and how you’ll transport everything to your venue.”
9. Proposing to Your Bridesmaids
Before assembling your ‘maids, stop and think about who you really want with you on your big day. And be clear on what you expect your bridesmaids to contribute, both in terms of emotional support and financial resources. If you want your entire entourage to attend you bachelorette blow out in Vegas, make sure your friends understand your expectations before commiting to being a part of your crew — and don’t take it personally if your former college roommate with three young kids at home declines.
10. Selecting Your Bouquet Without Considering the Season
Before you start drooling over a certain type of flower, consider the time of year during which you’ll be getting married, especially if you’re an eco-conscious couple trying to reduce your carbon footprint. Flowers can be flown in from just about anywhere, but you’ll save money and have better quality blooms if you let your florist guide you through the process of selecting flowers that are in season and available locally.
11. Getting Sucked into Pinterest
Pinterest is fun. But as newlywed Rebecca Gordon warns, “Pinterest is also dangerous. If you spend too much time on it, you’re going to come up with outrageous ideas that aren’t feasible.” The more time you spend ogling photo spreads, the more you’re going to feel that your budget is inadequate or that your dress isn’t pretty enough. Consider what information you’re actually looking for, and once you find it, log off.
12. Caving to Pressure
The minute you announce your engagement, you’re going to start getting guest list requests from family and friends. While many of these requests may take the form of well-intended suggestions, remember that it is your wedding and if you don’t want to invite your Great Aunt Mildred or ask your sister in law to be a bridesmaid, you don’t have to.
13. Crash Dieting
Many brides dream of dropping a few dress sizes before their wedding, but nutrition counselor Kara Beutel of One By One Nutrition advises brides to focus on a long term, sustainable diet plan that combines healthy eating with appropriate exercise. “Think of your wedding day as the beginning, not an end point,” she says. “Small changes to eating habits that are manageable (read: that don’t make you miserable!) will help you to fit into your dress and start a healthier lifestyle that you can enjoy with your soon-to-be spouse.”
14. Skipping the Premarital Counseling
With secular weddings becoming more and more common, it’s easy for couples to jump right without seriously considering the full implications of marriage. As former Philadelphia bride Katie Budris recalls, “My ex-husband and I intended to do premarital counseling, but after a few attempts, we gave up. We never talked about handling our finances, having kids, reconciling our different styles of argument, or our expectations for physical intimacy. These things lead to our divorce in less than three years.”
15. Stressing Over “Your Song”
One of the first things newly-engaged couples tend to worry about is their first dance. But ballroom dance instructor Colleen Cheong of Society Hill Dance Academy advises her custom-conscious couples to relax. “Oftentimes, couples are afraid to pick a song that has meaning to them or are overwhelmed with the process of choosing a song. If you have a song that is special to you, we can always find a dance to match. And if you aren’t committed to a particular song, consider trying a few classes and discovering a dance form you enjoy together instead.”
16. Over-thinking the Details
“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” advise Megan Smith and Brianne Sheahan of Pen Ryn Estate. “Pick a color scheme early on, and let the ideas flow over the months. For example, start with the napkin color and then work up to the larger details: centerpieces, table linens, chargers, uplighting, etc. Make a checklist and look for things while you’re out and about, rather than taking the whole family to Home Goods in one day. That will make you crazy!”
17. Keeping it to Yourselves
While you may want to wait a few days to announce your engagement on social media, Philadelphia newlyweds Adam and Rebecca Gordon made sure to broadcast their news whenever they went out. “I told everyone,” the bride recalled. “We would go out for dinner, and I would mention that we just got engaged, and people would comp us drinks or desserts— it was awesome. I highly recommend spreading the news, and since I waited 7.5 years for my husband to even ask the question, I wasn’t one to be shy.”