Over the last 10 years, Katie and I have not only shot 200+ weddings, but we have also planned, designed, and officiated several weddings for siblings. DIY Weddings are not for the faint of heart. This last year, we held a wedding in our own backyard. For over a year we worked with my brother and sister in law to bring their dream to life. The reality is everyone can plan a wedding, but not everyone should. Logistically, emotionally, & financially it might not be the best choice for you, but let me share a few mistakes we’ve made, heard about, or experienced over the years.



  • Failing to Establish a Budget Beforehand

From the wedding venue and catering to flowers and photography, estimating the cost of a wedding can be complicated. Not the mention those last-minute costs that spring up suddenly and blow up your budget. But while you can’t be sure that cost will come up to exactly what you’re willing to spend, setting a realistic budget will still save you a lot of stress and hassles later. You can also use the wedding cost calculator available online to get an approximate estimate cost! Treat a wedding like building a home. Make sure that you have a 20-30% buffer in your budget for the unexpected. Set a budget based on what you can personally afford with the help of your family. What is most important to you? That is where you invest your money. What is going to help produce the most long-term happiness?  



  • Looking for a Wedding Venue Before Preparing Your Guest List

In Wisconsin, we generally have pretty big families. Nebraska and Utah might have us beat, but regardless, knowing who you’re inviting will determine the venue, which in turn might determine the date itself. Start with the list. There are so many neat online tools to help collect the infamous guest list and addresses. We personally like Basic Invite. If you’re thinking of sending out printed save the dates and invitations we highly recommend their services. Ask us how you can save on your next order! You must prepare your guest list before you book your wedding venue to make sure your venue is neither cluttered nor does it have lots of empty space on the wedding day. The guest list will give you a ballpark idea of the number of guests and accordingly, you can finalize a wedding venue that comfortably accommodates all guests



  • Losing Sight of the Weather Conditions

A big wedding planning mistake anyone can make is forgetting to take the weather conditions into account when booking the wedding venue. If you are holding your wedding in summer, then your ideal venue might be one of the many Outdoor Wisconsin Venues. However, Spring and Fall Weddings it is always a good idea to have a backup plan. We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best with an August 18th wedding last year, but we recommend renting a tent, even if you don’t put it up, it is nice to have it just in case! It’s the Midwest. Anything is possible. 



  • Going DIY or Hiring a Newbie

Did our siblings make a mistake in ‘hiring’ us to make their dreams come true? Maybe? But like I always say, the proof is in the podding and everything went off all three times without a hitch, but I wouldn’t call us newbies either. Our siblings are also super chill and down to earth and ultimately cared more about each other than the day itself. They wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and for their day to be stress-free. The trusted others who promised to take care of them and if in the event something didn’t quite go as planned, they would simply take care of it. They got to ditch their phones and just show up! Invest is someone who is OBSESSED with weddings. We have worked with many who are so good at what they do! Check out Trillium Event Co. The owner just so happens to be a high school friend who serves the Appleton, Wisconsin and surrounding Fox Valley area. 


  • Sending Out Your “Save-the-Date” Messages Too Soon

Wedding planning is just as exciting as stressful it is and so, you may impulsively send your save-the-date messages. But what if you realize that you need to cut your guest list short and nix a couple of third-tier invites later? This is where things can get complicated because you would’ve already invited them. So it is best to wait till the number is finalized and then wedding venue is booked before you send out your paperless posts. Working with parents on your list can be stressful, but we strongly recommend getting your list FINALIZED at least six months in advance.   



  • Missing the Point

I would say the biggest mistake couples make in planning their wedding is not investing in their relationship and ultimately their marriage. Sometimes the big things are not the most important and often we get caught up the excitement and the thrill of planning, that we forget the reason we planning the first place. Planning a wedding is a lot like life prep for couples. It forces two people to make decisions, communicate, create and keep to a budget, work with parents, meet each other’s friends, and agree and disagree. How is this going for you? If planning a wedding has been stressful or maybe you’re just getting started, focus on what is most important and keep that at the top of your list. Your marriage. We are a huge fan of marriage counseling. While your marriage hasn’t begun yet, the year(s) that lead up to it matter and it will set a foundation moving forward. Sure, you will hit some bumps along the way, that is normal, that is real life, but how are going to move past them? Are you able to compromise on your guest list? Can you agree on a venue? Are you getting along with your future in-laws during this process?

You can make every one of the mistakes above and still get married and even have a great wedding, but you can do everything perfectly and hire all the right people and miss the point altogether. Cherish the time you have and address issues you have when you see them. Don’t stay quiet for the sake of the other’s perceived happiness and don’t check out gentlemen when your bride and future mother in law are deciding on what color the napkins need to be. Your opinion matters more than you think. Brides, your groom wants nothing more than to give you the moon on your wedding day, but we’re not always sure its the moon you want. We want to be the thing you cherish most. We don’t want you to ultimately care about your dress, flowers, food, colors more than you care about the fact that we get to be the one thing you cherish most in life on this earth. While all of those things matter to us, because they matter to you, don’t make them the ultimate thing. Your dress might rip, your flowers might wilt, and your chicken might be dry, but I want to laugh cry with you when everything is falling apart and there is a hole in your kitchen roof and the water is pouring in because that is what marriage is all about. We’re stuck together. Thick and thin. Hell or high water and every other cliche you can think of. Marriage is is a commitment, a choice. That no matter what, I got your back and you got mine. Even when we disagree, I am still for you. Even when money is tight and the kids are sick, we’re for each other.

And in the good times, and there will be so many good times, we cherish each other and the moments because they are gifts we don’t deserve. #liferevered.


For a complete guide on how to plan your dream wedding, here’s a collection of wedding resources for every soon-to-be bride (and groom)… take a look :  The Wedding Guide You Never Thought You Needed




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