Alright, okay, I admit it.  I goofed up. Multiple times when planning my wedding, actually. I made a few rookie wedding mistakes in some little-known areas that didn’t seem too important in the grand scheme of things but was not ideal nonetheless. Here’s what happened – I’m sharing so hopefully your wedding can be a little more stress-free than mine.

Mistake 1: Mailing

For my wedding, I thought it would be cute to send save the date cards that doubled as a luggage tag for out-of-town guests. This included a thick tag with a beaded strap, which still fit into the envelope, but made it just a tad bulky.  While some guests received their mail right away, a good majority still waited… and waited.  After almost a month, they started receiving their cards, some with “additional postage required” stamps on it, or with torn and partially ripped envelopes. Since letter mail is mostly automated nowadays, the rules are stricter about acceptable envelope sizes and thickness – it must physically fit through the post office’s processing machines.

If you are thinking of sending an embellished card, or something a bit different in the mail, be sure to know what you can and cannot get away with when sending “regular letter mail.” For example, United States Postal Service (USPS) will process letter mail with the minimum size of 3.5” high x 5” wide while Canada Post processes letter mail with the minimum size of 3.6” high x 5.6” wide.  Keeping within these guidelines can help save money on oversized postage costs and ensure that your invitations or save the dates get there without additional delays.

Mistake 2: Dress Purchasing

While trying to stick to a budget (especially when needing four dresses), I had the great idea of buying online at a fraction of the cost versus in specialty boutiques or in the mall. I chose a gown with a forgiving corset back design and figured that due to my height, I’d have to pay to alter any dress purchased, whether I bought it in person or online. The dress looked beautiful, and was under budget, so I went for it.  What arrived in the mail was not even remotely close to what was ordered. The color was three or four shades darker than the photo online.  The dress was poorly made and looked more like a kid’s Halloween costume than a beautiful ball gown good enough for a wedding. At closer look at the photo online, it seemed that the seller had modified its color in many places.

This experience is not to say that you shouldn’t buy any dresses online, as I purchased another dress that looked amazing and was very high quality. However, be extremely careful and ask the seller to send close-up photos if you have questions about the quality or color of the dress. Read reviews when they are available and be wary of sellers without reviews at all. Buy from reputable sites that allow for a refund or exchange.

Mistake 3: Rehearsal Booking

During wedding season, the most sought-after venues may be so closely booked that they will not allow for ceremony rehearsals. Or, if you are like me and have chosen an alternative venue that normally does not host weddings, booking a rehearsal can be rather challenging. Due to out-of-town wedding party members and limited time, we weren’t able to book our rehearsal at the wedding venue and decided to run through the rehearsal at another chapel instead. While the rehearsal went well, we weren’t prepared for the nuances of the actual wedding venue on the day of the wedding. A surprise dip in the floor and narrow staircases making poofy gowns a tight fit can really throw off anyone’s preparedness. Luckily, everything went off without a hitch, but my advice would be to secure your rehearsal at the ceremony venue at the time of contract signing. Insist on having the rehearsal close to the wedding and not a month out, so that your wedding party can stay fresh on what was talked about at the rehearsal.

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