5 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Planning Your Wedding

05/15/2015 04:55 pm ET | Updated May 15, 2016

There is nothing more frustrating to me as a wedding planner than a client not taking my advice. As the expert, when giving a suggestion or advice, I back everything up with stories from previous clients who didn't listen. I'm not saying that I know everything. I am saying that I know more about planning weddings than your sister's friend's mother's aunt's cousin who "does events" in her spare time. I know this seems harsh but it needs to be said.

These are the five most common mistakes that couples make during the planning process and how to avoid them:

1. The on-site coordinator at your venue is not a wedding planner/coordinator. Often times a venue will add in a "wedding coordinator" as an incentive for you to book your wedding. What they don't tell you is that they don't do the same things that an independent wedding planner/coordinator does. They won't call your vendors to finalize payments and when you realize that you forgot to get a garter two hours before you walk down the aisle, they aren't hopping in their car to buy one for you. It's a huge pet peeve because it is incredibly misleading. Brides normally find out how different the on-site coordinator is from an actual wedding planner when it's too late.

I had a client a few years ago who called in hysterics because the on-site coordinator told her two days before the wedding that she wasn't going to be at her wedding. She told the bride as if it was obvious that she wouldn't be there. They had worked together for over a year. I stepped in two days before the wedding because of this very reason.

2. DIY doesn't always mean cheaper. Pinterest has fooled brides into thinking that they can do anything just by looking at a pretty picture. If you weren't crafty before your wedding, you're probably not crafty now. There is nothing worse than seeing a bunch of DIY projects strewn throughout your reception that look like your 5 year old neighbor put them together for a pack of gum. If you can't afford exactly what you want, find another alternative.

3. Stop trying to replicate someone else's wedding. Make your wedding YOUR wedding. A few years ago I had a client whose wedding everyone dreamed of having. From the bridesmaid's gowns to the centerpieces, this wedding was in high demand. I don't discuss client's budgets with anyone so they didn't know how expensive everything was. One of my clients printed out pictures from my Instagram account and brought them to our design meetings. I gently would tell her that those particular centerpieces were extremely expensive and I'd present a few alternatives. Determined to have those exact centerpieces, she and her family put them together themselves. Once she saw them in the room, she had me remove them from each table and asked me to put the flowers directly on the table. I'm not an "I told you so" person but...

4. Just because someone has a "nice" camera, doesn't make them a photographer. This is one of the biggest challenges that I face when it comes to my client's booking a photographer. I cringe every time I hear, "my cousin has a nice camera so she'll be taking our pictures." Why would you spend thousands of dollars on the most important day of your life but not invest in the photos that will last forever? I'm not saying that you have to break the bank but if you're spending more money on your invitations than your photographer, there is a problem.

5. Don't lie about your budget. If your budget is $60,000 but you'd like to stick to around $50,000, tell your planner that. Whenever a client gives me their initial budget, I ask them if that's the actual budget or if that's the number that they want to stay close to. Believe it or not, knowing how much we have to work with in the beginning will possibly save you money in the end. Weddings are expensive and most people don't know exactly how costly they are.