How To Plan A Wedding: why trying to do it all and have it all is never a good idea

Katrina Otter Wedding Planner

Well hello! And the biggest of congratulations if you are discovering Love My Dress for the very first time following your festive/New Year engagement!

For those of you new here, please allow me to briefly introduce myself, I’m Katrina Otter, a national award-winning wedding planner who specialises in timeless, understated and naturally elegant weddings throughout the UK. I’m also delighted to be a long-time and regular contributor to Love My Dress and have written lots of advice features – the kind of raw, honest, no nonsense style of advice, that is – that we all believe our readers need and deserve. You’ll find all my previous articles here.

I hope that whatever stage you’re at with your wedding planning, it’s all going well for you both. But if on the other hand, you’ve got a to do list that’s running into pages and evenings that are packed with so much wedmin that you’re wondering when you’re going to sleep, then this article is for you.

It’s easy to think that doing everything you possibly can for your wedding day is a guarantee of brilliance, but stop right there. I’m going to explain why trying to ‘do it all’ and ‘have it all’ is never, ever a good idea.

If you sit down and ask your parents, aunts, uncles, siblings or friends about their wedding days, they’ll recount all of their wonderful memories. They won’t, for example, mention favours, signs, branded cushions, guest books or photo booth props. Now I’m not saying, at all, that those things aren’t great. But what I am saying is that ‘details’ don’t make your wedding brilliant. And ‘details’, at the expense of your own personal sanity is nothing short of a bad idea.

I understand why it happens. There’s just so much wedding gorgeousness out there (this blog is full of the stuff!) and when you see fabulous, beautiful, wonderful, exciting details, it’s natural to want a bit of that for yourself. You want your guests to have a fantastic day, you want your wedding to be beyond memorable. You want your day to be unlike any other, so you plan and plan and probably plan a little more than you should.


I genuinely believe that it’s time we pare weddings back to what really matters, it’s time to stop thinking that if we do a bit more, include a bit more or have a bit more, then our weddings will BE a bit more. That’s just not how it works.

The best, most beautiful and most memorable and amazing weddings are those that provide a lovely, seamless experience for guests. There’s a gentle flow, there’s time and there’s plenty of opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family alike.

Please read that sentence again. And again.

You see, guests also don’t notice or value things to the same extent that you will.

However, the opposite happens when you try to have it all. Cram too much into your wedding day and it’ll be fraught and frantic, quite the opposite of the blissful experience that you’ve got in mind. And actually, it’s quite likely to stress you out too.

When you try to have it all, when you’re adding more and more to your wedding day, you’ve got more suppliers to manage, more to include in your plans, more to deal with and higher expectations. There’ll be more opportunities for things to go wrong, more potential for delays and more things that can be forgotten. You’ll be more on edge too because it’s highly likely that you’ll be keeping an eye on everything rather than just relaxing and going with the flow of the day. And that’s really what your guests want to see – a loved up couple having a truly fabulous day.

It’s also really important to remember that you and your guests don’t need everything. You don’t become a ‘better couple’ because you’ve handmade every detail of you day and your guests don’t need canapes, drinks stations, a five-course meal, food trucks, an ice cream van and a campfire with marshmallows.

Guests are actually quite simple – they want to catch up with friends and family – so if you can make sure there’s plenty of time in your schedule for conversation, your guests will be happier than if you’re marching them from one activity to the next. Guests also want some food, a drink and a bit of a dance. Any more than that is an added extra for sure, but these things will also be additional complications. It’s up to you to decide whether what you’re adding is really, genuinely worth it.

There comes a time when you’re planning your wedding that you need to know that you’re done and then you should step away from things for a while.

You see, guests also don’t notice or value things to the same extent that you will. You’ll love your seating plan because you spent a considerable amount of time working on it, but will your guests even notice it other that to find out where they’re sitting? Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do these things if you want to but don’t do them thinking that your guests will automatically love or even remember them. And this is the case when it comes to most extras and details. No one is going to leave your wedding saying, for example, “that would have been a brilliant wedding if they’d had a sparkler send off at the end of the night!”….

It’s also really important to consider your budget and how you’re using it. If you’ve got £1,000 to spend for example, and you spend it on velvet ribbon to wrap around your cutlery and wedding favours instead of evening food, you’ve missed a trick. Guests will notice the food, they won’t notice the ribbon and, at the end of the evening, 150 pieces of ribbon will be in the bin and some of the favours will still be on the tables.


Trying to do it all can also exhaust you in the run up to the big day. Turning yourself inside out to make everything and do everything yourself means that you’ll arrive at your wedding tired, wrung out and more than a bit stressed. The worst case scenario here is that you’ll actually resent all of the effort you’ve put in, particularly when guests aren’t appreciating or noticing everything you’ve done in the way that you’d hoped. This isn’t the route to wedding day happiness so know when to say enough is enough, for your own sake.

You also have to remember that the more you include and the more details from Pinterest that you take into account, the less your wedding day can feel like yours. Instead of focusing on the details that mean something to you, your wedding can just become a re-run of your Pinterest account when the things that people really remember are those that can be connected to and that feel familiar with you.

Trying to do it all and have it all will not make your wedding ‘better’. There comes a time when you’re planning your wedding that you need to know that you’re done and then you should step away from things for a while. Get away from social media, stop browsing Pinterest and don’t spend evenings hunting online for more things to add. Be happy with what you have and know that you’ve chosen details for the right reasons. The more you hunt around for ‘the next thing’ or ‘the finishing touch’, you’ll kid yourself into thinking that what you’ve got isn’t enough or that you should have done or included more.

Instead, put your time and energy into really perfecting your plans and finessing what you’ve got. Polish your plans, complete your wedding day schedule and brief your bridesmaids and groomsmen so they can look after things on the day for you because a well-executed, smooth, relaxed wedding day with time to enjoy yourself with your family and friends will always be great.

People, not things, make memories.

Love Katrina


Credits & Thanks


Katrina View all Katrina's articles

I’m a planner, strategist, designer, thinker, doer, perfectionist, artist, creative, partner, friend, and I’m passionate about supporting the incredible community of Love My Dress readers by sharing my knowledge of weddings and wedding planning via regular, HONEST and practical planning features. As part of the Love My Dress team, I love having the opportunity to explore different aspects of wedding planning and since 2015 have covered everything from learning how to embrace imperfection to pressures, worries and wobbles. You can find out more about who I am, what I do, my style, my approach, and the wedding planning support services I offer at Katrina Otter Weddings.

One thought on “How To Plan A Wedding: why trying to do it all and have it all is never a good idea

  1. Katrina, I salute you! I could not agree more with everything that you have said right here. We got married a week ago, and there came a point where I was concerned that we didn’t have ‘enough detail’. The day was entirely personal to us, we didn’t do too much DIY, and we went for high quality food, wine and live music, instead of the fireworks and other details that I was very tempted by. Anyway, all you really need is love. Our day was truly wonderful, and the most common comment was how romantic the day was. What more could we ask for?x

Comments are closed.