Wedding Ideas

Wedding Planning Mistakes to Avoid, According to an Event Planner

Posted on January 03, 2024 by Jacqueline Larcara

wedding planning mistake to avoid
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Danielle Rothweiler
Danielle Rothweiler. Photo: Dorothy Shi

Wedding planning is a learning curve for couples as they try to get up to speed on the inner workings of the industry. New Jersey Bride spoke with Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design in Verona, who offered up tips for coordinating with your vendors to make your big day run smoothly.

Of course, she recommends hiring a wedding planner to navigate the planning process with you, but she was also willing to share her 13 years of insider advice.

Planning Timeline

“Give yourself the most time possible to plan a wedding,” says Danielle. She suggests about a year and a half, if possible. She adds that the time of year that you choose to get married will dictate when you should book your vendors. “They always say six to eight months is when you get the big ticket items, like photo, video, flowers—but not if your wedding is in the fall,” she says. Danielle estimates that you’ll need closer to a year to book vendors for an autumn wedding. “You will feel far less stressed out if you give yourself more time and you’ll have more vendors to choose from, especially if you’ve got a popular wedding date,” she says.


When it comes to funding your wedding, Danielle tells her clients to, “take your entire budget and cut it in half. No more than that half amount goes to your venue, food and beverage. If you go over 50 percent, you’re not going to have enough money to get the [other] vendors,” she says.

[RELATED: “The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Venues in New Jersey“]


When researching vendors, Danielle thinks reading reviews is only part of the process. “It’s really important to pay attention to the reviews that are long and detailed because those are likely more legitimate than the ones that are short and cryptic,” she says. If something bothers you in a review you read, bring it up to the vendor. “Give them a chance to explain what happened,” she says.

wedding planning mistakes to avoid
Photo: Photo by Carlo Buttinoni on Unsplash


“The contract is protecting the person that it’s written about,” explains Danielle. She doesn’t make modifications to her contract and she says others vendors likely won’t revise their contracts either. However, she says it’s fine to ask for an explanation about something within the contract but, ultimately, if you are unhappy with the answer, finding a new vendor is best. She adds, “definitely review contracts. I feel like most people just don’t read them and then that’s when they get into trouble.”


While many vendors use a payment platform, such as HoneyBook, she has seen more and more vendors offering Zelle and Venmo as payment options so couples can avoid credit card fees. “I haven’t seen any problems with that yet. And some of my best vendors do that,” she says. “[However,] cash payments are a red flag.” She also notes that when it comes to requesting money back from vendors, “deposits are refundable, retainers are not.” She adds, as you fulfill more payments, “they’re not going to be generally refundable.”

[RELATED: “This Wedding Planner Shares the Essential Questions to Ask Every Vendor“]


If you haven’t heard back from a vendor in a while—Danielle emphasizes that wedding vendors work on the weekends so give them some time to respond—reach out again.

“Write them an email that says, ‘I’m getting really nervous that I haven’t heard back from you. This does not make me feel comfortable for my actual wedding day. I’m going to need a response within the next two business days at least confirming that you received this or we could set up a time to talk, or I’m going to have to look for another vendor,’” she suggests. “If that doesn’t get their attention, then you definitely have a problem. But every vendor is different. They may come back and be like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t even know that you needed an answer. We’re so far out from your wedding date.’”

Danielle also urges couples to consider the vendor’s point of view. “If a bride is writing to a vendor every day and it’s excessive, then the vendor could put that person at ease and be like, ‘I’m happy to have a phone call to knock out some questions but I do have other weddings I’m working on as well,’” she says. “There has to be a bit of a reflection on yourself—am I sending too many emails? Am I demanding too much?”