Whether you’re planning to get married for the first time or the second (or beyond!), you want to make it a memorable day. Often prospective brides will have been planning some version of their wedding since they were little girls. Now when it is time to make it happen, it is important to stick with a plan. Yes, hiring a professional wedding planner can be a help but it can also be an expensive proposition for someone who is basically going to run everything by you anyway. You can plan a great wedding by avoiding these common mistakes:

Not Making the Guest List First

No matter what kind of wedding vendor you approach, you’ll be asked two vital questions: When is the date and how many people are your inviting? Actually, in many ways, deciding on the number of guests is more important than the date. Until you know how many people are going to be sitting at the reception, you can’t pick a venue or set a menu. Remember, that just because you’re inviting 150 people doesn’t mean 150 people will show up. But it does mean you have to plan for 150 people.

Overwhelming Your Partner

It is not uncommon for one person in the wedding duo to do the bulk of the planning. That doesn’t mean they should take responsibility on their own. This is still a partnership but you don’t want it to be “All wedding planning, all the time.” Designate one night to talk about all the pending details and decisions. This is also the time to get your partner to prioritize what is important to them. Maybe they aren’t as concerned about picking out flowers as they are about the cake tasting. There could also be a few tasks that they’ll gladly take over. It might be a good idea to have a weekly planning meeting. Sounds formal but it works.

Changing Decisions

Wedding planning can be in flux. Things change as new ideas pop up. The problem is that with every inspiration, there is a cost. Your plans should be locked down at least two months before the date. Locked down means no changes. Your first instincts will usually be the best ones anyway.

Crash Dieting

Every bride wants to look beautiful on their wedding day but that shouldn’t come at the expense of their health. When it is time to buy the gown, don’t buy it a size smaller than you are and then crash diet to get there. Eat right, exercise and stay healthy all the way through your planning and the dress will look amazing.

Doing Everything

Just because you’re planning the details of your wedding doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. Take for instance making party favors. These are a nice touch and can come in many forms but often they require a little DIY action. Instead of staying up for hours stuffing tiny bags with chocolate, you should ask for help. Make it a party with the bridesmaids and set up an assembly line. Any “busy work” assignment should be approached this way.

Blowing Up Your Budget

At the beginning of this process you should set a budget. There are plenty of online resources that can provide you with rough price range for vendors. More importantly, you know how much money you have available to spend so try to stay within those parameters. Price everything out and if something is going to mean spending an extra $500 here or $1,000 there, then give it a second thought. You don’t want to spend your new married life starting out in debt.