5 Things to Be Mindful of When You and Your Friends are Both Planning Weddings
Photography: By Halie
For many, planning a wedding is one of the most enjoyable experiences to share with friends (second only to the wedding day itself!). From touring venues to DIYing welcome bags for guests, there are countless opportunities to involve your loved ones on the way to “I do.”
So what happens when one of your besties gets engaged and joins you on the wedding planning journey? On the one hand, it never hurts to have the support of someone in the same boat as you. You’ll have a close friend to laugh about intrusive questions (“have you picked a date yet!?”) and commiserate over supply chain issues (“it takes how long for save-the-dates to arrive!?”).
But, for some, sharing the experience can spark a certain level of competition — and clashing over wedding plans can spoil the process for everyone involved (including your mutual friends!).
Fortunately, all it takes is mutual respect and effective communication to navigate wedding planning alongside a friend — and even enjoy it more than doing it solo. Here are a few tips for planning your dream wedding without sacrificing the friendship with your fellow soonlywed.
Photography: Anastasiia Photography
Set conversational boundaries
It’s OK if there are things you don’t want to discuss with your friend. Topics like budgets, family dynamics, wedding parties, and creative ideas can feel uncomfortable, so if there are subjects to avoid, make sure to draw those lines early in the planning process.
“Be upfront with your friend about how much planning you want to discuss and what ideas you want to share,” encourages Sarah Blessinger of Kindred Weddings and Events. “You could limit it to sharing great vendors and money-saving tips. All while keeping your floral design mockup closer to home to keep your events from looking too similar.”
If you’re like two peas in a pod, Blessinger notes that you may need to talk about ways to differentiate your weddings (if that’s your goal). For example, “if you worry that you might choose the same attire because of your style similarities, chat through that together and find a way to communicate expectations best,” she says.
While it might seem awkward to establish boundaries at first, trust that your friend will likely appreciate that conversation as well. And since your relationship precedes your respective engagements, there’s no reason to let something as trivial as wedding planning come between you.
Photography: Mandee Johnson Photography
Discuss timelines to avoid overlap
As Sandy Brooks of Timeless Event Planning explains, “you will want to share event dates ahead of time, so you don’t plan your engagement party, bridal shower, or bachelorette on the same days.”
Regarding the wedding date itself, “don’t plan your wedding activities the weekend before or after their event, especially if you share the same friend group, as it could take some excitement away,” Brooks adds.
When considering dates for your wedding and its ancillary activities, be mindful of your guests’ time and budgets — especially if travel is involved for either or both parties.
“If you're planning a destination wedding, consider the timeline of events between you and your friends' festivities while keeping in mind people's budgets who may be involved in both scenarios,” recommends Jen Avey of Destination Weddings Travel Group.
There’s no need to spoil the element of surprise by divulging too much, but a friendly heads-up can save you both (and your guests) from an unfortunate double booking.
3. Don’t shy away from shared vendors
Another element you don’t need to keep under lock and key? Your vendor list! While you might worry about guests tiring of the same wedding pros, George Wainwright of Coastal DJ & Video reveals that “it can benefit friends planning separate weddings to hire some of the same vendors.”
For example, “when an emcee already knows some of the guests at the second event, that creates an added element where the DJ seems to be more part of the party,” Wainwright explains. “That also applies to the photographer and videographer, knowing some of the guests.”
Plus, there’s no better referral than from a friend who is also in the midst of wedding planning. So while you may not want to duplicate vendor lists, don’t be afraid to trade a few recommendations for pros that benefit from a long-standing relationship with guests.
Skip the comparison game
Weddings can cost a pretty penny, and it’s important to remember that everyone’s budget is different. What you can afford might not fit into a friend’s spending plan (and vice versa!), so there’s no need to measure up your big day to anyone else’s.
“Don't flaunt your wedding budget,” cautions Christina Lovelace of Lovelace Design. “Friends need to be mindful when sharing details about costs. That topic can be quite sensitive if both parties do not have the same financial backing. It is ok to want nice things, but if your friend can't afford that dress, band, experience, etc., don't rub it in.”
Plus, even if you have the same budget, Rock Paper Coin’s Katie Mast assures that “your style differences will make you spend your money differently. Their elevated catering experience will feel different than your buffet dinner choice, but that doesn't mean it's less than just because you opted to spend on a live band.”
So no matter how much (or little) you plan to spend, avoid likening your big day to your friend’s. Every wedding is unique, so you can let your personality shine without taking away from someone else’s celebration!
Stay true to yourself
The best way to avoid carbon copy weddings is by letting your and your partner’s preferences lead the way. Authenticity is key for a day that feels like it belongs to you!
So before envying what anyone else is doing (whether it’s a friend or a stranger on Pinterest), “think about what you truly want to experience and express when planning your day!” says Jennifer Sulak of Weirdo Weddings. “Embrace who you are and YOUR love story. Of course, this can overlap with your friends, but only you can tell your story.“
While you and your friend may share similar interests and design aesthetics, there’s plenty that sets you apart! Lean into the little details that will make your guests say, “oh, that’s perfect for them!” — like the band you and your partner bonded over or the cuisine you shared on your first date. There’s no replicating your one-of-a-kind love story!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.