From when to select your venue to prioritizing your wedding musts, author Terri Pous breaks down how to plan your big day with ease and avoid pricey oversights
Terri Pous helped plan her first wedding – her sister's – when she was just 15-years-old. Then, in 2016 when another one of her sister's got married, she helped plan that one too.
"I've always just had a love for weddings," Pous tells PEOPLE. "I love that it's the combination of all these things, it's style, travel, food, flowers, it's just such a happy thing."
Pous is the author of the new book How To Plan A Wedding. In the book – which is available in stores on Dec. 12 – she shares her 12-month comprehensive calendar and guide to planning your dream wedding while minimizing stress.
The book, she explains, also focuses on breaking down stereotypes in the wedding world. She says: "So much of the industry is so heteronormative, and it just leaves a lot of people out and it doesn't need to."
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Pous shares the top 5 mistakes she sees brides make when it comes to planning their special day.
'Prioritize What's Important to You'
One of the biggest mistakes Pous sees people make when it comes to wedding planning is not prioritizing the things that are important to them.
"They just kind of think they'll have room in their budget and bandwidth for everything," she says. "In reality, you're probably going to have to pick and choose between things like band or DJ to save money or big flower arrangements versus something smaller or maybe flower alternatives."
She continues: "So if you don't sit down at the beginning and flesh out what you want to focus on that can be problematic."
'Personal Touches Go a Long Way'
"Remember that for guests, the things that they really care about are drinks and dancing," she says. "Don't make it terribly inconvenient for them and then everything else is just extra. Trying to keep that in perspective is a good idea, people sometimes lose that.
"So for example, I went to a wedding last year, which was, maybe a little over a hundred people, and there were handwritten notes to each guest at their seat. I still remember how nice that was. I had never met the couple before. I was just a plus one, and they still wrote a note to me and I was like, I want to see more of this. I'm seeing more of the little personalized details like that popping up, and I think that's only going to continue because it's such a nice way to make a wedding feel really personal versus just another party."
'Planning Should be a Joint Effort'
Planning a wedding "should be a partnership," says Pous.
"Ideally, both of you have your opinions about what would look good and what would feel right to both of you," she says. "It's part of the whole idea of you're planning your future together. This is probably one of the biggest things you'll plan together at this stage in your relationship. So I think you need to do it together."
'Take Some Time to Enjoy the Engagement'
"Don't rush into wedding planning," Pous shares.
"I always recommend taking even a week or at the beginning to just relax, have some champagne, and celebrate with friends," she says.
"My book is based on a 12-month planning timeline, but that doesn't mean that you have to start planning as soon as you get engaged," she continues. "In fact, I recommend not doing that if you can because once you start planning, there's a lot of talk about numbers in terms of people and money and logistics, and it can sometimes feel like you lose perspective of the joy of it."
'First Comes the Venue'
"The venue needs to be the first vendor you choose because venues are in high demand," she explains. "Sometimes you'll go in with your date in mind and they'll say, 'Oh, we're already booked."
"Everything else falls in line," she adds. "Then that determines your date. It determines the availability of other vendors. It might also determine the type of outfits you're looking for and the vibe. If you thought you maybe wanted more of an English garden feel, but then ended up going with a more industrial-looking museum, it might be hard to get those to look good together. So that was a big 'a ha' moment for me where I was like, wow, that is the first thing you should do. It determines everything else."
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Read the original article on People.