When it comes to planning your wedding, it’s hard to know what you don’t know. That’s why, we’ve asked veteran brides to weigh in with the lessons they learned after their Big Day—from ways to personalize your nuptials to tips on where to really spend that budget money. Read on for their advice.
“I don't recommend planning a full traditional wedding in a town 1,000 miles away without a wedding planner, unless you’re a glutton for punishment.” Dacia B.
“Have two photographers to capture every moment and have a videographer. I didn't know until the day arrived how happy I would be to have moving images of my day that I could look back on and, one day, show my kids.” Lisa I.
“Don't get caught up in details of table cloths and flowers. No one cares but you, so hire a wedding planner.” Laura G.
“Keep it simple and small. The bigger it is the harder it is. There are more people to please and attend to. It should be your day.” Tiffany P.
“We mailing out fabric quilt blocks to our guests with the invitations for people to sign/send best wishes and return with their reply card. Before the wedding, we had the quilt pieced and displayed at the wedding. It now hangs in our home and I love to read the things people wrote even those who weren't able to attend.” Rachel M.
“Don’t go cheap on the videographer and photographer. We trusted acquaintances with that very important task and it did not work out very well.” Elicia H.
“In the weeks leading up to the wedding, we collected pieces of fabric from all the guests to make prayer flags that hung in the pavilion we got married under. It was a way for our guests who couldn't be there physically to still have a part in it and fun for the guests there to find their flag while waiting for the ceremony to start.” Jesse M.
“Don’t try to take all of your wedding party pictures between the ceremony and reception. We wanted to celebrate and we missed time with out of town friends because we were busy posing.” Jennifer E.
“Hire a videographer! They don't have to be the most expensive, just able to capture the evening. Film the rehearsal dinner speeches.” Kirby M.
“Hire a coordinator for the day of to handle all the little questions that come up and have a photographer take pictures of people at tables to get a record of who was there.” April O.
“We regret getting married by a priest that we hadn't met as a couple before. The catholic priest at our destination wedding was supposed to meet with us few days before at the resort but cancelled last minute. The wedding chapel ceremony was in beautiful location, but priest's sermon was not very good or focused on us as a couple. We wish we would have had made more time to meet him before getting married vs. Booking him over email.” Maria L.
“I had my hair/makeup people come to me at the hotel; no traveling to a crowded salon, being around too many people, stressing about time and travel arrangements for my wedding party. It allowed me some quiet time to reflect and relax on the day of.” Andrea B.
“Doing a reveal was the best thing for us. We got some amazing shots and really got to use the property we rented to its full potential while not making our guests wait two hours post ceremony to start the reception.” Lisa I.
“Having a cocktail hour before our ceremony was awesome, especially for those who hadn't met yet.”Elicia H.
“If seeing your soon-to-be spouse before the wedding will calm your nerves, throw tradition out the window and see him/her! It made me so happy to spend time with my future hubby the morning of the wedding and is still one of my favorite memories.” Jesse M.
“Our best idea was having a pre-ceremony cocktail hour and letting guests bring their cocktail to their seats. We got married outdoors and one of favorite memories is looking out at everyone, kicked back with a cocktail and looking so relaxed. It set the day on the right path.” Rachel F.
“We had a ring warming ceremony. We put our wedding bands in a little sash and our guests passed them around praying over or sending love ‘into’ them. It still melts my heart when I look down at my wedding band and I know all the love that was wished into them.” Dacia B.
“Our best idea was having a great friend officiate the ceremony. He had us answer questions about our ‘coupleness’ and turned our responses into the ceremony and vows. We didn't rehearse them. Our first time hearing or saying them was at the wedding.” Michelle H.
“Writing our own vows was my favorite thing about our ceremony. They matched up perfectly and I thought my husband was accidentally reading mine to him as he began. Turns out we just wrote very similar vows to each other.” Laura G.
“We did a rock ceremony instead of a unity candle, where guests all made a wish on a rock and we poured them all into a vase, which we still have.” Rachel F
“I didn’t think that the chairs would be that big of a deal and now I hate the way they look in my wedding photos. Spend the extra money to rent or cover chairs even if the venue has some that “could” work.” Marissa M.
“We did a rock ceremony instead of a unity candle, where guests all made a wish on a rock and we poured them all into a vase, which we still have.” Rachel F.
“Our buffet line formed in front of our head table. So we had to talk to guests instead of getting to eat. Make sure traffic doesn’t flow past your table.” Sarah T.
“My best wedding idea was having late night pizza and snacks. Everyone was dancing and drinking, so having warm, delicious food show up towards then end was a big win!” Rebecca M.
“Our best idea was splurging on a good photographer and the worst was splurging on cake. It’s justcake.” Kelly V.
“Our caterer made us a box of food to go with us in the limo and a bottle I champagne. We had been so busy greeting and thanking our guests and dancing that we barely got to eat our awesome food!”Marissa M.
“Try not to stress over the little things or spend extra money on things like favors. Most guests forget to take theirs and no guest would ever miss them if they weren't there! If you insist on doing a favor, I love the idea of making a donation on your guest’s behalf to your favorite charity.” Lisa I.
“Don't spend all the money on the reception. Have a divine honeymoon and come home to start marriage without being broke.” Jennifer E.
To download high-res images, visit photo gallery.