Some lessons are worth learning yourself, while others are worth learning by association; this sentiment is particularly true when it comes to weddings. When it’s all over, you’ll have some decisions that you are very happy with and you’ll have some in which hindsight suggests that you could have spent that $1,000 a little more wisely. But what if you could minimize all that? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could learn from other brides’ experiences?
When I was planning my wedding, I asked everyone with a ring on their finger for words of advice on their budget, lessons-learned, regrets, mishaps, purchases they were happy with, special moments, and logistical errors. Like many brides, I didn’t know where to start, so I used this advice to shape my wedding planning process.
Other brides’ feedback, challenges, and advice allowed me to learn from their mishaps without living them myself. I of course made some mistakes of my own, but overall, this process worked extremely well for me. Our wedding went off without a hitch and my day-of coordinator even suggested I take up a second career in the wedding planning business (best compliment ever!).
If you want to try this method yourself, you don’t have to look far. I’ve asked real brides to share their honest, post-wedding advice with Something Turquoise readers to help brides-to-be everywhere make informed, smart choices. Their hindsight is your 20/20 vision, so take notes and don’t forget to pass your experiences on to the next bride.
Everybody says it, but I’ll say it again: a wedding goes fast – enjoy little pieces and don’t worry about the details. Dance as much as you can. Enjoy your food. Drink your wine (and LOTS of water). Kiss your partner. Take 5 minutes alone together and share your thoughts. Trust your people to take care of the little issues for you. – Virginie AR
BOOK NOW, OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE
The best piece of wedding advice that I received was to book an officiant as early as possible. I had no idea how quickly they book up (in hindsight, this makes total sense!). – Sara Coleman
STAY ON BUDGET
We worked so hard to stay on budget, and I’m so glad that we did. We spent money on the things we really cared about, but also made some hard decisions so we didn’t overspend. At the time, I questioned if I should have spent more, but now that we’re in “post-wedding life,” I’m really happy that we stuck to our plan. It’s a very important day, but saving for a home, honeymoon, family, etc. is also important. – Jennifer Stewart
DON’T “SHOULD” ALL OVER YOURSELF
Try not to give in to all the “shoulds” people throw at you. Family and friends will always have an opinion, but at the end of the day, it’s not their wedding. My mother was very vocal about the fact that she thought we SHOULD have “fancy” transportation to the wedding. We didn’t value this, so we stuck to our vision and opted for my dad to drive us instead. We laughed the entire car ride, took silly photos, and it’s still one of my favorite memories to this day. – Claire Dueck
DON’T GO OVERBOARD
I wish I spent a little less on items for the bridal party. It’s wonderful to celebrate and thank all of the people who are participating in your special day; however, it’s so easy to get carried away. Shoes, earrings, wine glasses, monogrammed shirts, a floral headpiece for the flower girl….and the list goes on and on. The total for these items can add up quickly, especially if you have a large bridal party. – Rebecca Lynn
Everyone tells you to enjoy the moment, but I think it’s more important to be yourself. If you relax and act like you would any other day, you’ll truly enjoy yourself at your wedding with your friends, family and new husband. – Anamaria Farias
Photo: Sassy Mouth Photography.
TAKE PHOTOS THAT YOU REALLY WANT
I had an issue with my wedding dress, so the designer paid for a second photo shoot as a way to make up for it. We got dressed up in our wedding attire and took photos with our “best dog”; the pictures are amazing and show us in relaxed, loving poses. I would say that part of the photography budget should include a post-wedding shoot where you get dressed up again. We love those pictures more than the actual wedding ones (where it’s just the two of us). – Caroline Christensen
FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER THAT YOU CONNECT WITH
Take the time to connect with your photographer and don’t hesitate to find the style that really suits your needs and dreams. We ended up with a fantastic “lifestyle” photographer who not only became part of the party, but she also ended up being a fantastic friend after all this. We met with her and we clicked right away; her entire portfolio spoke to us. Now, when we sit and look at our pictures, we literally relive our perfect day. Worth every penny! – Virginie AR
GET IT ON TAPE
I’m so glad we spent money on a videographer. I love to look back at the pictures from my wedding, but the video takes it to another level. It takes me right back to the special moments from that day. I would be heartbroken not to have it. – Rebecca Lynn
DON’T FORGET THE KIDS
If you’re having a child-friendly wedding, consider creating a “kids room”. We hired a few babysitters and got a bunch of toys, cushions, blankets, and games to keep the kids busy during dinner and the reception. All the parents were very appreciative and so were the kids! – Caroline Christensen
FOOD AND DRINKS
The secret to a good wedding? Great food and booze! Our wedding was so much fun and I truly believe it was because everyone was downright full and happy. – Anamaria Farias
THINK “BIG PICTURE”
Even though it is an important step in your life, your marriage is more important than your wedding. Work towards what comes after and building a great relationship with your partner. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with colors and flowers – in the end, what matters is the person you share it with. – Virginie AR