You’ve heard it said that hindsight is 20-20. But how do you get ahead and avoid the most common mistakes brides make during the wedding planning process? How do you know what is important to focus on? In this article, we interview five women who have been married for over a year. We asked them if they could go back and do it all over again, what they would do differently.
So grab a cup of coffee and lean into the advice our newly-weds have to share.
1. What is the best piece of advice you received around your wedding?
Take it all in
My father-in-law encouraged me on several occasions to take a minute to stop and look around during the busyness of our upcoming wedding day. He urged me to physically pause in the middle of the room and look at all of the people who traveled to celebrate and support us on our big day. This piece of advice is the ONE thing I didn’t forget to follow, and I recommend it to every future bride. It is so easy for the day to pass by without taking the time to appreciate the people and vendors that made your plans possible. – Megan
It won’t be perfect
At the end of the day, you’ll be married, and that’s all that matters. There’s bound to be something that won’t go exactly how you envisioned, but don’t get hung up on it. Enjoy the day and have fun! – Mikayla
2. What was the hardest obstacle you encountered during the planning process? How did you overcome it?
Navigating what mom cares about
Honestly, for me it was trying to muster up the energy to care about the little details that my mom cared about during the last few weeks. Joe proposed at the end of November and we booked all of the major items by Christmas, so by July, I wasn’t worrying about the details anymore. However, the transport wrinkled both the tablecloths and parts of my wedding dress (tulle).
It was days before the wedding. I had a bridal party and in-laws to entertain, and I was just ready to get married and go on my honeymoon. But, I had to remember that I couldn’t just dismiss my mom’s feelings and that this definitely wasn’t worth fighting over. I just kept telling her that it was ok, and even though we wanted things to look nice, people wouldn’t remember those little details anyway. Eventually, my aunt was able to find a solution to both wrinkle issues to appease my mom. – Mikayla
Expectations from family were difficult. I learned that you can’t please nor invite everyone. You just have to do your best to be respectful of how your family feels but stick to the budget. – Laurel-Anne
Sticking to the Budget
My husband and I had a very tight budget for the wedding, and it was hard to allocate our budget across so many services, events, and personal touches. We finally decided to write down what was truly most important to us regarding the wedding. We could then alter or discard anything else in our plans. – Megan
3. Which vendor’s service was essential to making your wedding day special? What vendors are a must-have?
A killer DJ
We hired a killer DJ. He allowed us to fully customize our playlist and worked with our reception hall, photographer, and relatives all night to follow a tight timeline. – Megan
A Coordinator who really listened
It’s so hard to choose because each vendor played a special part in making our wedding day what we hoped it would be. The photographers, videographers and DJ all played essential roles especially in capturing lasting memories for us. Having a great decor coordinator who really listened to what I was looking for was also a “must have.” – Sheena
Capturing the heart of the day
My husband and I knew that we absolutely wanted to hire a professional photographer and videographer to capture everything. The photos and video perfectly captured the heart of the day. We often look back at them to relive those sweet memories and remember the promises we made. Additionally, all four sets of grandparents came to our wedding, so we made sure to get many pictures with them. These have become a treasure as my husband’s grandpa has since passed on and we know our time with loved ones is precious. – Brittany
4. Is there anything that you handled on your own that you wish you would have hired a professional for?
The most challenging responsibility that I wish we could have passed on to someone else was coordinating the seating arrangements. However, the reality was that we knew our guests best, so no one else could have put it together quite as effectively. – Sheena
My mom and I handled all of the planning, coordinating, and created all of the decor. It was a lot for two people to handle and looking back, we both agree that it would have been awesome to have had a wedding planner/coordinator. In the end, we accomplished our vision, but we had to learn a lot along the way. I believe we could have saved a lot of stress by hiring a professional who knew the planning timeline, what things to order at what time, and how to coordinate all of the schedules and vendors. – Brittany
Groom goes pastry chef
Hiring someone to make our wedding cake. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a pastry chef and did a fantastic job, but our days leading up to the wedding were full before adding a 5-tier wedding cake to the mix. Did I mention we chose a different flavor for every tier? – Megan
5. If you could change anything about your wedding day, what would you do differently? Why?
Honeymoon travel regrets
I wouldn’t have booked an early morning flight at an airport 3 hours away for the morning after our wedding. We could have taken a later flight and spent the night at a hotel in town instead of leaving our reception early and driving to a hotel by our airport. I feel like I didn’t get to spend as much time at the reception as I wanted. Looking back, I would have spent the entire night taking pictures, dancing, and hanging out with all of my closest friends and family members, because that was probably the only time in my life they’ll all be in the same room together with me. – Mikayla
Running out of time
I would have scheduled more time with my bridal party on the morning of the wedding day to get ready together. I would have been far less nervous knowing we had EXTRA time instead of rushing. Our bridal party only had enough time to change and pose for pictures before guests arrived at the church. – Megan
Intimate and simple
I would have had a smaller crowd. Intimate and simple really is best. We didn’t get to talk to everyone and weren’t able to participate in any of the activities. – Laurel-Anne
6. What’s one piece of advice you would like to share with our Brides-to-be?
Asking for help
Don’t be afraid to delegate! Learn to let go of small details and don’t shoot people down when they ask to help. – Megan
It’s not worth the stress
Focus on the things that really matter as you plan and on the wedding day itself. There will be many moving parts on the big day and people to work behind the scenes to make it all come together; let them focus on those details while you try to savor every moment. What I remember most from my wedding day is our meaningful ceremony and how happy I was being able to celebrate with our friends and family. The rest of the details are important, but not worth all the stress or anxiety we can fall prey to with the emphasis society places on creating the “perfect” wedding.
My wedding day is something that will always hold a special place in my heart, but my husband and I would keep perspective during planning by reminding ourselves that it is just one day and only the beginning of the wonderful moments that are lying ahead for us. – Shenna
Focus on what lasts
Put the effort into the ceremony. Have a simple reception. Keep it small and don’t go into debt for it. The day flies by, but the marriage and relationships are what last. – Laurel-Anne
You don’t have to spend every moment with your spouse
Spend as much time as possible with your friends and family members on your wedding day. It’s probably the only time that you will have them all in one place, so take advantage of it! Take selfies with your girls, go have fun at the photo booth, dance with your parents and your family members, and don’t worry about spending every single moment of the reception with your new spouse. You’ll likely be spending a week together afterwards without anyone else around. So savor this time with all the people you love and won’t get to see every day, even if it means that you don’t leave for your honeymoon right away. – Mikayla
Holding back the floodgate
Stay in the moment and don’t be afraid to show emotion. I’ve watched some brides that are so afraid to cry that they numb themselves. They become so focused on their emotions that they miss the special moments. I experienced a wide range of emotions on my wedding day; excitement, nervousness, joy, and even a little bit of sadness with the growing pains of moving away from my family. And while I didn’t want to lose control of my emotions, I found that in allowing myself to feel, I was freed to smile genuinely, cry freely, and love deeply. – Brittany
As the ladies mentioned, your wedding is a one-time event, but your marriage is for a lifetime. While all of the little details make the day beautiful and run smoothly, it is important to invest time into the people and things that matter most. If you are in need of help with the details, our team at ILS Weddings is available to you. We offer wedding planning, photography, and film all under one roof, to simplify the process for you. If you would like to chat with us about your wedding dreams and how we can help, leave your name and info below and we will reach out to you.