You are probably sitting here with a big to-do list in front of you and a lot of big decisions to make about your wedding day – I get it, it can be overwhelming!
I figured the best people to give some advice for your wedding day would be brides who have already been exactly where you’re at! So I asked my past brides about what they remember most from their wedding day, what they would have changed and why they decided to do a first look or not. I hope this advice from real brides can help you with some of your wedding day decisions.
And if not, remember that at the end of the day, the purpose of your wedding is to marry your best friend, and that is all that matters!
If you want to skip down to a specific topic, here are the questions I asked my real brides about their wedding:
Here we go!
If you were to change one thing about your wedding day, what would it be?
“I would have scheduled in more time to just relax.”
“Oh my gosh how busy we were at the reception! I felt like we constantly had to divide & conquer talking to everyone, and wish we had made more of an effort to stay side by side. I would have gone back for seconds, & relaxed more.”
– Anna + Tyler
“I would have tried to sleep in! I was so stressed, I woke up at the crack of dawn on the morning of our wedding.”
If you did a first look or decided to forgo it, why did you make that decision and would you recommend future brides and grooms to do the same?
“We did not do a first look. It was a good fit for us. We just wanted the first moment that we saw each other was when I was walking down the aisle.”
“We didn’t do a first look, and I think it made the ceremony that much more special, seeing each other dressed up for the first time and about to get married!”
“No way! Its tradition, and so exciting to see the bride. You can always take pictures afterwards.”
“We decided to a first look because our wedding didn’t start until pretty late in the evening and we wanted to take advantage of the natural light for our photos. The pictures we got from that moment are beautiful and we were able to focus on each other instead of having a full audience.”
“We did not do a first look. I wanted to see him and for him to see me for the first time walking down the aisle. Happy with my decision and we got plenty of time to do couples photos afterward without being late to the reception.”
What is your best advice or memory from getting ready that you would recommend to future brides and grooms?
“I loved getting ready in the same room with all my girls, but I would suggest getting ready in one location or the ceremony location, if possible.”
I loved getting ready with all of my bridesmaids and family in one room at the church! It was crazy and so fun, it made me so excited, and distracted from any nerves over being in front of an audience! We did have mimosas in moderation… that helped too 😊”
“I loved having ALL my sisters with me. I had both my sisters and both of my sisters-in-law. We sipped champagne and just enjoyed the morning getting glammed up. I also had my pupper with me. They are all so important to me and spending time with the ladies who love me most helped me relax and stay focused.”
“Stayed in a cabin with all my bridesmaids and we got up the morning of, went on a short hike and made breakfast and drank coffee! Then we all got ready together :)”
What is your best advice or memory from your ceremony that you would recommend to future brides and grooms?
“We opted to have a good friend officiate our ceremony. It was really special having a personalized wedding ceremony. We did not have a ring bearer or flower girl, but we did have a niece and nephew hold the rings during the ceremony and then come up and give them to us.”
“Instead of reading our written vows in a microphone (and me as a little ocd not stressing about how it would sound to others) we took a moment of silence while music played, turned our backs to the crowd, and shared them privately for a moment. Then we turned around and did the traditional vows.
I really like how we went off mic for the vows, it made it more personal. And a few people complimented us on that!”
– Anna + Tyler
“My sister-in-law officiated our wedding and she did wonderful! She knew our relationship and us so well and also kept a great balance of light-heartedness as well as being serious about our commitment to each other. We also used the Jurassic Park theme song by the Piano Guys as one of our procession songs for the family members. They do classic remakes of moderns song and they all sound amazing! Definitely look into them if song choice for those moments are feeling difficult.”
“My brother was our ceremony officiate. It was a super personal wedding ceremony and my husband and I told our story about how we met and fell into love with each other in front of everyone. Very personal, totally worth all the work. Spend time crafting the ceremony and your vows- that is what matters, not all the expensive stuff like center pieces and flowers ;)”
What is your best advice or memory from your reception that you would recommend to future brides and grooms?
“A good DJ or music. My favorite part of our reception was being on the dance floor all night with all our friends and family. We had a large guest list (200 people) so it was hard to get around and talk with everyone, but with a good DJ most people were on the dance floor dancing the night away. We also did away with the bouquet and garter tosses. We wanted to spend the reception dancing and relaxing with as few scheduled “events” as possible.”
“Try to stay together! Enjoy your guests, but make sure you try to greet them as a couple. We were so busy and pulled all over the place! Also, I wish we had taken home cupcakes… we mentioned it to a few people, but didn’t specify someone and missed out.”
– Anna + Tyler
“Just have fun! You’re wearing a gorgeous dress, your hair looks great and you just snagged the spouse of your dreams. You don’t have to take the day too seriously. All the planning is done. Your job is to just show up, be beautiful and enjoy the day!”
“We wanted a larger guest list and went with a buffet dinner with paper plates. Spent money on booze and dj and everyone had a blast!”
Did you use specific websites or apps that helped you in your wedding planning process that you would recommend?
“Theknot.com was great! We did send out a paper invitation, but only took rsvps online. (Saved on that 2nd slip of paper and envelopes)”
“The Knot helped keep my guest list organized but as far as vendors, I really just did most of the research myself.”
“The Knot was amazing for guest RSVPs. I didn’t deal with sending rsvp cards or doing that myself-way too much work.”
Do you have any other wedding planning tips or advice for future brides and grooms?
“Have someone to make sure you’re eating and drinking plenty of water. I would also suggest taking time throughout the day, even if it’s just a few seconds, with your husband/wife to stop and take everything in. It’s easy to get pulled in opposite directions even though the day is supposed to be about you two.”
“Honestly, we planned ours for 175 people in 3 months and it was perfect!! I cant imagine planning a year in advance, and giving yourself more time to second guess and stress. Its counter intuitive to a planner, but less time = more enjoyment!”
“It is totally normal to feel stressed during wedding planning. There might come a point where you just want to ugly cry in the fetal position. My wedding planner told me that she also had a breaking point planning her own wedding and that’s her job! Don’t be afraid to ask for help during hard moments. Some things I had to completely pass on to someone else because certain situations were just a little too much at the time.”
“Making a seating plan can cause undo stress. Let people sit where they want 🙂 ENJOY the whole day and just soak it all up, it’s going to fly by!!!”
What was your favorite moment of your wedding day?
“Every moment! If I had to choose one moment, I would say sharing our personal wedding vows. Writing our own vows was something I was extremely hesitant and nervous to do, but it was very important to my husband. However, once I actually started writing my vows most, if not all, of my nerves were gone. I really enjoyed the writing process as it was allowed me to reflect to on many aspects of our relationship prior to the wedding and remember all the big and little reasons why I love my husband and why I wanted to marry him.”
“The ceremony! It was just the two of us finally alone for the first time that day, making the best decision EVER.”
“My favorite moment of my wedding day was taking pictures with just my husband and I. The whole day was so busy and we had so many cues to hit, taking photos was the only time that him and I really just got to enjoy each other and embrace this beautiful and significant day in our relationship.”
“No favorite moment, the whole day was amazing!!! The best part may have been dancing the night away with literally all my favorite people in the same room.”
My name is Larissa and I am an adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer who absolutely loves capturing crazy in love couples!
If you love exploring new frontiers and the most important thing about your wedding day is you two saying your vows, then we might just be a great fit!
Don't quite know if we're the perfect match?
Let's Find Out!