Published April 1, 2023

26 Actual Brides' Wedding Advice To Help You Arrange A Memorable Event

With so many decisions to be made while working with a restricted amount of time and money, wedding planning may be frightening, if not completely exhausting.

The good news is that there are millions of brides who have gone before you and learned all the important lessons, so you're not alone. Read on as real past brides share some of their greatest advice for preserving money, stress, and the environment while making the most of the big day, from what to eat to how to save.

1. Spend money on a photographer wisely.

The effort we put into finding and hiring a photographer and videographer was well worth the time and money. The fact that we have a ton of pictures and a gorgeous movie to look back on after such a fun night was crucial for us.

2. Plan your family's portraits.

Before the guests arrived, we began taking our formal family pictures. We chose to have them taken against one of the lovely walls inside our cocktail hour space. Nobody had to travel far when we required them for different settings, and I was able to see and interact with our guests more while they were arriving rather than being off taking shots. After finishing in plenty of time for the cocktail hour, we immediately started taking silly candid photos of our visitors.

3. Make a photography shopping list.

I wish I had made a list beforehand so that our photographer could get the family and bridal party group photographs we want. Even while it can be difficult to keep a large group of people together, especially young children, a list would have made things go more easily.

4. Digitize your RSVPs.

By having all of our guests RSVP electronically, we were able to avoid paying for postage expenditures. We recently attended a wedding where guests could RSVP via a QR code, which was lovely and practical. It was very simple and effective for me to simply RSVP on my phone as a wedding guest. Since it's fashionable and your visitors will adore it, I strongly advise doing that.

5. Use less, recycle more.

The vessels and containers were all reused or reusable thanks to our collaboration with our suppliers. Our caterer used china and glass jars rather than throwaway cocktail hour dishes, our florist spray-painted discarded compotes, and a friend hand-lettered our seating chart on a vintage mirror I discovered.

6. Don't worry over unimportant details.

Try not to worry about anyone or anything on the day of, I know it's difficult. It passes by so quickly that squandering any of your time or energy on being offended is not worthwhile.

7. Prioritize crucial dances.

We performed our parent dances prior to our first dance as a couple, much to the chagrin of our emcee. We entered directly into the customary hora because we didn't want to keep disrupting the night with formal, prepared moments. When my husband and I finished our first dance and everyone had a chance to catch their breath, we were able to invite everyone up to join us on the dance floor. It undoubtedly contributed to creating the party atmosphere we desired and allowed the energy to increase throughout the night.

8. Reconsider having a formal wedding party.

This is a controversial take, but I was so glad we didn't have a bridal party. It's so simple to say "I love you," "Please be there with us," and "Just enjoy yourself" when there are so many lovely people in our life who mean so much to us. We didn't have to worry about accommodations, rehearsals, dress, gifts, or glam, and we found different ways to recognize the people who were very important to us on the day. There were no wounded egos or hurt feelings. I invited a close friend to help me get ready, and at our ceremony, we had other friends and family members hold the chuppah and read blessings.

9. Add unique touches.

The day is about you, your partner, and the things you both enjoy, so keep that in mind. A Kanye West instrumental version of "Runaway" played as I made my way down the aisle. So that our dog may be present at every table, a buddy who is a graphic designer designed our table number cards with a photo of our dog! As fans of "The Office," my husband and I had a cocktail station that featured Local cuisine, and one of our primary decor elements was a framed Andrew Ridley quote about weddings. We both grew in the area.

10. Encourage guests to interact with one another through games.

Games at weddings are a lot of fun, especially if there is downtime between the ceremony and reception. You can purchase personalized corn hole boards on Etsy or commission a local caricaturist to draw a memento for your loved ones.

11. Maintain simplicity.

The tension leading up to and on the day of my wedding was almost entirely avoided by having a small wedding. I'll admit that it was challenging to reduce the number of guests to 40, but on the big day, we were surrounded by our closest friends and family, so it felt completely worthwhile!

12. Don't even have cake.

Instead of wasting all of your money on a cake that most guests won't eat anyway, choose a dessert bar. Providing guests with treats that are symbolic of the family's traditions or are simply the bride and groom's favorites makes the event more intimate and relatable.

13. Put up a candy bar.

We monogrammed bags to fill with various candies from various sized candy dishes as wedding favors. Everyone could put their preferred items in a bag (or for their kids at home). The sweets were almost all consumed, and I didn't feel like I spent my money on useless items.

14. Provide comfort for visitors.

I had a supply of flip-flops on hand for women to use when their feet started to ache from wearing heels! I spent very little because I got them at sale, and I donated any extra sandals after the ceremony!

15. Invest time in your relationship.

The day of a wedding requires so much planning, and it moves quickly. Whether you choose to do a first peek or not, be sure to set aside some time alone after your ceremony to enjoy and truly appreciate everything.

16. Bring a second dress.

I'm sorry I didn't have a second dress to change into for the wedding. I started out in a [ballgown], but as the night wore on, I ended up switching to the white onesie I changed into (besides, it's good to have a backup in case of any spills or rips!). I wanted to dance more.

17. Consider ordering wholesale flowers.

You can achieve magnificent results by ordering flowers in bulk from a wholesaler (as the florists do). We hired a florist who works at a local grocery store versus at a florist shop to help arrange them and did a test run to confirm the bouquets would turn out the way we wanted. It saved thousands and the flowers looked beautiful.

18. Stock your own liquor.

If possible, look into stocking your own bar with a classic assortment of spirits and mixers. We bought our liquor from Costco and were still able to create a top-shelf experience at a fraction of the top-shelf price.

19. Offer cocktails with a theme.

We had a full open bar, but to encourage customers to order from the themed cocktail menu. They reduced our expenses and were well-liked by our visitors

20. Show off your keepsakes.

In keeping with our "De DON" concept, we encouraged visitors to sign used wood panels, one of which was shaped like the state of New York and the other like the state of California. These are currently hung in our house.

21. Hire a wedding planner

As I was married in Los Angeles but lived in New York and was unable to meet with any suppliers in person, working with a wedding planner saved us time and headaches. My wedding planner had my total faith, and she greatly reduced my stress

22. Invest in a picture session.

In place of a thank-you book, we chose a photo memory book. You can always relive the thrill because you have images of almost everyone at your wedding.

Spend money on the photo booth. "We decided against a thank you book in favor of a photo memory book. You can relive the enthusiasm whenever you wish thanks to the photos you receive of almost everyone who attended your wedding.

23. Offer disposable cameras.

I did this, and other brides I've talked to were happy they did as well. You end up with a ton of unposed photos and have access to the moments you might have otherwise missed.

As a past bride and someone who used to perform fittings at a bridal boutique, my suggestion is to make sure all your undergarments fit properly. At a respected retailer, get measured (for larger sizes, underwires will give the ultimate support, while having cups sewn into a dress may be sufficient for brides with smaller sizes). Avoid stick-on types, and check your underwear after a long day to make sure it still fits securely and comfortably.

24. Take into account guest accommodations.

My husband and I ended up having a small wedding with only 25 guests during the pandemic, mainly my family and our closest friends in the States.

We had another celebration in Denmark with my husband's friends and family a few weeks later when the borders were opened, and it was just as meaningful and emotional. I have a lot of affection to remember both days.

25. Take into account a dress from the shelf.

I bought my formal Sachin and Babi dress off the rack. I ordered a few different designs and sizes from Saks and sent back the items that didn't fit. With only the hem to change, it fit like a glove. I urge many brides to adopt the same strategy. Particularly if you are planning a wedding in less than a year as I did, there are many stunning gowns that are easily accessible. Do not waste time and select from them.

Save money on high-end footwear. I got a lot of praise for a pair of white satin shoes for less money. The Pearl Nappa Leather Pumps are exceptionally cozy and have a calfskin inside akin to luxury labels like Manolo Blahnik. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I would only wear once, and I'm so pleased I didn't!

26. Purchase in bulk

Instead of paying a rental company a fee per charger (that adds up when you have a 150+ guest wedding! ), we purchased the identical ones and have subsequently used them for a variety of family weddings and occasions. Also, we saved money by buying chiffon and votives in bulk