What Brides Wish They Knew BEFORE the Wedding

bride advice
Photo by Maggie Fortson

Hindsight is always 20/20. Even though a ton of planning goes into your big day, there are some things that will pop up unexpectedly. The bright side? There’s an infinite amount of advice out there! From the family drama to the price of photographers, here’s what a handful of brides wish they had known before their wedding.

SEE MORE: 12 Things Nobody Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping

Set Boundaries

It was hard, but we tried to have a unified front and say no to unreasonable requests from outsiders (parents, friends, family). It was our wedding, not theirs. My husband’s grandmother sent us a hand-written letter of twenty names and addresses of people she wanted us to invite two weeks after we had sent out invitations (digitally). That was difficult. There were definitely hurt feelings all around, but we stuck with our guest list because those additional people didn’t mean as much to us as the B list people we didn’t get to invite due to space constraints. Looking back, my now-husband should’ve been clearer with his family about expectations and boundaries. I had the talk with my parents about what they wanted to contribute and what they expected, but he never did. It led to some extra unnecessary stress.”-Heather (Columbia, MO)

Take Time Off

“If you are able, take time off work before the wedding! My husband and I were able to take three days off before the wedding, but we wished we had had even more time.  On the way to the rehearsal dinner we both said we were really excited to get married the next day but it would have been nice to have a few more days to mentally prepare, pray, and spend time with our families and the people who traveled to be with us.  If you can get that time beforehand off of work it is a great way to help enter into the whole weekend.”-Rachel (Minneapolis, MN)

SEE MORE: 5 Things I Would Have Done Differently at My Wedding

Save the Leftovers

“I wish we would’ve brought containers for all of the leftover food from the buffet at the reception. Nearly nine months later and people still rave about how good it was. If only we weren’t so busy, nervous and excited, we probably would have eaten more…or at least gotten the leftovers!”-Kelsey (Cedar Falls, IA)

Don’t Overwhelm Mom

“Make sure your family is free to enjoy the day. My mom and sister were so busy getting things ready at the church that there weren’t there when I got my dress on and everything. I wish they’d been there, especially my mom. Ask friends who aren’t in the wedding or extended family to help do the last minute details.”-Vicky (Pensacola, FL)

SEE MORE: 19 Insanely Clever Things You’ll Wish You Did at Your Wedding

Take a Minute to Focus

“As the bride, you basically miss everything prior to the doors opening and you walking down the aisle. Between my husband getting emotional seeing me for the first time and me just trying to let my eyes adjust from moving from the sunny outside into the church…I didn’t realize how out of sorts that would make me feel. “-JoAnn (Columbia, MO)

Simpler is Always Better

“I got married in a destination wedding in February 2014 and we didn’t regret a single corner we cut in order to save money. I DO, however, regret spending $1,000 on a heavy, beaded dress that required alterations (that were bungled) when I could have bought something infinitely simpler and more breathable off the rack for $100. And I regret paying an untested salon $300 to do my hair and makeup when I’d have looked more like myself if I’d just done it myself with help from friends and family. We also bought the most elaborate reception package — five courses — which was way more food than anyone could possibly eat. The things that were the biggest hits, and created the best memories — DJ’ing with an iPod and some bluetooth speakers, having my woodworking-enthusiast grandpa make our wedding favors, foregoing a pro photographer at the reception in favor of relying on friends’ candids — were all the things we DIDN’T spend money on. They felt personal, unique, and full of love. Too many times I got suckered into thinking I needed to purchase, or hire pros for, things I didn’t even need in the first place.”-Jessica (New York, NY)

SEE MORE: This is How Much the Average Bride is Spending On Her Wedding

Listen to Yourself

“Everyone has their own opinion about how a wedding ‘should be’. It’s whatever YOU want. Make a decision and be confident in that. Your picky aunt’s opinion about how horrific it would be if you had invites that didn’t match the tablecloths doesn’t matter.”Jenny (Pheonix, AZ)

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