My Best Advice for Brides

Before my wedding, I had planned to jump on here and talk about what a wonderful wedding I had, share tips, and perhaps throw in a mishap or two we had. Now I think we have had so many accidents that I should write an entire book on what not to do.πŸ˜‚ Don’t get me wrong, the moments between my now husband and I were so special, and I had enjoyable moments with guests and my wedding party, but what in the world was happening? I’m more inclined now to believe that everything falls apart when mercury is in retrograde, haha! I’ll start with a list of things to do, and if you choose to read why you’re welcome to it, it’s a roller-coaster, and now I have lots of stories to tell.

To Do


Double-check vendors have the correct information before the wedding

It may take time to do this, but it is worth it! For example, if there are staff changes or it’s been a while, this can ensure clear communication before your big day. I would try to do this in person if able.


Create detailed lists

Making detailed lists for yourself, the vendors, and those helping with the wedding can make a difference. For example, list specific names for a photographer instead of putting “family photos” on their list.


Listen to yourself

Your wedding only happens once and will be a day to remember! Even if you have strong personalities in your wedding party giving advice, remember it’s your day, and do what feels right for you. Likely, since it’s your wedding, you’ll have a gut feeling about certain things, so follow that and do what you and your partner want.


Enjoy your day

Enjoy what’s around you. Surround yourself with positive energy, loved ones, and friends.

So, what went “wrong”?

  1. Suits from Men’s Warehouse
    The day before the wedding, we went to pick up the suits and learned that the wrong suit sizes for the groom and ring bearer were sent; thankfully, the correct suit sizes were able to get picked up the morning of the wedding.

    My Advice: Write down the sizes that are supposed to be sent, or save any confirmation emails, and once the suits or dresses come in, confirm the details.
  2. Set-up
    When we set up the venue, there were many questions and different ideas, so I didn’t stick to what I wanted for my wedding. Things would have flowed better if I had stuck to my original ideas.Β 

    My Advice: Trust someone in your wedding party to help you! If you have a sister or a friend, preface how things should go so, they can reanalyze and say, ” Oh, I think you want it this way.”Β  Of course, there will be things that may not work for your space; for example, for me, I wasn’t able to use candles down the aisle as the area was too small, but if it’s just an issue of being overwhelmed, or someone not liking your choices, this can help mediate that. I also printed off pictures of what I wanted, and I suggest having hard copies on hand for examples!
  3. Stress to the Max
    The morning of the wedding came, and I was READY! I was so excited. We had stayed the night at this beautiful bed and breakfast and were served such a fantastic breakfast. We then started with hair and makeup. That went well for the most part and was so fun. There were a few bumps, like two people forgetting their jewelry and makeup and, for a short while, me losing hair clips, but all worked out and wasn’t a big deal at all, and honestly are things I expected to happen. I did have a bad moment where someone told me they were my favorite while they and another were helping me, So I joked yes, but both of you, and it must have come out wrong. She was not my biggest fan for a while, and for a split second, I was like, god, I hope the rest of the day doesn’t continue like this, and boy did it ever.

    We had a fun time taking “getting ready photos” and bridal portraits, and we were behind on time, but not badly, and then came time for the first look. The photographer notified us that the groom left to buy hummus for guests to put on their salad if they were vegetarian, and unfortunately, the groom didn’t realize that the first look was at that time. The grocery trip pushed us behind schedule, but once they returned, everything went smoothly until the groom realized he had forgotten his ring at home. No matter how many times I reminded him, I had felt that he would forget his ring, so I was not too surprised πŸ˜‚. We then moved on to family pictures. Unfortunately, not all of my family had arrived, but this was supposed to be OK as we had time in our schedule after the ceremony and during the receiving line.

    My Advice: Enjoy your time getting ready with your wedding party! I also suggest simplifying things as much as possible; I’m grateful I found a makeup artist and hairstylist willing to travel to us. I would also recommend packing items beforehand and having someone around the wedding day that’s not a member of the party to run errands if anything was forgotten.
  4. Music
    It came time for the ceremony, and as expected, it was a bit of a mad house. No one helping me knew exactly how to put my veil on, and I was very nervous and excited. My father and I were told it was our turn to come up the stairs to go down the aisle, but halfway up the stairs, we thought we had missed our entrance. So, I bolted up the stairs; I should’ve listened to my dad when he said, “Woah, slow down,” because then my tiara and veil were a mess. Unfortunately, when we reached the top of the steps, the flower girl was just starting down the aisle, and we realized the DJ had the wrong music. However, everyone had already stood up, so we continued down the aisle. The music was too short for our ceremony, so it played on repeat with awkward breaks in the music. So, there was silence in the breaks of replaying the 57-second song. I take responsibility for this, as even though my emails were straightforward and clear, he didn’t receive my emails with the music. I had sent an email the night before the wedding explaining what we had rehearsed, but he didn’t receive it. I’m guessing the emails went in his junk folder, which was sad as he was apologetic and very kind. What saddened me more was that the correct music was still up first thing when I opened my laptop, and it was still connected to the venue’s sound system from our rehearsal. This mix-up also made the recessional a little awkward as the DJ had realized the music wasn’t right, so he didn’t play anything for the recessional. Thankfully, I forwarded the emails I had sent him, and he fixed the music for the dances.

    My Advice: Check if your DJ can briefly come to your rehearsal. If not, I don’t think it’s the end of the world, but 100% double-check that your vendors are on the same page with your music and wedding timeline. Your wedding day is emotionally charged, so you may not be able to direct things as you would any other day.
  5. Photos & Receiving Line
    The photos we have are beautiful, but we missed a lot of pictures. It was really important to me to capture photographs of the ceremony and family photos, so I thought I was clever by setting up multiple opportunities in case something fell through. For the ceremony, we had a photo minute, where guests took photos once we reached the alter, and then after, our photographer would have free range to get all our beautiful images. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out this way. Our photographer captured some of the processional, one of my mother, and “the kiss,” but nothing more from the ceremony. I’m sad about this as I enjoyed our vows and the ceremony reading and hoped to see a few emotional moments caught on camera.

    After the ceremony, the plan was to go table to table for the receiving line and snag a quick photo, which was discussed during the rehearsal with our photographer. However, unfortunately, most guests didn’t hear the officiant announce that we would be going table to table to release guests for appetizers because as soon as the ceremony was over, many people went quickly to the bar and appetizers. We couldn’t get through the crowd of people to go table to table, so we decided to go outside and capture some bride and groom photos, and when we came back in, we decided to try again. This time was a lot easier, and things were going much better until the groom asked if that was all the tables or if we had more. We looked at the photographer, and she was letting us know by shaking her head that the pictures weren’t working, so we had the DJ try to update everyone to come to us, and it didn’t work as the mic wasn’t loud enough. A few people did come, and we took pictures, thankfully, as two of the people missing from family photos before the ceremony were both of my Grandmothers, but unfortunately, most guests didn’t hear the change.

    My Advice: Create a very detailed list. I did create a photography checklist, but I should have been more specific. For example, instead of putting “bride’s family photos,” “groom family photos”, and then “other family photos,” I should have listed the family names out.
  6. Catering & Cake
    Our caterer forgot to tell his partner that the pork loin needed to be cut, so we ran behind on time as guests had to step in to help slice the meat. This worked out OK, but it added to a mess given all the other wildness. Our cake was also wrong πŸ˜‚. Thankfully to make things right, Hy-Vee offered a free cake in replacement, so I’m glad that there was a solution provided after the wedding!

    My Advice: I would reiterate the information you have down before the wedding. I also left the baker with pictures of what I was looking for, but I should have resent them again as it wasn’t what I had pictured and had the wrong filling.
  7. Reception Timeline
    After the ceremony, I’m not sure what happened.πŸ˜‚We had three hosts that were family members in charge of the schedule as well as the DJ, who had an electronic copy as well as a printed-out copy that I had left out at his set up area. Our family pictures and bouquet toss were missed, a slideshow never got played, tables for dinner never got dismissed, and the speeches were late as well as the cake cutting. I was expecting things wouldn’t go as planned, but it was… wild. I think the worst was not getting people fed on time due to the caterer and tables not getting released for dinner.

    My Advice: Depending on the size of your wedding, it might be helpful to enlist as many people as possible or to hire professionals! I had around 200 guests, and three hosts were not enough! Your wedding only happens once and you’ll want it to go as well as it can! Just roll with any changes that happen.

I have recently been watching some “wedding horror story” videos, and at least I didn’t have a leach crawl up dress, or a storm come through and flood the reception as it was happening; in the video, a few remaining guests had to stand on tables to stay out of the water, so, with that in mind, my wedding was amazing. πŸ˜‚

I am so grateful that we celebrated with so many special people in person who came from 12 different states, we love being married and are thankful that we were able to have a large wedding. There was a lot of time, effort, and money spent to create our wedding, and I think if a few of these things had happened, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but all at once, it was a lot. I also think the honeymoon not going as planned hit us by surprise as well.

I have had a few people advise us to do a small vow renewal in the future and at least have a ceremony that runs the way we’d like. One coworker said, “My God, it sounds like you need a redo!!” I just laughed because what else can I do.πŸ˜‚ I also met someone who suggested rescheduling photos for an upcoming month, as they had to reschedule their photos due to it raining throughout their entire outdoor wedding. So, we do have options in the future if I wish to try and make it what we wanted. I’ve been trying to forget about it all, but I think forcing myself not to think about it has made it worse, which I don’t particularly appreciate because I feel highly self-absorbed and entitled. After all, at least we had a beautiful wedding, and were surrounded by loved ones, so why should the mishaps matter?

In all, my advice is to put as much as you can into your wedding as you only get one, and it’ll be a day to remember, hopefully for the right reasons. If you have any advice, questions, or stories to share, be sure to leave a comment!

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