The Best Wedding Advice From Real Couples

June 19, 2023 | kailey

Image by Niki McCrone. See more of this real wedding here.

Embarking on your wedding planning journey can feel like you’re stepping into uncharted territory.  But we’re here to remind you that you’re not alone. There have been many who’ve walked the same path, those who’ve dealt with the same stress and similar obstacles. That’s why seeking advice from real couples who have recently said “I do” can be truly valuable—so that’s exactly what we’re doing. 

These newlyweds are sharing the highs and lows, along with all the tips they’ve learned along the way. From setting a realistic budget to writing out your top wedding priorities, these tips will allow you to approach your wedding planning journey with confidence every step of the way. 

Wedding Budget Advice

Newlyweds have firsthand experience navigating the financial aspects of wedding planning. And they’re offering valuable tips for achieving a memorable wedding without breaking the bank. From prioritizing your must-haves to opting for DIY projects, this advice can help you pull off your dream wedding and make the most of your budget

1. DIY Wedding Details to Make Room to Hire Vendors 

“We’re proud of our ability to DIY parts of our day where we could (party favors, decorations, photo booth). This gave us room in our budget to invest in the best wedding professionals when it came to flowers, music, and photography. Making all of those disparate parts come together in a cohesive whole was a lot of work, but at the end of the day, we were really happy with how unified and beautiful the event turned out.” – Hannah and John

2. Create a Detailed Spreadsheet of All Finances 

“Two consultants getting married was bound to equal an incredibly detailed spreadsheet, but it really did make our lives much easier! We kept track of everything in one place, from vendor fees to due dates and outstanding items (all with conditional formatting, of course).” – Hilary and David

Recommended Reading: Free Wedding Budget Tool

3. Spend More Money in Areas You’ll Spend Most of Your Time 

“Spend your time and your money on the places that will be the most impactful. For us, we knew we would spend most of the time inside, so we wanted to make sure a lot of the experiences and staple decor pieces were there.” – Gretchen and Megan

Image by Simply Finn. See more of this real wedding here.

Advice For Your Wedding Planning Journey 

This advice covers all things you need to know when planning your wedding. From hiring wedding vendors to approaching your planning season with patience, these tips will help make your planning journey run smoothly and free from stress

1. Start by Writing Down Your Top Priorities 

“We started off by each writing down our top 3 priorities for our wedding day and seeing where the overlap was. We tried to mainly focus our energy on those common priorities. Although everything ends up feeling like a big deal when you’re planning a wedding, coming back to those priorities in times when we were freaking out was very helpful!” –  Megan and Andrew

2. Approach Wedding Planning As a Team 

“Work together. It’s important for you both to bring the same energy and commitment to the planning. It’s also important to work out your complementary skill sets. In our case, I was able to bring my project management mindset, and Damien was able to bring his creative mindset—it worked really well for us.” – Ella and Damien

3. Space Out Your Wedding Planning 

“Do a little bit of planning every week. Planning a wedding can be stressful if you look at everything you have to do (especially if you love to DIY like us) at once. The trick was to get a few things done weekly, even if it felt too early to start.” – Jessica and Gracie

Image by Tori Osteraa. See more of this real wedding here.

4. Don’t Rush Making Big Decisions for Your Wedding  

“I think it’s so important to take your time when planning. I was filled with so much urgency and thought that everything had to get done immediately. Remember to take a deep breath and think things through. Everything that your wedding day is supposed to have, it will have.” – Christina and Terrell

5. Schedule a Meeting With All Your Vendors Together 

“If you’re planning your wedding yourself, it’s essential to arrange a meeting with all your vendors beforehand, even if it’s just a Zoom call. This ensures that all your wedding vendors have the chance to get to know each other before the big day. Wedding planners often prefer working with a select group of professionals who have already collaborated, but if your vendors haven’t worked together before, it’s important to create a sense of ease among them.” – Hafeezah and Irshaad

6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff 

“Enjoy the process, and don’t get hung up on the small details. At the end of it all, this is a day of love surrounded by your favorite people. It’s going to be perfect no matter what.” – Will and Ruben

Image by Misha Lee. See more of this real wedding here.

Wedding Advice on How to Make Your Wedding Yours With Outside Opinions

It’s natural to seek the opinions of loved ones. However, it’s important to find a balance between incorporating outside opinions and sticking to your own vision. And we understand that’s easier said than done. But these tips from couples who’ve been there will help you navigate the overwhelming opinions and create a wedding that authentically reflects you as a couple.

1. Do What Makes You Happiest

“As cliche as it may sound, do what makes you feel the happiest without worrying about what others will think. If you want to have a grand ball for a wedding, do it. If you want to go to the courthouse with your close family and then have a party in your backyard, do it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime day that you will want to look back on with fond memories, not regrets of what should have been.” – Ella and Cole

2. Don’t Include Any Wedding Detail Out of Obligation

“You don’t have to go a certain route because “everyone is doing it” or because you do not want to hurt peoples’ feelings, etc. We were a bit unconventional and went with a micro-wedding. Our goal was for our family to feel like the weekend was a vacation—it was the most special weekend of our lives.” – Lydia and Becca

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Up Your Original Plans 

“My advice would be to focus on creating a day that feels true to your unique relationship as a couple. We initially planned for a larger celebration that could include all our extended family and friends. However, we soon realized that this wasn’t allowing us to create a day that truly reflected our personalities and style. So we took a step back and checked in with each other to make sure we were on the right track. One thing that helped us was to question traditions or expectations that weren’t bringing us joy. By doing so, we were able to brainstorm ways to infuse our own personalities into the day. Overall, my advice is to stay true to yourselves and don’t be afraid to switch things up when planning your wedding. Remember that this day is about celebrating your love and commitment to each other, and it should feel authentic and reflective of your relationship.” – Mckenzie and Dominic

Image by Candice Marie. See more of this real wedding here.

4. Trust Your Gut and Don’t Ask Too Many People for Advice

“Don’t ask too many people for advice. Don’t show anyone your wedding dress or suit if you can help it – no one else needs to love it but you. Similarly, don’t ask people about the flowers or food they like in the hopes of pleasing other people. This day is just meant to be a reflection of the couple that is getting married, and everyone will love it if the couple looks happy.” – Brice and Alexander 

5. Focus Less on Logistics For Guests and More on Planning a Wedding You and Your Partner Will Enjoy

“With the countless details you have to consider for your guests, as well as the logistics and aesthetics of the day, it can be easy to lose sight of your actual experience. Design a wedding you’re going to love. Everyone has more fun when the newlyweds are having a blast, so make sure you’re setting yourselves up for that. Do whatever you can to be sure you’ll be present in the moment—the little things won’t matter at the end of the day, but you’ll want to look back and know that you enjoyed every single second of it and spent real, quality time with the people you love most in the world.” – Shelby and Joey

6. Include Those “Different” Wedding Day Details—They’ll Be Remembered Most 

“Just because someone says “traditionally” or “usually” doesn’t mean you have to do it. It’s YOUR wedding. I struggled with this because I like being different, which goes against tradition. But it’s worth it. Do something exciting and different. It’s probably what you and your guests will remember most!” – Alexis and Timothy

Must-Know Advice for Your Wedding Day 

You’ve spent months and months meticulously planning, and your dream wedding day has finally arrived. To ensure everything falls into place seamlessly, we’ve rounded up the must-know wedding day tips real couples have sent our way. These tips will guarantee an unforgettable wedding day from start to finish.

1. Do a First Look to Have More Quality Time With Loved Ones

“We loved doing a first look so that we could get our family photos done prior to guests arriving. That allowed us to be able to join our friends and family during cocktail hour. We also made sure to always be together and enjoy a couple of moments to ourselves to take in the day.” – Caleigh and Jeff

Recommended Reading: Should You Have a First Look at Your Wedding?

2. Be Sure to Schedule Alone Time With Your Partner

“After our first dance, we ran away with our photographer to a nearby field, where we frolicked, split a bottle of champagne, and soaked in our status as newlyweds. We also got to snap some incredible photos with our photographer. It was the perfect interlude between the ceremony and reception and the long night of dancing ahead.” – Hannah and John

3. Don’t Forget To Plan A Grand Exit

“Don’t forget to plan the end of your night. Thanks to our photographer and DJ, we had a great schedule set for the whole day up until the very end, but we never planned a grand exit. It was fun to dance late, but in retrospect, we wish we had a more definitive cap on the evening. Also, make sure all your stuff is in the hotel (or other destination) before the end of the night because you don’t want to worry about that once you leave the venue.” – Hannah and John

Image by Claudia Robson. See more of this real wedding here.

4. Don’t Go Home On Your Wedding Night

“Don’t go home after the wedding. We rented the most extraordinary, jaw-dropping Airbnb in our hometown, and it was perfect! Because we didn’t go right back to everyday life, it’s like we got to continue our wedding celebration. It was the best wedding plan decision!” – Jessica and Christopher

This advice from these newlyweds should leave you feeling empowered to take on the wedding planning process with confidence. Now that you’re ready to dive headfirst into the planning journey, check out our directory of top wedding vendors from around the world. Then, look over our 12-month wedding planning timeline to keep your planning on track and ensure everything goes according to plan.

Image by Annie Morgan Photography. See more of this real wedding here.

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