You've read all the bridal books there are to read, signed up for every wedding tip of the day, and downloaded an embarrassing amount of planning apps. But you can always use more big-day advice before you walk down the aisle — right? We asked nine real brides who've already been there, done that to shell out their best advice for your wedding. So from one bride to another, listen up.
Breathe, enjoy the planning process and ultimately, enjoy your day and being with all your loved ones. If something goes wrong, you're surrounded by people who are willing to help and support you.
Take Pictures Before You Say, "I Do"
"You'll have more time to spend with your guests at the reception if you take your photos first. Even if you want to stick to not seeing your groom before you walk down the aisle, you can still get all of the other photos out of the way." — Jasmine, 24
Get Your Food to Go
"Ask your caterer to pack away food for you (the cocktail hour food, the main course, the cake ... everything) because likely you'll have absolutely no time to eat any of it. And trust me: You'll be starving when you get back to the hotel at the end of the night." — Rebecca, 26
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
"Breathe, enjoy the planning process and ultimately, enjoy your day and being with all your loved ones. If something goes wrong, you're surrounded by people who are willing to help and support you. In the end, no one is going to remember how much effort you put into those paper flowers that now have crinkled edges anyway. Trust me, I made hundreds!" — Ashley, 23
Be a Woman with a Plan
"Before the wedding, designate someone to take home all your gifts and mementos (like your guest book and card box) after the reception and to close out any final vendor payments. If you're changing out of your gown before going to the hotel, you'll need someone to take it home too. You can delegate these responsibilities to a bridesmaid, family member, or day-of-planner." — Janice, 27
Tell Your Wedding Party Exactly What to Do
"Create a very detailed itinerary of the wedding weekend for your wedding party and anyone else involved. It will help everyone understand where they need to be when and what is expected of them." — Kelley, 29
Remember to Soak in the Moment
"Really look around at everyone in attendance and think about how much they mean to you. It will probably be the only time all those people are in the same room. Take in how much you love your significant other and how amazing you feel at that very moment. Married life has its challenges, and you'll need to draw on that feeling from time to time. Whether you're worried about buying a home or starting a family, that feeling can get you through everything!" — Brittany, 28
"The ounces you may think you are saving by not eating on your wedding day can be costly. Low blood sugar can make you feel sick, irritable, and tired. Eat regular (maybe even a little more), and put your most reliable bridesmaid or mom in charge of ensuring you do so." — Laurel, 34
Spend the Night with Your New Hubby
"Focus on the person you are about to marry, not everyone in attendance. I spent the morning with my mom, the day with my bridesmaids, and I totally forgot to spend time with my husband during the reception. Looking back, I wish my memories were of spending time with him — not trying to keep the party going." — Ally, 23
Speak up During the Toast
"You, as the couple, should address your guests during the toast time. Both my husband and I said a little something, and our guests told us how much it meant to them because at so many weddings you only hear from the best man and the maid of honor." — Denise, 37