What Real Brides Wish They Knew BEFORE Planning Their Weddings

You might want to heed their advice

Updated 12/23/16

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If only every bride had a crystal ball so she could foresee the future of her wedding. The next best thing? Hearing from real brides about what they wish they had known before it all went down. We got the dirt from eight brides who've been there already. Here's what they had to say.

"I wish I had realized just how fast the budget goes. Nearly half of ours was gone after booking the venue, caterer and photographer, all in the first two months! It forced us to sit down and really think hard about where we might have to make compromises we hadn't anticipated." —Audrey G., Richmond, VA

"I wish that I knew the importance of a registry. My husband and I opted not to do a registry because I always felt that it was tacky to ask for gifts. We had about 15 people (of 100) attend our wedding without bringing as much as a card. I heard from one of them that they assumed we didn't want gifts because we didn't have a registry. I was floored! I was expecting thoughtful tokens, gifts for our honeymoon, or even cash gifts from well-wishers. Rather, we faced a rude awakening after we celebrated our first anniversary and realized that gifts were not on their way!" —Leila A., Hoboken, NJ

"Relationships with friends and acquaintances evolve in ways that are impossible to predict over the course of 12 or 18 months. By the time RSVPs roll in, it's inevitable you'll have some regrets — an old colleague with whom you thought you'd stay close after she left the office, or an acquaintance you didn't realize would develop into a real friend. I wish I could have predicted how some relationships would evolve and been able to adjust the guest list accordingly, but that's life. Just be prepared that no one ends up with the perfect guest list, and people are understanding." —Katie M., Richmond, VA

"Don't feel like you need to get multiple quotes just because. If you really like a vendor and they fit in your budget, save yourself some time and just book it! And don't feel bad or over apologize about not using a friend's photography/floral/hair service for your wedding. A kind 'we'd prefer you to be there to celebrate as a guest and not work' is enough." —Caitlyn S., Boulder, CO

"I wish I had known how easy it is to get so wrapped up in the craziness of wedding planning — how you can forget that it's a beautiful way to celebrate your love and spend time with family and friends, not just the biggest party of your life." —Caitlin M., Richmond, VA

"I didn't realize how invested other people get in your wedding. It causes a lot of emotions to come up that can manifest themselves in interesting ways. For example, my mom got really hung up on centerpieces, which were not really the focus of the wedding, but I realized that it was how she was channeling all of the (understandably) overwhelming emotions that she wasn't able to articulate leading up to the big day. Lesson learned: even if you haven't been planning your dream wedding since you were five, other people very well may have been." —Sarah F., Williamsburg, VA

"I wish I knew how much I would forget about my wedding. Photos save some of the memories, but I have this photo of me laughing out loud during the ceremony and I can't remember what I found so funny. I wish I had video of the event as well. I wish I knew how few clear photos would be taken of the guests at the ceremony itself. As soon as I entered, everyone pulled out their iPad or phone and I can barely see their faces in photos! I would have asked the photographer to take shots before the ceremony started to make sure I had one of everyone attending." —Kathleen L., San Diego, CA

"I wish I had known there was a Comic-Con in the convention center that adjoined the hotel where the reception was held. We had surprise guests dressed as anime dolls show up to watch us dance and get some of the booze from the open bar. We let them stay for the laughs." —Michele R., Tampa Bay, FL

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