Planning a wedding is a big undertaking. It’s easy to get lost in all the decisions and details and lose sight of what’s most important. But my friends have been a great resource. I’m getting married in my 30s, so I’ve seen a lot of my friends walk down the aisle before me. They gave me some great advice—and it’s too good not to share with other brides. Here are words of wisdom from five of my recently married friends.
What was one of the best wedding decisions you made?
“One of the best decisions we made was our choice of reception venue. The Science Museum was great overall, but the main reason we chose it was for the outdoor space it offered. Living in Minnesota, we are only allotted so many 'evenings on the patio,' and we wanted that kind of setting available to our guests." —Allyson, married June 2013 at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas/Science Museum of Minnesota
"We chose a venue where we could have both the ceremony and reception, and had built-in catering. This made our day go really smoothly for us and our guests. Having a single point-of-contact at our venue who kept track of all of the major details of the day and managed all of our other vendors meant we didn't have to think about them, beg a family member, or hire a separate wedding coordinator to do that.” —Bethany, married November 2015 at The Minnesota History Center
"My husband and I carved out some quiet time for each other before the ceremony. I cherished that quiet time together, before the hubbub and celebration.” —Kristin, married July 2012 at Le Chateau Boutin in Bayfield, Wisconsin
“Selecting a venue that allowed me to come in a day early to decorate was a great decision. Décor was important to me, and my mom and I spent a ton of time sourcing items and planning out how to stage the various spaces my venue had to offer. Had we not had the entire day before to decorate, the end result would never have been possible.” —Nicole, married September 2014 at the Mayowood Stone Barn
If you had to do it over, what's one thing you'd do differently?
“Immediately following our ceremony, we had a receiving line that ended up taking quite a bit longer than we planned. It was important to us to see and talk to each of our guests, but we would probably figure out how to structure this a bit differently if we could go back again.” —Bethany
“I set our hair and makeup appointments for the wedding day to start a little too late, and it left us feeling rushed to be ready for photos. Looking back, I wish I had left us a little more cushion.” —Katie, married November 2009 at 317 on Rice Park
“I would have hired an event coordinator. We tried to do everything ourselves. On the one hand, it was fun enlisting my parents and involving them. On the other, it was a great deal of work, and they would have been able to relax a little more had we hired a point-person. The next morning, I recall heading back to the dance hall to break down the tables, collect the linens, and take out the trash. I would have preferred to relax that morning instead.” —Kristin
“Between trying to prep for my time off from work and last-minute wedding details, I did not get enough sleep, which contributed to getting sick a day before my wedding. Luckily, I started feeling better throughout the day. But the lesson is to take care of yourself! It's just not worth it if you feel run down or sick so close to the big day.” —Nicole
What's one piece of advice you'd offer to brides-to-be?
“Regardless of your wedding budget, it is so important to sit down together and make a list of your top few priorities. Think about which decisions are going to most significantly impact your day and make it the wedding you both envision for yourselves.” —Bethany
“Make the event yours and don't lose sight of your vision. Once you know what you want, the rest is easy. If you aren't hiring an event coordinator, or if your venue doesn't offer one, be prepared to roll up your shirtsleeves and do a lot of the work yourself.” —Kristin
“I'm a graphic designer and thrive on details. I developed mood boards and creative briefs to give to my vendors, which I highly recommend. Bringing detailed visuals to the table gets everyone aligned and helps ensure your vision is properly translated.” —Nicole