Bridal DO’s and DON’Ts

This one’s for the BRIDES out there!!! Since it’s wedding season, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own wedding day and some of the things I’m so happy that I did and some of the things that I wish I had or hadn’t done. So today in the blog I’m sharing my do’s and don’ts of wedding planning! Let’s start with the don’ts that way we can end on the do’s! I always like to end on a good note. Ha!

DON’T

Don’t: Skimp on HoneyMoon Suite

We didn’t get the honeymoon suite at our wedding. My train of thought was that it wasn’t worth it to us to spend all this extra money to have this big room to spend our first night in as man and wife. But here’s what I didn’t think about. My bridesmaids and I all got ready in that room. So even though Kevin and I didn’t need the space for our first night as man and wife, my bridesmaids and I did need the space for getting ready! I just totally didn’t think about that when we booked the room. So what ended up happening is only one bridesmaids could get ready at a time in the room with me because there wasn’t enough room for all of us to fit in the hotel room. And I actually only had two bridesmaids on my wedding day but I’m also including my mother, my mother-in-law, and Kevin’s brother’s fiancΓ© who all got ready with me that morning as well. I always envisioned that we’d all be getting ready at the exact same time drinking champagne and enjoying our girl time.

Don’t: Forget to Wear Something

One of my biggest regrets on my wedding day is that I completely forgot to wear my veil! I’m not quite sure how it happened. I think someone took my wedding dress out of the garment bag and by the time it got to me we didn’t remember that the veil was still left in the garment bag. But I was so excited that day, that I totally didn’t realize I didn’t wear it until the next morning! Looking back on my wedding photos, I don’t really think I look like a bride in my wedding dress since it was a pretty simple dress and I’m not wearing my veil. So my advice to any bride-to-be out there is to have a checklist of all the things your supposed to be wearing when you walk down the aisle and have one of your bridesmaids go through the checklist with you right before the ceremony starts

DO

Do: Hire a Videographer

On your big day hiring a photographer is a no-brainer. But something that not everyone thinks about is hiring a videographer. Our videographer JuiceBox Media not only made us a short film of our wedding that you guys can see HERE, but we also got all the raw footage from our wedding. We haven’t watched the raw footage yet but we’re thinking that on our one year anniversary we will go back and watch the raw footage of the ceremony to celebrate our first year as husband and wife!

Do: Get a Live Band

When we first started wedding planning, I was so set on a DJ. I thought that the DJ would play the songs the way I remember them and want to hear them. However, hiring the Golden Coast All-Stars to play at our wedding was one of the very best decisions we made! So many of our guests at the wedding came up to us throughout the night telling us how incredible the band was! It felt like we were at a concert! And the band really got the guests off their feet and onto the dance floor in a way that a DJ never could. My one caveat with this though would be to really research the band you’re going to use. Our band was absolutely incredible but I’m sure an inexperienced band could really put a damper on the night.

Do: Hire a Wedding Planner

Be Inspired and Gather Events both helped us plan our wedding day! Both companies are rockstars and we could have never pulled off such an incredible day without them! There are so many little details of a wedding that I just would have never thought about or had time to plan and these girls took care of EVERYTHING! I seriously don’t know how people plan weddings on their own and stay sane!

Do: Get Fabulous Bridal Dresses

And of course my final “DO” is to get fab dresses to wear to all your bridal celebrations and this dress is just so perfect! You could wear this to your engagement shower, bridal shower, or a rehearsal dinner. I wish I had worn this to my appointment when I went wedding dress shopping! I just think it would’ve been super cute and pics with my friends.

1. SIMPLE EARRINGS | 2. WHITE LACE DRESS | 3. WHITE BOW HEELS

I’ve actually posted this exact dress before but in Navy. See me wearing that HERE. When I posted that look however, I mentioned to all of you that it was also available in white and would make a really cute bridal dress.

The shoes I’m wearing or actually the heels I wore on my wedding day! Given that, it’s pretty obvious that I absolutely love them because I wouldn’t wear anything that I didn’t absolute love on my wedding day! These heels are definitely an investement, but I was willing to splurge a little bad because it was my big day! And they’re so cute that I knew I’d wear them again and again.

Here are a few other of my favorite white dresses for all your bridal events (They are all under $60!!!) Hit the arrow on the side of the pic to scroll through the pics:

And I hope this list of DOs and DON’Ts helps some brides out there! And if any of you reading this have more tips to share please do in the comments below!

1. SIMPLE EARRINGS | 2. WHITE LACE DRESS | 3. WHITE BOW HEELS

1. SIMPLE EARRINGS | 2. WHITE LACE DRESS | 3. WHITE BOW HEELS

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55 Thoughts

55 thoughts on “Bridal DO’s and DON’Ts

  1. I got married on September 19th, 2015 and the ONE thing I regret about the whole day was not hiring a videographer — especially after watching your wedding video! You spend MONTHS planning your special day, only for it to last 8 hours long. I don’t know about you, but I was so busy saying hi to guests and dancing my booty off, that I’m not even sure I ate the dinner I meticulously planned! My husband and I always say if we could go back in time to any moment of our lives, it would be back to our wedding so we could be a fly on the wall and actually enjoy it! I wish more than anything to have that video to play over and over!

    1. We just got married May 27 and that’s my one big regret. Our day was absolutely perfect from start to finish and I wish we had video of it to go back and watch. At the time, I thought we were spending more than enough money as it was and we shouldn’t spend more. I wish we would have sucked it up and paid for one. I am thankful we hired such a fantastic photographer though! (I can’t tell you how many brides I talked to told me how much they hated their wedding pictures so hiring a good photographer was high on the list of priorities).

  2. I forgot to provide food for my bridal party! My wedding was at 1 PM and we were all so hungry! It seems ridiculous, but I wish I would have planned ahead!

  3. I thought I was the only bride out there with some regrets! I wish I had a checklist too since we planned ours without a wedding planner. I would have relied more so on my maitron of honor for the big day to make sure my veils were flowy when walking down the isle instead of them bunched up. Also wished we splurged more on a photographer and videographer. Also didn’t help that I had a migraine :(. Seriously only get one or two a year and it happened to happen on our wedding day. Imagine that?!? Lol
    I wish I had found a nice bracelet to wear too. I just ran out of time.
    We had an amazing band & that was something we wouldn’t skimp on either.
    I remember our ceremony cards. I forgot to name my two nieces as the junior bridesmaids! That was embarrassing. So triple check!

    1. I also agree with the photographer/videographer. I had called in a favor from a friend of mine and he served as my photographer. Once I got the photos back, I wished I would have splurged on a professional. OR at the very least, I should have given my friend a list of the photos I wanted (something you should do with a professional photographer as well).

  4. Thank you for your post about the suite! We’re getting married in October, and we and I have a large wedding party, and as part of the hotels gift to us, they are giving us the luxury suite, for free! My fiance was so sweet and thought about giving that to his mom and sister (since they’re coming from out of town), but I suggested we upgrade them from a regular room to a suite. We will need that room to get ready in with almost 15 women!

    Your wedding was gorgeous, thank you for sharing with us.

  5. I got married almost 5 years ago and I still feel like it was only yesterday.
    DON’T: try to make everyone happy! This is your wedding and no one else’s. I made the mistake of trying to make everyone happy and while the wedding still reflected me and my husband’s “together personality”, it could have been a lot more if I hadn’t tried to satisfy everyone.
    **BB (Budget Bride)** DON’T: spend all the money on the wedding! It is just ONE DAY and while it is a VERY special ONE DAY, you can do a lot with little and it can be just as meaningful. You are beginning a new life with this person – don’t start off your marriage with money problems.
    DON’T: Pinterest EVERYTHING. You can get carried away. You can also end up spending MORE by trying to do everything yourself rather than ordering or hiring someone. And ask yourself, what is your time worth? I *almost* got carried away with Pinterest and it took a lot of my time. Use it as inspiration definitely but be realistic with what you can accomplish.
    **BB** DO: Call on favors from friends. Do you know someone who can play music? How about someone who can bake? Take really good photos? Have a favor-making party! One of our family members was going to be away for a few weeks and offered their home to us for our honeymoon (she lives in a really nice area in Florida). We took her up on it and were therefore able to stay for two weeks FREE – just pay for food and “excursions”.
    DO: Book the venue as one of the first things you do. If you have somewhere particular in mind, get them booked as soon as possible. That way, you can plan other things around that. Be open to the idea of having the ceremony and reception in the same venue – cost-effective and no traveling to another location
    **BB** DO: be open to the idea of holding your wedding on a weekday – a lot of venues give major discounts for a wedding during the week rather than a weekend.
    **BB** DO: be open to searching places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. for things like table decor. There are also a few budget bride websites where brides sell their items they used for their wedding/reception. You could really score a good deal!
    DO: Take it all in on your day. Six or so hours may sound like a long time, but it will FLY by so take time to soak it all in so you can remember the day.
    DO: Eat something. Or designate someone to make sure you eat and drink throughout the event. You don’t want to get dehydrated or be starving.
    DON’T: Be too upset if something doesn’t go the way you had hoped. Some of those situations turn into great memories.
    Have fun, ladies! πŸ™‚

  6. I wish I had schedule a phone call the week before the wedding with our vendors who would be interacting and coordinating the day. Our ‘day-of coordinator’ and our photographer weren’t exactly on the same page with the timeline for pictures before/after the ceremony and I feel like a phone call before would have solved that!

    We got married in MA three weeks ago πŸ™‚

  7. I got married in September of 2015. The day was perfect! But after getting my pictures back from my photographer I realized I didn’t have a family picture with my siblings and just my dad and just my mom since my parents were newly divorced I didn’t even think of that combo. Make a “must have picture” list and have someone else review it as well to make sure your not missing any family/ friend combinations you will look back on and want. Also, make sure that the groom and groomsmen know when to have their suit jacket buttoned and un-buttoned.

    Last but not least one thing my husband and I did was went to the reception area before all the guests came in so we could see all our hard work and how it came together.

    Congratulations and enjoy it’s a fun special day that only happens once!

  8. I’m getting married in October and my daughter Madeline will be 8 months exactly. How did you handle child care with Molly on the day leading up to your wedding and your wedding day? We have 100 people flying in, most have not meet her and I’m riddled with anxiety just thinking about everyone wanting to hold her while I am not around.

    Any tips would be great!!

  9. Your wedding was so beautiful! I really loved everything about it. You looked flawless and so gorgeous. I didn’t even notice you weren’t wearing a veil. I’m sure no one else did either. Great tips though for those who are getting married soon.

    I got married almost 24 years ago (anniversary is on July 3rd). I planned it all and did everything with the rehearsal dinner taking place at the Naval Academy and the reception at the Officers Club on an Army base. My husband-to-be was away doing Air Force training and flew back home two days before the wedding. I was also graduating college in the May of the same year. We moved the day after our wedding from MD to CO. No traditional honeymoon. I always tell people our honeymoon was unique… while driving through Kansas, I noticed a sign that said Goodland in 3 miles at the same time the emergency broadcast system broke into our radio station to say that a tornado had been spotted in Goodland and to take shelter. We stopped at a local gas station and a few storm chasers told us not to worry and to continue driving. So, we did. We had fun on our drive and ultimately, that’s what counts! My only regret was not having a videographer and disposable cameras on each table. Our photographer was good, but he took the basic type of wedding photos. I actually just remembered the other day that we have NO pictures at all from our rehearsal dinner. How is that possible, but it’s the truth!!

  10. I love your wedding video! We hired someone to be our videographer with just a gopro, and by hired I mean it’s just a friend of ours who volunteered to make us a gropro wedding video.
    Great advice! My mom is making my veil so I BETTER not forget it or she will never live it down!
    Also, for anyone interested in the super cute Kate Spade bow heals, but do not want to spend that much, I bought very similar (cheaper) ones for my wedding this August, the link is here: http://ninashoes.com/vinnie-ivory-luster-satin–18201?c=277

  11. We didn’t have our wedding videoed which I don’t regret, but we did splurge on a fantastic photographer. I would suggest not being afraid to spend good money on a photographer because once the big day is over, you will only have those photos to look back on! (You know, in addition to your undying love!)

  12. 1) It is definitely worth the money for a good photographer and videographer!
    2) Even though we ate a great dinner, we were so hungry afterwards. The only thing we had was banana saltwater taffy so we (uhh.. I) ate all of it… would definitely recommend planning food for after too!
    3) Things may not go as planned, but that’s ok because you’re still married in the end! Relax as much as you can during the day and just have fun!!

  13. Good list! I’ve been married 2 years now and agree especially with hiring a videographer! The 5-minute clip is the best!! How funny, before my wedding I actually had a dream that I had forgotten my veil the day of wedding! Maybe it was a premonition: my veil came in a few months before the wedding but I never looked at it and just stored it in my closet. A couple weeks before the wedding I decided to take it out and realized it was the wrong one! I went back to the bridal boutique and they ordered me the correct one but I wouldn’t come in until the day of!! (Luckily, when I first when shopping I gave them my wedding date as a week before the actual date. ;)) The day my veil came in I was getting calls and text messages from the store manager offering to open the store early or personally drop off the veil. They were shocked to see me stroll in to pick up my veil, looking calm, on what they thought was my wedding date! They looked SO relieved when i confessed the wedding wasn’t actually until the following week! Lol moral of the story: verify everything when it comes in!

  14. My wedding is in 6 months and this was extremely helpful. One other tip that I was given was to grab your bouquet after they pronounce you husband and wife. My friend forgot! Thanks for vendor ideas, too, we reached out to Golden Coast All-Stars and they seem excellent!

  15. Thank you for this post!I sometimes feel bad that I think for some things i wish i did on our wedding day,but now I know that I am not the only one! πŸ™‚
    My tips for the future bride:
    DO plan extra time for individual photosession with your new husband cause evening will be so full with activities that you wont have time for that

    DO hire proffesional host-it will be much more fun wedding if there will be a host who organizes activities,games and traditions

    DO make excel sheet with planned costs and try to stay focused,it helped a lot to stay on budget!

    DONT be cheap on makeup artist and hairdresser,I regret a lot that I didnt look as good as I could have

    DONT be cheap when buying wedding dress,this is the biggest regret that I had,when i bought my dress i thought it was perfect bet after while it didnt felt tahat way,but i was so worried that I dont want to spend money on new dress and didnt change it.Now i regret it (my husband tells me i looked beautiful,but its inner feeling of mine)

    DO make research-you can find great reception and ceremony places that other rarely uses but is extremely beautiful and cheaper!Our ceremony was in ancient castle inner yard

    DO make sure there is enough food and booze-it makes people happy

    DONT try new shampoo,i did it and it made my hair greasy πŸ˜€

    Be careful when choosing cabrio as your ride-it ruined my hair terribly

    Hope this is useful for some future bride πŸ™‚ and if someone is interested you can look up my wedding on facebook:Baiba Gulbe project manager at LLKC, from Latvia πŸ™‚

  16. You rock Ali! I’m not a bride yet, but I agree! Always figure out what you are and are Not willing to compromise on. And stick to your guns. Also! Never settle for a venue that is not going to give you quality, their service and their time. It makes all the difference when you know the people helping plan your special day are going to do whatever it takes for you ??

  17. You don’t think you looked like a bride in your wedding dress?

    You looked STUNNING and the simplicity of the dress just showed your elegancy.

    You were a beautiful bride Ali. I hope that I can also have that one day!

    Kindness and love,
    Annaret
    South Africa

  18. I actually regret being traditional and leaving the ceremony and having everyone send us off. There was a great party at our house afterwards with the band and all our friends in town…and we were alone at the hotel! Rarely all your loved ones are together like that so I should have stayed with them all πŸ™‚

  19. Also don’t forget to say part of your handwritten vows. I did this and couldn’t believe it when we got our wedding video back. I had the last part, all the promises, framed and printed later but you can’t undo that!

  20. DO figure out what is the most important thing you want at your wedding and splurge a little in it. Mine was the memories and with the help from our photographer and videographer, we couldn’t have been happier to relive the moment.
    DON’T hire someone with little or no experience in altering a wedding dress! My dress was gorgeous but the train was tucked inside the dress, not out. Needless to say I kept stepping on the dress as it would slowly come undone and only she would be the one that gets to make readjustments to the dress. I regretted not spending money on someone professional, but did it for the interest of cost.

  21. My wedding was 8 years ago and we didn’t have a ton of money because we were also buying our first home, but my biggest regret is not hiring a videographer like my bridesmaid told me to lol. So she had our friend video it with just a handheld camera. I’m glad she did that but I wish I would have just hired someone to capture everything.

  22. Ali – I just watched your exquisite wedding video in a hotel lobby in Waikiki – and had to put on my sunglasses because I cried nearly the whole way through! Thank for sharing it as it is a testimony for all of us to hold out for the love of your life “to be treated the way Kevin treats you” (and for men, the way you treat him). I only hope I have the same chance the second time around. Thanks Ali – & Kevin – for being a role model for love. Much aloha, Lori

  23. Hi! Great list- agree w many things! Love your blog and style! I too have a baby that is 14 mo old and a 3 year old. Would you be willing to suggest cute jean shorts for mom’s? I notice they tend to be super short and run smaller than jeans do. I think you wore some cute ones in one of your stories from the Father’s Day trips! Would love some suggestions for mom’s that are not super short or tight. I am a 27/28 in jeans and am on a hunt! They all seem to be for girls who have no hips ?
    Thanks in advance for help!!!
    Mary

  24. I just got engaged, so this is super helpful! What are the names of the first two songs in your wedding video? I love them!

  25. Great read and I’ve loved you forever Ali!! I also absolutely love weddings!! For us, we agreed to keep costs down so that we could save for our house. The best thing I did was pick what was really important for my big day besides marrying my sweetheart. My top 2 choices were a very simple and timeless wedding gown (Jcrew Sophia gown, $300) and pink peonies for my bouquet. Also, when we loved every flavor of wedding cake, we decided to do cupcakes so we could have them all. The bakery made us a small cake to cut into for the tradition and pics. Other than that, we simply enjoyed the day and our friends and family. My only regret is that Pinterest was not invented yet when we got married.

  26. Don’t! Been to two weddings this year. Please don’t let the band or DJ play the music so loud you can’t talk to the people at your table. Both times we sat with either friends or very nice interesting people we would have enjoyed getting to know. We either didn’t talk or had to yell at each other. Maybe after dinner/reception it can be a little louder when guest want to dance.

  27. Ah! I love this so much Ali! Thank you! I am getting married on 11/11/17 and we are in the midst of all the planning. Love reading through all the reader tips too! It’s been confirmed over and over that we need a wedding planner – I thought I could do it all because I plan events all the time and I always love working through all the details. But I could use an advocate to take care of any unnecessary stress.

    Any tips on making it unique and special to reflect us as a couple? We are trying to work in a lot of that in the ceremony. But we want our wedding day to be unlike any others!

    I also just found my dress at the same place you found yours – Mon Amie! The ladies were incredible and my dress is perfect. We’re getting married at the Pelican Hill in Newport and we looked at Terranea too – so fabulous – loved your photos.

  28. I splurged on a bridal suite at my venue for my wedding on September, 30th this year!! I kind of felt guilty spending the money, but decided this day is a once in a lifetime experience and I wanted it to be perfect!! What you said about having enough space is exactly what I was thinking, reading your post solidified my decision!!

  29. The best thing I did on my wedding day was pamper myself all day starting with staying the night b4 the wedding at the hotel we got married at with my maid of honor who happens to be my niece/godchild. We started at 8am with ordering breakfast from room svc for both of us, then a 1 hr massage at 9am for both of us, then manicure & pedicure at 10am for both of us, then hair & makeup at 1pm for both of us and everything was done right in the room. We didn’t have to go anywhere, which was great!! No stress. We also ordered lunch from room svc. We had a few issues that day once the wedding began but thanks to all the pampering, I honestly didn’t care & had the best day & night of my life!! So my advice is to try your best to pamper yourself all day so you can relax. Make it a priority & make it part of the budget. im so glad I did.

  30. Love this dress!!! My shower is August 6 and I’m worried it will be too hot for dress… is it heavy material? I see that’s it’s kind of sheer so hoping that would make it less hot! I wanted to wear something more conservative so I don’t have to worry about showing too much in pictures when opening gifts and what not! Thanks!!!

  31. In your Instagram story you said you have the dress in navy as well. Can you share pics of that dress as well? The pics of the dress on Nordstrom’s site look like it’s very “metallic”. Just curious to see what it looks like in natural lighting. I have a wedding to attend in October. Thanks!!

  32. So, I changed to a much more comfortable dress the day of my wedding. I didn’t want to! But my husband insisted I wouldn’t regret it! I guess I married the right man but he was SO RIGHT! Anyways, I bought my dress from a website called Dottie Couture Boutique. They have amazing little dresses to change up to, your bridal shower, even the bridesmaids! In case anyone wants other options! Happy Wedding to anyone getting married! And Ali, you looked stunning on your day! And I LOOVE your blog! Especially now that I’m also a mom to a tiny human (my daughter is 7 months old!) ❀️

  33. My regrets were, not having a videographer and not splurging more on a photographer. I LOVE watching everyone’s perfectly put together videos and it makes me so sad that I didn’t do that for myself. And as far as the photographer really research them and talk to them. Spend the extra money. I have multiple pictures I never received and asked for many times and most of my pictures from in the church of the family, we all have shadows under our eyes from where she placed us on the stage. One of the best photos from the ceremony is one my nephew took on his cell phone from the balcony.

    My favorite things were our band, the locations of our photos, and how we had such a simple wedding but we still get compliments 5 years later about how fun it was. We normally wouldn’t have picked a band due to cost, but my Father in Law is in a “wedding band” and they did it for free. They were amazing and everyone loved it. It really made the night perfect. Although I was not a fan of our photographer after the fact, I was very pleased with our locations we chose because they were very personal to us. We went to the place we first met and we went inside of Busch Stadium in St. Louis, which is where we got engaged and where we go all the time to attend baseball games. We had a baseball themed wedding as well. We didn’t spend a lot of money on a reception venue but you would never know. We had amazing food, music, and decor. It al came together well and we didn’t feel like we were in a school gym!

    Hope those are some good tips for someone!

  34. Thank you so much for posting this ! I’m getting married next year in August and we have most of the stuff! We are debating on getting a videographer , just because of the money… so my fiancΓ© and I still thinking about it! I still need to get nice and affordable shoes, where did you get yours ?

    Thank you πŸ™‚

  35. Hi Ali! I’m loving this white dress and hope I can wear it in the coming months…waiting on that engagement first πŸ˜‰
    In your snap I loved your barstools, where did you find them??
    xo,
    M

  36. Hi Ali,

    I love this dress, it also looks amazing on you!! I have a wedding soon and I have been looking for a dress like that.. I am wondering what size you are wearing? Thinking about getting size 6 but, not sure if this dress is true to size.

  37. I used to work for a wedding planning company, we would beg couples to trust us to get a videographer. We would tell them they will 100% regret it if they don’t. It’s not the shakey cam boring videos of days gone past, what is standard where we work is for your price you get a 10 minute edited mini movie with music and a story (almost like a long movie trailer), a 90 min more in depth edited video with speeches and highlights, and of course the raw footage.

    No matter your budget, there are totally other things you can compromise on – flowers for one, they’re only there for a day, you don’t have to go so big and over the top! Also expensive bridesmaid/groomsmen outfits, wedding favors… If truly are trying to stick to a budget, you can scale all this down for a videographer,

    A good tip is to now it’s a year gone by, give the raw footage to an editing company and ask for a movie of your wedding, raw footage can be super boring to watch and captures things you don’t need to remember.

  38. That’s a good tip about the bridal dresses. Some of them are extremely fancy and look like something that would go well at a wedding. I have never gone wedding dress shopping before or just slipped into a shop to try on a dress. I have learned a lot from your article Thank you for sharing with us.

  39. Oh my goodness. I wish I read this blog sooner, but I’m so happy (in the saddest way) to know someone else accidentally didn’t wear their veil on their wedding day too! Biggest regret and it haunts me! Same thing– someone took the dress out of the garment bag and placed everything back in the closet so somehow it was forgotten. Commiseration is cathartic so ThAnK You for your story. Count my blessings, we got married March 14, 2020 right before COVID really cancelled everything and we were just so happy to get married safely where everyone stayed healthy afterward.

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