by Elizabeth Kellogg
photo: Grant Cornett Ever wish you could wave a wand and your wedding day would organize itself? Wedding planning doesn't have to rule your life. Check out these wacky confessions and real-life tips from brides who've been there.
Get Your Marriage License "We didn't know we were supposed to get the marriage license! We thought the pastor would bring it. When he said, 'Do you have papers for me to sign?' we looked at each other and said, 'Papers?!' We now have two anniversaries, one the day of the wedding and one the official day of signing. We still laugh about it." --Lindsey, 29, Sedro-Wooley, Wash.
Print Directions From the Wedding Ceremony to the Reception "I was driving to one of our receptions a few days after the wedding, and my fiancé fell asleep. I got lost and tried to make up for lost time but couldn't because there was construction. We were almost an hour late to our own reception. At least one guest had to leave before we got there." --Christie, 34, Rexburg, Idaho
It's Your Wedding; Voice Your Opinion When Planning "I had nothing to do with planning my own wedding other than showing up once for a dress fitting. I wish I had known that I did want to be part of the planning. The wedding was not at all what my husband and I wanted. We hardly knew anyone who came, and we left 20 minutes into our reception. If I could do it over again, we would have gotten married on a beach somewhere, just the two of us." --Kristen, 32, Arlington, Wash.
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Maintain Perspective When Wedding Planning "It's easy to get caught up in all the little things because you want [your wedding day] to be perfect, but the little things don't matter because you're marrying the person you love. I wish I would've just relaxed!" --Jennifer, 29, Plainville, Conn.
Unless You Want to Hear Others Weigh In, Keep Most of Wedding Details a Secret
"Keep as much info about the wedding to yourself as possible! Everybody is going to have an opinion or idea that they are going to want you to implement into your wedding and will be angry/crushed/humiliated when you decline. When someone asks you about your wedding, just smile and say, 'Oh, I really can't say. It's a surprise!' People will be intrigued. If nosy or overbearing relatives are your concern, hire a wedding planner or ask a strong friend to help and divert all questions to them." --Brianna, 33, Anacortes, Wash.
Pad Your Wedding Budget
"When budgeting [for your wedding], take all your estimates of what you'd think something would normally cost and double it." --Jen, 27, Fairfield, Conn.
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Do Your Regular Morning Routine Before You Put on the Wedding Dress
"Eat and groom before you get into your dress. My bridesmaids had to hold a towel around me while I brushed my teeth!" --Mandy, 33, Spokane, Wash.
Hire a Wedding Planner If It's in Your Budget
"If a bride's mother isn't trustworthy on this front, wedding planners usually save you enough money to pay their own fees, and they are a must on the day of!" --Rachelle, 32, Littlerock, Calif.
Compare Wedding Vendor Prices Online
"I highly recommend buying things on eBay. I got my guest book, ring pillow, veil, garter and cake-cutting set on eBay for a fraction of what a bridal shop or wedding distributor would charge. I paid $12 for my veil, when bridal shops can charge $120 plus. I also had great success shopping for wedding party gifts on Etsy." --Whitney, 29, Seattle
Remember That a Bigger Wedding Doesn't Necessarily Mean a Better Wedding
"Looking back, both of us agree that a smaller number of people at a smaller venue would have been more intimate and appropriate. And because we spent so much money on the reception, we didn't have a ton left for decorations or other things. My advice is to plan an affair that is a size you're both comfortable with." --Beth, 28, Vancouver, Wash.
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by Elizabeth Kellogg