Weddings are beautiful, yes, but why do we do them? Why do we stress over every detail that makes it perfect? What would it look like to let that go, breathe, and revel in the moment where all eyes are adoringly on you and your groom in one of the most beautiful and traditional symbols of love? What would it be like to look back and grin remembering every moment no matter the flaw? Sure, events are flawed, and sure, maybe you didn’t get to actually eat the catering you lost sleep over trying to choose. But there is beauty in that, and what better way to keep an eye out for those moments than to learn from those who have gone before you?

We have begun a process of asking brides who have been there to share some of the best and worst memories along with some tricks of the trade. From scheduling yourself bathroom breaks with your bridesmaids to having plates of food set aside for you in a back room to enjoy a first meal with your groom, over the course of the next few weeks we are going to share real stories of real brides who happen to have some real, good, and often silly advice.

Let this be an encouragement and an inspiration for you soon-to-be brides and a reminder to the not-so-newly weds of no matter the chaos, the flaw, or even the sheer perfection, your wedding was a one-day event while your marriage is for life. Look back and smile on the chaos, laugh at the gaffes, and love your groom and marriage now just as you did in the moment you said, “I do.” Enjoy!

Bride: Holly Wright, Married July 24, 2011

Tip #1: Keep the party going with a perfect DJ.
Holly said the best decision she made for her wedding was choosing the right DJ. Holly said, “Seriously, he kept the party going on a Sunday night.” Holly also mentioned there was no liquor involved. Who says you need liquid courage to dance the night away? All you need is a good DJ.

Tip #2: If you’re going to spend a lot, spend it well.
Holly mentioned one thing worth splurging on was gifts for her bridesmaids and family to show them how much she appreciated all their help and support. Make, find, personalize, or write something special to them for being a part of this journey with you!

Tip #3: Remember to keep things special.
With so many weddings happening everywhere all the time, it’s easy to feel that your wedding will not be unique. This is a lie; don’t believe it for a second! Each bride is her own woman, as each couple is their own relationship with different quirks and personalities. Let that show! For Holly, she let her father choose their song for their dance and he surprised her with it on the day of! Holly said, “Dancing with my father was the most emotional part of my wedding day. I couldn’t stop crying!” Holly, who is skilled in graphic design, was also able to make their programs and favors their own, while her mother was able to help out and craft for the wedding as well, making every little thing personal and special.

Tip #4: Have open ears and firmly planted feet.
Holly stated, “Listen to your loved ones, but keep in mind that you can’t please every one!”

Tip #5: Take it easy, sometimes less is more.
For Holly’s wedding, her venue needed little embellishment because it was already so beautiful. Let the venue speak for itself sometimes and revel in it’s beauty alone, and in the fact that you’re spending less for the same amount of beauty.

-Sam Cole, a 2013 NotWedding intern and member of The Wedding Stagers

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