Wedding Advice From Real Brides

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Photo by Jennifer Van Elk

Brides who are planning their wedding want to know first-hand what other brides would have done differently on their wedding day if they could. Here are some top responses we’ve received from real brides, sharing their best wedding advice.

Do: Take Time To Eat

“My only regret was not having food available for myself and my bridesmaids after pictures and before the ceremony. We had a late wedding (ceremony at 5) and were all so hungry by the time the ceremony started… so ya, if I was doing it again, I’d have food (and wine!) “ –Cynthia

“Make someone set you aside a plate of food for afterwards! I was starving. During dinner you’re likely to be too busy taking photos and greeting to eat”-Peyton

Do: Research & Spend The Money On An Experience Photographer

“I wish I picked different photographers. I went off recommendations and experience but they focused on quantity not quality. I have 1300 photos of my wedding day, yet there’s more photos of the staff than of just me (the bride). They also blurred out me a few times to focus on the background. It was just very disappointing.” – Sammie

“Completely regret my photographer. Spend the money, that’s one place to splurge and then save somewhere else.” –Jac Lynn

“Photography.. really REALLY do your research and don’t cheap out. If they don’t have a Facebook page pass on them.. I thought I had a good one. I’ll never forgive myself” – Chantal

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Photo by Brooke Images

Do: Have A Clear Idea On Photos You Want

“Took more pictures with my entire family/extended family. We have photos with everyone by themselves but not a single group photo of our families together. (Like aunts/uncles/cousins) Make sure you get every single photo you want as those are the only thing that last a lifetime. “ –Eilea

“I wish I put more emphasis on photos with family members. I told my photographer to speed through it so we can start the reception and now I don’t have half the photos I wish we did.”–Carolyn

“ I used my aunt as a photographer and she wasn’t really up to date on newer more adorable poses but she did it for cheap so I used her…I wish I would have paid more and had a better photographer” – Brianna

Do: Splurge On A Videographer

“Get a videographer. Your day goes so fast and you don’t get to see everything. I would give anything to be able to watch my wedding video back but I never got a videographer. “ – Tiffany

“Even if you have to sell your right arm to do it, get a videographer! This is my #1 regret, not having one. I wish I could relive the day through videos.” – Beth

“All the other ways that we cut corners to save money turned out great but I really regret not getting a videographer… Not sure where the money would have come from but I really wish I had made it a priority and figured out a way to pay for it.” –Lauren

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Photo by Alan Maudie Photography

Do: Take Time To Thank Your Guests

“Taking two moments as bride and groom to address and thank all of our guests for attending. We had intentions on doing this, but after speeches and dinner, it slipped the itinerary. We greeted each table, but I feel like taking the microphone and thanking the guests as a whole would have been nice as well.” – Courtney

Do: Coordinate Carefully With Your DJ

“I got a “great deal” on a DJ, but he didn’t play any of the songs we requested. Lots of old stuff and repeats. If my MC didn’t tell him to play certain songs we may not have had a first dance! It was the worst part of my wedding for me, but people still danced and no one remembers what songs were played anymore (except maybe me).” –Amanda

Photo by Rhythm Photography

Do: Make Sure You Have Enough Time

“I wish I wrote down that the ceremony started a half hour earlier on the invites. We ran late waiting for guests so everything else got cut short. “ – Kristy

“I wouldn’t have changed anything except I would’ve made the reception longer. I felt like one minute we were eating dinner and the next someone was tapping me on my arm telling me there was half an hour left” – Lala

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Real Wedding: Ashley & Peter’s Wedding

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Meet Ashley and Peter! They tied the knot July 30, 2016 in St. Augustine, Florida. We just love the soft pinks and beautiful florals this wedding had to offer. So take a peek at this couple’s wedding day journey. From getting ready, to a beautiful ceremony at The Cathedral Basilica and finishing off with a romantic getaway in a horse drawn carriage ride. Enjoy!!

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Coordinator: Andrea Famiglietti, Coastal Celebrations
Caterer: Davoli’s, Fred
Florist: Jade Violet
Baker: Sweet by Holly
Band: The Rivertown Band, Leslie
Ceremony Music: Music by Peggie,
Photographer/photobooth: Brooke Images
Videographer: Launch Pad, Bobby
Brides Hair: Laura Gamel, (MOH)
Hair: Mantra Salon, Ginger
Formal Exit: St. Augustine Carriages

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New Ceremony Must-Have: The Wedding Wand

Today we are excited to feature a product that is a ceremony must have! The Wedding Wand is a beautiful addition to your ceremony ritual and is an alternative to the sand ceremony or unity candle. It is a beautiful way to hold on to all that is important now and for your future together. It is about the love two people share and the desire to never let go of the precious gift they have found together.

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Featured here: Wedding Wand

During the ceremony the couple will each hold their end of the wand as the officiant speaks.

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The Wedding Wand comes complete with a stand, allowing you to put it on display for all to see. This wonderful item will be a permanent decorative piece in your home. Not only to encase your marriage certificate, but as a daily reminder of the importance of the vows that were spoke on that unforgettable day.

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Engraved in the wand you will find words that may be contained in real vows. There is also a spot for personalization to be added, with the bride and groom’s initials or monogram.

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The vow certificate can be stored in the wedding wand after the ceremony.

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Featured here: Personalized Backdrop: Floral Dreams / Wedding Wand

FROM THE CREATOR OF THE WEDDING WAND

The Wedding Wand is a must-have for any ceremony, regardless of religion or background. It is about the love two people share and the desire to never let go of the precious gift they have found together. Created by a woman to immortalize a wonderful love and honor the memory of her late spouse, this ceremony addition touches the very heart of what is most important, the unending love between two people. This wonderful item will be a permanent decorative piece in your home. Not only to encase your marriage certificate, but as a daily reminder of the importance of the vows that were spoken on that unforgettable day. The Wedding Wand is a beautiful way to hold on to all that is important now and for your future together.

From our Brides: 4 Ways to be the Worst Wedding Guest of all Time

It is wonderful to be able to celebrate your new Mrs. status with friends and family, but sometimes the combination of large numbers, varied personalities and high emotions can cause a little bit of stress along the way. When these moments happen, there are three things we want to remind you of.  1) You cannot please everyone. 2) There is always a solution. And 3) You’re not alone. We asked our brides to weigh in with their own personal experience dealing with difficult wedding guests.

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1) Dealing with the Narcissist:

“When family members who have conflict with each other make the day about them and their issues.” — Sarah Beth

If you have found yourself in this situation, we promise that you are not the first. Emotions and adrenaline are at an all time high at most weddings and this can sometimes cause tension. When diffusing a situation keep in mind that you want to make it better and not worse. If you let your emotions get the better of you. things will only escalate. With a level head and a calm voice, politely remind them why they are here today. Your wedding is a celebration of your relationship and it is OK to remind them of that.

2) Runaway guest list: “I can invite anyone I want to your wedding, right?”

Asking the morning of my wedding if you could bring your daughter, when you didn’t even bother to send your RSVP. And RSVP-ing for 3 when your invite specifically said to Mr and Mrs your name there.” — Michelle Flowers

There are 2 types of guests: 1) There was an unintentional miscommunication and your guest didn’t realize who exactly was invited. or 2) Your guest disregarded your wishes and didn’t think  a plus one was a big deal.

It is so important to be clear who the invitation is intended for. If you don’t feel like the names on the addressed envelope are clear enough, feel free to write the names out on their RSVP Card as well. This should help alleviate any miscommunication. If your RSVP mishap lands in the second category, ask yourself if it is a big deal. Do you have the space and the budget to have them there? Is it more of an annoyance than an inconvenience? If having extra person at your wedding is something you can deal with, consider letting it go and moving on. If having them there is not possible, a conversation is a great place to start. Explain to them that unfortunately you do not have any wiggle room with the guest count and although you wished more could attend, it is not possible at this time. And remember that asking is often more effective than demanding.

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3) Dealing with the Flake:

“We had a groomsmen back out the week of the wedding and then one of them “forgot” he was in the wedding all together.” — Ginny Raettig

Although situations like this are incredibly frustrating, they can often be the easiest to resolve. Many couples feel that it is really important to have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. We are here to tell you that it is totally O.K to have an uneven bridal party. When you initially decided who you wanted to stand up with you, it was probably because they have been a key part of your life. Don’t feel pressured to find a replacement just for the sake of having a replacement. Sometimes the best solution is to let it go.

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4) Head Count:”RSVP’s are just a suggestion, right?”

“Not RSVP-ing or saying I don’t know yet but trying….” — Jamie Wieber

It can be as simple as asking your guests to send an RSVP email or click a button on your wedding website, but hunting down RSVP stragglers is just a part of the wedding planning process. That being said, there are a few ways to make it a little easier on yourself. A handy trick is to set the “please reply by:” date a few weeks before you really require a final head count. This will give some of the stragglers extra time to get their replies in and downsize the number of people you need to track down later.

Your day is about one very important thing, getting to say “I DO”. We know that planning a wedding comes with it’s up’s and down’s, but despite the fuss, it’s going to be worth it! We are so excited to be on this journey with you and helping to put those beautiful elements into your day. We know it’ going to be spectacular!

“None it was my day and everyone put all there problems aside and made it all about me my husband and six kids.” — Stephanie Hodgins

 

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Take our Quiz: What is your Wedding Style?

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Every bride wants their wedding to be a unique reflection of their personality and style. Find your flair with this wedding style quiz. What kind of bride are you?

Pro Talk: Tips for Selecting a Wedding Photographer

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Once your vows have been exchanged, the bubbly’s been popped and your lovely gown has been carefully tucked away, what’s left from your big day? Your gorgeous wedding pictures of course! At least you hope they’re gorgeous.

Given the long term importance of wedding photos, there should be no doubt about the need to invest some serious time, energy and dollars into selecting your wedding photographer. The selection process is one of the more intense tasks you’ll take on while planning your wedding, but because the final product is all you’ll have to forever remind you of one of the most amazing days of your life, you definitely want to make sure you manage it properly. Lucky for you, we’ve got a list of the critical things you’ll want to consider when selecting a photographer, straight from the ultimate subject matter expert, our very own resident freelance wedding photography purveyor, Mugshots Photography. Here’s everything you  need to know to get you to your dream wedding pics.

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Tip #1: Money Talks

Always start the process of selecting your wedding photographer with a solid understanding of your wedding budget. Set your overall bottom line first and then decide what percentage you want to dedicate to your photographer. Consider the type of coverage you’re interested in, what parts of your day you want captured and what type of final product you’re interested in. This will help you to narrow down your options, based on both service offering and price point. Make sure you approach this from a realistic standpoint and remember the cardinal rule of purchasing any product or service, you get what you pay for.

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Tip #2: Set a Benchmark

Look at lots and lots (and lots!) of wedding inspiration to get a solid visual sense of what type of photography appeals to you most. There’s more wedding inspiration available to today’s bride than ever before so use it to your advantage. Scour wedding magazines (like the Weddingstar magazine) and Pinterest to see how others have had their day captured. Do you gravitate towards a photojournalistic approach? Do prop heavy wedding photos appeal to you? Once you understand the type of images you want, you’ll be better prepared to pick the photographer that can get you exactly what you’re after for your photos.

Tip #3: The Playing Field

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different types of wedding photography companies in your market. There are no doubt plenty to choose from, regardless of where you reside. Some photographers may just be starting out and are looking to build their portfolios. Some may be very experienced with 100’s of weddings under their belts. While others still may be set up as ‘studios’ with several subcontracted photographers working on their behalf. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these offerings. For instance, a new wedding photographer may offer you an attractive price as he looks to gain experience, while a seasoned pro will come at an added investment but will already know the ins and outs of shooting weddings. There’s someone for everyone, just make sure you understand what you’re signing up for.

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Tip #4: A Serious Commitment

Fall in love with the portfolios of the photographers you are interested in. Anything less and you may not be happy with your final images. And don’t just settle on a photographer’s website portfolio that features their best work. Once you have narrowed down your selection ask your prospective photographers to share with you a full set of images from a couple of recent wedding they have captured. This will give you the best sense of what your potential finished product will look like. Keep an eye out for the types of images that are important to you. And pay attention to any specific processing approach a photographer takes to make sure you like it.

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Tip #5: The Meet and Greet

Before the final product comes all the preamble, and an important preamble it is. Your photographer is one of the very few wedding vendors who will spend the better part of your day close by your side. You’ll want to make sure there’s a personality match prior to booking with a specific person. Your potential photographer should easily be able to address all of your questions. Ask him/her to talk about why they started shooting weddings. Ask about their experience and about the equipment they use. The answers you get should confirm how knowledgeable the photographer is, while also provide you with insight into how personable they are. If going with a studio offering, make sure to get some face time with the specific photographer set to shoot your day, before you sign the contract. Be weary if this is not an option.

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Tip # 6: The Test Run

Book an engagement shoot. This will allow for a test run in getting your picture taken by a professional photographer so that you feel more comfortable on your wedding day, both as a couple having their pictures taken and with the person taking the pictures. A set of engagement pictures will also help you better define for your photographer the type of images you like best.

Tip #7: Get Organized

Prepare a shot list of important events and people you want captured and share the list with your photographer. Sharing this information will ensure that important memories are captured on your big day. But don’t go overboard in listing out a too detailed shot list. Trust that your photographer will capture the day in a way that is similar to the work that he/she has shown you during the booking process.

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Want More

To view more of the Mugshots portfolio visit their website at mugshotsphotography.ca, or pick up a copy of the current Weddingstar magazine for front to back wedding inspiration, all captured by Mugshots.

xoxo.

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Real Weddings: Become a Feature Weddingstar Couple

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Behind the scenes at Weddingstar work on new inspirational wedding content is a constant. From the print magazine, to the Blog, to product development, there’s no downtime in the creation of fresh ideas and products. And the number one source of inspiration for the work is real weddings. It’s the love stories of couples all around the world that acts as the driving force for everything. And needless-to-say, nothing excites the team more than seeing images of Weddingstar products as parts of those stories.

If you’re one of the many couples who have made Weddingstar a part of your wedding day we want to hear from you! We’d love to see the details of your day and share how you put your personal touch on the products you used. Photographers, this goes for you too! If you’ve shot a wedding featuring a Weddingstar product, share it with us for your opportunity to have your images showcased. For more details on how to become a Weddingstar Feature Wedding check out the submission section right here on the Blog. In the meantime, here’s a glimpse at a couple of our recent submissions. Happy Friday!

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xoxo.

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