1. Remember: Your wedding day is your day.
"Do YOU! Make your day your day. Just because your mother pays for the dress doesn’t mean you have to pick her favorite. Don’t want a cake? Don’t have one! Want a wedding with no kids? Ask for an adult-only party! Be respectful, but stand your ground. This day only happens once for the two of you. Make. It. Yours."
2. Don't let your self-consciousness get the best of you.
"I wish I had known how great I was going to look. I was so self-conscious about being on display that I didn’t enjoy dress shopping at all. I stressed about my weight right up until the day. In fact, I gained weight from stress-eating! My dress even had to be let out a couple of inches a few weeks before the wedding, and, of course, that just made me fret more. I also really worried what more conservative members of our family would think of my tattoos. It turns out I was stunning, and everyone else thought so, most importantly, my husband! The photos made me realize that I see myself so differently in my own mind."
3. And choose a dress you can get down on the dance floor in.
"One thing I wish I had known while planning my wedding is to choose a dress that is comfortable. My dress, while gorgeous, was not comfortable. It was so heavy and tight that I wasn’t able to enjoy my dinner. I ended up changing out of the dress before the night was over. Choose a dress that is pretty but comfortable. Make sure you aren’t weighed down and can breathe!!"
4. Do what feels right for you.
"The opinions of your family are important, but not that important. Some parents like to live their wedding dreams through their children. Choose a wedding budget and style that is comfortable for you and your partner. Don’t let the opinions of your family and friends take away what you want your day to look or feel like."
5. And put your own spin on things.
"Remember this is a special day between you and your fiancé. Take advice from others, but ultimately it comes down to what you and them both want. My mother had a hard time accepting that our wedding is nautical and nerdy, but she has finally understood that it is about us and what we want. So don’t lose focus or lose heart."
6. But don't expect your wedding to look like a Pinterest board.
"You can use Pinterest and photos from other weddings to inspire you, but your wedding won’t look exactly the same. So don't stress when things don’t turn out how you visualized they would be. My best advice is to be relaxed with the whole thing and expect that things won’t be smooth. As long as you are marrying the love of your life, it will be perfect. Relax, and enjoy the process."
7. Stick to your budget.
"I didn't realize exactly how much a wedding would cost. My dream wedding was mapped out to the 'T', that is, until I got engaged, and I found out how much money I would have to shell out. Set a budget for your wedding and download a wedding planner app on your phone. You put in how much you're willing to spend, and it sets prices for you. It was such a lifesaver!"
8. Pictures last a lifetime.
"The main thing worth splurging for is a good photographer. While everything else lasts for the one day, you’ll have those pictures forever. You want to get your money's worth! I still wish we would’ve looked around more and got a better photographer for our big day."
9. Similarly, when it comes to caterers, you get what you pay for.
"Don’t go cheap on caterers! Our caterer single handedly ruined my mother-in-law's kitchen, showed up two hours late, and was extremely rude to our guests. I wish I would have spent less on something so I could have spent more on a quality caterer!"
10. Speaking of food, if you have the opportunity, give back.
“Call up your local homeless shelter. You will have extra food. We couldn’t donate ours because we didn’t set up a drop-off time.”
11. To avoid wardrobe malfunctions, come prepared.
"Not something I wish I knew, but something I’m glad I did: If you or anyone in your bridal party has a hook-and-eye closure, make sure you either have spares, or needle-nose pliers (jeweler's are smaller), and a sewing kit. While leaning over in my dress about 30 seconds after I put it on, I heard a pop and one of my clasps had popped open. Thank god my mother was there and knows how to sew — she fixed the closure with the pliers and sewed it right back on the dress!"
12. Chill out and enjoy the day.
"Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one will care whether you had white or off-white napkins. Trust me; it’ll be okay. So, relax. I wasted way too much time worrying about the little details that literally no one noticed on the day-of besides me. Don’t make my mistake! Wedding planning should be fun, not torture."
13. And remember, the wedding isn't the only thing you'll have to plan.
“I wish I knew how much went into the honeymoon! Trying to plan a backyard wedding AND a honeymoon was really stressful. Best advice: get a local travel agent. They do the heavy lifting for you, and most don't charge anything on top.”
14. You know what's right better than anyone.
“Once you make a decision, move on and do not dwell. If you second-guess everything, you will get nothing done. Go with your gut.”
15. And finally, there's no need to nitpick about the details.
"I wish I had known how fast the day would go by. Months of planning were crammed in to four or five hours, and I was just in such a whirlwind of emotion that I didn’t even notice half of details I was so worried about. If the photographer hadn’t taken photos of the centerpieces, I wouldn’t even remember what they looked like! My eyes were on my husband the whole time, and I was walking on clouds. Don’t stress about every little thing; in the end, the only thing that matters is the person standing next to you."