Last fall, we featured brides sharing their wedding advice, and they were so funny and smart, we wanted to do it again. Here, 10 cool women reveal their wedding dos and don’ts….
“Since neither José or I practice a particular religion, but we still wanted a traditional ceremony, we asked our officiant to switch out the word “God” for “nature” during the ceremony. After our ceremony and picnic in a park, everyone walked back to our apartment and we had a dance party on our roof ’til 3 a.m.” — Anne (and José)
“My advice may be controversial: Even though we had a professional photographer, it was still so great to have our friends snapping cellphone photos throughout the day. Over the next few weeks, before we got the ‘real’ photos, my husband and I must have scrolled through our Instagram hashtag 100 times, reliving the day and seeing our guests’ moments. It’s a personal choice, for sure, and probably the bane of professional photographers, but we loved it!” — Anna (and Nick)
“Also, during dinner, before people were dancing at all, my daughter (then 7) pulled my husband onto the dance floor, and so they had the first dance! It was adorable and spontaneous, and such a beautiful way to cement the creation of our new family.” — Anna (and Nick)
“My brother Jeff gave an incredibly funny toast. As kids, Jeff was my idol (sort of still is). When I was about 8 and he was about 12, he invented a club he called the ‘Cool Club.’ All his friends were members, and they did awesome stuff I wasn’t privy to as the annoying little sister. I was desperate to join this (non-existent, completely made-up) club, and Jeff would promise me membership if only I would… scoop him a bowl of ice cream. Or, maybe the next day, I could join if only I would… give him the TV remote. It went on and on like this for longer than I care to admit. BUT then! At the wedding, in front of our newly joined families and all our friends, Jeff officially gave me a lifetime membership to the Cool Club! It was unquestionably the funniest, most touching, absurd thing he could’ve done. Nowadays, the certificate of my entry into the Cool Club is the only thing hanging on the wall of my studio.” — Stef (and Mckenzie)
“Even though we hired a local DJ, he never actually touched the decks. Our friends kept spinning their own tunes throughout the night instead. The music was so good that no one left the dance floor, and those few who did head back to their rooms to call it a night were back on the dance floor half an hour later because they could ‘hear the amazing tunes from bed and they were just too good to miss!'” — Sandra (and James)
“When I walked down the aisle, I felt so nervous to be in front of a room full of people, so the first thing I did when I got to front was throw my arms around Joe for a bear hug! I needed it. The silence in the room broke as everyone started laughing, and I felt much better. Don’t try to be perfect; just be yourself and have fun.” — Jenny (and Joe)
“If you don’t have the money to spend, don’t throw a huge, lavish wedding. Do what is within your means. I loved our potluck dessert table — it was very special. We asked our guests to make desserts. It stemmed from a banana cream pie that my friend makes that is so dreamy. Also, instead of the traditional father/daughter walk down the aisle, Josh knocked on the door to the guest house where I was waiting, and we walked together to the ceremony.” — Jen (and Josh)
“We had a very impromptu celebration, as our wedding date was, very unromantically, timed by green card regulations. So, we decided to get married the lowest-key way possible and have a real celebration later. My expectations were low, but it was unexpectedly wonderful and fun. My husband had to work that morning, and then we met two friends at City Hall in Manhattan. It was surreal and special. We had Champagne for lunch (our waiter was over the moon when he found out we just tied the knot!), and afterward Matt told me to bid our friends farewell… as we were going skydiving! He even told a story about how getting married was something like jumping out of a plane and trusting you’ll land well. A little tipsy and already high on adrenaline, I thought he was joking! But soon after, we were floating through the air (the freest feeling ever) with the Manhattan skyline in the distance. Never having had a traditional wedding I might not be the right person to give advice, but if I learned anything from our experience, this is it: Prioritize what’s important for you that day and don’t worry about the rest.” — Anne (and Matt)
“Right before I walked down the aisle, I kicked my shoes off. That’s the only wedding detail I was sure of when my husband first proposed to me: I knew I’d be barefoot. I walked slowly next to my papi, one foot carefully in front of the other, heel first, then touching down with my toes. I wanted to feel each step under my bare feet. I felt both lifted and grounded. The drums leading me, the sun shining in my face, and the smiles of everyone I loved watching me.” — Paola (and Tyler)
“Also, getting ready with the girls was a hoot! We have this thing about our ‘nights out’ where getting ready together is the most fun part of the whole evening. It’s important to think about everyone’s budget in your bridal party. I decided to give them a color scheme and just trust them to pick a dress they felt most comfortable in. Each woman looked absolutely stunning, and letting their personal styles shine was a big win!” — Paola (and Tyler)
“The band messed up our first dance song, but in true savior fashion my dad had the song ready on his iPhone just in case. His walking up and plugging in his iTunes to the speakers was hilarious and amazing and such a dad moment — he’s always got my back and that day was no different.” — Elizabeth (and Chris)
“We got married in the woods, and a bunch of our guests camped out that night, including Brian’s parents. It was so nice to wake up and have a big group around to cook a campsite breakfast the next day. Honestly, I never thought I’d have a wedding all. I genuinely thought weddings were lame. But it ended up being the best opportunity to have an awesome party with our favorite people. I realized that you can do whatever you want, and that everyone is just coming to have fun. There are no rules, and once I realized that it was really liberating.” — Grace (and Brian)
If you’re married, what at advice would you give to couples planning a wedding?
(Photo of Anna by Kyo Morishima. Photo of Jen by Suzanne Christine Photography and Emily Nathan. All other photos courtesy of the brides and grooms.)