What advice would you give couples about to get hitched? (I’d recommend wearing comfortable flats!) Here, a few beautiful brides share their 12 biggest dos and don’ts…
Have a cool maid of honor: My six-year-old goddaughter, Olivia, was my maid of honor. I wanted her to wear a suit (like Tatum O’Neal did at the Academy Awards in the 70s!). She was probably my favorite part of my wedding.” — Aimee (and Frank)
Aimee photos by Brian Averill.
Consider a personal venue: “Arlo and I got married at a New Hampshire meeting house that we’d driven by and admired for years and held the reception at his family’s cottage on a lake. The week before the wedding, both our families spent the week with us at the lake doing yard work, painting doors, laying mulch in the yard, and getting the cottage ready for our 75 guests. My parents and sister rented a house across the lake and canoed across each day. Seeing everything come together as we’d envisioned after so much thought and hard work made the day that more special.” — Sarah (and Arlo)
Do what makes you happy: “That morning, I got ready at the cottage and showered in the outdoor shower (with cobwebs, poor water pressure and a slow drain), but with views of a misty lake, in the place where we had made so many memories from the start of our relationship. It was perfect and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.” — Sarah (and Arlo)
Sarah photos by Julia Robbs.
City Hall is also magical: “We loved getting married at City Hall in Manhattan. Our families traveled from all over the country, and it felt special to share a small slice of this amazingly diverse community that we call home. Not only did our loved ones get to participate in our ceremony, but some were asked to be witnesses for other couples getting married! Afterward we went out for celebratory drinks. Going the City Hall route also meant we could spend our small budget on other events that weekend — like treating families to dinner at the Cecil Steakhouse in Central Harlem and a jazz performance at Minton’s later that night.” — Linda (and Ben)
Linda photo by Sylvie Rosokoff.
Go for any color of dress: “Traditional wedding dresses can get expensive, so at first I decided to look for a regular white dress. Then I quickly discovered I don’t look good in white! Like, if I was going to any other party I’d *never* wear a white dress. So, I opened myself up to other colors, and this yellow Net-a-Porter dress called out to me. It fit well, and I never looked back. My advice to wedding outfit shoppers would be to allow your decision to be final once you’ve found something you like. It’s tempting to keep your options open and never stop searching for something EVEN MORE PERFECT, and that’s just exhausting.” — Hallie (and Jack)
Ask loved ones to give toasts: “My brothers both gave beautiful toasts. Nick is usually a huge jokester, but in his toast he was the sincerest I’ve ever seen him. He ended simply saying, ‘I love you and I love you and I love you and I love you.'” — Hallie (and Jack)
Hallie photos by Yelena Sophia.
Consider choosing a color (versus a dress/suit) for your bridal party: “My husband and I recruited a coed group of our siblings and long-standing friends to be our ‘wedding parties.’ We wanted celebratory vibes, so we just asked them to wear cream, white or another light color. We were so happy that everyone looked like themselves but still fit together as a group.” — Gina (and Alex)
Don’t sweat the small stuff: “My oldest friend, Kayla, fell down the stairs face first during the processional. I felt so bad for her! She rallied and flawlessly delivered her reading for the ceremony from memory. Last week we watched the unedited video of our wedding with her. We laughed our asses off at that moment. I learned that a lot can go ‘wrong,’ but the day can still turn out memorable and fun.” — Gina (and Alex)
Gina photos by Sylvie Rosokoff.
Surround yourselves with friends and family: “We had our wedding ceremony shaped in a circle. During the service, it was wonderful to see the sea of faces smiling back at us. We truly felt hugged by love.” — Patricia (and Grace)
Serve your favorite childhood dessert: “One of the best parts of the day was having a s’mores station! Not only was it delicious, but folks got comfortable and snuggled up to one another. It built an instant community.” — Patricia (and Grace)
Patricia photos by Kenzie Kate.
Borrow something meaningful: On our wedding day, my I used my late great grandmother’s wedding ring as a placeholder. We were heading from England to New York on our honeymoon a couple days later, where I would be collecting my wedding band from Satomi Kawakita’s Tribeca studio. As a long-time reader of Cup of Jo (I started when Toby was teeny!), I fell for Satomi’s designs after seeing them in this post. I left many subtle hints, and I was thrilled to receive it when we got engaged!” — Fay (and Karl)
Fay photos by Becy at Belle Art Photography.
Things that go “wrong” can be the best part: “The day of our wedding, it poured. Like, an umbrella wasn’t enough to prevent me (and my husband-to-be) from getting soaked. But the weather — which I had been super stressed about ahead of time — ended up being the most magical part of our day. We had the park to ourselves (who else was crazy enough to be out in a torrential downpour?), our guests got cozy and drank all the red wine (read: they were super down to hit the dance floor) and we had the most spectacular rainbow during our cocktail hour (when the clouds began to clear). Bottom line: I could have let my anxiety get the best of me, but instead we made it work with smiles on our faces.” — Rachel (and Matt)
Rachel photos by Christine Han.
What wedding dos and don’ts would you add? I’m so curious…
P.S. More wedding dos and don’ts, and 8 things I’ve learned about marriage.
(Thank you to Kimberlee Rhodes for reporting assistance.)