25 Real Brides Share Their Advice for Recently Engaged Couples

Discover what the women featured in the pages of Inside Weddings suggest you do.

If you're recently engaged, congratulations! You likely have a number of questions and countless new decisions to make as you're starting to plan your ceremony, reception, and any pre-wedding events leading up to the big day. While advice books are helpful, sometimes the best tips come from those who have been in your same position. 

To provide you with some tried-and-true advice, we asked 25 of the brides featured in the latest issues of Inside Weddings to share their best tips for future couples. Read what they have to say below, and click on their names to see more from their beautiful celebrations!

Bride in wedding dress cap sleeves looking down with groom
Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography; Planning & Design by Linda Howard Events

"Enjoy some time to be engaged before you jump into wedding planning. Jonathan and I were happy we did this." – Amy

"I would advise brides and grooms to remember what the process is really about – marrying the love of your life and beginning a life together. Wedding planning is a long and stressful process. On the most stressful days, I would just think that it is all worth it for the end result – marrying Andrew. This thought would get me through the stress of it all." – Lindsay

"Planning a wedding you should remember the letter 'U'. At the bottom of the 'U' are you and your fiancé. One side is your family, the other is theirs. Neither of you should talk about important wedding-related things with the other one’s family. It prevents a lot of unnecessary arguments. We did follow this and it helped... a lot." – Alexandra

"Enjoy every minute! Planning, rehearsal dinner, portraits, ceremony, reception, honeymoon... you name it – it goes by SO fast! I wish that I could do it all over again some days because I feel like I missed some aspects of the journey. It is truly one of the most special, emotional, important days of your life and just do not forget to take a deep breath, look around, and enjoy it!" – Kiley

"Do what makes you happy. It doesn't matter what tradition says, what family and friends say you are supposed to do. Do what makes the bride and groom happy. Create your own traditions, have fun, and dare to be different." – Lana

"I promised myself that I would not stress out over one day in my life. However, that is easier said then done. To be honest, planning a wedding is exhausting and stressful, but it is all worth it in the end! Also, definitely hire a wedding planner that you can have fun working with." – Katrina

"Have fun with it. You don’t need to follow the rules. Do what feels right for you and your husband to be. Also, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you spend on the wedding, what matters is that there is love in the room." – Alexis

"Get a wedding planner, start early, and don’t stress out about the weather – set yourself up for success no matter what the weather might be. Also, during brainstorming/planning sessions, mention and include all the ideas and details you’d like (including the ones that don't seem feasible due to cost). You want to make sure you’re putting it all out there and then pick and choose what has more priority to you. Pick a comfortable dress and shoes." – Maria

"I think planning a wedding prepares you to deal with stress and to work as a team. Neil and I really came together to make it happen, and I think it made us that much closer when we were done." – Celine

"Do not put things off until the last minute. Try to have every detail finalized a month prior to the wedding so that you can relax. The last thing you want to do is be up all night rearranging seating charts days before the wedding. Trust me, three hours of sleep a night is miserable. It's best to be done in advance so you can relax and enjoy some pre-wedding bliss." – Chelsea

"Hire a planner! As a planner, I thought I could certainly do it on my own – and to an extent I could. But even as a planner who knows what to do, knows the vendors, and for the most part knew what I wanted, being the bride felt like a job instead of being an enjoyable time. I did finally get smart about 5 weeks out and called my friend and fellow planner, Jeanette Tavares with Evoke DC and she took over doing month-of planning for me – she was a life saver! That last month allowed me to focus on enjoying the few weeks leading up to the wedding and take care of things I needed to do as a bride (like nail appointments, fittings, etc.), and she tied up all the vendor details. On the wedding day I didn’t worry about anything, knowing I not only had an amazing vendor team, but a planner handling all the final details." – Lauryn

"Yes, there’s a lot to think about and plan with a wedding, and yes, it can get overwhelming. But attitude is everything, and your attitudes will impact the process, the day and the people around you. Choose to look at the process with joy and with a good sense of humor and fun, and everything and everyone else will follow." – Maggie

"Do what is important to you as a couple. It is your chance to celebrate the love you have for one another in front of everyone who is special to you! If it doesn’t speak to you, don’t do it. I would say we followed this advice for ourselves. We knew that we wanted to share our love with our family and friends with our own words and in our own way, so we did! I truly believe this is why our wedding day was the best day of our lives." – Caroline

"A very wise friend shared this with me three weeks before our wedding: 'Say no to anything from this point on that adds to your plate or makes you stress. People will have ideas and last-minute suggestions and opinions... just say no. This is your time to focus on the most important yes of your life! You have done all the planning, dreaming, and preparation, the rest will all take care of itself.” – Brown

"Trust your vendors! They are professionals for a reason. Even though I am a planner and am used to being in control on wedding days, I ‘let go’ and let our talented team do what they do best. Best decision I could have made! It is truly why our day ran smoothly. It is so important to hire people you like and feel comfortable with. Vendors are such a big part of your day; you spend just as much time with some of them as you do with your new husband/wife!" – Brittanie

"Don’t do your own flowers! Taking on DIY projects for your wedding is just too stressful. I had grand plans of making my own bouquet and on the day of my wedding, I became so overwhelmed with the task. Luckily, I had a great team in place and I was able to take off my floral-design hat and just enjoy being a bride for the day." – Makini

"Enjoy the planning process. Your wedding day is just one day, but the planning is such an important part of it! I got to imagine what the best day of my life would be like for 16 months, and then living that day after thinking about it for so long made it that much more special. Don’t let planning get the best of you." – Victoria

"The Thursday before wedding weekend, I arranged a pizza party with my bridesmaids followed by a casual happy hour with the entire wedding party. It meant I could have concentrated time and conversations with some of my closest people before the wedding weekend 'blur' took hold." – Laurel

"Do a first look! It’s a must! Walker and I were actually against it at first; however, in the end, we decided to go with it so we could enjoy every second of our cocktail hour with family and friends! It was absolutely worth it and needless to say some of those pictures are my favorites." – Lauren

"Once the day starts, enjoy yourself! Find out what you need to do for this to happen and do it! This was easier said than done for me, but something I focused on so hard because I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labor!" – Sydnie

"I would say to have a longer dinner if you can. Before our wedding night, everyone said to us, 'It's going to go by so fast!' However, afterwards, Murphy and I didn't feel that way. We wanted to make the most out of the outdoor portion of our reception, so we had an unusually long dinner. It turned out to be perfect! We got to chat with some guests, enjoy our wedding party at our table, and still enjoy all the yummy food. Most of all, we got to talk and laugh with our closest friends. Our wedding party lives all over, so to have all of our favorite people sitting in one place with us was truly the most special gift of all." – Blair

"My mom gave me the best advice: At each significant moment, take a mental snapshot of what is going on. For example, 'here I am about to walk down the aisle,' 'here I am, about to see my husband for the first time,' 'here I am doing my first dance.' She did this at her own wedding and remembers the day with great clarity. I made sure to do the same!" – Ashley

"My biggest piece of advice for brides and grooms planning their wedding would be to make sure you have a few moments just the two of you at the reception. Near the end of the evening, Scott and I took a few minutes and stood near the back of the room to take it all in. It’s so beautiful to have your family and closest friends all together to celebrate your wedding, and the night goes by way too fast." – Allison

"Have an after-party, hire an awesome band, and do a first look – especially if you have an evening wedding." – Emily

"Consider having a wedding in a destination that you and your groom love! It’s such an easy way to personalize your experience and spend quality time with your guests!" – Samantha

For more wedding tips, discover expert advice on finding a wedding dress from the nation's top bridal salons, learn how to stay happy throughout the planning process, and find out how to include your best friends when you don't have a wedding party.

Authored by: Kelcy Christy