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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Winzeler

Do's & Don't's From a Former Bride

You see wedding tips & articles all over on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, hell every social media. However the DO’S and DON’T’S I came across, turned out to be the most generic, sugar coated bull**** things ever written. Please know-this is not to offend or shame anyone, but these are real experiences I encountered during my wedding process. I want to share my story to help a bride avoid the heartache I endured. Some of these heartaches I am sharing are very personal issues I haven’t even spoken about before. My hope is anyone reading this,takes it as lesson.


1. Do pay the extra for your photographer. Despite all the blood, sweat & tears- pictures are the only thing you have left from that day. At my wedding, I had two photographers-one main shooter and a second shooter hired at my request. I paid less and less was the amount of work I got that day as well. My second shooter, was the MVP and I should've just paid the extra and had her as my main one.

Sadly, my main photographer, was a complete let down. I spent months saving picture ideas to a private board I had shared with my photographers on Pinterest. This way they would have an idea of what pictures I’m looking for. I even wrote out an entire two page list of pictures I wanted and issues to be aware of(family drama, . Come to find out, only the second shooter had been the one even looking at my ideas. On the day of the wedding, my main photographer missed so many photo opportunities that I wanted I was so upset. Call it "first world probs", but I really wanted pictures of just me in my dress, a shot taken of me from behind as I walked down the aisle, and so many more. The day goes so quick and is so overwhelming. Make sure you have a photographer who is ready with guidance to ensure you get every picture you ever wanted.

It took 9 weeks of hassling to get my photos (Contract stated 6-8 weeks). Then, when I finally received them, half of my pictures weren’t even there. Decorations, the cake cutting, the reception, all of that missing! I panicked and my photographer came back at me as if I was wrong for questioning her. Granted, I am patient enough to wait if I receive good, quality photos and ALL of my photos for that matter. However, when I had to wait longer and fight to get the rest of my pictures, one cannot presume a bride would be happy. Well, turned out, she had forgotten a few files of my pictures and thankfully, my second photographer was willing to meet with me to get me these pictures.

When the photo’s were all finally received, none of them were in order. I had to sort through almost a thousand pictures. While, you may think a thousand is generous and it is, but not when it’s a thousand pictures of just a minor head tilt difference. Then I noticed all of my family pictures had cars in the background! All that time to get my pictures back and I had to crop stuff too? So nearly 13 weeks after my wedding, I was able to get my pictures uploaded. While majority of them turned out(clearly because I used them in this post), there was certainly a lack of professionalism and quality in my photos compared to some of my other friends who got married. My photographer did send me a free 16x20 picture months later to make up for the ordeal which was generous, but the day was already over. In summary: Do your homework on your photographer. This is not a time in your life to be cheap. Cheap price, cheap work. Lesson learned big time. Sadly on the biggest day of my life.

2. DO WHAT YOU WANT. IT IS YOUR DAY. My husband and I did not want a fancy wedding. Not that a fancy wedding is bad, but it just wasn’t our style. I had fallen in love with this sweet, strong, handsome, country man in a field and dammit I was going to marry him in one too. Many family members detested the idea. Certain family members wanted fancy food, tuxes, a fancy hall, and all the other bells and whistles. They wanted to keep stating their opinion on the day not realizing that this day wasn’t about them. It was about US. Even on the day of and after my wedding I heard hurtful feedback on certain family members thoughts about our wedding style. Sadly, these family members put so much stress on us on our wedding day, that Charles and I have chosen to distance ourselves from them since. So let it be known- if a family member or friend tries to tell you how to run your day- tell them to run their mouth to someone else who will listen. Do what you want. It’s your day and you will never get it back.

3. Do pay good money for hair & makeup! My hair was a great price and I loved it! While my makeup was a tad more, it was totally worth it! Looking back at pictures from that day, I am so happy I spent the money I did. People kept saying how beautiful I looked and in the 80 degree, June heat, I was having a hard time believing it. That was it until I saw pictures! Forget the custom hanger, the stupid future bride coffee mug or anything else that isn’t necessary. Save yourself from buying the petty stuff and do save for a good makeup artist and hair stylist!

[Makeup: Alexandria Cordero/Hair: Ciera Solis]

4. Do what is unique to you. Don’t just pick a wedding theme off of Pinterest because it’s cute or looks pretty. Pick a wedding theme that highlights something you two share together. For example: My husband and I, we both love to be in the woods hunting. Some of my best memories were made hunting with him. I wanted to incorporate something that would share both our separate qualities, but signify what brought us together. He’s a big, burly hunter and I’m a girly girl who can get rough and tough. The theme was born “She’s the pink in his world of camo.” I love dressing up, whereas he’s cool in a camo hat and t-shirt. We both are okay with each others style and always laugh at how different and complete opposite we look together.

My wedding colors were pink, gold and camo. I incorporated the hunting with the Realtree camo vests, deer silhouette mason jar centerpieces, and antler candle holders. It was girly with a touch of country. It wasn’t everyone’s dream wedding style, but it wasn’t meant to be. It took a lot tears, yelling and conversations before anyone else could understand that. Looking back, I’m glad I stayed strong to my wedding style. It perfectly described us and that’s what I wanted it to do.

5. Do be specific on a wedding day timeline. Wherever possible, include times for your guests so they aren't complaining and wondering what is next. Apparently, it was not known to some of our guests that usually after a wedding ceremony, pictures take place(sarcasm). Therefore, eating a larger lunch or snack prior to the wedding, would be beneficial to avoid being hungry. Pictures can take awhile, especially if there is extended family, large families or difficult people. Charles and I, were fully aware of how large are families are, so we elected to have cocktail hour with drinks and appetizers to tide our guests over. On our programs we stated this would take place AND put a timeline on a few wood pallets on the property to ensure people were aware. Turns out, even THAT wasn't good enough. We had a few family members complain they were hungry to another family member that delivered this message to us. Yes, on OUR WEDDING DAY, Charles and I were being bitched at about people being hungry. Don't worry- those people got fed. We were so fed up and too mentally exhausted to argue, that we only got 20 minutes of pictures together as a couple, so these complainers could eat. Pretty pathetic people can't just allow a couple to enjoy their day.

[Yes, we had pizza at our wedding & it was the best decision ever!]


1. Don’t put things off. I cannot stress this enough! No matter how far away it may seem and how many times people will constantly remind you that “It’s still a year away…” , get planning. I thought I had all the time in the world, but for some reason once that one year marker hit, time flew! Anything and everything you can knock out now-DO IT. This not only relieves the stress, but also gives time for you to have a plan B in case plan A fell through. As you get closer to your wedding, the details will get even finer. So knock out the little petty ones now while you can.

2. DON’T have a large wedding party. While I am not posting this to offend anyone, having a large wedding party was the second biggest mistake of my wedding. I look back and realize how much went wrong. Things that could've been prevented and how much more stress it just added on. With having a larger wedding party comes more expenses. More expense at the rehearsal dinner, more expense for bridal party gifts, more expenses if you want the cute little robes you see all over Pinterest, basically- IT’S EXPENSIVE. Sadly, I thought having a bigger wedding party would literally mean a BIGGER party. My husband and I, disappointingly found that to be the exact opposite. Neither of us got an actual bachelor/bachelorette party thrown for us. Something I had looked forward to for so long that had been ruined. The weeks and days leading up to the wedding, things just became more difficult and as did the people for cooperation. Long story short- keep the party to a minimum. If you can’t call them up right now and they would drop everything for you, then they don’t need to be in your wedding.

3. Don’t assume everyone will be supportive. Keep the details of your wedding to ONLY SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE. During my wedding planning, I was so excited to share details with family members and friends only for that sadly to come to a screeching halt. People either didn’t care about any of it or chose to be negative about it all. It disheartened me because I have always prided myself on being a supportive person for everyone else's ideas whether they matched my own or not.

4. Do not stress about every little detail of the wedding. As much as you want the day to be perfect, you’ll look back and realize it just falls into place. The invitations, favors, flowers & all the rest of that crap isn't worth the stress. Make a decision and move on. The next day no one will remember the super fine details you spent months focusing on. So my advice? Focus on the most important things for you and your future husband and stick to just that.

In conclusion….keep it real, keep it simple and keep going even when the process gets hard. Put your foot down when needed. It does not make you a bridezilla. If it does, I'd rather be called a bridezilla and get the wedding I wanted than be a pushover with regret. Weddings are stressful, but just always remember the point of the beautiful day is to celebrate the coming together of a beautiful marriage. Don’t lose sight on the goal- forever with your best friend. <3


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