Real newlyweds give wedding planning tips based on their experience.

Amanda wed Nego Jovanovic on Sept. 24, 2016, at dock580.

What are you happy you spent money on?

We knew what we were willing to spend money on going into the process: venue, photography, flowers.

We wanted to find a venue that was laid-back, casual and simple. Along with the looks of the venue, we wanted a place that had good food and allowed us to bring in our own alcohol. Dock580 was a perfect fit for what we were looking for!

With dock580 being so beautiful in its raw form, there was not a ton of additional décor that was needed, but, I, as the bride, wanted flowers, and good flowers at that—simple whites and greens, with lavender and rosemary incorporated in some way. We found a florist with whom we connected almost instantly. We knew as soon as we walked into Rose Bredl [Flowers & Garden] that we would end up working with Mary and her team. The shop's vibe is very much like dock580—exposed bricks, pipes and beams—but to us, we saw the simplicity in Mary's work and fell in love!

Speaking of love, we had been dating for nearly 10 years prior to getting married, so capturing each moment of the day was important to us. Cue Derk’s Works Photography. We knew we wanted a photographer who was, just like our venue, laid-back and casual, someone who could make us laugh and capture real moments, not posed moments. We were greeted at the door of Benjamin's home office by his dog, Juno (which we greatly appreciated since we are dog lovers ourselves) and cold beers to start the conversation off about what we wanted in a photographer. We left, I believe two hours later, again in love with Benjamin and his incredible work.

What do you think you could have done without in your wedding?

Our own wedding cake! We decided to have a small wedding cake for ourselves and our bridal party; the guests of the wedding were treated to a variety of desserts including cupcakes, buckeyes, cannoli, cookies and lemon bars. We were having so much fun that night that we actually forgot about our wedding cake!

What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?

Our biggest surprise when planning our wedding was how perfect our vendors were for us. From Tiahna, our wedding planner at dock580, to Mary and Benjamin, our vendors were outstanding! You hear horror stories about how photographers do not show up on the day of the wedding, or how wedding planners do not execute the vision that the couple has, but the people we worked with made our day absolutely perfect. We cannot thank them enough for making our wedding day the best of our lives.

Any dress shopping advice?

Take a small group of people with you! The more people who are there, the more opinions there will be. Also, keep in mind what your everyday look is. My cousin's wife had told me that her biggest regret when it came to her wedding day was actually her hair. She said when she looked at the photos, the girl in them wasn't her. She never wears her hair up and she did for her wedding day. So I kept that advice in mind while putting my entire look together. Do I ever wear high heels? No, so I wore Converse instead. Do I ever wear flashy jewelry? No, so pearl earrings and bracelet it was. Do I wear fluffy skirts, tulle and low-cut shirts? No, so an A-line lace dress with a bateau neckline was the right dress for me.

Do you have any general advice for couples currently planning their weddings?

Something that I would pass on to all couples planning a wedding is to find vendors that you can see yourself actually being friends with after the wedding. When you work with vendors who are similar to you, have the same priorities, thought processes, ideas and visions as you, then the end product will be exactly what you are looking for!

Also, we cannot stress enough that every couple planning a wedding should focus on themselves. It seems to be the most popular advice, but very few couples actually follow it. There were times when we started to lose focus, but we brought each other back to what was truly important that day, and that was us.

Finally, set your priorities: What are you willing to spend money on and what could you do without? Don't overdo it; it is easy to do this with Pinterest and all the wedding shows that are on television now, but think about who you are as a couple and whether your wedding reflects you and your relationship.

Do you have any general marriage advice, as a newlywed?

Make each other a priority and decide on how you will do this. There have been plenty of busy times since getting married last year, but every once and a while we stop and decide that it is, once again, time to refocus on us.

This, in all honesty, usually turns into us planning a vacation, even if it's a long weekend. Knowing that the next few months are going to busy with work, school, family and friends, we just booked a long weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, with our dog. We have nothing planned, no reason to really go down there, other than to spend time with each other and relax.