Real newlyweds give wedding planning tips based on their experience.

Each issue of our magazine features an advice column of sorts; it’s a Q&A with the newlyweds whose photos appear in the issue. They share tips and advice based on what they learn while planning their own events. Because we can’t possibly share all the great counsel they share in the pages of the magazine, we started this weekly series to pass their wisdom on to you.

Laura and Brad Bales’s wedding took place on Jan. 7, 2017, at the Westin Columbus.

What are you happy you spent money on?

Laura: Having my grandmother’s dress refurbished for the ceremony. She recently passed away on July 31, so I will always cherish being able to share that dress with her. Editor’s note: We featured this restoration story in the current issue; find it on Page 44 and online here.

What do you think you could have done without?

The cupcakes our mothers ordered ;)

We had a small cake made and ordered Schmidt's Cream Puffs, but our mothers weren't happy with that, so they ordered 200 cupcakes. As good as they were, we had so much dessert left over by the end of the night, we were begging the Westin staff to take some home to their families.

What do you wish you'd known before you started planning your wedding?

How taxes and service fees are calculated out at the end. I tried to plan in advance for those additional fees, but didn't do my calculations right. Ask your vendors—especially your venues—to break it all down for you well in advance so there are no surprises.

Did you experience any wedding-day snafus, and how did you handle them?

Plenty! We almost forgot the flowers for the bridal party, my ring bearer refused to walk down the aisle, and one of my flower girls peed her tights a half hour before the wedding. But only behind the scenes people know these things. Just relax and roll with the punches. No one questioned why my nephew walked down the aisle with my mother or that the flower girls were originally supposed to wear navy tights. None of your guests will be any wiser to any of the “snafus.”

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

It is normal to fight over varying wedding topics. In fact, if you ask your married friends, they probably fought over the exact same issues—e.g., the invite list.