Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20. Five brides share their experiences on planning, spending and keeping it all together.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20. Five brides share their experiences on planning, spending and keeping it all together.

Jana Woodby

Jana and Josh wed on Nov. 21, 2015, at The Bluestone.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have let others help me more with the planning of the wedding. It's very easy to turn into a control freak with all the overwhelming details. And when you get a vision in your head, it's hard to let others take over that vision. But when it came down to the wedding, it would have been nice to have one or two of my bridesmaids who knew more details so I wasn't overwhelmed that weekend.

What area are you happy that you spent priority money on?

Most of our budget went into our venue and the band-and I wouldn't change a thing-The Bluestone is such a classic and different location. We loved the old structure of the building. We knew we wanted a band for our wedding and The Bluestone couldn't have been a more fitting location. The Naked Karate Girls were the best decision we made. They are full of energy, yet don't steal the show and our guests still felt like they were at a wedding-with a concert feel. Our dance floor was packed the entire night. We wanted to throw a fun party, and we definitely did.

Any dress-shopping advice?

Go to a small boutique. I got my dress from Ivy Bridal and the atmosphere was perfect. My mom, grandma, sister, niece and one of my bridesmaids came and it was just us and the salon owner, Jackie. I really liked the intimacy of it, rather than going to a large store and having strangers see you in your dress. The smaller, private feel makes it more special.

Amanda Hamilton

Amanda and Brett were married on Oct. 16, 2015, at Dock580.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have made myself a timeline to get specific planning tasks completed. I am a procrastinator by nature and also have a very demanding work schedule. I ended up doing a lot of things last minute, which caused me a lot of stress.

What area are you happy that you spent priority money on?

I was extremely budget-focused and feel that I did a great job of keeping my spending in check. My venue, Dock580, is a beautiful venue without decorations. I chose to focus more on good food and alcohol vs. décor. The décor I did bring to the venue was mostly DIY or bought on Etsy at great prices. I skipped the favors that guests typically don't even take (or want!) and made a donation to a local charity I am passionate about.

What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?

I was shocked at how many people I had to track down for RSVPs! It was really frustrating. When someone invites you to a wedding, just RSVP, people!

Personalized vows? Yay or nay?

My husband and I are haters of all things cheesy, so writing out vows to each other was not happening. We really struggled to find vows that were not religious or super cheesy, but still meaningful to us. We scoured the Internet for ideas and ended up taking bits and pieces from several sites.

Any dress-shopping advice?

Try on everything. I had it in my mind that there was only one type of dress I would want to wear and I was pleasantly surprised at all of the styles I loved once I started shopping. Also, dresses take a long time to come in once ordered, so start dress shopping early. You want to have time to weigh your options at several boutiques before making your decision.


Colleen Curtin

Colleen and Joe were married May 22, 2015, at ?Saint Paul Catholic Church in Westerville.

In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?

I wish I would have worried less about everything being perfect. It goes by so fast and it's important to enjoy the day.

What area are you happy that you spent priority money on, and what could you have done without?

We were definitely glad we invested in a quality photographer (Julian Allen Photographer) and videographer (Jonah Epps). We love our wedding photos so much and have received many compliments. We could have probably done without dance lessons. We wanted to do something a little different for our first dance and we were both nervous about pulling it off in front of all our guests.

What was your biggest unexpected surprise? ?

How easy it is to go over your budget.

Personalized vows? Yay or nay?

We couldn't do them because we had a Catholic ceremony. While I enjoy weddings with non-traditional elements, this is one place where I think sticking with tradition is nice.

Any dress-shopping advice?

Look for fun accessories. I think the jewelry and the veil are as important as the dress.

Ashley Stockwell

Ashley and Daniel were married Aug. 22, 2015, at St. Joseph's Cathedral.

What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?

There was nothing too surprising, to be honest. Registering was not as fun as we expected; it was actually kind of high-pressure to think about what you'll need/want for the rest of your lives. I now tell people to register at Target or Macy's as well as a home goods store. There's only so much you can get at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Personalized vows? Yay or nay? Why?

A big no for us. We had a traditional wedding and both like the idea of saying the same vows as all the couples who have gone before, like joining a community. We think the traditional vows really respect what marriage is about in the big picture, while personalized vows are more about what you care about right now. There's so much you can personalize in the rest of the ceremony, but we think the vows should be left alone. Not everyone is a great writer and personalized vows can become something you look back on negatively, where the traditional ones always work.

Any dress-shopping advice? ?

Do your homework and have a strong idea of what you're looking for going in. That doesn't mean you can't try different things, but don't go in blind. Let people know the kind of dress you are looking for and what you'll be comfortable in. Have people focus on how the dress looks on you, and not whether they like the dress overall. That can help you stay true to your own style, but still look the best you can. Also, don't wear peep-toed shoes-they are horribly uncomfortable. I ended up switching to wedges for the reception, which was fine since you couldn't see them. My maid of honor told me to pick the most comfortable shoes, and I should have listened.


Megan Leimbach

Megan and Warren were married on Oct. 10, 2015, in ?a park behind Megan's parents' house in Bowling Green.

In hindsight, is there anything you'd have done differently in either the planning or execution of your big day? The morning of the wedding was a bit rough. There is way more to backyard weddings than I had anticipated. It's hard to put everything out the night before when you are battling any option Mother Nature can bring overnight.

What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding? I didn't realize how much time planning was going to take. I felt like I was going home every night from work planning something. We had an 11-month engagement and I applaud those who can do it in a shorter time. It was very fun, but exhausting.

Any dress-shopping advice?

Be open to different styles. I tried on entirely too many dresses from a style I had thought would be the one for me (vintage fit and flare with straps). The moment my mom suggested a strapless A-line with a large skirt, I fell in love. I wanted something different and this dress was a very light blush pink color that gave me everything I needed in a wedding dress. I couldn't believe I was so closed-minded throughout the process. I spent more than I wanted on my dress, but it was such a fun dress. Dancing in it and swinging about with the big skirt was what I dreamt of. And how often do you get to wear a dress like that? Go outside your comfort zone a bit.