Real newlyweds give wedding planning tips based on their experience.

Jennifer and Nathan Bruggeman’s wedding took place on May 19, 2018, at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

If you could do anything about your wedding differently, what would you change and why?    

Jennifer: I would hire a professional wedding planner! There are SO many intricate details that make a wedding successful and memorable, and when even just one of those details is off, it can ruin your big day. I would hire a wedding planner to make sure every detail was perfect as well as serve as the liaison between the various vendors. It was quite overwhelming trying to coordinate the florists, DJ, bakery, table cards, etc. all on the morning of the big day. I made the decision to coordinate these vendors myself with the assistance of an event coordinator at our venue, and it was just too much for the bride to be responsible for on the day of the wedding.

Nathan: I would have done the destination wedding that my wife originally wanted. I was opposed to it because I have such a big family, and I wanted them to be there. Looking back at it now, I realize that it was our special day and we should have done what we wanted to make ourselves happy and not worry about trying to appeal to everyone else.

What are you happy you spent money on?        

J: I am so happy we spent money on our floral arrangements! With our venue being the Franklin Park Conservatory Palm House, we were already stepping into a gorgeous, glass-enclosed greenhouse that offered picturesque views at every corner; however, we went the extra step and had our florist design cascading peony and rose bouquets to complement classic, elegant calla lily boutonnieres. We also spent the extra money on 24-inch tall centerpieces and oversized garland to hang on the arches and tables to highlight the Palm House. It was money well spent and looked stunning in our photos.

N: I really liked the string quartet that we had playing during our ceremony and cocktail hour. It was something different that I was not accustomed to, and it put an elegant taste to our ceremony.

J: I was also happy we spent the extra money on the Columbus String Quartet to perform the ceremony and cocktail hour. Guests were blown away by the extra touch and the sound was amazing inside the enclosed glass Palm House.

What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?               

N: My wife plans really beautiful weddings.

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

J: We were provided an event coordinator from the venue that we rented. I wish I would've known exactly what the event planner was in charge of. … Make sure the day-of tasks are written out on paper or in contract, so that there are no snafus on the planning side that will surprise you as you're walking down the aisle.

Did you experience any wedding-day snafus?

J: The hairdresser was running late and pushed back the timing of the rest of the day. Even with two hair stylists, the entire bridal party began running late, which had a domino effect of being late to the venue, ceremony, pictures, etc. … The entire bridal party's timing was off when making their entrance into the ceremony. I would recommend practicing the full ceremony multiple times at the rehearsal and several hair/makeup trials to ensure as much precise timing as possible.

We had to adjust as much as we could and luckily, had plenty of hors d’oeuvres and entertainment to keep the guests occupied.

Any wedding dress-shopping advice?

J: My advice would be to go to a bridal shop by yourself at least once and see what YOU like. Once you have a style in mind that you like or think looks good on your body type, then set up a follow-up appointment with 2-3 bridesmaids. Do not plan on everyone being there at every appointment. Too many opinions just leads to a frustrated and stressed out Bride.

What about menswear?

N: According to my new wife and my brother-in-law, I do not have a very good taste in fashion, so I let them help me figure out what looked good on me. Also, attend many wedding shows to see who can give you the best deals. [Editor’s note: the Columbus Weddings Show, the region’s biggest and best in bridal expos, is this weekend! Visit for more info.]

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

J: Make sure you know your budget! There is nothing more disappointing than finding out you have to cut your honeymoon short because you went over-budget on wedding expenses. My husband and I meticulously planned every detail of our wedding and were still hit with surprises the day of (server tips, gratuities, bartender fees, etc.). Just be prepared and leave some room for the unexpected.

N: Cherish the moment! It can seem overwhelming at times, but you’ll look back and enjoy the time you spent together figuring out what you both want for your big day.

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

J: Make sure you communicate before and after your wedding day. … It is always nice to know your partner is there, listening and asking what they can do to help out.

N: Give your spouse daily compliments. They go a long way to helping keep your new spouse smiling like they did on your wedding day.