Real newlyweds give wedding planning tips based on their experience.

Breana and Alex Smith’s wedding took place on May 4, 2019, at the Ohio Village.

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

I would definitely spend less money and invite fewer people. It was really hard to pare down the list of people I wanted, but it does cost a bit more. Although I really wanted everyone there that I invited, I think I prefer a more intimate setting with close family and friends. It is definitely a hard decision to make, and a lot of people would have been disappointed if they weren’t invited. But loved ones should understand where you are coming from.

What are you happy you spent money on?        

The big things, so it’s hard to decide. But definitely the food and the photographer.

What do you think you could have done without?          

We were very careful about not having what we felt was unnecessary. I think everything was used—such as our candy bar—and our party favors were dessert if anyone wanted to take some home.

What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?

All of the little details that goes into planning the wedding. Using a wedding planning checklist online was very helpful because [it had] a lot of things I would have not thought about doing. This may sound like I should’ve known better, but I was actually surprised that I had to plan out how I wanted the ceremony order to be ran. I assumed our officiant would tell us what to do, or I should admit, I was hoping.

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Did you experience any wedding-day snafus?

Someone had accidentally put my veil in the storage closet, so I couldn’t find that for a while. Also, two buttons had fallen off the dress in a very obvious spot. My friend had to go under my dress and safety pin it.

Did you and your fiancé get into any silly arguments?   

We got into arguments about the amount of guests and décor, but I think we decided to find a halfway point. A lot of the décor we got for cheap, and the rest I DIYed. We both cut our guest lists shorter as well.

Any dress-shopping advice?

Don’t buy from the first shop you go to. And if you don’t have people coming from out of town, schedule dress shopping in chunks. Different stores in one day can be exhausting. I truly loved my dress and immediately bought it. But I had also scheduled an appointment elsewhere and still went to it. I loved a lot of other dresses there as well. I’m still glad with my decision to begin with, but I did feel overwhelmed and had second-guessed myself a bit.

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

Focus on your future more than the wedding. It is only for a day, and a lot of the big décor or expensive things will only last a few hours. But if something is really important for you to have, sometimes you just got to go for it. There are things that will make your day special and there are things that you won’t remember. Think of what you remember at other people’s weddings and stick with those basics.

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

Communication is key! I’ve heard this so many times, but it is so, so important—and there are times when I forget this. But sharing how you feel and being open to how your partner feels makes everything so much easier. Oh, and learn to not fret about all of the little imperfections of one another. Learn to love unconditionally.