The biggest thing is that when your wedding day finally arrives, it literally flies by in the blink of an eye. All of the planning, stress, money, and time put in over the entire year comes and goes in a flash the day of your wedding, so try to enjoy the whole process. At times, you'll be stressed and overwhelmed, but just enjoy the entire engagement and planning period, because when it's all over, you'll miss it and want to do it all over again!" —Malia and Brandon
When planning your wedding, there are things that are nice to know, and there are things you need to know—advice so essential any bride who's lucky enough to hear it thinks, "I'm so glad someone told me that!" If you're wondering whether there's something you may have missed (or even if you've got everything under control), check out our indispensable planning secrets below.
"All the stress you had before the big day...just let it go. It is what it is, and stressing will only damper your big day. If it's out of your control, let it be out of your control and just roll with it. Cherish every moment because it goes by so fast. And kiss your husband as many times as you can that day. It's all about the two of you, don't lose sight of that." —Megan and Steve
If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you're often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you're a member, you'll probably want to give a larger amount than if you're not. However, if you're getting married there and they're charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the officiant, both nondenominational and denominational, is also appreciated.
Pare down your guest list with the "tiers of priority" trick. Place immediate family, the bridal party and best friends on top of the list; follow with aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends you can't imagine celebrating without. Under that, list your parents' friends, neighbors, coworkers and so on. If you need to make some cuts, start from the bottom until you reach your ideal number.
"We wanted the whole day to be a celebration of the rest of our lives. We wanted people to walk away saying, 'That was so much fun.' And we were able to accomplish that. Choose the few things that are really important to you, like the photographer and DJ were to us, and then go from there. Be flexible on the other details and remember to have fun." —Jeanae and Scott
As soon as you've picked a date, start to look for hotels in a wide variety of price points. Many hotels allow you to reserve rooms for guests under a special wedding block and a reduced rate. You can then release any unbooked rooms a month prior to your wedding. If the hotels you contact insist upon contracts with cancellation penalties, just say no—you don't want to be responsible for rooms you can't fill.