Wedding planning advice from real brides: don’t lose sight of what’s important.

Dear Poptastic Bride readers. let’s take a moment to pray for the victims and their families in the Boston Marathon bombing. I still can’t wrap my head around why such things happen — or why such cruelty exists — in this world. It’s heartbreaking to think of the innocent lives that were lost and hearing about every painful update only makes us want to cherish and hug our loved ones tighter.

In this light, I want to relay a piece of advice that many of the married couples I featured also mentioned: don’t lose sight of what’s important. When planning a wedding, it’s easy to get caught up in all the pretty handmade details. While they also serve to reflect the love between you and your partner, in the end what matters most is that you and your soul mate are wed in the presence of those you care about the most.

I’d also like to share a note from a bride whose colorful and jazzy mardi gras-style wedding (Part 1) / (Part 2)  was featured here half a year ago. If you remember, their wedding’s main theme was “Celebrating Life” as her dad back then had already been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer.

mardi gras wedding

(Photo by White Rabbit Photo Boutique)

The bride, Jaime sent me this update the other day:

My dad passed away on April 2nd. Our wedding remains one of the best memories from the last year, and one of the clearest. If you get a moment, please reiterate to your readers just how priceless those memories are. In the end, it’s not the fit of the gown, the color scheme, or what you’re having for appetizers — it’s about tying a knot in the rope of life and taking a moment to pause and make irreplaceable memories with the ones that we love.

Thanks for posting our wedding and being part of our special day – even after the fact.

(She also posted a special tribute to her dad on her blog.)

It broke my heart to hear Jaime’s news though knowing that in my own little corner of the www I was able to play a part in making her special day memorable for her and Sean and their families gave me a warm feeling. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Jaime. It was an honor for me to have showcased your sweet celebration on this blog.

Here now are a few more beautiful words of wisdom from our previously featured brides:

ravinia wedding

I am so happy to look back on our wedding and remember all the smiles, the laughter, the love, the fun. We were so lucky to have our families and friends surrounding us, filling us with joy. Nothing’s simple about planning a wedding, but if you can remember to love each other throughout the process, I think it sets the right tone for a lifetime of happiness.

— from Joanne of  Joanne & Drew’s Playful and Artistic Ravinia Wedding (photo by JWiley Photography)


teal and pink wedding

Cherish every moment and remember why you decided to get married in the first place. So many people get caught up in the drama of the day and forget that they are celebrating an amazing love story and they all the people there are helping you continue to create your story. There isn’t anything (at least to me) that makes you feel so alive and so special then when you are staring in our spouse’s eyes and then say I Love You.

— from Alicia of Alicia & Stephen’s Shiny, Sparkly and Spunky Teal and Pink Wedding (photo by Conner Photography)


DIY Riviera Maya Wedding

I would say to future couples considering a destination wedding — DO IT! It was the best decision we made. We have a week full of memories that we will cherish for a long time. It’s not often you get to go on a vacation with so many people you love at once. Also, don’t get caught up in the details of the wedding day. It will all work out, how it’s supposed to! Even if the bows on the chairs are the wrong color or one of the flower girls spill bubble juice all over their new dress! (This happened!) In the end, what matters is that you are expressing your love for your future spouse and making a lifetime loving commitment to him/her in the most beautiful setting.

— from Jenn, from Jenn & Matt’s Intimate Riviera Maya Wedding (photo by Citlalli Rico Photography)


color cuteness and cartoon filled wedding

A friend told me to do this on the day of the wedding and it worked: Pick little moments throughout the day and just say “remember this” in your head. Doing this is like taking little snapshots of the day in your mind. It will go by so fast and it’s easy to forget the little things that made your day what it was.

– from Renee of Renee & Keith’s Color-Cuteness-and-Cartoon-filled Bunny-themed Wedding (photo by Zac Wolf Photography)


funky cool and yellow cam raleigh wedding

I would love to tell brides to take the bold step of focusing on marriage and loving your fiancee more than attempting to make your wedding perfect. Some of the greatest parts of our wedding happened when things did not go according to plan! Take another bold step: put aside what people think and plan your wedding to reflect your heart and what you and your fiancee truly love (no matter how crazy people think you are.)

Also, don’t sweat the small stuff. I know it sounds cliche but you will not care about how amazing the color of the matching linens and chair coverings were one second after you get married. There is a way the wedding industry can have a tendency to make you think you need to buy everything you see to make your day special and it’s not true. Figure out what you love, think for your guests and have a blast while doing it!

Another helpful tip someone passed onto me was this: when you are planning your wedding you need to decide what are the most important things to you and allot your budget accordingly… and be okay to not have everything elaborate. With Philip and myself, I decided venue was super important and food was not as important. The result of this was a fantastic environment with “just enough” food. I also got shoes from Payless and a veil from ebay (that I dyed with teabags to match my dress) so I could spend more on the actual wedding dress. Having a budget is a little tough but it is wise and freeing in the end. And we could not have been more pleased with how everything turned out!

— from Liz of Liz & Philip’s Funky, Cool, and Yellow CAM Raleigh Wedding (photo by Blest Photography)


eclectic anachronistic vintage wedding

Focus on the LOVE!  Be grateful for every single minute and thank everyone you speak to.  It’s a beautiful, amazing, emotional day.  Remember that it is one day and if some detail doesn’t work out JUST so, it’s ok. You will be OK. It might even turn out better than you imagined.  Also, hire people you feel good about because you have to spend time with them.  Who wants weird juju at their wedding? Try to be totally present and conscious for your wedding.  Enjoy it because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have those specific people present to honor and bask in your love.

— from Kenny of Christine & Kenny’s Eclectically Gorgeous Anachronistic Vintage Wedding (photo by Laffler Photography)

You can read through the wedding archives for even more inspiration and planning advice from real-life couples.

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