Must-know wedding tips from 10 real brides

If you’re recently engaged, congratulations! You have probably read all the bridal blogs there are to read, downloaded a silly number of ebooks and likely have a number of questions and countless new decisions to make as you’re starting to plan your venue, ceremony, reception, and all pre-wedding events leading up to the BIG DAY. While advice books are helpful, the latest and most relevant tips actually comes from those who have just been through it all.

 As a Woman with a Plan, you’d always consider authentic wedding advice before you say I do, and who is to advise better about wedding planning pitfalls other than the women who have got married already?

We have checked in with 10 recently married South African brides so you could have an easier time planning YOUR wedding. As you approach the actual day, there is a lot of merit in the findings of those who’ve already walked down the aisle, partied all night long and got the t-shirt. So from one bride to another, here are the things you must read as they shell out their best wedding day tips!

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Radikal Neon signs

Start planning as soon as possible, and pay what you can early

This helped us to relieve stress later in the process. We started planning and paying 12 months prior to the wedding and this helped a lot just before the wedding.

We invested in a good photographer who understood our vision. It is worth to spend extra on your photographer as these are your memories you will treasure forever.

-Koliwe, Port Elizabeth

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Rachel Photographs

Don’t be a bridezilla!

Yes it is your day (and it is ok to be a Badass Bride) but as everyone is putting in a lot of time and effort to make you happy, remember to express some gratitude to those around you who just want the best for you.

Plan the wedding you and your partner really want, no what everyone is telling you to do. Remember to listen to your partners wishes and involve him in the decisions.

-Marianne, Cape Town

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Etsy

Planning a wedding is intense and such an emotional journey!

You will receive advice, whether solicited or not, from well-meaning friends and family, and it can become overwhelming. Prioritize three things that are the most important to you, and avoid worrying too much about the other things that are not top three, and just enjoy your engagement and wedding day.

-Nora, Drakensberg

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Polina Vinogradova



It is well worth spending on a wedding videographer!

Also get the best photographer you can afford and incredible flowers!

-Elizma, Johannesburg

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Nikau Flowerbar

Having a wedding planner for our destination wedding really helped!

We could trust her with many of the big tasks of setting up our wedding in a remote location, knowing that it would all be taken care of whilst we could chill,  focus on each other, enjoying our engagement and in the week before the wedding, to host our international guests instead of being worried about coordinating details. The result of her effort really paid off and we had an incredible wedding at our dream location that we definitely could not have planned ourselves.

-Andrea, Somerset West

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Julia & Evita 

Try to do things more simply and with less fuss

Stay true to who you are as a couple, and plan your wedding to reflect what makes you both happy.

Be open-minded to embrace the advice of your vendors and listen to their industry experience – it will help to cut costs too.

-Ineke, Johannesburg

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Spell Designs

Don’t be pressured by outside influences like peers, social media and wedding conventions

It is ok to do it your own way, so try to let go of the “need” of mimicking someone else’s wedding day.

Hire a professional videographer even if it is just for the ceremony and the speeches – you won’t regret it.

-Danielle, Plettenberg Bay

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Briana Moore Photography

Enjoy every moment

The wedding day goes so quickly! Stay until the venue closes to make the most out of this time that you have waited and worked so hard for.

Ignore all kinds of criticism and negativity during your engagement – this is your special moment.
Ask your florist to make a smaller replica of your bouquet so you don’t have to toss your away.
If possible, try to thank all your guests for coming in person on your wedding reception.

-Sonya, Lowveld

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Benjamin Wheeler Photography

Always remember it is YOUR special day

It is so easy to get caught up in planning a perfect wedding, but keep reminding yourself that the day is the celebration of your love, and not about being perfect. Remember that your love is already perfect!

Kerisha, Johannesburg

You can save a ton of money if you are going for an earthy, minimal aesthetic

We used Etsy for a lot of stationery, skipped hiring a photo booth in favor of cameras on the tables and bought candles instead of expensive lighting – it adds personality to the atmosphere as well as being budget friendly.

Just enjoy the process of being engaged, avoid getting too stressed about smaller things. It all comes together amazingly in the end!

-Rachel, Yorkshire

Lastly…

Try to not absorb more advice than you need when it comes to planning your wedding – you are meant to embrace only what is relevant to you! So much of your plans and mindset should come from your own personal style and background story, and ultimately be a day reflective of the magic which is your relationship. As far as your wedding style, venue, ceremony songs, and decor is chosen and designed, choose with your heart and your guests will appreciate and be amazed to see your creativity come out in the day.

Editor

Jo Malin created this blog for modern couples who yearns for the extraordinary. Based on her sheer love of transparent planning advice, artful styling and contemporary bridal looks, she writes for the freedom of getting married the way you want. When she is not editing the blog, you can find her sketching and sewing for the new label Sheer Bride, vintage shopping, building a ceramic sculpture or walking on the beach.