Weddings Weddings Weddings

Wedding advice: Be open to ideas and expertise

Once you announce your plans to get married, there's a good chance that people close to you will be ready and willing to dispense their share of advice. Some words of wisdom will be priceless, while others you can store away for another day.

When polling married couples, you will likely find they would change "this" or "that" about their weddings if given the chance to do it all over again. Here is some advice that you can choose to follow for your wedding day.

Tip #1: Trust your vendors

Couples often have unique ideas for their wedding day. It may seem tempting to spell out what you want in minute detail and insist on wedding vendors carrying out your wishes to a T. But the smarter idea may be to give vendors a little more free reign -- after all, they are the professionals.

"I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my centerpieces to look like," offers Jean M., Connecticut. "I gave the florist my suggestions and the 'feel' of what I was trying to create, but ultimately I left the finished product up to her. When I walked into the reception hall and saw my centerpiece baskets overflowing with fall-hued flowers, berries and twinkling candles, I was so excited I had left it up to the expert."

When deciding on particular aspects of the wedding, you can give your general ideas, but leave the finished product to the professionals. Don't list every song you want the deejay to play or micromanage all of the poses the photographer should take. After all, experienced pros have likely done this dozens of times in the past and could produce results you never dreamed possible.

Tip #2: Scale down

Unless you are planning on auditioning for the show "Over-the-Top Weddings," it might pay to make your wedding more about being personal and less about wowing the crowd with special effects and expensive treats. It's easy to be lured into extra dinner courses or be persuaded to release doves at the ceremony, but will these extras impact your relationship or the life you will be building together?

"If I had to do it all again, I would skip the dessert bar I had at my wedding," says Alice C., Ohio. "The spread of pies, pastries, cookies, and chocolates certainly looked impressive, but it cost me a small fortune. Also, people filled up on the dessert bar so much, they no longer had room to taste my special-ordered wedding cake."

Tip #3: Don't overextend

Your wedding will hopefully be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Therefore, couples often plan to spend a good deal of money to ensure their special day is perfect. Weddings are still viewed as a high-priority expense and most couples save for a long period of time despite sluggish consumer spending reports. According to the market research and analysis firm IBISWorld, nearly 60 percent of couples go over their budgets when getting married. Some do so at the risk of being in debt afterward.

"It can be easy to get carried away in wedding spending," shares Deirdre H., Michigan. "I went way over budget when getting my wedding gown and a few other components of my wedding. My husband and I struggled the first year of our marriage trying to fix our finances and battling a bad case of money-related stress."

Try to stick to a budget as much as possible so that you can enjoy yourself not only on the wedding day, but also long after the honeymoon has ended.

Tip #4: Keep it in the family

Selecting members of your wedding party can be challenging because there may be so many special people in your lives right now that you want to honor. Choosing a best man and a maid/matron of honor is a large responsibility because these people stand out in the wedding. Although couples struggle with their choices and want to please everyone, your safest bet is to choose a family member.

"I ended up choosing my best friend over my sister as maid of honor," says Clara T., Arizona. "Although we were very close at the time, we've since grown apart due to work relocation. My sister and I, however, talk and hang out frequently. I regret not having asked my sister to be my maid of honor, considering hers is a friendship I know will last a long time."

Unless you don't have close family members or your relationship with your siblings or cousins is strained, choose a family member to serve as best man or maid of honor.

It is easy to be overwhelmed when planning a wedding, and couples can expect to be bombarded with advice. However, it could pay to heed the advice of couples who have already lived and learned from their wedding choices.