photography by MIKEY NEFF
You can scour through all the Pinterest boards and brief yourself on as many wedding trends as you'd like, but the best advice you’re going to get for the big day comes from a far more reliable source: fellow brides. Wedding registry site Zola polled recent newlyweds to see what they loved—and perhaps more importantly, what they didn’t love—about their wedding days in order to hopefully provide some insight for brides-to-be. What they discovered may surprise you.
To conduct the survey, Zola recruited over 750 newly-engaged and newlywed couples, and had them share their experiences. Their number one piece of advice? Hire a videographer. Among the newlyweds polled, 35 percent regretted not hiring someone to document video footage of the wedding. Other do-over wishes included hiring a wedding planner (20 percent) and stressing less about hiring vendors (17 percent).
And because everyone knows weddings are expensive, keep these financial findings in mind as you're planning your big day. According to newlyweds, you should spend less money on flowers and decor—22 percent said they spent too much. Other areas worth saving in include hair and makeup, catering, day-of-wedding attire, and invitations.
The good news is there are easy ways to circumvent these financial burdens. Cut down on the catering bill by opting for DIY food stations. And try looking at local boutiques or online marketplaces like Etsy for unique decor items (and handmade invites). They will be way more memorable than anything mass-produced—and probably more affordable, too.
As for the parts of a wedding worth splurging on? It looks like the biggest regrets center around not having enough documentation of the special day: Twenty-five percent of newlyweds wish they had spent more money on a videographer, and 22 percent wish they had spent more on a photographer.
Other regrets expressed bust some surprising misconceptions. While a lot of the prep leading up to the ceremony focuses on attire, hair/makeup, and invitations, newlyweds say the parts that were actually the most memorable were the DJ or band, venue, and wedding cake. And while the rehearsal dinner may seem more important to focus on, the vast majority of those polled said that the after-party was actually the more unforgettable experience.
Jennifer Spector, Zola’s newlywed-at-large and director of brand, was particularly surprised by this last finding.
“Traditionally, a lot of emphasis is placed on the rehearsal dinner, but engaged couples even ranked the after-party as more important than the officiant!” says Spector. “But a trend we’re seeing is couples spending more money on creative approaches to personalize specific aspects of their wedding, so this is in line.”
Personalization is where a wedding planner can be particularly helpful. Hiring the right coordinator is another thing several newylweds say largely contributed to the success of their weddings. Use your planner’s expertise to figure out which parts are important to you and your spouse-to-be, and tailor traditions to your personalities.
For Spector, this customization ended up making quite the difference.
“At my Philly wedding, we served cheesesteaks and put on our own playlist when the band wrapped up,” remembers Spector. “It definitely made our big day unforgettable and delicious!”
See more wedding stories:
These Are the Biggest Wedding Trends for 2018
So You Got Married—Here’s How to Be the Best Spouse Ever
14 Reasons Why Tropical Foliage Is the Latest Wedding Trend We Love
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