Common wedding questions answered by a newlywed

My husband and I are nearing our one-year wedding anniversary. (Seriously!?) Sometimes I miss wedding planning, and sometimes I am thrilled I never have to do it again. Thankfully, I always seem to have friends who are getting married, so I get to fill that void by giving advice and helping my sweet bride-to-be friends where needed.

There are tons of wedding planning tools out there, but sometimes it's nice to hear from your friends and "real brides" on what they did in certain situations, so I'm here to give you some of advice on common questions you may encounter throughout the course of your engagement. Before you read on, my biggest piece of advice is to ignore the noise and do what you want, and that includes ignoring any of the following advice if it doesn't work for you!

Q: When should I schedule my dress fittings?

A. This one relies on a number of variables. I technically had one fitting, and my seamstress only worked on it one time. I went as close to my wedding day as I possibly could, which was about a month and a half before our big day. My seamstress needed a little more time for my dress because it was pretty big on me and the beading was very detailed, but she got it right the first time. When I went to pick it up, it fit perfectly and I walked out with it that day. Some seamstresses require two or three fittings; it really depends on where you go and your gown. My biggest advice here is to pick who you will use first, then call as soon as you can and ask how long they need to get it done. Dallas-area brides, if you want a super reliable seamstress who charges the most reasonable price I've heard, let me know and I'll give you her contact information. Seriously, I could not have been happier with how perfectly my dress fit, as well as the price I paid. (Plug: my dress is from Patsy's Bridal Boutique in Highland Park.)

Q. I don't want to tan in a tanning bed, but I'm afraid of spray tans turning out splotchy and bleeding on my dress. What should I do?

A. First, don't tan in a tanning bed. Just don't do it. That's all I'll say there. I actually used a self-tanner. I know, I know; for my wedding!? Yes, and I'd do it again. I used St. Tropez mousse from Ulta. It comes with a glove for even distribution. Just get someone to do your back since they would obviously have a better view. It turned out perfectly, and you couldn't even tell it was a self-tanner. The best part is it's a stain, so it doesn't rub off on your clothes (ahem, your beautiful white wedding gown). The bottle lasts forever, and the glove is machine-wash friendly. In my opinion, this is the best option for achieving a healthy glow for your wedding day. Do a practice run a couple of weeks before if you want to test it out. I applied the mousse on the Wednesday before my Saturday wedding, and it lasted until we got to St. Lucia for our honeymoon.

Here's the bottle for reference.

Q. Planning a wedding is SO expensive. How can I cut costs?

A. Elope. Just kidding (sort of). There were some things we splurged on, and some things we knew we could drive down. Neither of us love cake, so that was something we decided to cut back on since we weren't all that excited about it. We defintely wanted a bridal cake and a groom's cake for traditional reasons and so our guests could have dessert, but we decided not to spend $1,000+ on something we didn't really care for. We got our cake from a Dallas-area grocery store, Market Street, which is a very popular higher-end grocery store. The cake was amazing, and everyone loved it. By going with a grocery store cake, which was still just as amazing as expensive bakeries, we were able to save at least $1,000, and they were able to make our cakes look just as beautiful as a bakery would. I also didn't need our centerpieces to be flowers. We got married in the fall, and I liked the idea of using lanterns as the centerpieces instead, and it gave our reception a nice rustic feel while keeping with the elegance I was going for. Additionally, I had one of my makeup-savvy bridesmaids do my makeup instead of paying to get it done, so that saved some money, as well!

Q. When should we get our wedding bands?

A. This is something that doesn't need to be done right away unless you're doing something special to your band. My husband's band has my fingerprint on it, so that took a couple extra weeks since it was custom-made. I'd give yourselves two months to take care of this, but honestly, you don't even need that much time.

Q. Wedding shoes are SO expensive at bridal boutiques. Where else can I shop for my shoes?

A. Any department store. I didn't get my shoes from a bridal boutique. My shoes are from the general shoe department at Nordstrom. Some department stores, Nordstrom included, have bridal departments that you can check out, too. Some of those shoes will be expensive, as well, so you have to give yourself time here and realize you may have to look around and be patient. Etsy is also a great place to look. If you're going to take the online route, make sure you look early so you have time to send them back if they don't work out.

Do you have any wedding planning questions I can answer? Drop me a comment and I'll do my best to help you out! Remember, at the end of the day it's all about marrying your best friend, and that's what you should remind yourself when planning gets stressful. :)

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