When you're in the thick of wedding planning, every decision feels make or break. It's hard to explain to a rational person why eggshell-hued linens will ruin your wedding—but in your heart you know they will. The good news is there's light at the end of the tunnel. And if you won't take your friends and family's advice not to sweat the small stuff, maybe you'll take it from this collection of real life newlyweds who have the advantage of hindsight. Here, recent brides dish on the big-day details that were worth stressing over, and which ones you'd be better off letting go of.
Worth the Stress: The Photographer
When it comes to a big-day photographer, you have so many different options. Each pro has a different style, a certain price, and their own set of package options. The choices are enough to make your head spin. But those who have been through it say the time spent finding the right photographer was well worth it. "The night goes by way too fast," says recent bride Jillian Ferrara. "It's important to find someone you trust to document it for you." Adds newlywed Erin Sandberg, "Choosing a photographer is something worth devoting time to because the photos are how you'll always remember your wedding."
Not Worth the Stress: The Seating Chart
Multiple brides say the seating chart was a source of unnecessary stress. While it's almost always a good idea to have assigned seating, don't lose sleep wondering whether or not everyone you put at table seven is going to become best friends. "After dinner, everyone is up dancing anyway," says Sandberg. "The seating chart is not worth the worry."
Worth the Stress: The Music
The photographer isn't the only vendor that popped up on our "worth it" list. Another one multiple brides say to take your time choosing? Your reception entertainment. "The DJ is definitely worth the stress because the party is what most guests will remember about your day," explains Sandberg. As with any vendor, be sure to do your homework and book your band or DJ early on. Your guests will thank you.
Not Worth the Stress: The Little Stuff
With the explosion of social media, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to make every little thing at your wedding a thing. But it doesn't have to be that way, says Jessica Perfetto, who tied the knot last November. "We went crazy over every detail and at the end of the day, who really cares about the little paper holders that people take the petals from to throw on the ground?" she asks. In short: Don't let the small wedding elements that the average guest won't really notice drive you crazy.
Worth the Stress: Extra Lighting
Many venues recommend bringing in additional lighting to truly complete your event's decor—and for good reason. What use is a gorgeous floral arrangement that no one can see? Ferrara notes that what at-first may seem frivolous often turns out to be more important than originally thought. "I spoke to numerous vendors about all sorts of lighting options, all of which seemed too expensive, but it ended up being my favorite part about the room," she explains.
Not Worth the Stress: Whether or Not Guests Will Have Fun
"I worried about everyone having a great time and the reality is people will or won't have a good time and that's something you can't control," says newlywed Molly Lamdin. "What truly matters is that you and your partner enjoy your day." If you've taken the time to make sure you guests are cared for and well-fed, having fun is up to them.
Worth the Stress: Anything You Really Want
If you and your groom are foodies, then the menu is worth an extra taste test. If you view the invitations as a sentimental keepsake, then letterpress to your heart's content. Just make sure you're exerting extra energy (and funds) for the right reasons. "If it's important to you and your spouse, not to anyone else," Perfetto explains "then the stress is totally worth it!"