We’re kicking off the first of a long-line of weekly guest and personal posts in the upcoming weeks. I am working on trying to better focus my content, and one of those goals involves more advice/educational/personal pieces. There are a million places to find inspiration for weddings on the internet, but not necessarily a million places to find good advice, tips, resources and real education on planning and executing a wedding.

I hope to also have some include more on marriage, love, and relationships in general – stemming from our decision to not name this blog something after a bride, or solely weddings – it was always about the more important part of a wedding, the marriage (or really, the love & romance of two people).

So without further ado, I give you some really awesome lessons learned from a bride that got married just over 3 years ago and opted for a destination wedding!

Wedding Advice: Lessons Learned From a Destination Wedding Bride

wedding advice lessons learned


Photography: Saperstone Studios | Venue: Le Kliff, Puerto Vallarta | Flowers, Decorations, Centerpieces: Arranged by Le Kliff | Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Suit: Bachrach (BCBG) | Vest: Men’s Warehouse | Makeup: DIY

My husband and I were married 3.5 years ago in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While our wedding was indeed destination, I believe that my lessons learned apply to non-destination weddings too :)

wedding advice lessons learned

What Anna learned about wedding photography:

While I loved my wedding photos because my photographer delivered exactly what they said they would and were incredibly reliable, I wish I would have invested the time to research other options. Thankfully my best friend, Saperstone Studios, was a guest at my wedding and she was able to capture many creative and beautiful moments. These images are what I would have wanted would I have known there were different styles of wedding photography out there.

Again, not that I don’t love my wedding photos but seeing now all these wonderful creative photographers out there, I wish I would have hired someone with a more creative/artistic approach to wedding photography because that is more our style (my husband and I). Also- knowing now what I didn’t know then, investing in photography is key. I would have paid quite a bit for the creative photographer of my dreams. After all is said and done, your wedding photos are what you have left of the day.


What Anna learned about wedding Videography:

Now, I really regret not hiring a videographer.

At the time I didn’t want to hire a videographer because I had the idea in my head that I would get a DVD with a 2 hour long video and I didn’t want that at all. I didn’t know that you could get a mini show real of your wedding day (sneak peek: 2 minutes, mini video: 15 minutes).

I really, really, really regret this now. Really!

Click inside for the rest of these lessons learned and advice from a real bride!

Lessons learned from having a wedding planner:

We had a wedding planner (the restaurant owner) and this was a huge life saver. He saved us from having to look for vendors in a foreign country. He knew all the perfect vendors, we told him what we wanted and he delivered. He also had photo albums of different cakes, flowers, table settings, etc. We just had to pick what we liked. If something wasn’t pictured and that is what we wanted he made it happen. If you can afford to hire a planner do it, save yourself the stress of planning a wedding by yourself.

wedding lessons learned

How to manage your guest list:

This one really only applies to destination or planning a wedding where lots of people have to travel. Our invitee list was about 85 guests because about 50 of them said they would come. 50 people is a nice size for an intimate wedding. We figured some wouldn’t show so that would probably bring down the final number to about 40 people. Still great for an intimate wedding. We let everyone know 2 years out so they could plan. Well, lets be real, life happens. Come our wedding day we had 13 people including my husband and I. While it was a perfect wedding and we had a blast, I kind of wish we would have invited more people. I was afraid that everyone would show up and we wouldn’t have the budget to accommodate 85 people.


Using Blogs, Pinterest & Bridal Magazines for research and education:

This one is so big. Follow wedding blogs, pinterest and bridal magazines for inspiration. Seriously, I have learned so much from following wedding blogs and wedding vendors online. There are so many creative wedding ideas out there, go have fun and educate yourself!


Time of year/ Out door or indoor wedding?

Okay this one didn’t apply to my wedding but having been a wedding photographer for many years I have to throw this one in there. Think about your venue and the time of year you are getting married. If you are getting married in a summer month when you know its going to be REALLY hot, plan to have your reception inside. Seriously, this really does matter because guests will quickly get exhausted and uncomfortable in the heat and you will get many unhappy guests. I have seen guests faint at weddings because it was all outside in a summer month here in VA. Also – as the bride and groom, your dress will be VERY hot and so will be his suit/tux. You don’t want to remember your day as incredibly hot, humid and sweaty. You want to remember the way he looked at you when you walked down the isle, or the tears you shared on your first dance, not the sweat that rolled down your back ;)

What do you think?! For all our brides-to-be out there, did anything hit home? For all our previous brides AND grooms, what did she miss? We hope to have more advice and insight being shared in the upcoming weeks. Hope you guys found this useful! Thanks again to Anna for all the awesome lessons learned and Saperstone Studios for the images.


  1. Eek, I’m getting married in Hawaii in May 2014 and you just verbalized my worst fear: nobody showing up!! At first, I was scared that we’d have too many people show up, but recently I’ve started worrying that NO ONE will show up. I just focus on the fact that I know my close family members will be there :)

  2. I wish brides could read about the words of wisdom from this lovely woman. As a photographer, I have to go to the world’s end to educate prospective brides about the importance of a good creative photographer. Thank you, thank you.

  3. Alexis: You will have the time of you life!

    Gene: Yes, it is tough to educate clients because at first they think you are trying to sell them on something. Clients usually are on a budget and they don’t realize until later the importance of the things we tried to educate them of. At the time I got married I was really beginning in wedding photography and I honestly didn’t know there were other styles out there until I saw my best friend’s photos (pictured). I love all my photos from my photographer (not pictured) but knowing now what I didn’t know then, I would have done what I said above. I hope readers learn from me :) I also REALLY regret not having a videographer… :(

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