From the moment you get engaged, it seems everyone has some wedding know-how to share. A lot of these tips are helpful; some are borderline disastrous. We asked brides for the worst wedding advice they've heard. Here's what not to do when you plan a wedding.
Bad Advice: "The worst wedding advice anyone has told me was to sing our vows to each other." Erin, Richmond, VA
Our Advice: We totally encourage personalizing your wedding vows, but unless you moonlight as opera singers, leave the American Idol aspirations for the wedding after-party.
Bad Advice: "My mom insisted that I wear my gold-colored junior prom dress as my wedding gown. She thought it was silly to buy yet another dress that I'd only wear once." Alyssa, Madison, WI
Our Advice: While hand-me-down gowns can add a sentimental touch and colored gowns are gaining popularity, most prom dresses should stay securely in the back of the closet for the wedding day.
Bad Advice: "My future father-in-law thought that since we were getting married in an historic home and I'm a costume designer, we should wear hoopskirts and crinolines!" Abbey, Austin, TX
Our Advice: We love historic homes, but unless you're into the idea of a masquerade ball wedding, play up the decor rather than your attire. Likewise, your wedding photos will be around for years to come, so wear something that won't leave your grandkids in hysterics.
Making out with the best man at the reception is a great idea -- if your wedding happens to fall on Opposite Day.
Bad Advice: "I was told that if the groom was unavailable during the toast, the bride has to kiss the best man." Anonymous
Our Advice: Making out with the best man at the reception is a great idea -- if your wedding happens to fall on Opposite Day.
Bad Advice: "My mother-in-law said that it was perfectly fine to spend $9 a plate on dinner for our guests. She based this on my sister-in-law's wedding, where they served cold meat sandwiches, au gratin potatoes, and questionable-looking fruit salad." Morgan, Madison WI
Our Advice: Food is one detail every guest remembers. Whatever your budget, you should allot about 40 percent of it for wedding catering. Work with your caterer to prepare a menu within your budget and try to cut costs in other ways (like by trimming your wedding guest list) rather than skimp on the meal.
Bad Advice: "I was recently a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding. I'm also engaged and was amazed when she told me I couldn't wear my engagement ring during her wedding because it was larger than hers…ridiculous!" Scarlet, Longview, TX
Our Advice: Being upstaged by a bridesmaid can be a very real fear for some brides. Handle the situation gently -- explain that you'd rather not take off the ring for personal reasons. If she persists, remove it to avoid more drama.
Bad Advice: "My mother wanted me to ask random pretty girls at church to be in my wedding party so that my brother could meet and then date them." Anonymous
Our Advice: It's true that weddings are a great place to match-make. But your bridesmaids should be your dearest friends and relatives, so pick attendants you know you (not your brother) will want standing by your side at the altar.
Bad Advice: "My mother said that to cut costs, we could send invitations without an RSVP card. Guests could go online instead and RSVP on the web page my dad built for us. I thought it was a good idea, but only two people RSVP'd! I ended up having to call my entire guest list to find out who was coming." Nicki, Oklahoma City, OK
Our Advice: In the age of online-mania, RSVP cards are definitely still relevant, especially for older guests who might not be as accustomed to the Internet. If you do opt for digital responses, enlist your parents and attendants to spread the word and help guests who don't have access to a computer. The online option is an easy way to keep track of guest responses, but have a backup plan (a traditional RSVP card) for those who aren't as tech-savvy.
Bad Advice: "A lady I worked with overheard me telling another coworker how much my fiance and I were planning on saving up for our wedding. She decided to pipe in and say, 'Wow, you might as well just buy a house, you'll get divorced anyway.'" Caroline, Flagstaff, AZ
Our Advice: Avoid snide money-related comments by discussing your wedding budget only with those who need to know, like your parents and fiance.
Bad Advice: "I was told that the bride and groom don't receive the gifts. Instead, the bride's parents get them." Suzie, Norfolk VA
Our Advice: Give each of your parents a small gift as a token of thanks for being so supportive throughout the wedding planning process. The Cuisinart mixer and all the other goodies on your registry? Those are definitely your gifts to keep.
Bad Advice: "My fiance suggested we randomize the seating for all our guests because it would be cool for everyone to meet new people. I can just imagine my crazy friend from grad school and Aunt June at the same table. Yikes!" Vicki, Durham, NC
Our Advice: This idea is only partly off-track. To mix tables with a few people who don't know each other is a good way to bring everyone together at the reception. But don't put anyone at a table with no one else they know, and spare Aunt June the stress by seating like-mannered guests together.
Bad Advice: "'Beggars can't be choosers.' This advice was given to me when I decided to wait on making a decision on a dress and venue. I have a low budget, but being rushed into any decision seems unwise." Erin, Rockford, IL
Our Advice: Sticking to your budget certainly doesn't mean you have to settle. It's always best to check out a few options before you make a decision, and if a certain vendor is just out of your price range, see if you can negotiate for a slightly scaled-down package.
-- Miles Stiverson
Wedding Planning Basics