Advice From Day of Pittsburgh's Real Brides


Duuuuuuude. I’m. Getting. Married. In. ELEVEN. DAYS. Here’s what I’ve been up to during this ~MaGiCaL~ time:

  • Buying easels on Amazon

  • Bickering with Andy over the shade of gold spray paint

  • Adding songs to my after party playlist

  • Deleting songs on my after party playlist

  • Searching Etsy for ”Modern Bridal Hair Pieces”

  • Searching Etsy for “Gold Bridal Hair Comb”

  • Searching Etsy for “Gatsby Hair Pins”

  • Buying gift bags

  • Emailing my day of coordinator. Subject: “Misc. Things To Micromanage”

  • Adding MORE STUFF to the wedding pile in my dining room

  • Googling “prosecco fountain Pittsburgh” (WHY?! YOU DON’T NEED THIS STOP IT PLZ OMG)

  • Scouting First Look locations

  • Feeling guilty for wishing it was over already (<—this bullet point deserve its own blog post, how no one talks about this is a mystery to me.)

  • Adjusting my timeline to an obsessive degree

  • Finally picking a bridal hair piece on Etsy, and realizing it won’t arrive in time

  • Drinking

  • Questioning every planning decision I’ve ever made during our two year engagement

SO FUN! Guess what y’all? Planning your wedding is stressful. Even when you’re a wedding planner.

Instead of transforming into the dog meme surrounded by fire (this is fine!!!), I decided to do a little self care with the help of some past Day of Pgh brides. I switched it up, and asked them for advice! Here’s what they had for me.




Number one wedding planning hack?
Don't sweat the small stuff! I had some complete breakdowns about minor details, which is totally out of character for me, but when you're planning a wedding it's so easy to get caught up in every little thing! In hindsight, I can't believe some of the things I was so stressed and worried about that ended up not even mattering. It's SO much easier said than done but people truly only remember the experience, not the small details.

What was your favorite part of the morning of your wedding day?
I asked my best friend to do my hair and my sister to do my makeup and it worked out great. I'm fortunate that they are both talented in this area - but it was really nice just to have my "people," it's a really special memory! When I look at pictures from the wedding it makes me happy knowing that people I care about so much "styled" me!

Ally’s glam squad: Her sister Mary and BFF Kelsey! Photo: Em Havranek

Ally’s glam squad: Her sister Mary and BFF Kelsey! Photo: Em Havranek

Finishing touches! Photo: Em Havranek

Finishing touches! Photo: Em Havranek

I personally loved hitting up The Abbey after your reception (Dear future clients: I’m always down for a cocktail after my shift ends, ha!), any advice on the pros of an after party?
It’s so funny because I am not an "after-party" person at all --I'm usually tired by 9! I had a blast heading over to The Abbey! I would say keep your options open. you may decide that night that you want to keep the party going! I wouldn't commit to anything in advance, but have a nearby place in mind. Walking distance is ideal because I think more people will decide to tag along. It was so much fun seeing all of our family and friends hanging out all over the bar together.

What was your strongest memory/favorite un-planned part of your wedding day?
This is such a tough one! There were so many great moments. I guess one thing I didn't think about in advance was the ride from the ceremony site to the reception venue after taking pictures with the bridal party. It was really fun to have that time in the car with just our siblings and best friends. The nervousness was over and the party was getting started - it was great to celebrate with just them for that hour or so, snapping our first selfies as a married couple!




You were super organized and very much 'on top' of your wedding plans. How did you 'let go' and enjoy the moment day of? I have a feeling that may be hard for me—shocker!
For me, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to “let go.” It’s kind of like training for a big sporting event. You prepare as much as you can leading into the big event, and then on game day, you just have to step on the court or field and do your best. I also made it a priority to be present and feel all of the moments throughout the day – it’s a day you’ll never get back and never do again, so I wanted to soak it all in. Stressing or obsessing over small details would have only robbed me from that bliss. Plus, I knew that at the end of the day, Perry and I were going to be married – and that’s all that TRULY matters.

What was one thing that day you didn't see coming?
I truthfully didn’t expect to be able to “let go,” so for me it was a pleasant surprise that I was able to do it. It’s hard to truly imagine how you’ll actually feel on your wedding day – so for me, every emotion was a surprise.

What was your strongest memory/favorite un-planned part of your wedding day?
When my Dad saw me for the first time. I expected him to have a silent tear, but he totally lost it. I close my eyes often and remember that feeling. I’ll treasure it for the rest of my life.

Dad’s reaction! Photo: Brit Lee Photography

Dad’s reaction! Photo: Brit Lee Photography

STAHP!!! Tears. Photo: Brit Lee Photography

STAHP!!! Tears. Photo: Brit Lee Photography




If you could give ONE piece of advice to a bride before their wedding day, what would it be?
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Try to ENJOY wedding planning rather than stressing about every little detail (my husband constantly reminded me that no one will care what the centerpieces will look like - although they were beautiful, he was right). Look at the bigger picture and remember that your wedding day is a big party to celebrate the love between you and your new husband/wife. You and your guests will be too busy dancing the night away to care about anything else. And that’s how it should be!

What happened on your wedding day that was *exactly* how you always pictured it?
Our first look and ceremony. I will never forget my husband’s face when he turned around and saw me walking towards him in my wedding dress. Also, we didn’t talk/text at all the entire day, so we were both really excited to finally see each other. This definitely made the moment more special and exciting.

Everytime Mark cried, I cried. Photo: Nicole Lockerman

Everytime Mark cried, I cried. Photo: Nicole Lockerman

The grand reveal! Photo: Nicole Lockerman

The grand reveal! Photo: Nicole Lockerman

I will never forget our wedding ceremony. We wrote it ourselves and made it super personal. My husband’s best friend married us and we gave him a lot of free reign to add some personality to it as well. We wrote our own vows and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the venue (planners note: there wasn’t!) Making our ceremony our own is something I will always cherish.

I personally remember a lot of the music you used that day (because it was good music!), any thoughts/advice on this?
Music was definitely something we spent a lot of time on with our DJ (shout out to DJ Underdog for killing it!). We wanted our ceremony and cocktail hour to be full of songs from artists we love rather than basic instrumental music. For the reception, we had a pretty lengthy “do not play” list. We also discussed with our DJ the “vibe” we were going for and songs we absolutely wanted to be played. I recommend having a meeting with your DJ to set standards on how you want your reception music and vibe to be. Especially if you’re picky with music like me and my husband!

What was your strongest memory/favorite un-planned part of your wedding day?
We have so many great memories of our wedding day! While you can’t plan or control how much fun people have at your wedding, the lasting impression from our friends and family was that everyone had the most fun they’ve ever had at a wedding that night. That all starts with the energy put out by the newlyweds. Also, good food, good music, and good drinks can’t hurt ;)



Dang, these three just schooled me! After reading their responses to my questions, I actually choked up remembering these moments. I was a few feet away from most of them, and if I was that emotional on the sidelines, what will happen when it’s me?

It’s almost too easy to become a wedding cynic when you coordinate one every weekend, and there are some things I just can’t and won’t do (The cake cutting and photobooths are dead to me…sorry!) Here are the things I’m so excited for, I can’t breathe when I think about them:

  • Our First Look! Still don’t have a spot though…

  • Reading my vows and hearing Andy’s

  • Dancing as big as I want to for as long as I want to

  • Seeing everyone we love in the world in one room

  • Hearing all of our favorite songs

  • Experiencing what my couples go through to be better at my job (*writes off entire wedding as a business expense* LMAO I wish)

  • Watching our vision and vibe for the day come together

  • Profusely thanking my vendors, especially my day of coordinator <3333

  • Never talking about spray paint again

  • Being MARRIED!


BONUS ADVICE from Day of Pgh’s Real Brides (And Grooms!)

Why are my couples the best? After I published this blog post, I got a few emails from even more Day of Pgh brides and grooms! Scroll on, y’all!



If you could give ONE piece of advice to a groom before their wedding day, what would it be?  
Don't try to do too much on your actual wedding day.  Golf, shaves, and laser tag is fun, but you'll probably run out of time and be rushed getting ready.  I'd recommend a low-key brunch with your groomsmen, and then give yourself plenty of alone time to get ready for your day.

Hopefully you've helped your soon-to-be wife with the wedding planning, but when your wedding day arrives, stop all planning and enjoy the ride.  Especially if you've hired a badass day-of event planner, let them take care of everything.  The hard work and planning is over.  There's nothing you can do at this point.  Go with the flow, enjoy the ride, and remember to focus on the important things of the day FYI: Making sure your tablecloths are ironed for the reception is not a good use of your time on your wedding day (Planners note: CAN CONFIRM!)

What was your favorite part of the morning of your wedding day?
This question could also be stated as "What was the first (of many) times that your cried on your wedding day?  My favorite part was opening the wedding gifts from my wife.  If you plan on doing a wedding gift exchange before, make sure you give yourself enough time to open them and enjoy the moment.

I personally loved how you found the balance between adding so many personal touches, yet also making everyone feel 'in' on your day, any thoughts here? 
Start planning 18 months in advance.  Seriously.  Put everything you ideally want on your wedding day, start compiling a budget, and then tie it into a week-by-week action plan. If you spread things out across a longer amount of time,

A) you'll be less likely to be overwhelmed closer to the wedding day, and
B) if you approach things in a positive way, it'll allow you to enjoy the planning process as part of the overall celebration. Instead of one day of fun, we had a year and a half of enjoyment.

What was your strongest memory/favorite un-planned part of your wedding day? 
We planned for just about everything we could control.  Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to control the weather.  So, when it started to pour down rain at the beginning of an outdoor wedding, I was so moved by how everyone took it all in stride.  My groomsmen didn't flinch (one even ran an umbrella to the bride).  Most guests just popped open an umbrella and embraced it.  Looking back, we probably should have delayed the ceremony a bit.  But I'm glad we didn't because the photos are fantastic, and it's a part of our wedding story that will never get old telling.

One of my favorite photos from their day! Photo: Steven Dray Photography

One of my favorite photos from their day! Photo: Steven Dray Photography

YAY! Photo: Steven Dray Photography

YAY! Photo: Steven Dray Photography

And here's my unsolicited piece of advice:

There are two, and only two, people who matter on your wedding day.  It's all about you and your significant other.  Try your best not to forget that.  Parents may try to impart their requirements (and may feel more empowered if they're helping pay for the wedding), but this is a good test for the rest of your life.  Put your and your significant other's needs before anyone else's. Have the wedding you want, not the wedding you think you're supposed to have.  Feeling obligated to do something (invite random family-friends, incorporating religion if it's not really your thing, trying to think about "what everyone else will think") is overrated.  This is your day.  Make it your own, and above all else, don't forget to pause throughout the day and take in the moments.




If I could give one piece of advice it would be to focus and spend time with your husband! After all, it is your wedding day and that is why everyone is there celebrating you two. It becomes too easy to get called away to chat, take pictures, dance with guests that it sometimes felt like I hardly was seeing him at all during the night! Your guests should come to you and say hi! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to try and get around to everyone, because before you know it, the night is over and it all goes so fast! So enjoy him and make sure to make time for each other during the crazy, hectic, beautiful day! 

Photo by: Kayla Bri Photography

Photo by: Kayla Bri Photography




For me, my wedding day was everything and more than I expected. I had been planning this for so long and to see it all come together was my dream come true. 100% make sure you take it all in. When you are in between thanking people or in between songs, take a deep breath and look at all of these people who came to celebrate you and your HUSBAND! I truly think there was no better feeling than having every single person I love in one place together!

I would also make sure to just not worry about any negatives.. like at all. If it rains, who cares, it rains! Any type of negative feeling should just get thrown in the back of your mind until the next day. I remember my dad was trying to say something to me about how coffee spilled and I stopped him and screamed NOPE NOT TODAY, (planner’s note: I’m cackling!!!) didn't want to hear it. Just focus on being the happiest you can be!

No other day will make you feel as special as your wedding day. This day is to not only show that you found the love of your life but you also found who you want to be! Show off all of the great aspects of yourself on this amazing day, you deserve it.

Photo by: Kristen Vota Photography

Photo by: Kristen Vota Photography




Be YOURSELF every. freaking. minute of the day! That’s the one thing I cherish about our wedding, is that we were OURSELVES and the day totally represented us! ! I was so worried about not feeling like myself or looking like myself at such a fancy big event but I did and it was amazing!

Best. Dessert. EVER! Photo: Olive Rose Photography

Best. Dessert. EVER! Photo: Olive Rose Photography