When it comes to wedding planning, there are some things couples just don’t realize until it’s too late - that is to say, after the cake’s been cut, the confetti thrown, and the thank you cards signed, sealed, and delivered.

Related: Unique Ideas for Wedding Thank You Cards

I don’t want that to happen to you. Although I can’t guarantee you won’t have any decision-making regrets or hindsight-is-20/20 moments, I can do my best to offer you some wedding planning tips you may not have thought or heard of yet.

I’ve collected 8 valuable tips from brides and grooms who have gone before. They’ve already said their vows and closed the book on wedding planning, but with experience comes knowledge that we can learn from.

1. Have someone look over your best man and/or maid of honor’s speeches ahead of time.

It might seem awkward to ask a groomsman or bridesmaid to look over your MOH and best man’s speeches before the wedding, but for some couples, not reading over those important toasts led to a scene straight out of a nightmare.

If you think one of your toasters might write something awkward or inappropriate, you can casually and kindly ask someone from your wedding party to take a quick look at the speech and offer advice. But remember that no amount of vetting or planning can guarantee an awkward-free toast. If someone wants to say something, the person will.

Bride and groom sitting next to each other on a wooden swing and smiling at each other at The Homestead in Paige, Texas. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

2. Consider downsizing the wedding and investing the money saved elsewhere.

Take the money you would have put into a large or extravagant wedding into your first year of marriage instead. Your bucks could fund the honeymoon, a mortgage on your dream house, home improvements, a vacation, a new car, etc.

Related: The Pros and Cons of an Outdoor Sunset Ceremony

3. Speak up when something doesn’t feel right.

Sometimes, when family members foot the bill, they take on the role of wedding planner, no questions asked. This can put a couple into an awkward situation where they feel obligated to do things they don’t necessarily want to do because of financial reasons. But there is no use in looking back at photos and being reminded of regretful decisions. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and let people know where you stand on certain things.

4. Put the money towards an open bar instead of favors.

Let’s face it - no one wants a monogrammed coaster, a keychain, or a piece of plastic something or other with your wedding date printed on it. All of those things will go straight to the trash, which basically means you’re throwing money away.

While it’s true that you can find some appreciated wedding favors out there (usually of the edible nature), it’s more likely that your guests will enjoy an open bar. Yes, your friends and family will love celebrating your union alongside you, but they’ll also like doing it while sipping on free champagne and wine.

Bride holding her bouquet with her left hand and holding the grooms hand on her right as they stand next to each other in front of the painted wall that says "greetings from Austin capitol of Texas" in Austin, Texas. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

5. Order less cake than you think you’ll need.

This is because not everyone will show up and not all of your guests will have a slice of cake, so why spend additional cash that could go towards something more important? Expert bakers suggest one serving per guest, and generally, three tiers will serve 50-100 people. Of course, you’ll want to discuss this with your baker before making any decisions.

6. Make sure water and ice are easily accessible.

It’s a good idea to set up a water station so that guests don’t have to wait in line at the bar or ask you where they can rehydrate. Put up a visible sign for your H2O station and provide plenty of cups for guests to use.

7. Don’t take money from people you won’t take planning advice from.

Remember when I said money often gives people the impression they can “offer” their wedding planning suggestions or just downright take over? Even without the money factor, well-meaning family and friends can bombard you with unwanted advice. Good rule of thumb: don’t accept money from those you wouldn’t receive wedding suggestions from. It may sound harsh, but it will save you from future stress.

8. If you’re spending your wedding night in a hotel, let the staff know.

Hotels often offer newlywed perks like champagne, gift baskets, and chocolate-covered strawberries. You might even get an upgraded room!

Not sure where to begin wedding planning? Reach out using the link below and I can share more tips and forward you to some experts!

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