In general, I would spend less. We didn’t have an expensive wedding, relative to the national average, but it still seems like a lot now that we’re thinking about home remodels, having children, traveling, buying new cars, paying off school loans, etc. I think that we would have better uses of the money now.
But that wasn’t really your question!
If we were starting over, I would stick with my gut more. My big advice for brides now is to – before looking at magazines, going to stores, hanging out on websites – talk details with your groom. Thankfully, my husband and I took the time to individually consider what was important for us and to share those ideas with each other. Seriously, it’s a very important step, because it’s easy to loose sight of what you really want once planning takes on a life of it’s own.
BUT – I wish that we had talked about more concrete specifics. We basically both said "we want a wedding that’s really just a party where we get married. Nothing to formal, fancy, or structured." We patted ourselves on the back for wanting the same thing and proceeded – but the devil is in the details and really we hadn’t talked enough. For me, a casual wedding was a pretty setting, a short but traditional ceremony, and hor d’ouvres/cake/punch. For my husband, it was a big dinner and open bar, a live band, and only vows (not a real ceremony). He wanted to wear a tux; I wanted to wear a simple dress and have the wedding party in casual attire. I wanted my father to walk me down the aisle; he just wanted to stand up and say our vows like giving a toast. You see where I’m going. The big picture was the same, but the details were not. I wish that we would have talked them over sooner, because we didn’t really discover the impact of our early, big decisions (ie, venue, attire, etc) on our littler decision until it was too late to change course. We could have compromised earlier and saved ourselves a bunch of stress.
My other tip: Don’t spend money on things you don’t care about. Period. Don’t let other people convince you that you "need" something or that a particular item is something to "splurge" on if you truely don’t care about it. Save that money for something you DO care about. Those choices are truely individual; only you and your groom can make those decisions. Don’t forget that.