I asked my friends on Instagram what are some tips they wish someone told them about their wedding day. I myself know there are things I wish I planned differently looking back now, especially now that I am a wedding photographer and have been to dozens of weddings! Here are some tips other married people said they wish they knew (combined with my own thoughts)!

Include your in-laws in planning

Everyone has a different relationship with their future in-laws. Sometimes they might even live out of town. This was something I hadn't thought of myself, but it was recommended by another married friend and I really love the idea.

Whether it's dress shopping, picking out the venue (or other vendors), or chilling at home planning out details, try to involve both sides of the family in planning this big day. Imagine how much that would mean to your mother-in-law if you asked for her help! What an awesome way to grow that relationship.

INVEST in a photographer (& videographer).

I have heard countless couples say one of the BIGGEST regrets from their wedding was that they wish they invested more money into a professional photographer. I myself at the time was looking for someone who would work with a budget and price shop for the lowest photographer out there. I knew I wanted good engagement pictures and formal portraits, but I didn't even care about the rest of the wedding day as much. I thought I could have a friend just snap pictures of the decorations and what was going on during the reception, and that would be good enough for me.

THANKFULLY my mom hired a great couple who documented the day wonderfully. In the end, I value those pictures so much more than just the portraits. Photographs from your wedding day are truly the one investment that is carried with you after the cake is eaten, the songs have played, the sparklers faded out, the decorations are cleaned up, and the dress is stored away... Memories fade quickly. Believe me, I've only been married for less than 2 years and the day already starts to seem like a blur; imagine how my memory will be in 30 or 50 years!

Literally, those photographs are what you show your children and grandchildren. They are how you tell your story. The one thing you bring with you to show your whole wedding day is the photographs.

Simple is better/Pick one or two things you can't go without.

Everyone has different priorities for their dream day. Some brides have always imagined their wedding with the prettiest decorations or flowers everywhere; or maybe they want a full-out dance party. Like I said, everyone's priorities are different! Planning can become difficult and stressful, so to avoid stress as much as you can try to pick one to three things that are your priority.

This helps with planning the budget too! Pick your priorities. Find what's most important to you and book them. Then go from there.

Take time to soak it all in.

This one sounds simple and obvious. But believe me, your wedding day--start to finish--with go by in a blur.

Have you watched The Office? You know when Jim and Pam are preparing for their wedding day, Pam says, "Everything with the wedding goes by so fast, we should try to take mental pictures of the high-points." And that's my advice. Take those mental pictures throughout the day.

Slow down. Just stop for a minute. Breathe. Sneak away together. Plan to take that time for you two. This day only happens once and you'll want to remember it.

Make a list of people you want pictures with

(besides immediate family and the bridal party)

Looking back on my wedding photos, there are people who came from out of town who I've since realized we didn't even get pictures with. We didn't have a bridal party, so there wasn't a specific list of our best friends to get pictures with. At the time, I wasn't worried about tracking down those friends to take a quick picture with. (Let's be honest, it was August in Arizona and we just wanted to get out of the heat.) But looking back now, I wish I had pictures with my friends who came and my husband had pictures with his friends who came. That would have been special.

Plan a "Last Dance" of the night...alone.

At the end of the night, you are going to be ready to go in a rush. The guests will be anxiously ready to light the sparklers and send you off (if you choose to do a formal send off). Once everyone is out of the reception area, how special would it be to plan one more dance together with just you two, this time no one watching? There's no pressure. No awkward staring with hundreds of eyes peeled on you. It's a quiet time alone before the last big hurrah!

Those intimate moments will be some of the most special ones.

Any advice of your own?

I hope some of these tips are helpful as you plan your own wedding day. The wedding industry and traditions are evolving and changing every year. It's fun to add a few "non-traditional" activities throughout the day, and MAKE IT YOUR OWN. If you're engaged or already married and have found some tips and ideas of your own, I'd love to hear about them! Thank you for following along. :)