The rustic barn wedding, the traditional country club wedding and everything in between—she’s seen it all about ten times over. So who better to ask for advice than a busy wedding photographer? Here, Alisha Siegel candidly shares what she would never do at her own wedding.

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1. Have a Large Wedding

“As a wedding photographer, I've seen all sizes—from 50 people to 400 people. And I've always found that 75 to 110 guests is the perfect number. It trims the fat, keeps it intimate—but not too intimate—and allows everyone to feel like one giant group of awesome people celebrating one lovely couple.”

2. Let My Parents Make Any Decisions

“I know this one is tough because, let’s be honest, they might be the ones paying for the wedding. But my biggest pet peeve is when a parent reaches out to me through my website. They’re not the ones getting married. It's you and your partner, and you should want to craft a day that's true to yourselves as individuals and as a couple. My advice to my own parents would be: Show up and have the most amazing time. I got this. Which brings me to my next point...”

3. Invite Too Many of My Parents’ Friends

“Again, I know this is a hot take. Your parents want to celebrate as much with their friends as you do with yours. But this is the quickest way to inflate the guest list, and it’s also the best way to make sure you have that back corner of people who don't contribute to your day and never set foot on the dance floor.”

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4. Treat My Vendors as 'Hired Help'

“This one is soooo damn important. Your wedding planner, your photographer, your florist, etc.—they’ve worked so hard to make your day exactly what you wanted. They've carved out their weekend to be fully present and give their all. So I always think it's vital that you show them respect—check in with them and feed them when appropriate. I can't tell you how many times I've been so starving at the end of dinner, and right when I get my meal, something like a first dance or toasts begin to happen. I've had a few weddings where the bride and groom gave me a seat at a table, and it was so unbelievably sweet. I'd absolutely do the same for my photographers and anyone else that's so intimately a part of my day.”

5. Have a Bridal Party

“This one is mostly because I want my friends to just rock whatever outfit they want and not feel like they are strapped down to any strict schedule or added jobs. It’s me who wanted a wedding. Why do they have to work?”

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6. Skip Reading Each Other Vows

“This is, hands down, the most special part of 99 percent of weddings I’ve been to. Think about it: When a couple recites to each other why they’ve chosen to marry each other in their own words, it’s so meaningful. It also lets the guests feel so much more a part of this intimate day and makes for some real tearjerker moments. I think it's such a letdown when people skip this part.”

7. Go Overboard with Family Photos

“People have honestly gotten better about this, but I think every family dynamic is a little different. For me, I'd keep it simple and efficient. I'd have a list for my photographer to check off so that family members won't really have the chance to intervene and ask, ‘Well, what about this combo?’ The photographer can simply answer: ‘Hmm, it wasn't on the!’”

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8. Pass Up a Sunset Photo Sesh 

“I can't believe couples who turn down the opportunity for sunset portraits. Look, I get that you want to be with family and friends, but you'll have all night for that. If my photographer says their photos will look the best at this time, I would never question it. Plus, after you are officially married and have a glass or two of Champagne in you, why not want to have some intimate time with your new hubby or wifey? It feels good to get away from the crowd and just soak in those moments.”

9. Not Hire a Wedding Planner

“Having a planner can be such an asset to your day, especially if you have busy lives and don't have all the resources or time to craft the exact day you want. I've worked with some amazing wedding planners (a few I love working with: Color Pop Events in New York, Estera Events in Chicago and The Creative's Loft in Miami), and they take your day to the next level. I highly recommend it. But careful...some planners can also make your day more confusing. So choose wisely and go off referrals from peers or other people in the industry.”

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10. Get Too Stressed on The Day

“Things happen. It rains. Your family members are late. Something falls through. So what? You are in love and surrounded by the people you love the most. Just trust that everyone is doing their jobs, and it's out of your control at this point. Be in love, have some drinks and celebrate. It will radiate through in your photos and memories.”

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