Here at Wedding Ideas, we love to give you down-to-earth, practical advice about how to plan the day of your dreams. But since we started we’ve found some of the very best advice has come from the real brides themselves…

So to celebrate our 10th birthday, we’re taking a look back at some of our favourite real brides and finding out what they learned from their own big day. Can you remember them? Who was your favourite?


We just couldn’t resist real bride Helen’s beautiful smile – so much so that we made her the real-life cover star of our 100th issue! “My advice for brides-to-be would be to hire a professional make-up artist. This whole experience of being featured as a cover model has shown me just how brilliant they really are!”


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A fabulous fairytale pink wedding gown and a dreamy country garden theme made Roberta’s wedding a real favourite of ours. Roberta married Johan at Packington Moor Oat Barn in Tamworth – one of the first barn weddings we had featured. “I would advise brides to leave plenty of time to dress their venue,” she says. “Ours was so last minute!”


Super-stylish bride Jenna caught our attention immediately with her fashion-forward birdcage veil and a her statement Ian Stuart gown. She also had a vibrant shower bouquet and her bridesmaids carried pomanders of bright blooms. If you want your wedding to stand out from the crowd, and have a stylish edge, look no further than Jenna for inspiration.


If you’re planning a beach wedding theme, Tabitha and Daniel’s super seaside celebration in Bournemouth is a must-see. “If I could do it all again, I would definitely get ready with my bridesmaids, at a hotel nearer to our ceremony location,” says Tabitha. “I actually spent the morning at home, getting ready, which meant I had the added stress of tidying the house before I left!”


Wedding expert Lucy has helped hundreds of real brides have the stationery of their dreams but when it was her turn to get married, we couldn’t wait to see her photos! Lucy planned a spectacular mid-winter celebration, complete with Christmas trees and a festive red and green colour scheme. “I made one rule for myself that, when it came to dresses, I wanted my bridesmaids to feel like they were going to a glamorous Christmas party, so got them evening dresses,” explains Lucy. She also spoiled her bridesmaids with a snowflake necklace and Swarovski snowflake hair pin. Lucky girls!


Country-style rustic weddings don’t come much better than Helen and Will’s. In a huge marquee tent, the table decorations were rustic and romantic and flowers were handpicked and heavenly. If you’re planning an outdoors celebration, Helen’s handmade table centres are unmissable. See them here and learn how to get the look.


Rebecca’s sparkly pink statement wedding shoes and her tea-length dress from Justin Alexander were a huge hit in the Wedding Ideas office back in 2011.  “I had planned on buying something from the high street, but I went to a few boutiques to see some other options. When I put this one on, I fell in love. It was amazing, I just wanted to wear it again and again,” she says. We also loved groom Phil’s blue suit – a hot trend for grooms going into 2014.


Laura and Wes created their dream day by hand. With DIY details galore, this wedding was a favourite of our craft-loving readers. Over a year and a half, she created bunting, paper, luggage tags, napkin holders and all the little signs, photo collages and lace details that made their day unique. “To help us stick to our budget we researched all the average prices for everything related to a wedding. We were then able to use this when presented with a bill for a service. We knew if something was above average we could haggle it down,” says Laura. Are you thinking of putting lots of homemade personal touches into your day? Be inspired here…


Fun, fun, fun was the name of the game at Natalie’s big day. Personalised touches ran through the celebration as did her bright pink colour scheme – and how could we forget that bridesmaid’s striking hair?! Natalie actually had nine bridesmaids in all… “I even honoured a childhood promise to my old friend Louise by asking her to be my bridesmaid. We hadn’t been in touch for a while, but planning the wedding has brought us closer together,” says Natalie. She wore a gorgeous Charlotte Balbier gown on the day but what was underneath?! “I spent a huge fortune on sexy lingerie but, for the sake of comfort, I ended up wearing huge granny pants!”


“A personal favourite of mine, as this bride married my brother!” says Content Director Rachel, then Editor of Wedding Ideas. “I was bridesmaid on their big day on a budget – this clever couple created her dream day for under £5,000! Looking for more budgeting tips? Our Planning section is full of expert advice – you can even download a free Budget Planning Spreadsheet!