Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: The Garter Brides

 First and foremost how great was your wedding day?

Falling in love as grown-up is a wonderful experience! We all had such a great appreciation of the great men that we married and sharing that happiness with friends and family was pure joy.

How long after you got engaged did you begin planning your wedding?

We all began planning our weddings immediately after becoming engaged – the three of us all got married within 3-6 months of our engagement. As Tish says “We got engaged in May and married in October. I think long engagements give couples too much time to obsess.”

How did you determine the wedding budget and who contributed what?

For us, we determined budgets with our husbands – we all mostly paid for our own weddings. Ann’s family paid for a rehearsal dinner and Pat’s paid for a cocktail event the night before.

How did you keep track of your wedding planning?

We’re all very organized! We kept track with lists on our computers complete with contact numbers of everyone in the wedding party and the wedding suppliers (musicians, photographers, caterer etc.). Post-its all over the house don’t cut it!

When you discussed the wedding, what 5 things were most important to the two of you?

1. For Garter Brides the most important thing is to have the wedding you want – a wedding that reflects you and your man.

2. For us, wearing the garter was important – a symbol of our sisterhood.

3. Be whoever you want to be that day – wear white, wear purple, wear pants if you want!

4. Our weddings were an opportunity to give family and friends meaningful roles in the celebration.

5. The most important thing of all was that we had all found someone who we wanted to share the rest of our lives with.

Did you register for gifts and was it a good experience?

We recommend registering for gifts. You are starting a new life together and you should treat it that way. It can be a lot of fun to pick household items together – one Bride we know registered for a lawn mower!

Could you share some wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?

Think through what you both want. Don’t ask for suggestions from friends and don’t allow people to offer too much advice. This is a day that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. 

Where did you splurge and where did you save?

Garter Bride Pat saved money on her wedding dress by buying a cocktail dress in ivory at a fraction of the cost of a wedding gown. She splurged on Peter Fox shoes that she still wears. 

What specific cost surprised you (pleasantly or unpleasantly?)

Ann’s best friend baked her wedding cake and it was delicious. It also saved her a lot of money.

Did you have to handle any tricky or delicate issues while planning your wedding?

Most people will be happy for you and there may be a few who are ‘not so much’. Try to focus on the happiness of the day that you are planning and not the detractors. Give it time and they may come around.

Could you share some wedding day advice for newly engaged couples?


  • No matter how carefully you plan something will go wrong – keep your sense of humor.
  • Look at your guests during the ceremony and take everything in.
  • Make very effort to get away for a few days after the wedding – honeymoons are not over-rated!

Could you share your favorite photo from the day and tell us why you love it?

Pat and Mark cutting the cake.

In this photo Mark and I are cutting the wedding cake that I made! I love to bake and it was such a joy for me to put all the love and care I could into that cake.

Ann in her wedding gown.

This is a photo of me in my 1906 Edwardian gown – I just loved it. And so did my husband!

Tish with husband John and her two stepchildren

It was important to me to include John’s children in the wedding. I love this photo of my wedding party -  John, and my stepchildren - aged five and seven!


Thank you, Garter Brides! I loved your comments about how some of the people at your wedding are there because they love you and some are just there – and don't let those people get to to.

Would you like to ask The Garter Brides any questions about there wedding experience? Leave a comment and we'll try to get back with you! Click here, here, or here to buy Ann, Pat and Tish's book, Like their Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter!