There have been things that worked, things that didn't, and a few things that still give me nightmares..
Here are a few things that I have observed that work, and a few that well...weren't such a good idea after all. (And I apologize in advance if I offend anyone, these are just my own personal opinions...)
1. Do let your bridesmaids let their personalities shine.. It looks so much better for the bridesmaids to pick out their own shoes, jewelry, and hairstyle than having a bunch of clones standing up there.. I love seeing bridesmaids in different dresses, it's so much more interesting. But, at LEAST let them pick out their own hairstyle.
2. Don't get groomsmen's vests to match the bridesmaid dresses. I know it sounds like a good idea, but it looks like prom.. Sorry, it just does.
3. PLEASE, don't have "Here Comes The Bride" for the bride to come out. It's cheesy and everyone is thinking big, fat, and wide in their heads.
4. Be original. Don't get a wedding dress that 10 other people have had this year.. It will end up looking outdated in 5 years.
5. Listen to the people around you. I know you love that puce, floor length, ruched halter dress for your bridesmaids, but you're going to be embarrassed to show those pictures to your kids. Don't get offended if your friends are honest.
6. Be considerate. I know that it is your day and everything, but you don't want people to remember you as Bridezilla.
7. As far as pictures go, take as many as you can before the wedding. If you don't want to see each other before the ceremony (I don't either!), take every picture you can possibly take without each other before the ceremony, then take the rest after. It is not fun to wait 2 hours for the bride and groom to arrive at the reception.
8. I hate organs at weddings. They sound sad and morbid. (that's just a personal preference) (no, not internal organs.)
9. Don't have alcohol served before the reception. It's a little tacky for everyone at the wedding ceremony hanging around with a beer bottle in their hands.
10. Don't pick out a bridesmaids dress that is ridiculously expensive. Just watch 27 Dresses; no matter what you think, THEY WON'T WEAR IT AGAIN. If you love it, find a seamstress who can make something like it.
11. Have a friend who takes good pictures and has a good camera take candids.. Those are usually some of the best wedding pictures.
12. Think about your location. If you are in a place like Mobile (hot, humid, icky, miserable), it may not be the best idea to have an outside wedding in the heat of the summer.
13. If you have a ring-bearer and flower girl, try for older instead of younger.. Every wedding that I've seen with kids 3 and under usually cry or never make it down the aisle.
14. Use live music for the ceremony.
15. Above all else, be original. You want people to remember details about your wedding. Don't get overly stressed, accept help.. Make sure you love it.