No matter how meaningful, momentous, beautiful, fun, or perfect your big day is, there will always be those what-ifs. What if I bought that other bridal gown? Went with a buffet? Didn’t invite that really drunk uncle? I hate to say it, but there will always be wedding day regrets. Since you’re in the midst of planning, I figured it may be a good time to introduce you to the most common disappointments. Since I’ve never been married, I called upon the experts: real brides and grooms. They had a lot to share. Don’t get freaked out! Most of their regrets are things you can prevent now!!
Brides & Grooms Share Their Biggest Wedding Day Regrets:
From my own research, I discovered that the #1 beauty blunder was not doing a trial run. You may hate those fake lashes, want your bangs pulled back, or wish you wore brighter lipstick–figure that out beforehand! I highly recommend 1-2 beauty and hair trials before the event. It’s more money, but your bridal look will be captured forever in those expensive photos. You should also learn to bustle your dress! It takes more time than you think—a lot more if your bridesmaid can’t figure it out. Ask a ‘maid to attend your final fitting so they can learn the ropes. Don’t over-diet. Frankly, you’ll be miserable. Eat healthy, get sleep, and exercise when you can. Those three things will keep your energy and confidence up! Brides & Body-Shaming: Why We Do It & How to Stop >> What did our real brides and grooms have to say?
The only thing I would change would be my dress. By the end of the night, it was brown up to my waist (outdoor celebration) and I could have found something much cheaper that fit better in the 5 months that we were engaged. Since we got married so fast, I only had time to get one quick alteration. Of course I loved it, but looking back I would have been just as happy with a $500 dress! (And so would my dad!) —Angie W. This is a very small detail but sucked without… Give someone in your bridal party your Chapstick/lipgloss. I was without, and after the first round of photos, the ceremony, and then more photos, having the photographer say, “Kiss again!” was the worst. My poor lips were chapped, plus I kept biting them to get some color for photos. Maybe have your hubby stick the lipgloss in his tux! –Liz A. I would have added a portable fan under my dress, LOL! —Maren K. I would have set a back-up alarm on an actual clock. We stayed in a hotel the night before, and I plugged my phone into an outlet that was on a lamp. My phone didn’t charge because the lamp was turned off, so my alarm never went off! Waking up late and rushing to get where you’re supposed to be isn’t an ideal way to start tying the knot. –Stephanie H.
I would not have spent so much on our invitations. Only my mom, grandma, and I are going to save that extremely expensive invite. –Tasha K.
This was a super common wedding regret! Invitations can get so expensive. Save some of that cash for the things people will remember (Like a videographer! See below for details…). Side note: Just because a vendor, dress, or decoration is the most expensive, does not mean it is the best option. Read reviews, see things in-person, and always be open-minded! Another common remorse would be vague invitations. First, make sure you’re clear about who’s invited. You don’t need a bunch of unwanted children running around, or an awkward +1 you’ve never met. Second, make sure the directions from the ceremony venue to the reception are crystal clear. Don’t rely on Google Maps, either! Drive the route yourself, keep road construction in mind, and include every single step.
There are two things we did that I would highly recommend: Writing your own vows and having a receiving line. They both take a lot of time, yes, but I believe they are so worth it! People still tell me about how touching our personal vows were. And for the receiving line, it was so nice to say “hello” and hug everyone at the beginning of the night so I could spend the rest of it dancing with my bridal party and friends, chatting with my parents, and enjoying my reception! –Morgan J. Everyone told me this, but for some reason I just didn’t really get how quickly the day would go. I wasn’t able to see small details or enjoy the centerpieces. You are simply too busy! INVEST IN A COORDINATOR! My friends, family, and I were so relaxed because we weren’t running around taking care of last-minute details—our coordinator was. Jenna A Events out of Minneapolis was incredible. Knowing that she had everything taken care of and would keep the flow of events smooth and organized was priceless. –Abby R.
Morgan’s point about the receiving line makes so much sense, don’t you think? I heard it’s normal for couples to feel guilty about not talking to all of their guests. So why not make sure it happens by having a receiving line? It may take time, but it also means less mingling (and more dancing) later! Another common qualm concerns your bridal party. Don’t jump the gun and pick the first people you think of. Just because they’re your besties now, doesn’t mean they will be in 10 years. Choose the friends you’ll have forever. A little time and consideration may lead to the best (and unexpected) bridal party ever.
#1 Tip: Don’t drink too much. Just don’t. Avoid shots, stick to one liquor, and drink plenty of water. You want to remember every moment. Also, please eat! So many brides wish they would have. You need the energy, and a full stomach will help out with that #1 tips above.
Don’t cheap out on the DJ! It’s awkward when he says the wrong bride’s name, does the dollar dance after you told him not to, and loses your list of music! –Jenna H. We had 450 people at our nuptials 15 years ago, and people still remember it for one thing: the dance! Have fun when you tie the knot, celebrate with your mom, dad, grandparents, and cousins. Grab an aunt and dance with her. Have friends just come for the dance—no need to feed them! –Ken W.
Photography & Videography
We hands down would have booked a videographer! While our memories of it all are amazing, we wish we had it documented in that way as well. Also, make sure to have plenty of personal cameras/phones around to take more personal/candid shots of you and your partner and the bridal party. Yes, you have a professional photographer, but there are some special movements that even they can’t always capture. Overall, there is no such thing as over-documenting the day, so take as many photos and videos as possible. –Liz Z. We didn’t have a videographer (I wish it had been in the budget), but we planned to have my husband’s cousin record the ceremony and were hoping to have several people record the reception (but didn’t plan who) to get a lot of fun perspectives. Well, that didn’t happen. We missed the speeches, first dances, and the party. I wish we had video of that! So, my suggestion is, if a videographer isn’t in the budget, make sure you have a couple people designated to record the important events at the very least. –Meghan W.
According to the Huffington Post, not having a videographer is a wedding day regret 98% of brides have. If you can swing it, leave room in your budget for this trending vendor. In terms of photos, make sure you leave enough time to get some! Candids are the best, but many couples look back and wish they would have taken more family and bridal party shots. You want to capture those incredible memories with the ones you love most. In order to get those pics, you need to speak up! I know you don’t want to be a Bridezilla, but many regrets can be prevented by simply letting a vendor know how you’re feeling. If the MC isn’t pronouncing a name right or the photographer isn’t taking enough photos, let them know! You’re the customer—and a very important one—so it’s your job to give them some direction.
When people suggested taking a day or two—maybe even three—between the wedding and honeymoon, I thought they were nuts! It had to be the worst idea I had heard. We didn’t even have an early flight out, so we had plenty of time between the night of the wedding and our flight the next afternoon. But with our post-nuptial exhaustion and hours of travel, it took us 2 full honeymoon days to recover. A couple days to process, relax, and regroup would have been nice. –Abby R. I would have listened to the people who told us to take a day off between the wedding and honeymoon travel (especially if you’re taking a long flight). –Meghan W.
Don’t sweat the small stuff!
I wish we would have put less effort into the smaller details. No one remembers what color chair covers you had or the exact type of flowers used. –Kristin J. We tried to make it a party with people we like. We didn’t worry too much about details (we planned a lot, but tried to let it go toward the end) and were genuinely interested in learning which thing would go wrong. (They brought the appetizers out at the wrong time). –Jeremy M. I just got married in July. One thing I would’ve done differently is spend less time worrying about how other people wanted everything to be. I felt like I had to please everyone and it eventually led to arguments. The planning, ceremony, and reception are supposed to be fun! And most importantly a celebration of the lifelong commitment that you are making to each other! –Andy A. Make your wedding YOUR wedding. I am indecisive and asked for people’s opinions, and slowly realized my special day was not becoming mine at all. –Abby R.
Real brides and grooms have spoken! Stressing over the little things is a complete waste of energy. Guess what? No one is going to notice. Focus on making your nuptials fun! Great music, food, and drinks are the foundation of any amazing party. Toss in those you love most and you’re all set!
Or just stop those regrets in their tracks.
One bride’s story really stood out to me…check out how Miranda and her husband made sure their big day was exactly what they wanted.
My husband and I were engaged for several months, planning a wedding, when we realized it really wasn’t what we wanted it to be. We wanted something intimate and small, but the budget and the planning was getting out of hand. We decided one morning over breakfast that we were going to get married the next day–no matter what. We spent the afternoon telling family, planning, and buying a little white dress. We pulled it all together in 24 hours. Got my flowers gifted to me by a beloved family friend, bought my husband’s wedding band, got to have my reception over pancakes and coffee, and then we whisked away to the Tennessee River Valley to spend our honeymoon in a tiny cedar cabin built by hand, next to a babbling stream while the leaves were turning colors. None of the little details that we were worried about mattered, what did matter were our vows, the time we got to spend together as a newlywed couple, the drive through the Appalachian Mountains in autumn, and that amazing feeling when you get to tell a stranger that you just got married today! So I guess my advice is this: Do what is most true to your love, because this decision will be more important to you and your spouse than any other person in the world. –Miranda S. W.