Aug 30, 2017

Our Wedding: Regrets and ADVICE from my friends and family

When I look back on our wedding, we really don't have too many regrets!  I would say that our biggest regret was not telling the photographer and videographer exactly what we wanted.  We didn't get very many pictures of our guests just hanging out, other than dancing and there are no pictures of the food! There's also no audio of my mom's welcome speech and Bill's dad's prayer.  We had planned on putting disposable cameras on each table but a) they were expensive and b) we let people talk us out of it by telling us horror stories of drunk people taking dumb (inappropriate) pictures.  In retrospect, I wish we had done this anyway.

Something else that I lament was not having everything done before the wedding weekend because I spent a lot of time finishing stuff up rather than spending time with our family and friends.  This also let to me making some mistakes, like forgetting to make seating cards for the bridal party guests and forgetting to tell guests about the shuttle! Mostly, though, it was the time lost with  my loved ones.  That's time I'll never get back and if I could do it again, I would be sure to have things finished so that I could just relax and hang with everyone.

My final regret is a silly one, but I really wanted to get a couple bottles of that blue champagne to drink while we were getting ready.  I had heard that it was super sweet, so I decided I didn't want it, plus it seemed like a hassle to find, but I really wish we had some pictures of us drinking that!

Photo credit

Now, for some advice/thoughts:

While we were planning the wedding, I posted on Facebook asking married couples: For those of you who are married, what is the ONE thing (if there is one!) you wish you would have done differently on your wedding day? I found some of their answers really helpful and thought that you might too!  I've deleted the names but kept the full comments. There are a lot and some are silly and oddly specific to their weddings, but there's some really good stuff in here. After the posts, see my thoughts on their responses.
  • I don't have anything I would change. Even if everything goes wrong, the only thing that matters at the end of the day is that you're starting a life with someone you love. Uncharacteristically, I let everything go and didn't worry about a single thing.
  • I would have had a cool band play at the reception instead of a DJ. Weddings I have been to that have a band seem so much more personal.
  • I am not married but can I chime in? I have been to a million weddings and in weddings and everyone always freaks out about that one thing they may do wrong. And of course it is
    important, not dismissing your feelings, but you will still be married if you go with, say, a band over a DJ and maybe regret it. It's a day, ya know? Just some advice from the other side.
  • The only thing that matters is that you have late night snacks waiting for you in the bridal suite :)
  • I would've not worried about anything going right or wrong. 20 years later, the wedding day is nothing more than a photo album, and all we remember is the joy of actually getting married and being surrounded by friends and family.
  • I would not worry as much as I did about little stuff. Just go with the flow and enjoy the day.
  •  Other than that, one thing a few friends did after I got married that I would have liked to have done is to have both my parents walk me down the aisle.
  • I wish we had a better photographer.
  • Ask the caterers to pack you a to go box for later when you guys are done for the night. You won't eat at your wedding, but you tend to spend the most money on food. Mine was delicious and I got like one bit. At 12am that night when we got to our room all I wanted was a huge plate of it.
  • And turn off your cell phones the entire next day.
  • I also wish we'd had a better photographer - a couple things you can do to improve chances of good photos is have in mind specific photos you want taken (collections of people, just you and people, etc. - items such as wedding dress, cake, etc.), backgrounds for photos, and style of photos (for example, ours looked very posed, you may want to make sure you have more spontaneous, goofy photos too : ) Can't hurt to have a trusted friend/family member there during photographs to check things like whether groom's tie is crooked (Paul!), whether he's slouching (Paul!), etc. Ha ha!! And just to make you smile and have fun. Also consider the disposable cameras for guests to capture moments that a photographer missed - we didn't do it but I wish we had!
  • Elope and buy a house.
  • I wouldn't change a thing. There are a couple of things I definitely did right- 1.) Kept the guest list smallish, which allowed me to spend real quality time w everyone. 2.) Didn't obsess too much over small details like perfect flowers or was the cake cut exactly at 8:30pm 3.) Good booze
  • Definitely agree about a to go box with food. We didn't get to eat much at all - and were sooo hungry afterwards.
  • Also, don't skimp on family photos or special ppl photos. I wish I had more photos with my Mom and I as well as my Godfather.
  • One more! Get a very very last minute fitting for your dress. You don't realize you're stressed and things change...My last fitting was over a month out and it ended up being too big with all the stress and travel.
  • The flowers will die, the cake eaten, the guests will go home, the dress will be packed away but the images you will always have. Don't skimp on the photographer. If I could do it all over again I would hire the best photographer I could afford and budget everything around that.
  • And the right photographer will go over a shot list with you pre-wedding so important moments and people are not missed.
  • Really wouldn't change a thing but the only thing we missed were some photos with very close family/friends at reception that weren't going to be part of the formal portraits. End of the day, it's not end of world but we wish we would've mandated that photog got those and pushed us to take them as well.
  • I love when couples grab me during the reception to take group photos with different people at reception on the dance floor, etc ;-)
  • Have YOUR wedding, well yours and his. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to make everyone else happy instead of remembering that it's about you two as a couple. If you want a tiny little wedding outside, do it. If you want a gigantic blowout, do that.
  • Also ask your guests for an unplugged wedding ceremony! You don't want your professional images that you paid for to look like this!
  • I would have eaten more!!!
  • Make sure you have someone who will double tape cards to gifts ..... We had this done but still had a few cards detached and gifts with no cards.... That was horrible not knowing who to thank....... Those gifts will get moved around a lot!! 😊
  • I had my bachelor party the night before my wedding which was a BAD idea. I was pretty hungover all day. I was fine by the wedding itself and had great time, but the day leading up to it was not super fun.
  • Don't worry about everyone else. They'll deal and it's your day. Reception lines, going table to table, ignoring paid for that shit, and it's for YOU.
  • Working in the industry I know that top most regretted thing brides say (if they didn't hire a videographer) is that they wish they had. The dj is great, the food is delicious and pics are important, but nothing capture the memories (speeches, ceremony etc) like video. And just enjoy the day. Get a planner so you don't have to think about anything but having the best time with Bill.
  • People I've talked to say they don't remember the food, they can't remember what the cake
    looked like, but they always remember the dress! Get a great dress guuuuuuuurl!!!
  • I got married here.... 3 nights during the week, stayed on the strip for 3 nights, bachelor bachelorette parties. Even catered it was cheaper than traditional. Spent a week with family and friends vs. Four hours. All that time and money to have it over quickly no way. Don't invite everyone just cause you'll bad if you don't. Its your wedding don't worry about other people's feelings. Theoretically you only get one shot, do what you want.
  • Don't do a red lipstick.
  • Professional makeup!! You will be photographed all night... You want that stuff to last from the beginning to the end! Worth the $$
  • I wish I could have had my hair/makeup done at the ceremony venue so that the CRAP weather didn't mess it up before the photos! Get both done by a pro and try to make the venue thing happen - although I hope you have a beautiful day for yours!! Beyond that, I kept it simple so that I wouldn't be so rushed and stressed that I couldn't remember or enjoy the day. HAVE FUN!!!
  • Wouldn't have let anyone do my hair. Hated my hair on my wedding day!!
  • Not baby oiled my feet before I put my heels on. But thankfully my dress was long enough for me to go barefooted!!!
  • We had a shuttle from the hotel to the venue for the ceremony and didn't account for everyone showing up for the last shuttle. There ended up being more people than seats and we had to start 20 minutes later than we expected including the 15 minute buffer we had already built in, which ate into the entire timeline of events. So build in buffers of time into the timeline (5 minute increments or so) that can help you stay on time when little issues come up.
  • Eloped ...
  • We had a surprise wedding disguised as an engagement party... But the one thing that I wish we would have done was have a caterer.
  • I wish I had a trial make up session before the wedding. Could have done my own make up way better than it turned out. Wish we had more photos and better photographer.
  • Didn't check the fit on my tux first. I relied on their measurements and didn't love the way my tux fit in the end. So double check your fits!
  • Spent too much time with photographer (less pics) and I wish I would of had my makeup done professionally.
  • Eat at the wedding! I made a major dent in the mini-bar in the middle of the night, not one of my finest moments😉
  • I wish we would NOT have wired the decorative bows to the window cranks, making it impossible to open the windows. It was over 90 degrees that day. There was no air conditioning.
  • I wish I had eaten at the reception! I only grabbed a couple of bites, and was so hungry and emotional at the end of the day I felt dizzy. Made up for it by ordering pizza at home though haha
  • Don't leave for your honeymoon the next morning...give it a day so you can get some rest....have brunch with family the next day....and collect yourself!
  • Cocktail hour. We missed most of ours because of pictures. Definitely make it to cocktail hour if you have one.
  • Stay hydrated. I got super dehydrated and I puked lol.
  • I wouldn't have worried about a room block. It was the biggest headache of our wedding. We booked a rate for $99/night and people complained that it was too expensive or not close enough to the Mall or that it sold out before they booked there was the biggest nightmare. I echo what everyone is saying, focus on you. If I could do it all over again, I would've suggested a handful of hotels near everything and left it at that
  • Because we had a destination wedding and kept it small and intimate, I really had no regrets on my wedding day. The only thing that did "go wrong" was that my makeup artist/hairdresser saved me for last and didn't give me nearly enough time for my hair. And when she did it, the style wasn't what I imagined. I'd suggest spending the $ on doing a trial run through on hair & makeup so you know what you're getting on your wedding day.👰🏻
  • Hate to say it, but I would have eloped or done a small destination wedding! Would have been a lot less stressful!
  • Make sure someone sets aside some cake for you to eat back in your room. I only got two bites of mine.
  • My wife and I agree that our wedding was pretty much perfect for us. My recommendation would be to not have a big wedding. You're not going to be able to talk to everybody on that day. Keep it small.
  • My only regret was not having my mother help to walk me down the aisle...
  • I second leaving the Monday after your wedding for the honeymoon. We had a small brunch with our closest friends and family and opened our gifts. 😊
  • i know im not married but hell... ive been in enough weddings that i feel like an expert. i second/third the videographer comments. everyone i know that had one says its their fav thing about their wedding bc they can relive their favorite day. everyone that didnt says they wish they did because with all the excitement, they missed a lot. just my two cents. :)
  • I don't regret anything, but I do wish we'd gotten a videographer. I love our photos, but I wish I could watch the ceremony again.
  • GET A VIDEOGRAPHER!! You miss so much that day and photos just aren't the same. It's well worth the money!
  • I didn't get a videographer but wish someone had videotaped at the least our first dance and our bridal party entrance (because Karin's entrance was classic!)
  • Biggest regret- worrying so much about the details and feeling like I needed to talk to EVERY guest that I didn't get to eat or really remember the reception. Also, I agree with those who say to have a brunch the following day to open gifts and enjoy family and closest friends. That saved it for us! It was a great time and a fantastic way to go off to our honeymoon.
  • Taken time to eat some food and enjoy a drink! Good luck with the planning! It truly is an amazing day!
  • Not married but I've been to a zillion weddings-- Hire a videographer, splurge on an amazing photographer, make a list of people you want photos with, have an unplugged ceremony, give your band or DJ a list of songs so you don't have to dance to the electric slide, do a first look before the ceremony so you can enjoy cocktail hour, eat all the food, get a to go box, take wedding cake back to your hotel room to eat in the morning/late night, don't invite people you really don't want there because you feel guilty, don't wear heels at the ceremony, bring flats to dance in, wear a dress you can move in, don't serve shots (buzzed guests are good guests but drunk guests can ruin a wedding), and don't let anything bother you the day of. Enjoy every single moment!!
  • So I know I've been to a billion weddings now that I work in the industry, but from my own wedding, I would have been more organized in terms of food/snacks/etc for getting ready/morning portion of the day. Make sure you eat SOMETHING. I know your tummy will probably be feeling off, but make sure you eat and enjoy the morning and laugh with friends. I ended up having to run to panera to get bagels for my entire bridal party and shuttle everyone back and forth myself to the salon before I was able to get my own hair/makeup done, and it was super stressful. Looking back my morning was a stressful whirlwind because none of that was really discussed or super planned before day of -- everything else was though (phew)! Make sure you also designate a person who is going to pack your presents into a car at the end of the night -- and how they'll eventually get back to you! My mother in law took the lead on this one and I was so thankful. And little plug for my profession, hire a solid photographer ;-)
  • Put a strict 20 second clock on thanking everyone by doing a receiving line or something. Like that you wont lose your wedding and you'll eat warm food at dinner. It's simple math. If There are 200 guests and you spend on average of one minute on every guest (think 10 second for third cousin Paulie, 7 minutes with Grandma etc.) you have spent over 3 hours thanking everyone. Other than the thank yous you'll have spent another 1 hour on display with dances, cutting cake and about 30 minutes on display eating listening to toasts. In a 5 hour wedding reception that leaves about 25 minutes of goofing around time on the dance floor with your friends and family. Receiving line is likely to rub someone the wrong way, but so will your cousin Edna getting angry that it's been two hours and you haven't even made your way to their table yet. I'd have your best man or gal work it into a joke that you're screwed either way (line or personal thank you's after dinner) and then both Edna and the receiving line hater will have to have a coke and a smile
  • Made absolutely sure the priest knew my intended's name . . .
  • I wish hubby would have kept time!
  • Walked to each table n taken a quick photo. Let everyone know face to face how much it meant to share that day with them ! (And also not seeing our dessert room :( )
  • I didn't drink before my ceremony because I wanted to be clear minded and remember everything. I wish I had a couple in hindsight, good stress is still stress! A drink or two would have helped me relax a little ;-)
  • I def got turned up n don't regret it!!!
  • And this is my favorite response, because it's from my grandpa who was killed in a car wreck just a couple weeks after posting this and it's also really good advise.  It took me a long time to even be able to look at this because it makes me cry, but:


So, what did I take from these responses and being on the other side now, do I agree with them all?

First, it seems a lot of people had problems with finding time to eat their food.  This was not a problem with us and we knew that it wouldn't be because we love eating, we paid a lot of money for that food, and well... we just don't not eat.  That's not how we roll, haha.  I told my sister and Bill's brother that their only job during dinner was to not let people talk to us until we were done eating.  No one even tried to, so this wasn't a problem!  We got our food first and were done eating before  most people had even gotten up from their seats to go through the buffet line.  It turns out that I wasn't even very hungry, so it felt like we had wayyyy too long to eat.  I also knew that we were going home with the leftovers and also going back to my parents' house, so we weren't concerned about food when we got back, but if this wasn't the case, I think making sure you have a to-go box is a fantastic idea because we all noshed when we got back. 

Next, there are some people who said they wish they would have eloped. We honestly considered eloping (well, a destination wedding with just our closest family), but I am so, so, SO glad that we did not elope.  Our wedding day was hands down the best day of both of our lives and I know that it was a truly great day for our families as well.  For us, eloping would have been the wrong decision.

We took the advice to hire a videographer and this was probably the best decision that we made.

As I mentioned in my regrets, I wish I would have given more explicit instructions to the photographer and created a list of family members/friends that I wanted pics with.  I also love the suggestion to snap a pic with each table.  I wish we had done that!

I hired people to do my hair and makeup because I cannot do that on my own, but I do think it's very important to really do research and get a trial. Luckily, I had had my hair and makeup done by them before in Amy's wedding, but I also did a trial.  

Thoughts on "unplugged ceremony":We considered this, but in the end, we did not ask people to do this, and I'm glad we didn't. We didn't get our professional pictures back for months, but we got the pictures our guests took by the next day.  I also just felt a little icky telling grown adults what to do. We did include a little line in the FAQ section of our wedding site that asked people not to keep their phones up the entire time.  In the end, I didn't even notice anyone taking pictures and from our pics of the guests, it didn't look like anyone was too obnoxious with it. 

Lots of people mentioned worrying less about the details and less stress in general.  I really took this advice to heart and tried my hardest to do this and I think as the day neared, I was successful.  I had a ton of sleepless nights in the beginning and got overly stressed about certain things, but as the wedding day got closer, I just accepted that certain things weren't going to get done and that was ok.  I kept telling myself that in the end, all that mattered was that we got married and people had fun.  I knew that the major things were taken care of -- officiant, food, drink, music, and that everything else would fall into place and it did.

One piece of advice that's not listed here but that I received from a lot of people was to just stay in the moment and I think that is key.

This ends our wedding recap posts!  Up next: our honeymoon recap.


  1. Great post! I agree staying in the moment is key! It definitely takes a conscious effort.

  2. Love and agree with so many things in this post. I was so glad our wedding planner talked us into a videographer because our well known/regarded photographer sucked. I'm still sad/bitter about that part because photography was the NUMBER ONE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO ME. And I told him that. I give people advice about that all the time.

    I like the advice about having cake back in your room... because I also only got two bites and I am sad about that. I have a secret dream that my husband will plan our anniversary at our reception venue and ask them to make the cake again... because it was the thing I was most looking forward to. Chocolate cake with hazelnut ganache filling.... yes please. :)

    1. That stinks about your photographer!!! What a nightmare, but I'm so glad you have video!


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