I Wish I...
Before I was engaged, I didn’t fully understand the stress and emotions my couples were facing as 'brides and grooms-to-be' in the months, weeks and days leading up to their wedding day. I would often say “don’t stress, everything is going to be perfect” and truly meant that. Now, after being a bride-to-be myself, I have come to the realization that it’s hard to not “stress” or feel some kind of nerves leading up to your big day.
If we break down a wedding, it looks something like this: It’s an event. It’s an event that has been thought about and planned for sometimes years, and been planned so perfectly and personally down to every last detail. This well planned event is also the moment in life that you’re making a promise to another person to be there for them and with them throughout life, no matter what. This also takes place in front of (sometimes) hundreds of people, all of whom you both care so deeply for. I’d say this event is a pretty big deal. So, it's no wonder there are so many emotions leading up to that day. You want it to be perfect, just the way you planned. You want to look the way you envisioned you’d look. You need the weather to be just right for outdoor photos. You want everyone to love the food you’ve chosen and enjoy many drinks (but not too many drinks), you want there to be no long, awkward speeches that everyone will be talking about well after your wedding day and you want that dance floor to be full all night, taking in every precious minute of this event you have planned for the past year. You also want this day to be a true representation of you, as a couple. This is what we’re all thinking, right? Or just me?
Given the planning extension many brides and grooms have received due to their weddings being postponed recently or if you’re just starting the planning process, I thought I’d take it to the streets (Instagram) and ask some advice from the experts (married people) about what they regret or wish they did or didn’t do at their wedding. I received a large number of responses (which I thought was interesting) and hope these will help you in some way. Special thanks to all of you that responded to my ask, don’t worry - I’ve consolidated and organized your thoughts and no names will be mentioned!
So let’s get to it!
Photography and Videography
Most of the answers I received had to do with regrets about photography and videography - and I get it! As mentioned above, this is a VERY important day in your life and if you’re spending so much time and money on it, it’s important it’s documented appropriately.
"I wish I didn’t cut costs on some of the vendors that are the most important and hired a photographer whose work I loved and not just looked at the price tag"
"I wish I hired a videographer"
"I wish the videographer had a second shooter to have video coverage of the groom getting ready too"
"I wish I got more photos with family and friends and less of just the wedding party (don’t go crazy, you only need a couple of good ones)"
"I wish we took more photos earlier in the day to enjoy cocktail hour after the ceremony"
"I wish we had a list of photos, I missed getting a lot of the ones I wanted" Advice: Ask your photographer in advance for a list of photos that are usually taken at a wedding that you can customize based on what is important to you. Ensure you communicate with your photographer and videographer to ensure they know your thoughts. They’ll know the “typical” shots to get but if something is super important to you - let them know in advance! They’re not mind readers!
"We didn’t like our DJ" Advice: read reviews and ask your DJ if they have any recordings of past weddings, events or radio shows they’ve played - you might be able to get a better sense of their style. Or better yet, use a DJ you’ve heard play at another wedding who kept you on the dance floor all night!
"I wish I established a professional way of communicating with my family member that I also used as a vendor, it caused a lot of stress"
"I wish we didn’t have to do clean up at the end of the night" Advice: Most venues have this in your contract and need everything out that night. This is sometimes a drag when you and your family/friends have to put a halt on your dance moves and help with clean up. Ask your venue about this in advance and come up with a possible solution - maybe you can clean up the next day, maybe you limit the number of decor items you have in total so you can put someone in charge for a super quick pick up. Ask your florist or decor company to come back at the end of the night for rental pick up that you won’t have to worry about, or hire a planner and include clean up in their contract (hey guys!).
Special Note on Vendors: When choosing vendors, make sure you meet them, get a good sense of who they are and legitimately feel a good connection with them. It’s so important to really trust the people that are going to be such a huge part of your day. Ensure they know your vibe and style and that communication is clear about expectations leading up to and day of so no one needs to bother you on your wedding day with questions!
Food + Drink
"I wish I ate more of the food!" Advice: Check in with your planner or venue contact and see if there can be a server at the wedding that has a job to check in on you. It’s so easy to get caught up chatting with all of your guests that you might miss all of the food. If there isn’t someone, designate one of your besties to take care of you! They will be happy to.
"I wish I wasn’t so nervous to speak and could eat my dinner" Advice: It’s hard to say “just don’t be nervous” because that’s not realistic. But, if you know you will be nervous leading up to your speech (that usually falls at the end of the evening), why not start the night off with your speech so you can eat and enjoy the rest of the night without the nerves? All of your guests want you to be relaxed and at ease and the night will be so much more enjoyable for you!
"I wish I took it easy on the drinking"
"I wish I didn’t include shots in the open bar because I got so drunk from people wanting to do shots with me" Advice: If it’s important to have shots at your wedding, set a time that shots can start at. Guests don’t need to be doing shots at 5pm. Tell the bar and your planners that shots can start at 11pm (around the time your late night food is coming out).
"I wish we thought of having alcohol and food on the bus from ceremony to reception for the wedding party"
"We ordered way too much dessert" Advice: This is a big one. Dessert at a wedding (especially when it’s served after a long, sit down meal) often goes to waste as guests are wanting to get up and start their mingling and dancing. Set up a dessert table with coffee and tea instead of having dessert served. The table can be out all evening so as the drinks continue to flow, guests can pick at their favourite dessert. Have bite sized desserts that are easy to eat and don’t require extra rentals for plates and forks.
"I wish I wore a veil. I loved the back of my dress and didn’t want to cover it but looking back, I love how feminine a veil looks." Advice: Look at pictures of other brides (even better if you can find them in the dress you bought) and save the ones you love. If they’re wearing a veil, maybe you want one, if they’re not- then that might not be your style. If the price of a veil is a deterrent at your local bridal shop, get online (Etsy) and find a less expensive option.
"I wish I got the dress I truly loved"
"I wish we had less people at our wedding"
Many people wished they had less people at their wedding and therefore spent less. This is obviously a preference but take the time to think about what you and your partner want and what/who are important to you. When you think about your wedding 5 or 10 years from now - who will you remember being there? I can’t express this enough: invite the people you want to invite, not who anyone else wants you to invite. This is your day.
Time with Each Other
"I wish we made sure to spend more time together throughout the evening"
"I wish we greeted people together and didn’t separate during cocktail hour"
Advice: In advance of your wedding, plan specific moments where you want to pause, just the two of you and take in this moment. Some good times include at your ceremony (you can actually ask your officiant to pause for you, for even 30 seconds to look at your partner and realize the importance of that very moment), before you enter the reception or before your speech. Also, dance together a lot. I always find that everyone has the most fun on the dance floor when the bride and groom are out there as much as possible
Planning + Spending
"I wish we had offloaded more of the tasks to family and friends that wanted to help"
"I wish I didn’t worry about the weather" Advice: It’s out of your control! Have a plan B if your plan includes anything outdoors so you know your planner or venue contact will make the call if it starts to rain. Have some indoor spots for photos picked out. Remember that rain is good luck and some of the best photos involve clear umbrellas!
"I wish I didn’t stress about an extra hundred (or thousand) here or there beforehand because it’s worth every penny"
"I wish I spent less on favours and takeaways or didn’t have them at all" Advice: Make a donation to a cause that’s important to you and your spouse, or be creative and use something that can be used in another area of your wedding (ie. coasters with names doubling as table setting and favours)
Do What Makes You Happy
This is your wedding day that you are going to remember for the rest of your life. Make it personal, do what you really want, spend the extra money, invite the people you love and just do what makes you happy. It is not going to go perfectly according to plan (and that's okay) but it will be one of the best days of your life.