Wrapped Around Your Finger: What We’re Glad We Did

There are many things you hope will go “right” on your wedding day, and regrets you hope you’ll never have. In the end, if you have the right attitude, everything will have worked out swimmingly, even if it didn’t work out the way you’d expected it to. This was the case for us: The wedding was perfect. People are still raving about it. The love in those rooms was stunning, and nobody wanted to leave when the night was over.

However, there are a few shining choices that we are especially happy about. What are those things we’re glad we did?

1. Splurged on food. OK, nothing was really a “splurge” in the strictest sense of the word—our wedding budget, minus honeymoon and rings, came in at just over $12,000. But so often, I hear about people spending the heftiest chunk of their budget on photography, or entertainment, or the venue. We had a split that felt just right to us—about $5,500 of our budget was dedicated to the entire catering experience (25% of our total budget). This included a full open bar (which we are so glad we added at the last minute!), food, service, and rentals. Growing up Italian, food was a central part of all of our lives. We could have done pulled pork, or finger food, or a cake-and-punch reception in order to pay for expensive photographs or a first-class DJ. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those choices—and it’s not that we had a fancy 5-course fine dining sit-down meal, either. We had a buffet with chicken parm and pasta, potatoes and veggies. But when we saw full-blooded Italian Uncle Ladyfingers go up for seconds and heard potato enthusiast MOH Ginger rave about the mashed potatoes, we knew we’d hit the jackpot food-wise.

2. Decided against a photo booth, videographer, and any other number of fun wedding “add-ons.” I admit, I did some last-minute digging into photo booth and videographer prices. We had about $1000 left after paying our obligations, so could we pull it off?

OK, #1: I’m glad we didn’t, because a week later, before we were about to drive my car four hours to the port where we’d leave for our honeymoon cruise, I took it in for an oil change and walked out with a receipt for $900 worth of new brakes and new tires. And #2: I’m really not missing a video or photo booth shots or anything like that. I’m not stuck with a twinge every time I watch a video, like I was before the wedding. I’m totally cool with the fact that we don’t have those extras. Again—personal choice. Not right for everybody, but right for us.

3. Went low on our guest count. I panicked a few weeks before the wedding because we had a roughly 40% decline rate. I thought our friends hated us. I thought I didn’t have enough family or friends there. I wondered if perhaps we should have allowed children, or invited my dad’s two friends I’d never met, or opened the list up to a few more people. I thought it would look chintzy, only having 50 people there. Wow! I am so glad we stuck to our guns on that guest count. The room was so much airier without the two extra guest tables. We were able to move the buffet table into the room rather than risking it outside. We got to hang out with everybody. We got to have actual conversations with our guests. And while 80 is still a manageable number, and we would have had quality time even with a 100% acceptance rate”¦ I’m so happy that we had 50 people at our wedding. For us, it truly was the perfect number.

4. Stayed at a hotel far from the rest. I read accounts of people hanging out with their guests back at the group hotel, or kicking it at an after-party. I thought, is it lame that we’re not doing that? Is it un-hospitable? But our friend had gotten us an ocean-view room at the luxury hotel where she works, at her dirt-cheap employee rate. Because we had eaten dinner at 4:30 p.m. and it was now 10, we were starving. So we ordered room service and I peeled off my gown. I took a 45-minute shower where I rinsed all the hairspray out of my hair and used about 28 cotton balls full of makeup remove to de-gunk my face. I ate half my room service burger and promptly fell asleep. Did I wish we were hanging out until the wee hours of the night? No, man: I was exhausted. Oh—and it was nice to hang out with my new husband. Yeah, there’s that.

5. Chose to have flowers professionally done rather than DIY. I toyed with the idea of ordering and arranging all the flowers myself. A few months into planning, I chose instead to hire a professional florist to do the deed: another Grade-A decision. I barely had time to breathe, much less rush to the venue trying to keep flowers alive and arranging them amidst all the additional hustle and bustle. We arrived at the venue, and our bouquets were waiting in the bride’s room for us. Our coordinator took the bouts and wristlets to the dudes and moms, and handled that. Our centerpieces weren’t the biggest, lushest things in the world, but they went perfectly with the antique bottles and vases I’d collected throughout the year. With the garden setting, it was perfect – and I didn’t have to do a lick of it myself.

6. Chose a caterer who did all the decorating, setup, breakdown, and cleaning for us. See #5, above. Granted, it was less of a choice and more of a, “Holy crap, the first caterer we looked at has great food, great prices, and does all this? Sold.” So I guess I’m just glad we found them. Yay awesome caterers!

What about you—what went especially right on your big day?



Mrs. Ladyfingers

Saint Petersburg, FL
Wedding Date:
November 2011
Rehearsal Dinner Decision
So. Much. Felt.

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  1. hyena Member
    hyena 2537 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:50 pm

    Great post LF! We also didn’t hire a videographer — just had Mr. H’s uncle film the ceremony, and we’ve watched it exactly once since we got married 10 months ago. No regrets! We also stayed at a hotel far away from everyone else. I think we would have had fun if we had done some sort of after party since our wedding wrapped up pretty early in the evening, but it was so nice to just get to our room and have dinner and relax knowing it was all over!

  2. honey Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:56 pm

    Ahhh reflections…I loved reading this :) Always good to come out on the other side with the feeling of great decisions.

  3. turkey Member
    turkey 654 posts, Busy bee @ 3:24 pm

    Great post. I really like to hear from brides when they reflect on the decisions they made. So glad to hear you made so many decisions you were happy with (big ones, too).

  4. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:26 pm

    Wow, I’m glad you were lucky as for the food decision and how lucky about your caterer!
    At the end what matters is that you had a great wedding.

  5. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 3:41 pm

    Great post, LF. There were so many things that we second guess during the wedding planning stages, it’s good to reflect on how we feel after the fact.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    MsKate, Guest @ 3:49 pm

    Hahaha :) We are doing everything the exact opposite of you guys. We live a long way from our guests, so we are ending the wedding early and then having an “after party”, so we will be with our friends probably until brunch starts!

  7. mole Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:49 pm

    Sticking with a small guest list was our best decision too! That and splurging on the food and drink (something we could do given our small guest list).

    Great post!

  8. Member
    salmonette 54 posts, Worker bee @ 3:54 pm

    Great post! You are reaffirming all the decisions I am making for our wedding this summer! Thanks for reinforcing so many of these for us!!

  9. Member
    Napakitten 137 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:46 pm

    we recently suffered a set back, my finance lost his job 2.5 mo before the wedding, so we are in the process of making cutbacks of the fluff like the photo booth and ice cream sundae bar…so i am glad to hear you really didnt miss it. but we talked and know that people are there for us and not the extra fluff!!!

  10. ladyfingers Member
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:06 pm

    @Mrs. Hyena: That’s the thing about all this, I bet hanging out after would have been fun too! But I don’t have any regrets that we DIDN’T do that, either 😉

    @Mrs. Honey: The best decision of all, of course, being the men we married :)

    @Miss Turkey: It’s all about staying true to yourselves. You can’t make any wrong decisions that way!

    @Coffee cup: Absolutely! My FIL’s friend visited a couple of weeks ago and we all went out to dinner, and all FIL and his friend could talk about still was how great the wedding was. Yay!

    @Mrs. Pony: I know… if me now could sit down and talk to me then, maybe I would have relaxed a little more.

    @MsKate: That’s awesome, though! These decisions were right for us, but not everybody (and my next post is all about the decisions that we made that were NOT right for us! Because there are those, too ;))

    @Mrs. Mole: Being able to splurge was such a relief!

    @salmonette: Yay!!

    @Napakitten: I promise you won’t miss the fluff. The fluff is awesome, and I doubt we would have regretted having it! But in retrospect, it didn’t matter to us (nor our guests) that it wasn’t there 😉

  11. msfox Member
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:54 pm

    Love this. I’m currently freaking out a bit about not having a videographer and likely no photobooth even though I reallly want one. I’m glad to hear that you don’t miss not having them.. and glad that you were so satisfied with your decisions!

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    MissFan, Guest @ 8:40 pm

    Just a quick question about your budget breakdown! For catering, do you mean that you had planned on spending 25% of your budget but then ended up spending $5500 (almost 50%)? How did you juggle things around on the other end of things to accommodate this major change?

  13. Member
    MMHBride 47 posts, Newbee @ 5:28 am

    Wonderful Post!! With 3 months to go, I’m still toying with the idea of hiring a last minute videographer, and I really think your post has made up my mind not to waste that money. I’ve heard from dozens of brides who have been married 2-10 years who have only watched their video one time to never bring it out again. I also agree with choosing an all-in-one caterer. The last thing you want to do is burden yourself and/or your family with set-up and clean-up of your wedding. Again, wonderful post and great tips.

  14. Member
    FutureMrsSpencer 526 posts, Busy bee @ 5:59 am

    It was great hearing about not regretting the photo booth. This is something that has been on my mind since we got engaged and I was still trying to find a way to squeeze it in. After reading your post, I realize that it is not necessary. I love the idea, but it is not going to mess the wedding day up without it.

    Great post!

  15. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 7:07 am

    I love hearing stories of small weddings that worked out for the best. Sometimes I feel a teeeeeny bit worried we made the wrong choice but then knowing that it made your day all the better makes me feel more secure!

  16. porcupine Member
    porcupine 633 posts, Busy bee @ 7:08 am

    Ah, thanks for this post. Your wedding looked wonderful and perfect. And, it’s nice to know all the what ifs fade away, because this week I have been losing my brainz with to-dos and I forgot to dos , should I do this, what if I did this? BUH

  17. coyote Member
    coyote 1960 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:52 am

    Great post LF! One of our biggest reason for booking with our venue is the fact that they do all the decorating/set up/break down, etc. It’s a huge relief to not have to worry about that on our wedding day!

  18. Member
    Missido 813 posts, Busy bee @ 8:56 am

    Love the post! Thanks for sharing all this. I’m glad I went to with a professional florist (who is doing everything, including the drop off etc.). I’m surprised you didn’t miss the videographer though. I’ve been debating whether we should get one, and always thought that after it is all done, it would be great to have a video, but I’m not sure.

  19. ladyfingers Member
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:28 pm

    @Missido: I know people who watch their wedding video, and I’m sure we would have, too. It would have been nice to have it for the musical moments, etc. But we really don’t miss it!

  20. Member
    All In 1550 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:58 pm

    These “what we regret” and “what we liked” posts post-wedding are AWESOME! Thanks LF, and please take note other Bees–we’d love to hear from all of you!

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