Even though there were so many things we were super pleased with, there are a few nagging things I would have done differently if I knew then what I know now. Disclaimer: None of these things ruined the day. Nobody even noticed. The wedding was still a total and complete blast. And we still ended up married — bonus! But here are a few things that, in hindsight, we might have considered a bit more.
1. Having a dance floor. We were adamant that we did not need a dance floor. We initially brought it up to our caterer, mostly because of the way our space was defined. There wasn’t enough room in the main room for guest tables, food, and dancing, but we didn’t want to plan to seat guests outside because we didn’t know what the weather would be like. So instead, we decided to seat everybody inside and have the dancing outside on the deck. We asked about a dance floor, but the price was totally ridiculous. The caterer said we wouldn’t need one, they’d done weddings there before, and it was fine. People would dance. Then, our DJ expressed concern over the lack of defined dance floor. He said people might not dance. I pish-poshed. And it’s not that people didn’t dance, but they didn’t dance in the CENTER, where the dance floor sorta kinda was. They danced over in their little individual groups, skirting the edges of the deck. The important thing is they all had fun, but sometimes I felt kinda lame dancing in the middle by myself. I tried to set the tone, but it usually didn’t catch. There were songs I loved that I sat out because there wasn’t any central dancing. And we don’t have the “Dance Party USA” shots that I love so much from other brides’ recaps — we have some nice slow-dancing shots, and a couple of dancing shots that make it look like nobody was dancing. Maybe we could have swung a dance floor, or rearranged the space. It wouldn’t have been so terrible to have everybody sitting outside. But it is what it is.
2. Been more clear with the DJ about our “big moments” and what we wanted to hear. Our DJ was a friend of one of my bridesmaids, and though it’s not a hobby, it’s not his primary job, either.
He moonlights, and he had all the equipment, and he was super affordable. So we went with him — and he did a great job! He wasn’t cheesy or embarrassing and he didn’t play loads of country when we told him not to, or the “Chicken Dance” or the “Macarena” or anything. But he did blank out on playing our cake-cutting song — “Pour Some Sugar on Me” — during the cake cutting. This may have been because we did the cutting about a half-hour earlier since dinner ended sooner than expected, and perhaps the catering manager could have communicated better with him. But it was weird hearing it 30 minutes later, on the dance floor. He also started out the dance sequence with a song dedicated to my bridesmaid and her husband — his friends — which was either Flogging Molly or the Dropkick Murphys, which are two bands that not a ton of people are familiar with, so the only people dancing were my bridesmaid and her husband. It didn’t really set the tone very well. And he played a decent array of songs, but I felt like so many awesome tunes were missing. I shied away from making a blow-by-blow playlist and figured he’d get the hint when we listed a few “must-plays” like “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” But he didn’t really, and I wish we had been a lot more specific.
3. Set better expectations with regards to photographer. Our photographer was great, but I wish I had gotten a clearer picture of the timeline and what would happen post-wedding. I didn’t realize she was editing more than our initially agreed-upon 15 per hour (the flat package that we were able to afford), so when we got to 119 photos and I still didn’t see 90% of the “big moment” shots, I panicked. She also opened our gallery early and added shots gradually , to the point where more than four weeks went by between the first pictures we saw and the CD being sent to us. It would have been a lot more stressful if we had set expectations up front and been clear that we didn’t need to see anything until they were ALL done. I would have saved myself a lot of time throughout the work day obsessively going to the gallery and reloading-reloading-reloading to see if there were more shots.
Well, three ain’t that bad, right? These regrets are super minor, but something to think about nonetheless, especially if you’re working with less-established vendors. Everybody told me I was being ridiculous giving our photographer a detailed shot list that included “ring exchange,” “father/daughter dance,” and “bouquet toss” — but I’m glad I did, because you never know. And everybody told me it would be overbearing to hand over a long list of music to the DJ — but there may have been a happy medium I could have struck, had I been more courageous.
At the end of the day, everything should feel perfect — and with the right mindset, it will! None of these things cast a pallor over the day, or hang heavy in my mind when I look back. And that is the true important thing of the day.
Is there anything you might have done differently looking back? Anything you’re worried about going in?