By and large, we had an amazing wedding—one that I still look back on with pride, joy, and love. When you plan a wedding you are coordinating so many minute details, and most of the time you have no idea how these details will come together on your wedding day. Even as lovely and amazing our wedding was, things still went wrong. Something will always go wrong. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but please understand that it’s impossible for everything to be perfect; you have to learn to live with your day, for better or worse. Hopefully it’s for the better! And look at it this way, sometimes the things that go wrong (like our glow stick exit) make some really awesome memories later!
In the spirit of learning from those who have gone before you, I’ve compiled a list of things I would consider changing if given a second chance. Last week I wrote a post that mentioned some decisions that I’m glad that we made. But these are just my personal regrets, so yours or another bride’s may be different. Some are just wishful thinking (like the second photographer) as we were already over budget and there was no room for added luxuries. Some are just hindsight and some are correcting stupid mistakes. Speaking of stupid mistakes, remember my sparkler exit vision?
Image via Jonathan Hoffner Photography
Keep Important Items Organized
After spending $70 on extra long wedding sparklers for our sparkler exit, I accidentally left them in the trunk of my car. My car was parked at the Hotel Indigo in Athens, about 30 minutes away from the venue. At the time, we weren’t sure where the sparklers were located. We had several boxes packed with wedding decor and personal items (including lots and lots of milk glass, vanity mirrors, silver trays, etc.), and the venue coordinator was searching frantically through our things to find them. I figured that they had to have been left at the apartment and my poor dad even sent a friend back to our place to search for them. In the end, we had an impromptu glow stick exit, which while not as romantic, still did the trick! Do I mourn the amazing photo opportunity we missed? A little bit, yes. Am I over it? Yes. I was able to find another local bride to sell the sparklers to so I was also able to recoup my costs. Otherwise we would have had one wild Fourth of July sparkler party!
Keep the Party Going
I’m pretty sure this is one complaint that every bride and groom have after the wedding: it was over way too soon. It seemed like my brother (the DJ) got everyone on the dance floor and then about five minutes later it was time to go home. OK, it wasn’t actually five minutes, but it sure felt that way. I wish we had paid our venue for another hour so that the party ended at midnight instead of 11:00 PM. I know time would still fly, but I would have really loved another hour of socializing and dancing. Plus, you spend so much money on everything, why not go for another hour? If you have the funds and your venue offers this option, I say try to extend your time!
Invite More People
I was terrified that we would have over 100 people at our wedding. It would have significantly increased our catering and alcohol costs. Because of this fear, I was not willing to toy with the 20% rule, even though almost all of our family had to fly or drive in from out of town. In the end we had about 80 people at our wedding, and there were a few local coworkers and friends that I wished that we’d had the foresight to invite. Obviously this suggestion will vary greatly depending on your budget and how many guests are coming in from out of town.
Pay for the Second Photographer
If we didn’t have such a tight budget, I would have really loved having a second shooter. Your photographer is only one person and cannot be everywhere capturing every moment. Moments will be missed with one photographer. Hell, moments will be missed with two photographers, but at least it is less likely. I wish we had a second photographer taking photos during our cocktail hour, which I was never able to experience. I wish we had more photos of our guests. I barely had time to talk to so many of our guests, and now I don’t have photos of them either! But our photographer was doing his best to capture every moment he could and I certainly don’t fault him. That’s why people hire a second shooter.
Enjoy Your Meal
That’s right—like many brides before me, I barely ate or drank a thing at my own wedding. I even vowed not to be one of “those brides.” It was my wedding day and I was going to enjoy myself! Alas, everything was moving so quickly and I felt torn in a million directions, so I never settled down into our first meal, a slice of cake, or even a nice cocktail. For dinner Mr. C and I were taken upstairs to the bridal suite in order to be alone for a few brief moments. We were only upstairs for around 15 minutes, but even without the interruptions of guests I barely touched my food. And how I managed to forgo a slice of delicious chocolate cake will always baffle me. So take my advice: take a deep breath and try to make an effort to enjoy the fruits of your wedding-planning labors!
Skip the Limo
For some reason, I thought we would be drinking at our wedding. I have no idea what could have given me that crazy idea. It’s not like we had an open bar or a signature cocktail or anything. Oh wait, we did. My reasoning was that we would be a little tipsy and shouldn’t drive. It felt weird asking a friend or family member to drive us to our hotel downtown, so we hired a limo. We got a good deal on it, but it was still a very expensive 30-minute drive. I wish we could have skipped the expensive and just driven ourselves!
In conclusion, we don’t really have much to complain about. These things are all small beans in comparison to the act of getting married in the presence of our family and friends. Make sure to always keep sight of what is most important: your marriage. All these little regrets mean nothing in the grand scheme of things!