They say hindsight is 20/20. So I asked couples what they wish they would have done differently on their wedding day. I expected an array of responses. To my surprise, most people have the same (or at least very similar) regrets. After realizing this, I knew this article was something that anyone planning a wedding could use. Here are the top 5 responses I received when asking, “What would you have changed about your wedding day?”
Spent less on invitations/things that will just be thrown away.
This is a common wedding regret to start out with. I hear this a lot when couples reflect back on their day. Fancy invitation suites and party favors add cost quickly, but are they really worth it? Your invitations will likely be saved by no one (will you even remember to bring a set with you to be photographed by your photographer? In my experience, there’s a good chance that even this opportunity will be missed). I’m lumping party favors into this section too. Why? Because when I leave at the end of the night, the party favor table is often still full of personalized gifts with your wedding date on them. My best advice when it comes to this kind of stuff is to think bigger and ask yourself, “Am I doing this for me or my guests?” Of course you want your guests to be entertained and have fun. You’re providing a free meal and free entertainment already though. Do they really need a fancy invite? Do they really want a beer koozie with your name and wedding date? Some alternatives to consider could be simply cheaper invites, online invitations, a photo booth (so your guests have a souvenir that will remind them how much fun they had).
I think people under estimate how important your DJ is when it comes to the reception. If your guests are anything short of ultimate party animals, your DJ can make or break the dance floor at your reception. You want someone who understands that this is YOUR night, not just a show. By that I mean, their ultimate goal should be to get people on the dance floor, not show off their awesome DJ skills. He or she should be talking to you about what kind of music you want for your reception- and any that you absolutely do not want. Your DJ should be able to read the room. I’ve seen DJs play a slow song in the middle of a hyped dance floor that caused 9/10 people to go sit down (and take a few songs to come back). I’ve seen DJs get on the dance floor and teach everyone a line dance so not only was EVERYONE dancing, now they’ll feel confident at the next wedding they attend to do the same. Ask for referrals- ask your best friend, your cousin, your co worker, your photographer- and then interview these people! Ask them how they do their job and what they pride themselves on. Then always check reviews. 🙂
Made time to enjoy more (and actually eat food).
This one makes me so sad. It’s part of the current wedding culture that I would love to see change. I had so many people tell me that their biggest regret on their wedding day was not making time to enjoy it. You spent all this time planning the exact kind of day you wanted… and then you spent the day running from one event to the next without taking the time to soak it all in. You had to be ready by a certain time, so you let the stress get to you in the morning instead of enjoying getting ready with your best friends (like you used to for high school dances or going out for the night) for probably the last time. You have to have photos done, so you rushed through your first look and didn’t take a 10 minute break to just BE with your soon-to-be spouse. You’re so nervous for the ceremony, you don’t even remember what your uncle said who was ordained specifically for your wedding. You only have a few minutes before your first dance, so you take two bites of the food that you carefully selected for your dinner (this specifically was the most popular regret in this section). You have your first dance, mother-son dance, father-daughter dance, toasts, cake cutting, a dollar dance, bouquet toss, and garter toss to do before your photographer leaves so you miss spending 5 minutes with your grandparents before they leave at 9pm. You get it. Make sure when planning your day, that you also plan time to enjoy it.
This wedding regret was met with resounding applause. Smaller everything. Less guests. Less friends (more like acquaintances). Less venue. Less decor. Less expectations. Some even went as far to say they wish they had eloped instead of having a big, traditional wedding. There were a few different reasons given for this. One was that they wanted more time with their new spouse. Totally understandable. There’s been multiple weddings that I’ve photographed that after the first dance, the couple isn’t around each other for the rest of the night. They’re pulled different directions and don’t see each other again until the end of the reception. One of my past brides said that she wishes they would have had a very intimate ceremony and spent more on a longer, international honeymoon so they could savor each other’s presence more. Another reason was simply to save money. After everything was said and done, some couples have expressed that they would have rather saved money for a down payment on a house than feeding 300 people on their wedding night. Stress was another big factor in this regret. The bigger the wedding, the more people, the more money spent, the higher the chances for stress on what should be a fun, happy day.
Did more research before hiring a photographer/videographer.
My favorite one to talk about. Obviously I’m a photographer and I’d love to say, “Book me as your wedding photographer- problem SOLVED!” But the thing is, I’m not the best wedding photographer for every couple. No one is. You have to do some research. I recommend starting by going through some portfolios and finding photos that you can imagine yourself in. Look at shooting and editing style. Ask friends for referrals. Ask vendors for referrals. Then TALK to some photographers! See who you vibe with. You will likely spend more of your day with your photographer/videographer than your spouse, so make sure it’s someone that’s going to add to the overall experience of the day. Ask about backup systems in place. Ask about their experience. Look at their reviews. LOOK AT FULL GALLERIES/VIDEOS!
You should have a small version feeling of “this is the one” every time you book a wedding vendor- no exception here. Hearing from someone whose wedding was around 30 years ago that she wishes she would have had video because she doesn’t really remember her wedding day and hearing the story of someone who got married 5 years ago that hates her wedding photos is what inspired me to write this article. Take the time to do some research and don’t make a decision solely based on price, especially with photo and video. Photos and video will be the only things you have to help you remember all of the events of the day. It’s really important to feel confident in your decision with these two vendors.
Ultimately, I think the best way to have ZERO regrets after your wedding day is to ask yourself this one question, “What is most important to US?” Are invitations important to you as a couple? What about you and your guests dancing the night away? Spending quality time on your wedding day with your spouse or grandma or your mom’s coworker? Photos and video? Prioritize what you spend your money and TIME on (ESPECIALLY time). Don’t do something just because you think you “should.” Do it because it means something to you. How do you want to remember your wedding day?