Jul 30, 2021
Hello, lovely people! I hope you’ve been doing as well as can be amidst the swinging pendulum that is Covid-19 and all of its friendly and gregarious variants. Since a considerable amount of my blog posts within the last sixteen-ish months have revolved around how to do the Wedding Planning Dance in the thick of a pandemic, I thought I’d depart from the usual programming to crowdsource a hot topic: wedding day regrets, coming straight from the mouth (or fingertips) of your contemporaries.
I really didn’t expect this one to be as popular as it was. Many people had regrets that they didn’t stick with an intimate wedding like they had wanted all along, instead going for a larger guest list or inviting people that they really didn’t want to invite, foregoing the people they REALLY wanted there.
I wish I could tell you, “It’s your wedding! Do what YOU want!” (how cliche, amirite), but the reality is that the guest list is often a conglomerate of the loved ones of two families– not just of the couple- and sometimes these families are assisting financially as well. It’s quite the balancing act to decide which hills you’re willing to die on when it comes to planning in order to preserve your inner peace, so I do sympathize, and the best advice I can give is: before you agree to anything, really give yourself some time to sit with it to see what is truly, truly most important to you. And use the hindsight of past couples as your 20/20.
I promise I didn’t just put this one in here because I’m a photographer, heheh. Several people mentioned that they went with a more affordable photographer, or “friend of the family”, and regretted the decision. I know this is said so often, but photography (and video) is really the only thing you have left beyond your memories after your wedding day. You don’t get to keep your venue after the big day, your dress is (likely) never to be worn again, and that specific food can only ever be eaten once. But your photos? Those are the ones that’ll shape your memory years and years into the future. Choose a photographer you trust and who’s work you love. Plain and simple.
While both photo & video can seem like overkill, I can tell you from firsthand experience that video captures some kinda feels that photos just can’t. The combo of music with movement can make your stomach flutter with nostalgia. Watching your video, you’ll get to see and feel the joy of everyone present, and remember all of the anticipation and excitement that went into your big day. Particularly these days, where wedding teaser films are all the rage, you don’t have to worry about forcing your friends and family to sit through hours of video coverage when they’d much rather be somewhere else. Whenever I get to talkin’ bout my wedding with a new friend, I can always say, “Here’s a 3 minute video that’ll give you a sense of the day” and it makes me happy to watch all over again, while keeping my newfound friend’s suffering at a minimum.
Many people who responded to my poll mentioned wishing they had done a First Look to get their portraits done beforehand so they could just enjoy their day, while others mentioned wishing they had a later ceremony start time, made more time for the important photos, or otherwise regretted running behind schedule and not sticking to the clock. The best person to help you with this (and keep the stress off you) is a wedding planner. Really. They do this on a regular basis and know how to best plan and navigate a timeline to make sure you enjoy your day. Otherwise, you can chat with your photographer to get a rough idea of how long you’ll need for portraits. My biggest tip: ADD. BUFFER. TIME. INTO. YOUR. SCHEDULE. Does it take 15 minutes to get into your dress with accessories on? Plan for 30. Did the makeup artist give you an estimate of an hour for your makeup? Plan for an hour and a half. It’s better to be earlier than running behind, because nothing will get you (and everyone involved) more frazzled than a ticking clock.
This one was a popular response and I can tell you not just from my experience, but basically most of the couples I work with: MAKE TIME TO EAT SOMETHING. I know that nerves/anxiety/excitement can turn your stomach into knots and make you lose your appetite, but if you don’t stuff some of that deliciousness into your mouth, you’re gonna find yourself starving and hangry by the end of the night. Also maybe dizzy. Also maybe fainting.
I was talking with one photographer recently who told me a story about a couple who didn’t realize they hadn’t eaten until the end of the night, when the kitchen was closed and everything was cleaned up. They ended up raiding a vending machine of snacks. Is that how you picture ending your night? I didn’t think so.
Eat something- either before your ceremony (when there’s a little break) or during cocktail hour/reception.
There were many other regrets I received as a response to my poll, such as not having a second photographer, regretting cutting corners with some vendors over others/not prioritizing the vendors the way they wanted to, not having their hair and makeup done professionally, not having a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, and then overall rushing and rushing and not taking a minute to enjoy their big day.
As someone mentioned (and I totally agree with), ultimately this mega important day is just one day out of the grand scheme of your whole life. It’s not going to be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be because what matters most is the love between the two of you. You CAN, however, try your best to get it started on the right foot… and taking advice from the ones who walked before you is a step in the right direction.