It’s #weddingwednesday so, here’s another wedding themed post for ya’ll.
As I was planning our wedding and even now, all over my Pinterest page, I’ve been bombarded with all these “Things Brides Regret Not Doing (or Doing) at their Wedding” articles. I can’t really say I agree with all of them and I’ve read hundreds so, if you’re planning a wedding and find me to be a reliable source, first of all, thank you and second, let’s jump in and get to it!
#1 Paying Extra For Non-Watermarked Photos
I’m not sure this is actually a thing? I mean, surely I hope not! Our photographer did not even have a watermark option. If you’re dealing with a photographer or company who is giving you a watermark vs no watermark option for your photos, paying extra for non-watermarked photos should absolutely be done. Even if you’re trying to save as much money as possible, you’re not going to want to print photos with a giant watermark all over them and these are photos that are only going to happen once so you don’t get a re-do!
#2 The Videographer
I’ve read that most of the time people regret having a videographer because they haven’t even watched the video (even) years after their wedding or believe that no-one cares about the video besides the Bride and Groom so they didn’t want to spend the extra money. Some couples might also only care about having the pictures and think that’s enough.
I can tell you the biggest regret of my wedding would have been NOT HAVING A VIDEOGRAPHER. But I also think that this is a decision that should be made based on who you are as a couple and where your priorities lie within your wedding budget, because yes, a videographer is expensive.
Joey and I are video people, we love making videos of our travels and experiences so right off the bat we couldn’t imagine our wedding day not being captured on camera in that way. We actually made a deal with our videographer where we asked him to catch all the raw material and just give us the memory cards after the wedding, we didn’t need him to edit anything for us (although he did end up sending us his own wedding highlight because he’s amazing like that). Because we like making videos, Joey wanted to make our video himself (which he did and you can watch here). This allowed us to really put together a complete video of our wedding, showcasing just how fun every moment was, from top to bottom. It also allowed us to put in the actual music we played during certain parts of the wedding so years from now we really can re-live our wedding day because the overall vibe is captured for us forever.
BUT say you don’t know how or aren’t interested in building your own video- let me continue to convince you that having a videographer is worth it. Even the 10 minute highlight video our videographer sent us was breathtaking and would have been more than enough. There’s something so beautiful about seeing the live moments of your wedding day, being able to see yourself walk down the aisle and see the movements and cheers of your guests, watching your dress and veil sway in the wind, these are moments that video catches that photos would never do justice. Take for example, photos of people hugging and embracing, photos don’t really capture the happiness of the moment, you’ll only get a still photo of the back of someone’s head and half the face of the other person. If you have a video, you watch and see the build up and the excitement of watching one person walk up to the other, see the way the person not just hugs the other, but squeezes them, smiles, and even cries as the two embrace. Those are the special moments I loved rewatching in our wedding video.
Also, it is the best day of your life, so why wouldn’t you want to relive the day over and over and over in the best way possible? You can’t, IMO do that looking at still photos, but having the live action of the day on camera, it’s just priceless. ALSO- in my experience, it isn’t just the Bride and Groom who watch the video. It’s something your entire family can watch and will watch. Especially your parents, trust me when I say that your day is just as important to your parents as it is to you, and what a beautiful gift to be able to give them as well.
I know I’m going on a tangent here, but I know making any decision when it comes to your wedding is a big deal, so I just want to give you all the facts (as I see them). Another thing to think about when it comes to whether or not you should hire a videographer, is if you’re having special “big/significant” moments. By this, I mean moments that are not necessarily your “normal” wedding moments. For us- these moments were three special dances we did in the later parts of the evening.
The first, was my father-daughter dance. My dad and I took some creative liberties on your traditional dance and had some fun with it. I love that we have the entire thing on video so years from now I can rewatch it and to be honest, maybe every other week my dad texts me that he’s watching it again and thought of something else we should’ve added lol.
The second, was our special entrance, Joey and I changed into a second wedding wardrobe, and then had a special re-entrance into the venue with a choreographed dance with our wedding party to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I would’ve been SO SAD after the fact if we did not have the entire thing on video.
#3 The Dress Switch
To change your dress or not to change your dress….. I know brides are pretty split on this topic. Some people wish they wore their dress longer (especially considering how much it cost) while others wish they’d switch out of their gown to be more comfortable. I changed out of my dress, SO I feel like I can give you some information that will help you make your own decision.
I will preface this by saying, you have to know who you are as a person. Are you going to be paranoid all night if you wear your expensive AF gown and someone steps on it, spills a drink on you, or you possibly tear it while getting down on that dance floor?
I chose to change out of my dress for two reasons. Number one, I knew myself. I love my dress so so so much and knew from the first time I tried it on that I would treat it with the most care. I also knew that because of this, I would be so pre-occupied and worried with my dress (especially during the dancing portion of the night, with so many people so close to me), that it would prevent me from really enjoying the night to the fullest. It would prevent me from being able to relax. I knew I would be heart broken if anything happened to my gown and if it did, I knew it would ruin my night altogether. A little psycho? Maybe.
Number two, my dress had a beaded bodice and long sleeves. It fit me perfectly and I had no trouble raising my arms or anything like that, but I wanted to be able to move more freely without worrying, especially while dancing into the wee hours of the night.
So in knowing myself, I knew I was going to have a second dress right off the bat. I was also concerned that I was spending all this money on my dress so obviously I wanted to get the most out of it. If you are toying with the idea of having a second dress, here are some of the things I did that I’d recommend you do too.
Make sure you get all your main photos and “big wedding moments” out of the way before you change. That way, most of the photos from your big day will have been captured in your wedding gown. Now, I do recommend making sure you also love your second dress and make sure it’s special as well, because there will also be photos taken in this dress. I spent the last 3 hours of our wedding in my second dress, and the only “big” moments captured in it were our special Queen song entrance, Bouquet toss, Garter removal, Anniversary dance, cake cutting, and our send off.
I loved my second dress and loved having it be photographed as well, but made sure the biggest moments of the day were given to my main dress, which after ceremony and family/ wedding party photos included our first dance, speeches, toasts, and then my father-daughter dance.
All in all, it’s your day and ultimately your choice, so if you think you’d enjoy the day more by changing out of your dress at some point, I’d say do it. I have absolutely no regrets about changing out of my dress.
#4 The Open Bar Dilemma
This topic is obviously a BIG one. I’d say you’ll have to make your decision based on three things: your wedding budget, size of your wedding, and whether or not your guests tend to be big drinkers. If you’re not having a huge wedding and/or your guests aren’t big into drinking, not having an open bar will obviously save you a lot of money and would probably be worth it.
We had an open bar, it was something important to us to really make sure everyone had a good time and didn’t feel limited or forced into spending money at our wedding. That being said, Joey and I aren’t big drinkers at all and Joey didn’t even have a single alcoholic drink at our wedding, so we were really catering to what we knew about our friends and family. ALSO, our venue allowed us to bring in our own alcohol, which allowed us to save a lot of money by buying it in bulk at Costco.
I don’t really have a super strong opinion on this one. I really think it’s super situational and would be fine to do either way. You can do an open bar but limit the types of drinks that are served (which would save you money), you could do an open bar for “x” number of hours and then have a cash bar, hell you could even skip the bar altogether if you really wanted too.
Because Joey and I aren’t drinkers, we have just as good a time when we’re out with or without it, and I believe other people should really be the same way- alcohol shouldn’t determine if you have a good time or not so I can totally relate to people not having an open bar and not wanting to spend a ton of money solely on alcohol.
Do I think our wedding would have been just as fun for guests if we didn’t have an open bar? Yes, I absolutely do. But I also think that having an open bar was a nice little addition that we were able to provide our guests. It made me feel more at ease and relaxed leading up to the big day because I didn’t have to necessarily worry about the bar situation. We had all the alcohol bought and our bartender was awesome and able to mix and garnish nearly every drink imaginable, so I wasn’t worried about any of my guests not being able to get a drink they liked.
Sorry I can’t really give you a solid answer on this one, it’s really up to you and what you’re able to make happen. If the cost is going to take away from other important aspects of your big day, say like from you getting your dream dress, I’d skip on the open bar and go for the dress FOR SURE. Making a list of priorities and knowing your wedding budget can really help you determine where you should put your money.
#5 Having A Quality Moment
I’d have to agree with brides who regret not having a quality moment with their significant other on the actual wedding day. It goes by SO FAST, like alarmingly fast. Faster than you ever anticipate and faster than anything you thought was even possible every time anyone you’d ever talked to about your wedding day told you to “soak it up because it goes by so fast.”
For us, these quality moments came twice throughout our big day. First, we chose to do a first look. This gave us “us” time, where we could just talk and hug and solely focus on being together in those moments (more thoughts on doing a first look later). Second, when we changed out of our first and main wedding outfits. Yup, Joey changed too and when we snuck away to change, we left guests dancing and drinking upstairs and snuck away to the bridal suite where my makeup/hair artist and wedding coordinator were waiting to help us change and just take a moment of pause.
No-one followed us and once we were in the room, we just sat down for a moment and really soaked in how much fun we were having, as we listened to the music and the footsteps of everyone on the dance floor just above us.
I’d really suggest finding and actually scheduling quality alone time in your day of timeline, even if only for 5 minutes. And DON’T count on that alone time being when you sit down for dinner. Trust me when I tell you, you’re going to be bombarded with guests and family members the entire time, even as you try to eat. Just expect it and be okay with it, and please don’t let it annoy you. They’re just excited to share a moment alone with you and want to congratulate you and hug you and snap photos with you. Isn’t that why you’ve invited them in the first place? Because you want see them and love them too? It definitely didn’t bother me at all when people came up to us because I was ready for it to happen and had already had the alone time when we did our first look, so I didn’t feel like I was being interrupted or taken away from spending time with my husband at that point.
#6 The First Look
Well, well, well, we’re here now. I’ve read and heard it all regarding the first look. “Don’t do it, don’t you want to see your husband’s face for the first time as you walk down the aisle?” “It’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding!” “Don’t you want to follow tradition?”
I’m so happy we chose to do a first look and every time someone asks me about it, I definitely recommend it. Not only did it give us a big bulk of time to be alone (other than being with our photographers and videographer) but it also allowed us to take gorgeous photos off venue property (we got married in Topanga Canyon and ended up taking our first look photos across the street from the venue on the top of a mountain long before any guests, even the really early ones showed up.)
Because we were alone and able to soak up some quality time pre-wedding together, it also gave our wedding parties some time to mingle and talk and come up with their fun entrances that they’d do later on when entering the lawn for dinner.
Another big “duh I’m doing a first look” for me, was the fact that I knew we’d get majority of the photos out of the way, which would allow me to relax as I walked down the aisle and stood throughout the ceremony. If I messed up my makeup from crying, it was okay for me because I knew that my makeup was picture perfect for the first look. As long as I felt like we got a handful of good shots pre-wedding, I felt good enough not to let myself worry too much about looks for the rest of the day.
Another big plus of the first look, is you save time on your big day. You don’t feel so rushed post-ceremony to get your photos done. After our ceremony we only had to do family photos and that didn’t take too long at all, which allowed us to move on and actually spend more time with our guests. After probably about 45 minutes of shooting our first look together, we finished solo and group shots with our wedding parties as well, all with enough time to be hidden and locked away before guests started to arrive.
Doing a first look gets two thumbs ups from me!!!
#7 The Cocktail Hour Debate
Well this was a tough one for me. You don’t want people to wait too long to eat while you take your photos and you certainly don’t want anyone to get drunk just consuming alcoholic beverages and no food so early on during the event.
Here’s what we did and what I found to work. No-one complained (at least not to me or my family) or even realized after the fact that they were not served hors d’oeuvres at our wedding. YUP, you read that right, we did not serve appetizers prior to dinner and here’s why.
It cost an insane amount of money to provide even the simplest of snacks for our guests due to the contract we had with the venue. We weren’t able to choose simply one appetizer, but rather, had to have 3, and they had a set amount of what would be served. There was no budging on the amount of food we could order and we knew right away that what the package entailed was wayyyy too much food for the size of our wedding.
So we skipped it. I will say this though- why I felt comfortable skipping it was because we knew we’d have done our first look already and would not be leaving our guests alone for a full hour during the “cocktail hour” portion of the evening. Thanks to our day of timeline, I knew they’d have 30 min to get a drink and play some lawn games before we would all be seated for dinner.
Our dinner was also a buffet, where guests were able to serve themselves, so if someone was a little extra hungry, they could choose their own serving size without a problem.
In addition to this, we also had an open dessert table filled with cupcakes and donuts, and chose to serve late night pizza as we all danced the night away. So, after dinner which was at 5:25 pm (quoting my day of timeline here lol) we moved into the dancing arena of the venue at 6:30 pm, where guests could munch on donuts and cupcakes as they pleased, cake cutting and service was at 8:05 pm, and then late night pizza came out at 9:00 pm.
I trusted that my guests would not be left hungry (or thirsty for that matter) at any point during our wedding.
If you are having a full “cocktail hour” and are also having a long ceremony, I would probably suggest having something to serve your guests as they wait. Otherwise, play with your timeline and see what will work best for you and your budget.
#8 Inviting too Many People
I’ve very candidly shared my thoughts on this topic here, so feel free to read through. I sincerely hope it helps you! We ended up having 98 people at our wedding and we invited 100, so I’m not sure that whole “75-80% of invited guests will show” quote that I’d read about in all my wedding books really added up, our percentage was much higher.
I don’t have a real strong opinion on this one, I think it’s totally up to how you picture your big day, like I said in my previous wedding guest list post. I was very happy and very comfortable with the size of our wedding. What we wanted and pictured was a very intimate day where everyone felt comfortable and loved and we had just that. I didn’t feel overwhelmed when greeting people, hell I knew I didn’t even really have to play “host” either, everyone was a close enough friend where our wedding felt like one big party rather than Joey and I having to meet and introduce strangers. That’s what I wanted and that’s what I planned for our wedding day. I think what you want and how many people you invite depends ultimately on how you picture your big day.
I will say that I have read that brides regret having too big of weddings where they don’t have enough one on one time with their friends and family, but have also read that brides have felt limited because of budget and regret not having a bigger wedding. If that’s the issue you find yourself playing with, I’d say save more money and maybe push your wedding date further out if you have too, there’s no reason to rush the biggest day of your life; especially if that means sacrificing things you want.
#9 Not Hiring a Wedding Planner
Wow. I could not imagine not having a wedding planner and am completely in shock that people try and in some cases do, get it done without one. I had a Day of Coordinator who started planning with me about 3 months before the big day. So if you’re not wanting to get a full on wedding planner, at least get a day of coordinator! I highly, highly, highly suggest it!
Read all about my trust issues and worries with handing over the reigns of our big day here , I seriously had some big concerns and came out of it all SO SO SO happy we had a Day of Coordinator.
I would never suggest a bride do it all herself. You could get away with doing a lot for sure, especially pre-wedding, but running the actual day requires someone extra special and capable. My wedding planner was the biggest blessing and happy to say that I’m great friends with her to this day.
If you’re in Southern California and need a wedding planner or day of coordinator, Tiffany is hands down the girl you need!!! You can reach out and talk to her here!
#10 Not Staying True to Yourself
I think this is the biggest and possibly the hardest thing for some brides out there. I don’t think you should in any way feel pressured to have your wedding follow any social norm if you don’t want it too. I don’t think you should box yourself in by throwing a “trendy” wedding if it isn’t your style and if you want to have a taco truck for dinner, I say go for it! You want to skip the bouquet toss? Perfectly fine. And that garter toss seems weird to you? Do away with it too. (We didn’t because it was a funny moment for us, but we made that decision without feeling like we had to do it.)
You shouldn’t worry about what anybody is going to think when it comes to your big day. After all the day is about you and your (soon to be) husband coming together as one and your guests should be on board with whatever that means for the day.
As long as you and your groom have a blast and have planned a day you’re happy and looking forward too, that’s the bottom line. I don’t think you should feel obligated to please anyone but yourselves honestly. If that means your mom gets a little upset that 5 of her friends (that you don’t really know) can’t come, apologize and move on. If you don’t want kids at your wedding, I think it’s perfectly fair to let guests know on the invites that the occasion is an adult only event. You know one of your friends absolutely loves a song that you hate? Straight up put it on the “Do Not Play List” for your DJ.
I also think this takes some reflecting and serious planning on the bride and groom as well. It might be easier to go with the flow and the general outline of your “standard” wedding rather than taking the time to really plan an event that speaks to you and your significant other. Do you want your wedding party to wear your favorite color or maybe something more subtle and then throw in hints of your color elsewhere, and do you even want a wedding party at all? You shouldn’t feel obligated in that regard either. What music do you want to play? I think you’re free to play anything you want, play music you love and hopefully everyone else enjoys it too.
The day should really just relate to you and your future husband. I hope everyone who came to ours truly felt mine and Joey’s spirit and love while they were there with us. Wedding planning can be a challenge, but if you do it right, you’ll end up with the best day ever and one you’ll cherish forever.
Well that’s it for today, any brides out there feeling the same way? Do you have any regrets when it comes to your big day?
Want to read more about how I planned our wedding? Follow these links below.
+ What to Put on Your Wedding Registry
+ How to Add Intimate Details to Your Wedding Day
+ Building Your Wedding Playlists
+ My Southern California Wedding Vendors; a Review
+ Things I’ve learned about Myself while Planning a Wedding
I’m not married or close to it LOL but this was such a fascinating read and I loved your pictures. You looked stunning and it sounds like it was a great day!xx
awww thank you so much!!!! It was truly the best day ever, you’ll have your day and it will be AMAZING and worth the wait!
This was such a useful post – thank you for sharing. Will definitely have to come back and read all of these posts when I am actually wedding planning! xx
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Thank you so much girl!! 💕💕
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Since we had a small wedding (invited 30, only had 24 attend), we purchased all of our booze for the wedding to be able to have an open bar–I believe we spent around $500 which was complete overkill since we still have about 30% of it almost 2 years later. 🙂 The catering company we used gave us the option of hiring a bartender for just an extra $100 onto or our catering fee, so we went with that option. Towards the end of the night, all the catering staff started cleaning up including our bartender, so my husband’s best friend who was also a bartender, started slinging drinks and it was one of my favorite parts of the night!
Two months later we went to a wedding where they had 200+ guests and only had an open bar for the first hour after the ceremony and everyone was limited to 1 drink! It was borderline hysteria during that hour.
Basically, if you can afford to do so, I would strongly advise offering an open bar.
As for cocktail hour, since we had a small crowd we made ours more like a guided tasting. We had 10 different custom canapes that the chef talked about to guests as they snacked while we were getting our photos taken. I even got feedback that the apps were better than the main meal!