With weddings, as with life in general, it’s good not to have regrets. Even the things that didn’t go according to plan probably happened that way for a reason, and wishing they were different accomplishes nothing but makes you feel worse about everything. I don’t believe in regrets, and, luckily, few things on my wedding day would have entered the category even if I did. That said, I do feel like I learned some lessons and there are a handful of things I would do differently if I was getting married all over again. These things don’t keep me up at night or take away from the wonderfulness of my wedding day, but they may just be able to make your big day even better, and that makes me think they’re worth writing down.
1. BE LESS SERIOUS
It’s not that I would treat the lifelong commitment I was making less seriously or even that I would be more casual with my approach to planning, but I would let myself get a little more fanciful. As I daydreamed about what I wanted my wedding to be like, I’d often remind myself that I was only going to have one wedding ever (fingers crossed!) and that I wanted the beauty of the day to be lasting, nothing trendy or that I’d eventually tire of seeing in photos. As a result, my wedding was fairly classic—as picnics in the woods type of weddings go—and in hindsight, embracing some more eclectic elements may have made an incredibly fun day even more fun. End result?I’d encourage any bride considering a creative headpiece, whimsical centerpieces or a unique ceremony option to go for it. Sometimes you just have to go with what feels fun, timelessness be damned.
2. CELEBRATE MORE
For many brides, wedding planning hits a point where it starts to feel more stressful than anything else. It becomes like the last mile in a marathon, and you just desperately want to cross the finish line and actually get married already. It’s natural, but once it’s over and a bit of time has gone by, you can find yourself feeling nostalgic and like it went by so fast. If doing it again, I’d try to incorporate more celebratory elements into my planning, gathering my girls more often for crafting parties or sitting down with my now-husband over a glass of champagne anytime we had a decision to make. In the thick of things, it’s easy to forget that this is your once-in-a-lifetime wedding you’re planning, and celebrating that fact every chance you can will remind you.
3. START SOONER
Trust me when I say that you can’t starting working on your wedding too early (well, except for maybe before you’re actually engaged). We had two years between our engagement and the wedding day, and I still ended up scrambling on a few things. To a certain degree it’s inevitable, since some tasks can’t be completed until the week of the wedding, but by doing all the things that aren’t time sensitive well before you think you need to start on them, you’ll leave those last few days for just the projects that have to take place at that time. And you’ll probably save yourself some very late nights.
4. HIRE MORE HELP
When you’re trying to keep your wedding to a tight budget, it’s hard to justify hiring people to do for pay what your friends and family are willing to do for free. But justify it I would if I redid “I do”. No, I wouldn’t be hiring someone for everything, but I would hire a couple more people for the preparations the day before the wedding and the day of the wedding. I’d ask around and see if any college or high school students were looking for a little work gig, and have them do some of the tedious stuff that no one else really had the time or energy for. Even paying very well, it would be much cheaper than many wedding costs, and so worth it in my mind.
5. LEAVE MORE TIME FOR GETTING DRESSED
This applies more to the ladies than the guys, but it can be true for both sides. At our wedding the guys ended up a little rushed because they were involved with all our DIY set up (so bear in mind if your groom and groomsmen are also “working” the wedding that you need to make sure there’s time for them to relax and get changed). The girls, on the other hand, had many hours. This didn’t mean we weren’t rushing to get out the door, and I still ended up speeding through my hair and makeup. I don’t need to tell anyone how long it takes five females to get pretty, so I’ll just remind you to allot more time for you and your bridesmaids to get ready than seems logical. I mean, seriously, you might want to start the night before. Kidding…kind of.
Hope my life lessons can help you on your own big day!