14 Wedding-Planning Regrets You Can Avoid With A Little Strategic Thinking
I'm going to be real with you: As magical as weddings are, the wedding-planning process is anything but. It starts with the guest list, where you have to decide which of friends are "real" friends (and fight with your parents over which extended relatives you have to include). Then there's the budget discussion, which is always awkward, because, well, money. And finally, the real
fun living hell begins. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration. But just know, brides-to-be: You're probably going to have at least a few wedding-planning regrets, and that's OK.
I had a very "trendy" wedding. Already I imagine my future children asking me why in the world I got married in a barn. Though I don't have any regrets now, who knows what I might think in 20 years? During the wedding-planning process, everything you choose seems to make sense. But when all is said and done, chances are that a few of your choices will make you say, "What was I thinking?" Former brides took to the Reddit AskWomen thread about wedding-planning regrets, and I've rounded up stories from them (as well as from my own friends) that will assure you that every former bride has a regret or two.
The Photo Fail
Cheaping out on many things, but most importantly cheaping out on photographer. A friend with a good camera swore she’s a good photographer. We ended up with, like, five in-focus photos. Not even great photos, but non-blurry photos. We ended up dressing up again the weekend after and took a dozen way better photos ourselves with a tripod, a windshield reflector, and three Ikea lamps so we'd have something to send to relatives.
The Crowded Kitchen
I didn't really want to be one of those brides who makes ALL the calls and I knew I didn't have specific opinions on everything, so I didn't initially take the lead in my wedding-planning. I totally regret not taking charge sooner, because now we have so many cooks in the kitchen for every decision we make. If I had just stepped up to take control earlier on in the process, I think it would have resulted in a lot less stress!
— Hayley, 30
The Dream Deferred
I had dreamed — ever since I was 13 or 14 and saw some piece on the news about black dresses being a trend for bridesmaids or something — of getting married at Halloween in a big black poofy princessy dress with a bouquet of black silk roses and maybe (if the weather cooperated) getting married in a local botanical garden.
HOWEVER... because I am oldest and I've had to 'set a good example for my siblings' my entire freaking life, what I really wanted didn't matter. I had to do the correct thing and get married in a church, in a white dress, with red roses (silk, because I can't stand the smell of roses. They remind me of funeral home).
The Shy Bride
I didn't really want a wedding. I wanted to be married, but I hate being the center of attention so I didn't want an actual wedding. My mother talked me into a small thing with close friends and family in the park and then a restaurant afterwards. It wasn't terrible, but I wish I had either stuck to my guns and not done anything, or I had gone a slightly more traditional route with invitations, gift registry, and just more formal planning in general. As it was, I still had way too much planning stress and time spent with my mother, but didn't get any presents in return for that. If you're going to do it you should fully commit to the whole idea.
The Busted Budget
Spending too much money. I could have cut costs in lots of places but I wanted my 'dream wedding.' My dream wedding would have been just as good at a cheaper venue with cheaper flowers and a cheaper dress. I forgot the point of the day and got caught up in how it’d look.
The Smothering Mother
I let my mom bridezilla too much. I definitely let her have too much control and I regret that.
Specifically two instances that I’m still salty about:
1. She made me invite people I didn’t want there.
2. She sabotaged my registry process by making me register at Crate and Barrel in addition to Target and only have out the Crate and Barrel registry. So we were poor college students with a bunch of really expensive plates and napkins and placemats and other random expensive stuff, like a spice rack. It’s nice to have now that we’re in our 30s but I would’ve gotten more reasonable stuff.
The Small Stuff
I regret caring so hard about small details, like place settings and centerpieces, when all everyone cares about is dancing and drinks.
— Hannah, 26
The Too-Tight Gown
Not getting a second dress to change into for the dance. My dress was beautiful but very fitted. I kept talking about getting a second one that was more comfortable to wear later in the night but everyone I spoke to talked me out of it. I ended up so uncomfortable that I didn't dance much or eat/drink much for that matter!
The Impossible Standard
... I didn’t want a wedding so much as I wanted to be married. Unfortunately I got sucked in to all the drama of having a 'perfect' wedding but my then fiancé now husband would keep reminding me that the focus needed to be on the fact that at the end of the day, we would be married.
My biggest regret is losing sight of that periodically through the planning and the actual wedding day. I put so much pressure on myself that I didn’t get a chance to really enjoy it. Almost nothing went according to plan but in the end, I walked down the aisle holding my parents hands, laughing and crying in equal measure, and got to marry my favorite person.
The Bachelorette Bummer
Not having a real bachelorette party. My maid of honor was in Berlin, one of the bridesmaids was in Italy, the rest were in San Francisco, and my sister was in South Dakota, so it would have been nearly impossible to get everyone to do a trip anywhere reasonable in advance. But my husband had a great week in Mexico with his best buds, and I wish I’d been able to do something similar.
The DIY Dilemma
I regret the DIY part. Was my wedding exactly how I envisioned it? 90% yes! The wedding itself was amazingly awesome.
That said, the stress leading up to it outweighed the money I saved and the pro that I could have everything just so.
If I would have known the day before and morning of setup would be so intense, I would have paid more just so that I could relax, get pretty, and enjoy the time with my friends and family.
The Bad Hair Day
Not having my hair and makeup done right. I didn't want to fall into the trap of paying 300 times more just because it's for your wedding, so I went to a salon and told them I was attending a wedding as a guest. I should have just splurged on it. For one, I never wore makeup or styled my hair fancily so had no idea what worked, what it should look like, etc. and I wish I'd felt open enough to say, 'Look, I want this to look really good.' Secondly, these photos are for life. Everyone wants to see your wedding photos, and now what they see is my raccoon eyes and a horrible hairdo.
The Impulsive Purchase
Rushing into buying my wedding dress! I was so concerned on having the perfect experience at an expensive boutique with the perfect person (my mom, who lived 1,200 miles away at the time, so we were limited on when this would happen) that I completely rushed and settled. The dress then didn't fit when it came in six months before the wedding. It meant having to buy another dress, which I loved was one-third of the price, but reselling wedding dresses (even my unworn first one!) is difficult and you never make back the full price.
— Sara, 27
The Inattentive Planner
Not getting a wedding planner. It wasn't until I got engaged and spent 14 months unsuccessfully attempting to plan an event single-handedly (Hubby grew up with women who forcefully drilled it into his head that men aren't supposed to be part of the wedding planning process) that I understood just how bad my ADHD was. We ended up with a small, haphazard affair as a result of my incompetency. I want to do a vow renewal at 10 years that will make up for everything our wedding wasn't.
No wedding is perfect, so rather than stressing the details, think about what sort of wedding you would want to attend. You may not like how your flower arrangements turned out, but if your guests had a good time, I think you can still chalk up your event as a success.