Here's what these women would change if they could do it all over again.
After two recent weddings, I have two very conflicting thoughts on what I might have done differently when planning my own wedding. One friend got married in a registry office and had a meal afterwards with family. Although I loved our wedding, I can’t help but be envious of how little this wedding cost and how at the end of the day we are just as married as they are. The other friend pulled out all the stops and even had a hypnotist at the wedding! I wish I’d thought of having some form of entertainment. As I wasn’t drinking, it really filled that time between dinner and the band.
Things I learned in retrospect – if little things go wrong, the only person that will notice is you. Don’t spend ages taking posed photos and missing the fun, the candids are usually the best. A calming Prosecco steadies the nerves. A party outfit is a good idea – as are flats. There are always going to be things you’d do differently in hindsight, or want to do all over again, but none of that matters. It’s just one day, and it’s only the beginning. But it’s a day you’ll never forget for better or for worse, so make the most of it.
I got married last month and wish I had known how quickly my wedding day was going to go. Before you know it, it’s over so if I had my time again I would have a few more pinch me moments of reflection to take in what was happening around me. Even if that’s five minutes in the loo! It’s also important to find some time with your new husband on your own, whether that’s sneaking off for a few pictures with your photographer or in the drive from the church to the venue.
I have one *huge* regret from my wedding day – I was having a civil ceremony and a friend advised me to put an earlier time on the invite so that people wouldn’t arrive late. I took her advice and invited people for 3pm instead of the actual ceremony time of 3.30pm. As soon as I sent out the invites, I immediately regretted it but it was too late and I didn’t know how to take it back. I hate that I cared about people being late to my wedding – like who cares if they are, I should have just been happy and grateful they took the time to turn up at all!
I was lucky that the ceremony was in a small hotel with the bar right beside the ceremony room so everyone chatted and had a couple of drinks until I arrived at the actual ceremony time of 3.30pm but I was actually so ashamed that I did that. I wouldn’t advise it at all!
If I was to do my wedding over I wouldn’t let other people influence my choices and I wouldn’t have invited people to please others. There were people at my wedding I’d never met. Honestly, the way I stressed beforehand about making sure the guests were going to be happy was not worth it. Also get a decent videographer and photographer because after it’s over it’s all you have! My big tip now that my sister is getting married is ‘It’s your day’. Do whatever you want not what everyone else wants.
I think my biggest regret was not having a videographer. My thinking at the time was that I found being photographed awkward and was worried that that would come across in the video and be really cringe. Also if I’m honest I was a bride on a mission to have a great wedding day but an even better honeymoon, so cost was a big factor in the decision making. On reflection the day goes so quickly it would have been lovely to capture the day and emotions with some moving pictures. I’ve seen some wedding videographers do some amazing things these days. It’s a little piece of magic.
I found the day a bit stressful but there’s nothing you can really do to avoid that. In-laws are in-laws and there is a lot to get through with getting all your photos done. I maybe wouldn’t have had so many gin and tonics (I only had three) but I hadn’t been drinking or eating much so I was actually a bit spaced at the end and can’t remember some parts as clearly as I would like. The videographer is the best money I spent because you can live back what you missed.
For the most part we did everything exactly the way that we wanted so there isn’t a tonne of things that I would change but there are a few things I think back now I would have liked. The first thing is I wish I had stressed a little less. I let people get to me that I shouldn’t have. At the end of the day, the wedding is about you and your husband and everyone else’s opinions don’t matter. I should have been more vocal when people said things that weren’t warranted.
The second thing is I wish I had written down a list of photos I would have liked to have. My brother in law did the photos and they are brilliant but we didn’t get any photos of the two families together and I would have liked that. There will be things that go wrong and there will be people that don’t show up and others that do that never RSVP’d.
Don’t let it get to you because it will all work out in the end and it will only be a hiccup for a short period of time. The day is to be enjoyed and once you do that, you will have the perfect day.
Make sure there’s enough food and drink for everybody – we didn’t have reception nibbles, and people were a bit squiffy by dinner time. A few canapés would have worked wonders! And also take some time to yourself before all the madness happens. I woke up really early on my wedding day and just sat for an hour or two in the quietness, taking in all my emotions. It was wonderful.
I’m really glad we didn’t pay any heed to traditions we didn’t want to – a lot of people thought it was strange that my husband and I spent the night before together, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world, it was really special. I’m also glad I made a short speech myself, because it was important to me not to only have the men speaking on my behalf!
I felt pressured into having a religious wedding when I didn’t want one, and I am raging about it now. I went to a friend’s humanist ceremony in Dublin City Hall and it was so beautiful and personal – and short! Less than 20 minutes, with their own readings (one was a monologue from a film) and a string quartet playing The Beatles. If your family and fiancé’s family are making you feel like you have to do something their way, it’s not the case – I think sometimes people are just afraid of anything out of the ordinary. Stand your ground, I really wish I had.
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