Confession: I still look through my wedding pictures a lot.
James made me take down some of the millions that I had spread around our house once we had been married a year, but I still look through them on a more regular basis than I should probably admit. Some would say this is vanity, and maybe it is. But y’all, I loved that day. I hope that it won’t be the happiest day of my life. I hope that someday we will do wild great things, welcome children, hold grandchildren, etc., and that all of these things will contend for the happiest day. But that day in July was pretty wonderful. Everyone told me the day goes too fast for you to enjoy it, but I really and truly did. So many details of that day are etched in my memory, so many perfectly happy moments, so much laughter and joy.
But there are totally things I would change. Not big things, like my dress, or the food, or the venue, or you know, the groom. Yet as I play it over, there are things that I would change to make the day easier, better, or cheaper. Things that I foolishly forgot that caused stress for others, things I thought important that have proved not to be, and things that I would beg anyone getting married to consider. If any of you are in that boat, here’s a list to help you out.
- Just let your wedding party wear what they want. On one hand, I do love that only one bridesmaid paid over a hundred for her dress, and all the girls looked great. But did it matter that all their navy dresses were the exact shade? Probably not. And will I ever get back the years of my life that David’s Bridal took when they discontinued all the styles in the middle of wedding season and we had to track down dresses all across the country one by one? Absolutely not. The men’s suits were no better. Yes, if we had just told them to show up in a gray suit, there would have been multiple shades of gray. Oh, but I still would have been married and stuff.
- Skip the pricey flowers. My flowers were awesome, exquisite, lovely, and perfect. Or so I remember when I look at photos. The flowers never really mattered to me, and having no clear idea of what I wanted before entering the florist, I got swept up in the decision and we ended up spending way too much on an aspect of the wedding that wasn’t super important to me. I loved our florist, and would highly recommend her to anyone who really values the flowers at their wedding, but I probably would have been just as pleased with some bouquets from a grocery store. Don’t get carried away with the elements of the wedding that aren’t important to you. The wedding industry exists because they are important to someone, but that someone doesn’t have to be you.
- Don’t think your wedding needs a ___________________. In that blank you can insert whatever ridiculous thing the Internet is telling you that you need. Options include: special named cocktails, unique photo booths, choreographed wedding party dances, hand-made favors, animals fulfilling rolls typically filled by people, an original thing for people to sign, and the list goes on and on. None of these things are bad, but sometimes we get so set on some random thing (usually so we can have detailed photos of it in an artsy Pinterest collage) that we become unduly obsessed. For me, it was that my wedding needed to have a “graphic identity.” When the invites came and the printer had printed part of the cards purple-blue instead of navy, I collapsed into a pile weeping that he had “compromised the graphic integrity of our wedding.” WHAT THE WHAT? I wanted an entire graphic suite of paper documents that would be coordinated and spread across a piece of distressed wood and strewn with flower petals. Because obviously, all of my guests were going to save every paper item from our wedding, lay it out, and praise my overarching graphic theme. The friend who designed our invites was a true sport and worked everything together, but I still let something so small become so big. Life lesson: If you become a crazy, you will drive other people crazy and cry a lot.
- Reserve tables for your people. Somehow, in the rush of wedding madness and the flurry of last minute rsvps exceeding our table capacity, we didn’t think to reserve any tables for the wedding party and our families. We planned on having no place cards for the majority of the guests, given the laid back garden party atmosphere of our reception, but this oversight meant that I didn’t get to sit with my parents at the reception and that my brother had to oust a table of college friends so some older family members could have a seat. Surely we had some shabby chic chalkboards somewhere that could have said “Reserved for family” and sat against a mason jar in the middle of a table.
- Put someone clearly in charge of the reception.This is tricky. A bad or controlling DJ will kill your party. You will be trapped on the dance floor doing called dances like the Cha-Cha Slide indefinitely. But no one in charge will kill your mother, or at least mine. In my mind, it was going to be spontaneous order. I had a very detailed schedule that I had distributed and our friend who was DJ’ing knew the flow. But I didn’t really communicate that to anyone or pick someone from our bridal party to be master of ceremonies, so basically I had a circle of bridesmaids, friends, and family who had to dash around more than they should have.
But on the whole, I wouldn’t change much, especially not who I ended up marrying.
What about y’all, what would you tell someone to do differently?
We had Zach & Betsy over for dinner last night and after all this time we still raved about how fun we had for your wedding weekend!
: ) I’m so glad!!! You all were too fun to have — and Aaron and his height were VERY helpful!
Lots of things, but mainly…plan the food first. I had some wonderful friends who did food for the reception when we were a month away and had no food…it was all so expensive! They were wonderful, but really stressed out.
Food is so important… doesn’t have to be fancy but I love eating! : )
My wedding was spectacular…but there are little things I would change. And one big thing…I think I would have chosen the other dress that I considered. I don’t REGRET my dress…but I can’t help imagining what the pictures (always the pictures!) would have looked like if I’d worn the other dress. I think I would have been able to eat more because my dress was one of those ridiculous lace up contraptions. Which meant I could not hold any more food after scarfing down some appetizers. Ugh. That alone would have made it worthwhile to choose the other dress.
[And then I had to go find pictures of your wedding dress, which was totally lovely by the way.] Being able to eat in my dress was one of my big criteria when I was searching. That, and not having to wear any special undergarments to get in it/ keep it on.
Our wedding was a bring and share which meant that we had AMAZING food, split the cost, and I coordinated it all so that we didn’t face 81 quiches and no desserts. No one minded, ahs the day was awesome. There is FAR TOO MUCH hype and pressure around weddings. Ultimately tree ceremony us the most important part followed by a glorified ‘knees-up’ with your friends and family to celebrate. We did the whole wedding (with breath-taking silk dresses made by my mum and 250 guests) for under £3,000 – everyone had a great time and we didn’t break the bank or get stressed out- I’d heartily recommend this route. I loved our wedding day.x
That sounds so good! I am all about potluck events anywhere, anytime. Although, 81 quiches just wouldn’t even bother me at all.
Aww, you’re such a cute couple and you were such a beautiful bride! I look at our wedding photos all too often too… and my husband was thinking ahead as he cut down the amount of pictures we developed before hand; I would have developed every sinlge one.
I’d probably change many little things if I could, but most importantly my attitude; sleepless nights and the fear of everything going wrong… it never does!
Thanks! We were pretty happy. : ) I solved the sleepless night issue the week of with sleeping meds that week. Sounds bad, but I knew I would be a wreck otherwise, and for nothing!
I loved my wedding! Not sure I’d do much differently, I splurged where it was important and saved where it wasn’t. The little things that went wrong are memorable now, like my sister and bff gettin stuck in an elevator! The weather was crappy but nothing I can change. My photos were amazing but working with our photographer afterwards was frustrating.
Good job!!! And those stories get funny after the fact. So sorry though that your photog was difficult afterwards!
Thanks for the honest evaluation. I’m not married, but I’ve watched friends stress themselves out to the max planning their own wedding or a friend’s. I’ve always thought ‘there must be a better way’ though I’m sure, given the chance, I’ll do the same thing!
There is a better way for some stuff, though the fact remains that the logistics of getting a bunch of people somewhere, at the same time, having places for them to sit, and some food to eat, can be tough planning no matter who simple you keep it!
Such beautiful pictures! If I were doing it all over again, I would tell myself not to stress out so much in the week leading up to the wedding. Everything was fine and everything worked out beautifully, but I almost gave myself a stress heart attack in the process.
Isn’t it so much easier to decide not to stress in hindsight??? Because then everything felt SO IMPORTANT and SO EASY TO MESS UP.
Confession, I look at my wedding photos a lot too 🙂
Here is what I blogged about it on our first anniversary:
It’s just too fun not to look at them!
I agree with this! I know for me, I really realized the day of how tedious certain things were. I didn’t have the right flowers in my bouquets and the center arrangements didn’t turn out as planned. I was still gloriously happy! How can you not be? There are so many right things about that day even when little things go wrong!
So true! I remember feeling that it was SO IMPORTANT that we have special toasting glasses… that we forgot to even get out for toasts. : )
Oh, Hannah! I laughed out loud about your “graphic identity.”
I would change almost nothing about our wedding planning and wedding day. But I would definitely have gotten a better photograph taken of me with my mom. It still breaks my heart that we don’t have a good one of the two of us on that day. And I think I just didn’t let her know how much I loved her that day. I know she knows, but I wish I could go back and do that.
Also, I look at our wedding photos all of the time (and also just pared down on the framed ones in our house). I think it’s perfectly okay to do so! 🙂
Girl, I was not even kidding around with that graphic identity!
You know, I have heard multiple people say that I and I am so glad I grabbed one with my mom. I try to always make a special point of that when I do other people’s weddings because the MOTB is usually dashing about all day.
How can you not look at them when you pay so much and wait so long for them??
ME TOO. I don’t have a photograph just of me with my mom! That is really the only thing I regret about my wedding day. The rest was absolutely perfect.
I’m glad to hear I am not the only one who looks at our wedding pics a lot. I look a lot because…
(1) It may partly be vanity, but lets be honest, after months at the gym, laying out and professional hair and makeup, it’s nice to see myself looking better than I do most mornings as I run out the door with a hair in ponytail and a wrinkled cardigan. So, maybe not vanity, but atleast absolute relief that I occasionally look put together…you know, on big days like weddings, ha.
(2) I still have to order my album (been married 9 mths) so I am looking to decide which pics I want
(3) it was a happy day– and I prayed to meet my husband for years, so I love seeing God’s faithfulness in those photos!
(4) I love parties– I love just seeing the pics of everyone having a good time and the details coming together. I love seeing those action shots for other weddings too.
For the record, I totally enjoy seeing other people’s wedding pictures too!! So I don’t feel too guilty…
Totally true — it was definitely a beauty high point. Especially because year one of marriage meant wayyyyyyy too many cookies and cups of hit cocoa, leaving this body not in the best of shape.
Make sure to order it!!! So many people forget and then eventually lose the cd or have a hard drive crash and lose everything.
I DIYed all my flowers and it’s the best decision I made!
See, I have ZERO flower skills. Like, making them look nice in a vase is an ongoing struggle for me. But I could probably have recruited someone!
My husband, Jim, and I will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary in June and we just now hung up our first wedding photos … and now I can’t stop looking at them so you are definitely not alone with still loving your wedding photos! 🙂 It really was the happiest day of my life, and no matter my mood, when I think of my wedding day an instant smile comes across my face.
Advice for other brides …. Get a wedding videographer!!! This is the one thing we didn’t do that I regret constantly. I’d love to be able to pop in a video and watch us say our vows to each other. We have the memories, but I’d love to be able to watch and relive those moments over and over again!
When my husband and I got married in 2005, we were just out of school, broke, and didn’t care. We ate barbecue food off of plastic plates in the multipurpose room (read: gym) of our church on the hottest day of the year. There was no theme/scheme/artistic vision. My dress was under $200 from J. Crew. We rode away in his old Subaru. If we were to get married now, we would just have a dessert/drinks reception in the evening somewhere with lots of dancing. I would still have an off-the-rack dress. It might have some sense of style. But if we had that wedding now, we would have missed out on 9 years of being married, and I wouldn’t want that at all. Our casual, cheapy wedding was what we were then, and I love that about it.
That said, I wouldn’t have used flowers as the centerpieces. So much expense! Maybe a cake at each table? No serving fee, plus edible centerpieces, amirite?
I support all edible decorations. : ) And BBQ- ALWAYS.