While I went over some of our wedding mishaps during our wedding recaps, I thought synthesizing all my lessons learned into one post would be helpful for you brides-to-be. So today I’m going to talk about the 5 things that I would change about my wedding if I could do it all over again.
This is not to say that my wedding day wasn’t the most beautiful day of my life so far (because it absolutely was). My goal with this blog has always been to be honest and straightforward, which means sharing both the good and the bad. I’m also hoping that a few of you will benefit from my words of caution (I hesitate to call them “words of wisdom.”). Lest you think me a sour puss, I will be posting my “Top 5 Things That All Brides Should Do At Their Wedding” tomorrow.
Even though we planned our wedding for over a year and I read every “Mistakes To Avoid At Your Wedding” post that has ever existed, our wedding still ran into some unforeseen hiccups. While none of them were event ruining mistakes, they are all super easy to avoid.
#1- Be Honest With Yourself About Your Guest List
In the last few weeks leading up to our wedding, we found out that most of my husband’s extended family was not coming to our wedding. While I had foreseen this since his relatives are all out-of-town, my husband was pretty shocked by it. He was really disappointed that more of his family wouldn’t be there.
Aside from being upset for my husband, I became really anxious after realizing that we would have a lot of extra seats to fill. We had planned all of our details to accommodate 100 guests so it would be a shame not to fill the empty seats. Also, we had a lot of friends that we initially did not invite because we couldn’t afford to go bigger than 100 people.
This led to us sending out a second round of invitations, which of course was a double edged sword. I was so happy to be able to invite more people who I loved and cared about but I was also kind of embarrassed that those friends had been slighted in the first place. On top of that, since our wedding was on Memorial Day weekend, many people already had holiday plans. At the end of the day though, we ended up filling all 100 seats but we could have avoided a lot of drama had my husband been more honest.
As difficult as it is for you to imagine friends and family declining to attend your wedding, you need to be realistic when planning your guest list and count. Do you really think that your grandparents who are ill will travel umpteen hours to your wedding? Will your out-of-town friends who just bought a house spend the money to travel? Will your aunts and uncles who haven’t come to your other life events come to your wedding?
These may seem like harsh questions but you need to be honest with yourself. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you think your family members or close friends won’t come to your wedding. Those seats would be better filled by people who you know will actually come to your wedding.
So even if it breaks your heart to admit that your grandparents won’t come to your wedding, you need to be honest with yourself up front. If not, you will end up with a lot of empty seats to fill in at the last minute.
#2- Discuss Your Videographer’s Location During Your Ceremony
This seems like a no brainer but for some reason it just didn’t happen. A few weeks before our wedding, we called our videographer to walk him through our timeline. He told us there wasn’t any need to walk through it because our videographer would just follow the action. Um, okay. Not the most reassuring answer but we figured he was the expert.
Fast forward to our wedding day, as I arrived at the altar and held my soon-to-be husband’s hands, I looked over to my left and see our videographer standing under the arbor, less than 10 feet from us. While he got some amazing shots from our ceremony for our video, he kind of ruined a few of our ceremony photographs.
Luckily, he moved from behind the arbor when our readers began their reading. This, on top of our photographers’ ingenuity, allowed us to get a few non-videographer arbor shots.
But as soon as the readings were finished, he plopped himself behind the arbor again. And stayed there through our first kiss.
Gah, this picture makes me so mad every time. Why would you stand there?
Anyway, even if your videographer insists that he doesn’t need to know the details, you should talk with him about his placement at the ceremony. I just assumed that our videographer would take a back seat to our photographers. And to be fair to him, maybe he thought he was. But either way, it’s better to have a game plan than to rely on a stranger’s last minute decision.
|*Guest Picture–Family Formal Outtake*|
#3- Designate a Family Formal Wrangler
I know, I know, you’ve seen this hint everywhere. I specifically didn’t want to have a wrangler because there’s nothing worse than a relative chasing people around yelling at them. I thought if I gave everyone a schedule of where to be and when to be there it would work.
Seems reasonable, no? Yeah, well, people don’t remember anything and they aren’t good with memorizing specific directions. Even though everyone was informed of when their formal would be taken, we were still yelling for people when it came time for their pictures.
This was largely due to the fact that it was so hot and everyone kept sneaking inside our cocktail hour to get a cool drink. While I did have sympathy for them, I also wanted to strangle a few of them. I’m not a particularly big fan of portraits and we were doing them as a favor to our family members. So needless to say having to waste time searching for them was pretty annoying.
Even though it’s not fun giving your loud mouthed Aunt Jo the green light to hound your relatives, you need a full fledged wrangler to make your family portrait time go smoothly and quickly. I know it sucks but you just have to do it.
#4- Figure Out How Long Dinner Will Take
Although my husband and I, along with our amazing photographers, made an intricately detailed timeline, we never actually discussed with our wedding planner how long dinner would take. I’m not sure why. I guess we just assumed that the reception events would unfold naturally as they were outlined. Cut to our dinner and I’m freaking out because I feel like dinner is taking too long and I want our guests to be able to dance.
In the end, my husband and I ended up cutting out our toasts to one another so that we could get the reception moving. Looking back, I regret not making those speeches because honestly in terms of time we were right on track with Antrim’s typical wedding timeline.
If we had talked to our wedding planner about the timing of dinner, we would have understood that our guests wouldn’t be dancing until the last 2 hours of our reception. On the top of that having attended a few weddings where the dancing went on for endless hours, I know understand that 2 hours is really plenty of time to dance. I guess the dancing machine in me just took over.
Moral of the story ask your wedding planner how long to will take to serve dinner and make sure to reconcile that will the rest of the events in your reception.
#5- It’s Your Party You Can Toast If You Want To
This is an extension of the explanation above. Since we felt like we were running short on time, we decided to get rid of our toasts. We thought that people had experienced enough of our mushiness with our handwritten vows. Plus secretly I also thought people were tired of hearing about us.
Looking back, I wish we just would have gone with our gut. I probably would have cried the entire time and we both would have become an inconsolable mess. But honestly, there are no other occasions where you get to speak directly from your heart.
While my makeup probably appreciated me skipping these speeches, my mind always drifts to what I would have said and what my husband would have said. Not that those words would change my love for him but I’m sure they would have made my heart skip a beat.
And that concludes my “5 Things I Would Change About My Wedding.” Regardless of this teeny tiny errors, it was still the most beautiful, heartfelt wedding I’ve ever attend. The only thing that mattered at the end of the day was that we had officially become one.
What things would you change about your wedding if you could?