What I Regret (and Don't Regret) 6 Months After the Wedding

by - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I just finished our wedding photo book and am ordering the prints today, so this officially closes the chapter on all wedding-related craftmaking, planning, etc. All in all, I have overwhelmingly positive feelings about how everything went, but these are my final thoughts on the whole event, which will hopefully be a help to brides trying to figure out what they want.

 I do NOT regret... 


Spending the vast majority of the budget on food and music. Any other spending, in the end, will probably not generate that much of a good time for your guests, and that is really the point. People will tell you that you look beautiful no matter what you are wearing and some creative crafting can make up for a shortage of funds in decor, but there is no way to make up for food that isn't delicious or a dj (or band) who sucks. We barely ate, but I think the food was pretty good, and it didn't take from the excitement of the night. The DJ was our big splurge, and he was worth it. People (including ones we really didn't expect) were out on the floor all night, and that energy was worth the money.


Going for the simpler (and therefore much cheaper) cake. I did notice that people LOVE taking pictures of the cake, but I still feel it is a lot more important to have it taste good. When you are wedding brainstorming, you will see every kind of amazing cake in the world, and you start to feel like that is a necessary element. It really just needs to taste good, and people will be happy.


Being incredibly specific for my Must Take Photographer's list. I gave my photographers a list of what I wanted (especially highlighting things specific to our wedding) made out of other people's lists glued together and edited to death. We really wanted great candids, like pictures of our parents watching the wedding ceremony. We also planned the formal shots within an inch of our life to avoid any extra ones people would want to throw in on the day. I am glad we were so specific, because we didn't have that disappointment going through that they missed a moment that was important to us. I worried that I would be obnoxious or overbearing, but it actually freed me up on the day to let go a little more. People aren't psychic, and you shouldn't assume that what you want is obvious. It never hurts to tell them.

The only picture on the list they didn't get was one with me and my Greene cousins, but that is as much on us as it is them, especially since one cousin came late and two left early, so the window for this picture was really small.


Having the ceremony and reception site 40 minutes apart. This is one we were nervous about. We have gone to weddings where everything is in the same place, and as guests and bridal party, we loved it. It is so simple and convenient! That being said, this really didn't turn out to be a big deal. No one seemed to mind, and we even had two friends tell us later that the mid-day break was actually really nice. I wouldn't recommend a bigger gap in time (because that is just mean), but making your guests drive isn't the end of the world if you love both places.


 The First Look. If you are planning a wedding, you will see this debated to high heaven. My answer is basically to do whatever is right for you. For us, I am so glad we did it because we got a good chunk of our pictures taken before the wedding (so afterward our wedding party and families didn't have to stand around). I am also glad we got a quiet moment just the two of us as the kick off to the day. It felt truer to who we are as a couple. Also, I was incredibly nervous about the church part, because I don't like having an audience, so having the seeing The Boy out of the way was a huge blessing.


Saving our Honeymoon for much later. Ok, this is the only one I can't completely speak to, since we haven't gone on the trip yet, but I am glad that we didn't have the stress (and excitement) of planning travel on top of our wedding planning. It was nice to be able to stick around and chill with family for our first few days of marriage. It was also really great to have another thing to plot once the wedding excitement died down! I love having something new and excitement on the horizon, so putting 6+ months between the two events really turned them into 2 separate pleasures.












Really committing to Crafting. We had a ton of projects- programs, signs, seating cards, and most of all hundreds of fluffy tissue paper flowers. Was it a pain in the butt at times? YES. But a good pain. We fought through challenges together, and the process of putting on a wedding made us closer. It was fun to tackle the wedding as a team, and I loved the last two weeks of crafting with our families and whoever was brave enough to get involved. And the results were so huge considering the cost, and we just had a lot of fun and memory making in the process. My mother in law said that the wedding day goes so fast, so she really enjoys all of the preparations, and I agree with her. It was a great path, so even if the finish line wasn't as great, it would have been worth it.


Having a big old bridal party. I got teased a LOT as the wedding party grew, but I am not sorry. You have to know who you have on board, but if you have a crazypants person in a group of 3, it can be more drama than a relatively chill bunch of 10 (we were somewhere between the two options I think). It does get more expensive. It does multiply scheduling and fitting and taste differences. It just depends what you are willing to put up with, but I am glad we had everyone we did in our wedding party. I got to spend really good time with all of my girls in the course of the wedding festivities, and I am grateful for that. And the groomsmen who maybe would have just been guests turned out to be incredibly awesome, so you just can't knock that.




Spreading out the Pictures. I am so glad that our group pictures all have different backgrounds and settings. I am also glad it wasn't a revolving door of people, but that every group had its own moment. Best of all, I am glad we saved most of the family pictures for cocktail hour, because I could listen to my Dad's band play and watch people play the games as the different groups congregated. In short, we got to be at our own party, instead of still being stuck at the church while all of our guests partied without us. I am so glad we scheduled our pictures in a more creative way.

Getting up Early. Ugh, we were up at 8 AM two days in a row. People had mixed feelings, but if they were too miserable, they could just come later. But, we were never rushing or behind schedule. In fact, more than once we ended up ahead of schedule.

Handing out a Timeline. This is in the same heading as the photographer thing. Just telling people what you are thinking makes all the difference in the world. Also, I think people like to know what is going on. So handing out schedules for our parents, grandparents, and wedding party helped everyone get on the same page. It worked, and I would highly recommend it. It doesn't have to be an iron-clad plan, but having a plan isn't a bad thing.



I regret... 


Not spending more quality time with family at the reception. Ugh, this is the biggest one. I really regret not making a point to spend more time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins when I got to the party. I gave the dj a song I wanted to dance with my Poppop to, but he never played it. I should have asked. I wanted to get a pic with all my Greene cousins, but at the time I didn't have any luck chasing after them. That part makes me sad, and I question having so many guests because you really have to split your time, but I think the truth is it is one day, so you just CAN'T spend hours of quality time with everyone. Especially when they come late, or leave extremely early, or don't want to dance. You can't force them, and you can't convince awkward teens to instantly let go of that. I feel sad about this when I think about it, so I would just recommend you take the time to seek out the people you know you want to have wedding memories with.


Not looking in the freaking mirror (and fixing my bangs and makeup). Oh, the photos of my wedding are a tale of bangs gone wrong. By the end of the night they were just 4 sticky straws across my forehead. I should have taken a minute to just go in the bathroom and look in the mirror. If you are like me and would never think of this in the moment, just ask one of your bridesmaids to pull you aside at some point in the party.


Rushing my Matron of Honor about her Toast. We were already lined up and ready to go when my Matron of Honor realized that the toast she wrote was on her phone in her car. I should have just called pause so she could go get it. The speech she gave was great and sweet, but I read the one she worked on later, and I should have been more sensitive and let her have the chance to do the one she wanted. Somewhere between cocktail hour and dinner I started to get antsy. I was ready to be done with the stuff we had to do and to just get to hang out with people, but that anxiety about still being the center of attention only got in my own way. I should have known better.


Not letting go enough about timing. This is the same thing. Once we got to the party, I should have just let go, but a couple of times I let a bridesmaid rush the dj or to try to keep things moving. I shouldn't have put my energy into that, and instead should have thought about who I still needed to talk to or take a photobooth picture with, etc. This is clearly the overarching regret. 

Not being clear enough with our photographers about our expectations on timing.Our photographers at First Blush Photos took six months to get our photography back to us. When we signed the contract, I noticed they promised the pictures in 3 weeks, which I also knew was a ridiculous promise. I should have set a more realistic goal with them and set an actual consequence for lateness in the contract. What followed was pretty ridiculous, as we then had to nag them for months just to get our pictures. Be EXTREMELY clear with your photographers about your expectations (and ask them for a list of their recent brides), because after the wedding day, they have your wedding pictures. There is really nothing you can do.

So that is it! Six months later and all in all, I feel good about how things went down. My biggest advice to anyone is that it is a party/ celebration and you should enjoy it. As long as you and your guests had a good time and you are married, the whole thing was a success!


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