I LOVED my wedding. Truly, truly, I did. All of the stress melted away around lunchtime (after a few bridezilla moments in the morning) and I enjoyed everything from the moment I first saw Lucas:
to the moment I fell asleep, still covered in makeup with pins in my hair.
There was a lot I did right. We had a relatively small budget ($12,000) and a short guest list (90). We had no major, can’t-believe-this-happened-to-me moments. But in hindsight, six years later, there are a few things that I would do differently.
1. Splurge on the hairdresser and wear a veil.
I had huge plans for my hair — I’d say it was as important to me as the dress. So why, of all things to scrimp on, did I choose my stylist based on the awesome coupon I found for buy 3-get-1-free? It’s beyond me. Despite a lukewarm hair trial, I stuck with my plans and wound up with bridesmaids who hated their hair (the guy actually cut bangs for my poor maid of honor) and a ‘do that looked nothing like my dreams.
I’d brought in several inspiration photos, and the guy seemed confused at anything other than a standard curled hair look. Where I asked for body and a half-updo, I got poofy bangs (think Bumpit) and a twisted ponytail.
Because I thought my hair was going to be amazing, I opted for a small headpiece instead of a veil, and I really wish I had chosen the veil instead. My wedding had a quick, outdoor ceremony, and we went directly to the reception. I think the veil would have helped make the ceremony feel a little more special, and would have given me more looks for my photos.
2. Better plan the first look.
Lucas and I decided that we wanted to do all of the family photos before the ceremony, so we could go straight from the vows to the cocktails. A wise decision (that and the open bar may have been our best) but it meant that we would be seeing each other before I walked down the aisle.
The photographer hastily organized a sort-of “first look” but it was pretty unplanned, and I only have two or three photographs of what turned out to be the most breathtaking moment of the day for us both. I hadn’t expected to get so emotional — it was the only time I cried all day — and I think we could have made it more special by planning a more formal first look for the cameras.
3. Change into a reception dress.
I really did get my dream dress, after a lot of searching — and the shocker is that it only cost me $500! I had my heart set on a Maggie Sottero that was way out of my budget. My mom found an online store that sold knockoffs, using high quality material. I took a risk and ended up with an amazing garment that was even better than the real thing (I was able to customize some of the elements). But it was strapless, had a big, poofy bustle, and turned out to be quite heavy and difficult to dance in.
And dance, this bride did.
The bustle broke on the dress after just a few songs, and I found myself pretty uncomfortable…pulling up the bodice all night and pushing people off of the skirt. I wish that I had kept the formal dress on through dinner and toasts, and changed into something more party-friendly for the rest of the reception. Plus, it would have given me more looks for the photos!
4. Pick a different cake vendor.
We splurged on the cake, picking the hottest vendor in town. And yes, we enjoyed it.
But if we came close to a wedding day disaster, this was it. The cake was smaller than what we’d ordered, had the wrong color and design, and because it showed up two hours before it was scheduled, there was no room in the venue’s fridge and the frosting oozed and melted by the time it came to cut. It really bummed me out, especially because I’d spent a lot of money on it. (And neither Lucas nor I are even cake people!).
I wish I’d spent the money on the hairdresser, and opted for a grocery store cake (delicious) or something more creative like cupcakes or a candy bar.
5. Spend more time working out.
DON’T hate me. I’m not talking about starving myself to fit into my dress, or spending every waking moment in the gym to tone my arms. But back in my wedding planning days, I was working an overnight shift, buying a house and trying to organize all of the party details. I had good reasons for not making my health and fitness a bigger priority, but I wish I’d recognized them as excuses. I spent very little time in the gym and I put on about 8-10 pounds between my engagement and my wedding day.
I can see that I was not at my happiest weight for the wedding, and since these are the pictures that memorialized one of the most important days in my life, I wish I didn’t have the instinct to cringe when looking at some of them. My face is happy, and I felt beautiful…I just think that with a little more effort, I could have felt better in my own skin.
I love looking back on this amazing day, and I’d still give the entire event an A-/B+. Do you have any regrets/changes you’d make to your wedding?