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Do Tell: What Would You Have Done Differently at Your Wedding?

Even if you didn't have a wedding planning disaster, we all know that hindsight is 20/20 and retrospect can give you a lot of clarity. Since planning a wedding takes an exuberant amount of time and energy, it's easy to miss the little details that could have made the biggest difference on your special day. So for all you married people out there, do tell: If you could have a do over and plan your wedding again, what would you do differently?


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kapikani kapikani 9 years
I know I'm a couple of weeks late with the response; just got back from vacation. I love the surprise wedding idea petite42; you're quite clever. I bet most people wish they could have done that or those who are about to get married could do something similar, instead of following "rules" on planning a wedding. Heck, I wish I had. Don't get me wrong, I loved my wedding even if some things didn’t go as planned. I just wish it would have reflected us more as a couple, then someone else. I also agree with lizlee; you should do what you want. Whether you make the right decisions or the wrong ones, things don’t always follow in an orderly fashion. My wedding consisted of about 400 people, which I only knew about 120 of the guests. I wish my husband and I could have put our feet down when his folks invited people that we didn't know; their other excuse was to fill empty spaces. How wrong is that?!?! It bothered me that we couldn't really have a say on how things went. And yes, we paid for our own wedding. That said here's a list of things we did and things we wish we could have done our way, with tips thrown in here and there. 1.When planning a wedding consider your budget. Once you’ve contracted the list of vendors and booked a reception hall, consider how many guests you want present on your wedding day. Most lists usually include the brides and grooms nuclear families, extended families, and anyone they consider very dear to them. After that, generate a number of the extra people you allow each set of parents to invite. If one side has more family members and friends than the other, then you and your future spouse should come up with the appropriate number of people each parent can invite. Sometimes parents can create drama about not inviting certain people. But you have to remind them that you want a more intimate affair and would rather keep it minimal. If you want a big wedding and don’t care how many people are there, by all means, invite anyone you want. 2.Focus on yourselves; get the gown with the whole works. I'm not saying get the gown you've always dreamed of wearing or what your mom wishes you to wear. When you go dress shopping, the gown you’ve always dreamed of wearing may not flatter your figure. So wear a lot of gowns and see which one stands out the most. Keep in mind that a dress doesn't look great on a hanger; you have to try it on to see it at its full potential. You can also do what I did, have your gown made. My gown, Swarovski tiara, make-up, and hair are a few of the things I don’t regret splurging on; I still don’t and love that I looked graceful and glamorous on my wedding day. I picked a style that will hopefully look great 60 years from now. 3.Get a florist you’ve purchased from before and that you trust. Don’t go for a florist because they’re supposed to be better. You would think paying someone $5,500 would get you exquisite arrangements. Not so! Even with the pictures that I had provided, our flowers were horrible and not what I had asked for. Whoever you pick should make samples of the bouquets and the centerpieces you want, that way you can see if it’s what you’ve envisioned. 4.Derive a list of songs for your DJ or ask him to play songs from specific genres and/or artists. When making a list, make certain to consider every one of your guests. Elders and teenagers are the two age groups that feel left out and out of place at these functions. If your guests are from different cultures and backgrounds, make sure to keep their interest by playing songs that they'd love. Remember when you make your guests feel welcome, they will appreciate you for thinking of them—and this will get everyone dancing. Happy guests equal happy times! 5.When looking for a cake, many couples pick chocolate cakes or cakes with darker colored fillings; some even request chopped walnuts. However, when you do that, you risk having funny looking pictures. I don’t think anyone would want a toothless smile in their pictures. ;-) So, once you’ve fed each other cake, remember to check your teeth before posing for the photographer. 6.If you’re a perfectionist, have back-ups of anything/anyone on your wedding day. If the flower girl or the ring bearer cry and refuse to walk down the aisle, have their moms nearby to guide them or to walk down the aisle with their children. My flower girl didn’t cry, but since she’s very shy and was very nervous having everyone staring at her, she just froze and wouldn’t walk down the aisle. So her mom walked down the aisle with her and she was fine. Also provide someone reliable with an MP3 player and a case of backup CD’s just in case the DJ has problems. Make sure to have a Ziploc filled with essentials. Include thread in white/cream, black, and the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses. You should also have different sized safety pins, band-aids, alcohol pads, make-up, deodorant, and anything else you might need. If you’re going to a different location to take pictures, fill the limo with snacks and drinks for the bridal party. If you pay a little extra, most limos include soft drinks and alcohol. However, what they have is not enough for everyone. When you have 12 people in the limo, 6-8 cans of soft drinks is not enough; make sure to include bottled water. I had also packed to-go boxes with finger foods (sandwiches, fruit, petit fours, etc.) for everyone in the limo. I had a very happy crowd in the limo! 7.Remember to have a great time and not to fret if something doesn’t go as planned. The harder you try to make things go a specific way, the harder you’ll take it later when something goes awry. If you have a lighter attitude with the whole planning, then you’ll enjoy having things fall into place much easier. Also remember not to dwell on mistakes, sometimes the oops moments become your fondest memories.
lizlee89 lizlee89 9 years
hey petite42 your surprise wedding sounds so cool - I would just make sure you get a great photographer because the pics are the only thing you save (the food gets eaten, the decorations get taken down, etc.), don't overinvite (a good rule of thumb - if the person has not been to your house, you have not been to their house, or you have not met each others parents - don't invite them! I know that sounds harsh, and of couse there are going to be exceptions, but trust me, use this and you will be able to better manage your wedding), and, most importantly, plan your wedding for you and your spouse, don't worry about what anyone else likes or wants - it's your day!
alerixon alerixon 9 years
We had a photobooth instead of a guestbook with a bunch of silly dress up things and it turned out to be one of the coolest things! I would have made an announcement to make sure EVERYONE snapped a pic, cuz they are the best and funniest reminders we have of the great day!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
all these stories make for great advice!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
petite42 Love that story on the surprise wedding. That is amazing. I would have been engaged for longer. Different dress. Mine was cheap and it fit but wasn't very flattering at all angles. I would have preserved my bouquet. I would have made sure everyone waited to eat until we were ready. Music would have been better. These are all minor things since the wedding itself means nothing to me just the fact that I can call the man I love my husband.
turkeyjerky turkeyjerky 9 years
- I would have spent more time with the coordinator from the reception location. The girl we'd started planning our wedding with left for another job just a couple months before the big day, leaving her inexperienced assistant in charge. We hardly saw her all night. She wasn't there to help us figure out how to cut the cake, she didn't have a plate ready for us to put our cake on, she was supposed to MC, but didn't. - I would have spent more time with the ceremony coordinator. She was a last minute hire, chosen by my husband and my mother in law (wedding was in his hometown, so I wasn't there at the time). We told her what we wanted at rehearsal and she totally forgot EVERYTHING on the wedding day. She made me wait BEHIND the sanctuary for my entrance. I had to run outside to the front of the church after the bridal party entered. I was supposed to have been hiding in a prayer room in the lobby relaxing for my entrance. Also, my husband and I were supposed to hide in the same room after we left the sanctuary to let everyone line up for the farewell. We accidentally barged in on my aunt nursing my little cousin. - I would have been clearer with the photographer that my mom is NOT the woman married to my dad, and I don't care to have lots of pictures of her! The best picture of my mom and I from the whole night was taken by a guest at the reception. Otherwise, everything was great. Looking back, those sound like big big things, but the night just seemed to work itself out. The rest of the staff at the reception location were GREAT, the band was great, the ceremony was great, the food was delicious, and the pictures were beautiful!
mabes mabes 9 years
I would have hired a different photographer and made sure that the people in charge of the reception site were actually on the same page as i was... those things aside (which are tiny) it was wonderful and perfect!
smck66 smck66 9 years
Here's what I can think of: -I would have done the table hopping thing to say hi. I skipped it thinking I would see everyone at some point, and I actually didn't. -Been more firm with the photographer about how much time we spent taking pictures. He pulled us out of the reception after we were done eating which seemed fine, but he kept suggesting "just one more photo" and we were gone from our reception for way too long. -Danced with my grandfather. ; ( Don't know how I forgot to do this. A good thing I did was to tell the servers to serve me alcohol free champagne every other glass. I was thirsty and love champagne, and that way I didn't end up smashed at my wedding! : )
emalove emalove 9 years
Honestly, I was so happy on my wedding day, I can't imagine anything being different. I do wish that I had had more time to take it all in though. It goes by so fast!
courtneyd courtneyd 9 years
I would have hired a photographer. Against my better judgment we let a friend photograph the wedding, and he left before the reception even started! We did get the formal portraits, but they weren't the best quality. Luckily many of the guests had great quality cameras and a good eye, and I have all of their photos to commemorate the otherwise perfect happy day. I just wish we had better photos of the venue (all the work I put in!), the cake cutting, the first dance, etc. - all the things that really made the evening such a blast.
geohiker geohiker 9 years
Ha! I had a very nice wedding, but I was living in another state when the planning was going on and my mom did the whole thing. We don't know most of the people in our wedding pictures. The first time I saw the cake was as we were cutting it at the reception. She picked out my dress, the bridesmaid dresses, and the food. She even sent us an invitation! My husband joked that we better be on our best behavior or she was going to hire stand-ins for us. (And, I'm sure the thought crossed her mind!) She did try to involve us in some of the planning - we looked at flowers and invitations with her, but I'm pretty sure she quickly got sick of us saying that we did not care and she could pick out whatever she wanted. We did not really care anything about the wedding, and both sets of parents were happy, so it was fine - just a little unusual in the planning I guess.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I wouldn't change anything. I loved our wedding.
MrsJigglesworth MrsJigglesworth 9 years
Hmm... nothing huge, the only ones I can come up w/ are: I would have spent more time with my mom and dad pre-ceremony. I would have not invited the negative people. I would have had the lady who made the BM gifts correct the ribbon on their necklaces. I would have sat down for a few minutes and eaten at the reception with my husband. I actually get tickled thinking about some of the things that didn't go as planned. It made it more special.
vmruby vmruby 9 years
I wouldn't change one second of my wedding day except maybe make it longer because it went by so fast.It was perfection......
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I would have: Worn a different dress Not hired my future brother in law to take the pictures (tons of his family hardly any of mine) told all the people who crashed to F-off instead of being nice. Now i have tons of pictures with these people wearing shorts. hired a different DJ, he played the worst music.
kia kia 9 years
I would do it the same with the exception of the guest list. I would be stricter about who I really wanted there since it was a small intimate destination wedding where we all partied for a week. There were two negative people who weren't really there to support our union and I regret their attendance. Here we are three months after the event and one of them (my sister) is still wreaking havoc on our life.
tweet-hotpants tweet-hotpants 9 years
i would've made a playlist myself on itunes- instead we hired a very well known and highly recommended dj. he ended up being a little too weird for us and we probably would've enjoyed the music a lot more had we been able to pick the songs we wanted to hear. other than that though, it was an absolutely perfect day- i have a picture of our first dance on my desk at work. he's wearing his mess dress (he's in the air force) and looks so handsome. i look at it every day...i'm so thankful for my hubby!
BlairBear BlairBear 9 years
I would have actually had a wedding! We went to the justice of the peace.
syako syako 9 years
I just wanted to add that even though I got a little stressed the days before the wedding (two blizzards and closed airports can do that) I really made a conscious effort the whole wedding day to be aware of the moment and not to get bogged down in silly things. I kept telling myself, focus on NOW. And it worked :)
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
...i'm loving reading these....
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
That is such a great story! Love it.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
I LOVE your surprise wedding idea. Totally awesome, petite42!
petite42 petite42 9 years
... the marriage didn't last... but the china pattern is forever. Hee hee... I crack myself up sometimes!
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