One way brides think they can save money on their big day is by bypassing the videographer altogether. Because they're already spending a fortune on a photographer, what's the point? That strategy works until a few months pass by and those precious memories you swore that you'd always remember begin to fade.
One bride wrote that she began forgetting things after three weeks! "That makes me feel so sad since the day was absolutely perfect!" she continued. Especially when you're throwing a very unique ceremony with personal vows, it's important to have someone record it. Memory only gets worse as you grow older, so at least have a guest take an iPhone video!
While it's amazing to have people document the wedding and have a range of photos to look at after the ceremony, you don't want cell phones to get in the way of the actual photographer. One bride wished that she'd told everyone to put their phones away during the ceremony!
"We have so many lovely shots of the ceremony but in every one there are people in the background holding up cellphones so you can't see their faces," she continued. "The photos people took on their phones turned out OK, and I didn't mind at all them posting their own pics to Facebook, etc, but I do hate the idea that they were all taking photos instead of creating memories."
One of the biggest wedding regrets that brides all over the world tend to experience is skimping on the photographer. They get it into their head that they don't really care what the pictures look like as long as they have the memories to look back on, but once they get the photos back... Instant regret.
"I wish [we] had gotten a better photographer. We got a great deal on the fee... but it shows in the pictures," this bride wrote. "They're not bad per se, just kind of amateurish and like someone who wasn't being paid took them. I wish I had gone with the photographer with pictures I loved, not the cheapest acceptable one."
No Kids Allowed
A wedding without kids present feels weirdly wrong for some reason, but some brides wished they had banned them from the ceremony completely. Who would be the flower girl or ring bearer if not your four-year-old third cousin on your dad's side? Cuteness isn't enough, it seems, for this bride to be comfortable allowing them at any future gatherings.
"[I wish I hadn't given in] and allowed children to attend. They interrupted the ceremony, broke [stuff] at the reception, stained my husband's vest, etc," she complained. We see where she's coming from. Kids are kind of unpredictable, and it's weird having them at the biggest party of your life!
It's really up to the couple getting married to decide if they'd rather have a lavish ceremony or a raging reception. Sure, you can pay equal amounts on both of them, but then they're both kind of lackluster given you're not a multimillionaire. "[We should not have] had the reception that we did," this bride wrote. "I think I would have rather taken our $1,000 that we put into it and gone on a mini-vacation.
"I put too much hard work and money into the reception to be happy with how almost all of our guests treated it. [Some people] left early, ate the cupcakes I made while we were outside taking pictures, and some other less annoying things. And by leave early I mean leaving after food. [The] reception started at noon, people were already leaving at 1:00!"
Weddings are usually synonymous with free food, so you know there will be a lot of it. But what happens when the caterer makes too much and there are lots of leftovers? We'd hate for all that food to go to waste! This bride really regrets having to dump all the food after the wedding, especially the delicious cake!
"I regret not having take-out boxes for guests to bring home extra cake," she wrote. "I ordered more than I needed and the servers cut smaller pieces than expected. It was freaking good cake, too." An even better idea would be to take that extra cake for a honeymoon snack!
If weddings are synonymous to free food, then they're definitely synonymous with stress! Unfortunately, most of the wedding planning falls to the bride, who's already been stressed out of her mind since childhood about making the day of her dreams a reality. From colors to guests to invitations, all the details can cloud what's truly important -- marrying the love of your life!
This bride writes about how she regrets how stressed she was throughout the wedding. "I was more relaxed and had more fun at my rehearsal dinner than I was at my wedding! We literally spent the ride over to our hotel at the end of the wedding night fighting about his mother's behavior at our wedding and during the days leading up to it. It still stings. And honestly, as organized as I was, there was no way to avoid the things that stressed me out."
Time With Guests
Weddings tend to attract hundreds of guests for the ceremony and reception. Have you ever spoken to over a hundred people in one night? We didn't think so! But it's good to make sure that you try to interact with them more than you do with the food... Sure, it's your day and you can do what you want, but you might regret neglecting the guests after the honeymoon ends!
One bride wrote the following: "The one thing I regret is actually spending so much time during the reception eating and being glued to my husband's side. I wish I would have either eaten less or quicker so I would have had more time to visit with guests. Looking back on it, I had a blast at our reception because I was dancing and hanging out with my husband, but we didn't spend near enough time with our guests before they started leaving because we [were] too focused on ourselves."
Planning a wedding is no joke! Ever tried throwing together a simple house party? Yeah, the stress of that is child's play next to a ceremony hosting hundreds of hungry guests! And if you think that your wedding is small enough not to warrant a day-of coordinator, by all means, let your mother-in-law take control. But this bride is seriously regretting her choice not to hire!
"I regret not spending more on a professional day-of coordinator. I paid a family friend to take my lists and timeline and just make sure everything got done. I'm pretty sure she did absolutely nothing except give my MIL attitude about using all the extra flowers. So we ended up with tons of extra flowers sitting in buckets behind the buffet table."
Seating arrangements can be hit or miss, especially at weddings where most people know each other and might get offended by the people they're sitting next to... However, having some semblance of a seating arrangement is convenient for the wedding party who wants to make sure their family doesn't sit in the back of the reception hall. Come on, people!
"We had a buffet and didn't want to do assigned seating, which worked out just fine, except that I figured our family and wedding party (we just did a sweetheart table) would sit at the front few tables, and they didn't," an incredulous bride wrote. "My husband's mom, step-dad and brother/best man sat almost in the back! I would've made it more clear where I wanted family to sit."
A lot of these regrets are related to saving money. Quantity doesn't equal quality, but investing a few extra bucks usually helps work out the kinks. This husband reminisced about cleaning up the entire wedding after the reception was over because they didn't want to spend the extra money on a service. Doesn't sound like a fun wedding night!
"[I regret]not paying for a cleaning company at my venue me, my wife and wedding party had to still 2 hours later to clean up to get our deposit back... Me and my wife got Married through a venue company that owned a few venues throughout the area this one happened to be a restored barn. The company allowed us to pay a $400 cleaning deposit... The deposit was refunded depending on how well you cleaned up after."
Most people don't know a lot about what it takes to be a DJ, so they assume that making a wedding playlist on Spotify and having your brother press shuffle at the reception is enough to make a party great. Turns out, it takes a little more planning than you think, which is why couples hire a DJ. However, any old DJ off the street won't solve all of your music issues, especially if the price is suspiciously cheap.
"We found a DJ through our caterer and he was still fairly new to the business... and while he was great with the mics and making sure the music was queued well, the reception music for dancing was awful," this bride said. "We provided a playlist for him to go off of and the type of music we wanted, specifically said no country, and what did he play? ...country. I just wish we spent more money on a better DJ."
Remember the days when you'd receive a paper wedding invitation in the mail and have to circle "chicken or steak" on the RSVP and mail it back to the couple? Those days should stay in the past. Sure, it's cute to mail out physical invitations, but please don't waste money on physical RSVPs. That's what wedding websites are for. Just listen to this bride:
"Set up a wedding site and have people RSVP there. The amount of stress I put myself through trying to get paper mailed back to me in an era when no one uses mail anymore was so unnecessary. At one point we’d gotten very few RSVPs back and I had a total crying meltdown about how no one was going to come. Of course, they were going to come, it’s just no one uses mail anymore. Save yourself the headache and the money. It’s my biggest wedding regret."
Weddings can, unfortunately, tread into tricky territory once the guest list is released. You're sure to get some old high school random angrily messaging you on Facebook wondering why she wasn't a bridesmaid. People get butthurt, it happens. But you should never let their feelings guide your decisions on who you actually want to partake in your special day.
This bride regrets "inviting people she really didn't want to invite." "They just cost you money, you don't interact with them at all, and they usually don't bring a nice gift to make up for it," she wrote. "EXCEPT for letting all of the divorced aunts and uncles bring +1's. Because that led to a whole jealousy competition train that was extremely entertaining." You win some, you lose some!
Never let high school girls control your guest list, and never ever let someone steamroll you throughout the planning process-- especially your mother! Letting her come with you dress shopping is a slippery slope to make your dream wedding her dream wedding. It's a fine line to walk, but it's necessary to have those boundaries in place or you'll end up wondering why you ever allowed her to pick rainbow napkins!
"Letting my mother arrange everything!" this bride wrote as her biggest regret. "I trusted her to give guidance. Small morning wedding with quiet luncheon afterward. No bridal gown (cream bridesmaids dress, was told gown was too formal), no dancing, no photography at ceremony or luncheon, just a few photos at home by family friend. Was discouraged from getting hair and makeup done. No honeymoon... I still kind of dream of being able to wear a “real” wedding dress and having flowers in my hair, or dancing with my husband!"
Passing the Buck
While some brides regret how much they stressed over the “little things,” this bride wishes she spent more time planning! “I regret failing so bad at getting the little details in place so my family ended up having to step in at the last minute… I hate that I needed to drag my family into helping me in the first place.”
Weddings are about family, right? It’s a little odd that she feels bad about having her family help out on HER special day, but who knows what goes on behind the scenes. The regrets weren’t all so emotionally tied, however, as she went on to say, “Didn't buy NEARLY enough mikes lemonade. People love that [stuff].”
Weddings are notoriously expensive. According to Business Insider, the average cost of a wedding in 2019 was nearly $30,000! And the venue clocked in as the most expensive purchase, averaging 10k alone. It’s no wonder that most brides are willing to do anything to cut costs without sacrificing their dream. Unfortunately, some DIY projects should be left to the professionals.
This bride wishes she “didn't buy expensive shoes and dyed them red… though they were advertised as the most comfortable wedding shoes, they were not to me, probably because I rarely wear heels. Second, I did not know at the time that dye is not waterproof so I had to be very careful not stepping in a puddle or getting splashed with water otherwise it would look like my feet were bleeding or my white dress would look pink.” Yeah… maybe just buy some red heels outright if you don’t know how dye works.
Wedding websites are the newest addition to the industry. For the most part, they replace all of the classic methods of sending out info to guests. All the precious information related to the wedding is stored on the site, including the guest list, location, photos, and registry. Costing anywhere from $60 and $100 per year, these websites sound expensive on the front end but can end up saving you hundreds in the long run.
But if you do decide to rely on the digital realm to guide your wedding, make sure it’s a reliable site… “Our wedding website went down the morning of our wedding,” one bride lamented. “I used Google Sites, and someone hacked my email address, so google disabled everything related to my email address, including the website and our gDoc with all of our wedding info in it...Luckily, we had printed everything, and used the FB list I had made for guests to let them know the address and times.” If you learn anything from this experience, have backups of everything!
The "Fancy" Meal
Brides deserve to be treated like royalty on their big day! That includes the best snacks, makeup and hair stylists, drinks -- the works. However, “more expensive” doesn’t equal “better” in some cases, including food. You like what you like, and no bride wants to eat an artisan rice cake while everyone else gets comfort food.
“I had to get the fancy black rice cake thing for dinner and it was too chewy and dry and weird and everyone else at the table were eating like pillowy mashed potatoes and enchiladas and stuff that is comfy and yum,” this bride wrote. “I would have been more comfy throughout the day if I'd thought to have comfy foods on hand and not ordered the 'fancy' meal.”
From pictures to invitations, this bride confessed to a range of wedding regrets. But the worst involves her dress, which ended up being less of a dream and more of a mess. “In the end, I didn’t like my dress, and the tailor I used had made a mess of the bustle.” That’s pretty much a bride’s worst nightmare… What’s the fun of a ceremony if you hate what you’re wearing?
Because she hated her dress, the pictures weren’t her favorite either. “We spent a lot of time taking pictures. I would have invited 1/3 as many people. We [spent] a lot of time talking to people rather than dancing or eating.” too much time focused on commemorating people she didn’t care about and a dress she spent too much money on.
Fairy Tales Aren't Real
When asked on Reddit if any brides regret their big, fancy weddings, one commenter admitted to the worst… She regrets pretty much all of it! “Actually, I do regret it,” she wrote. “It was stressful to plan, expensive to pay for, and I didn’t know half the people there. I remember seeing the clock at the back of the facility as we were walking back down the aisle and thinking ‘all of that stress for 20 minutes?’ We lasted six years… you couldn’t pay me enough to endure another fairy tale wedding.”
If she could do it over again (and she did), it would be much smaller and stress-free. “My second was at a friend’s house. I wore a dress I had, flowers we picked up the day before. About 20 of our closest friends and family. It was absolutely amazing. No stress, no fuss, just love and laughter and joy and peace. We’ve been married 28 years and I would have my small, simple, perfectly beautiful wedding all over again.”
Bells & Whistles
Weddings are so subjective depending on the type of couple getting married, their family history, their values, their budget, and everything in between. Many brides have dreamt of hosting a huge wedding since childhood and end up doing it! Yeah, they probably have tons of debt, but that’s not the issue for them. Others change their minds by the time they’re engaged and go a humbler route… but that has its own slew of problems, too.
For instance, this bride realized that she sacrificed way too much because of her pregnancy. “I had a courthouse wedding. I was 8 months pregnant and didn’t want to risk missing a big wedding due to complications etc. But I’m missing the bridal shower, bachelorette party, big ceremony. Perhaps we’ll do it for our 5th anniversary.” Remember, just because you’re ballin’ on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!
Priorities... What Are Those?
Money is usually what people regret the most when it comes to throwing huge weddings. Even small weddings can run-up to the tens of thousands! And while it’s your decision what do go into debt over, this bride has some advice to share: buy your house first, celebrate later!
“The only thing I regret is the stress and the cost. We tried to cut corners where we could, but it still cost a lot of money- about $30,000 CAD, honeymoon included. We paid for it ourselves. Now we're slowly saving for a house. I also planned everything myself and did all the decorations myself... My advice is buy a house first, and do the small formal wedding you want, but hire a planner to take care of everything so all you have to worry about the day of is yourself. Now that I have the experience, if I could get married again, I would just do a relaxed courthouse ceremony and a backyard BBQ. But I'm glad I got to experience the big dress, etc.”
Huge Waste of Money
Speaking of money, other couples aren’t so kind to themselves when the honeymoon phase wears off and they realize just how much moola went down the drain for one night. Some brides call it an “investment” while others refuse to mince their words, dubbing it the biggest waste of money they’ve ever spent on something that wasn’t even fun!
“Definitely wish it would have been smaller and less expensive,” this broke bride confessed. “Huge waste of money and barely remember having time to have any fun. With that said everyone is different and a huge formal wedding might be important to you and you don’t want regrets. But that money really can be put to good use post-wedding.”
This wedding regret definitely isn’t one that most brides have to experience, but it’s worth talking mentioning, because who knows what you might be going through by the time your wedding rolls around. Health plays a huge role in the success of a wedding -- and by success, we mean how much fun you have and being able to savor the once-in-a-lifetime experience!
But when brain surgery is thrown into the mix, the sort of success isn’t exactly within reach. “I sorta regret having the marriage so fast after my husband's brain surgery. He doesn't remember anything about the day... and he was dead tired before we even got started.” Remember everyone, patience is key! If they’d waited just a little longer, perhaps her husband could have enjoyed it more.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, here. While we want to believe that the people who we invite to our wedding show up because they want to celebrate true love, most of them are actually there for the food. It’s nothing personal, and it hurts, but it’s true. When most brides’ wedding budgets go toward cocktails, dinner, and a cake, then it’s obvious where everywhere’s priorities lie.
Needless to say, make sure that all the food that you spend a fortune on is stored properly, or you’ll end up like this regretful couple! “I regret relying on a 35-year-old refrigerator to keep the reception food cold. All was wasted.” Sounds like an emergency on Taco Bell party packs could solve.
Two Left Feet
Dancing is half the fun of a wedding and serves as the other primary reason that guests show up other than food (and friendship, obviously…). But some people just weren’t born with the feet for waltzing, and others feel like it clashes with their personality. Nobody’s forcing couples to do the waltz, by any means, but a first dance of some kind is one of the sweetest parts of the whole day. You probably saw this coming, but this bride wished she hadn’t danced at all.
“The one thing I did regret (strangely enough) was that we had a first dance. Neither of us are dancers in any way and had already decided to forgo the parent dances at the wedding. As it got closer, I wanted to skip the first dance too because it just doesn’t fit us at all. My husband said that I would regret not doing it so we did. But now I still wish we hadn’t. It was fine, but just not really us at all.”
Thanks, But No Thanks
One thing that you can never predict is which member of the wedding party will decide to embarrass you during the reception speeches. Now, lots of couples don’t prioritize speeches and other weddings neglect them entirely. Some of us hate that kind of direct attention. But most of the time, they’re a ton of fun and are certified tear-jerkers of the day.
Thank you speeches are another story, but this bride is filled with regret for forgetting to address her guests at the reception. “I forgot to write a thank you speech,” she wrote. “Our fathers and siblings gave the most incredible speeches and I felt like I let the team down. I was so flustered when it was my turn. Only regret I have.”
While most brides dream of walking down the aisle, some grow up realizing that they aren’t in the right place for a big ceremony. From family problems to a lack of money, elopement is becoming ever more popular, especially as the pandemic forced hundreds of brides to rethink their plans. However, elopement typically implies that there’s no guest list…
That being said, this bride eloped and regretted “not inviting [her] parents.” She wrote, “I eloped, got married on the day of the Great American Solar Eclipse, and didn't tell a single family member. Our witnesses were literally two random people we met in the park 15 minutes before. It was awesome, but my parents were pretty hurt when they found out, my dad especially. DO YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO MAKE A GROWN MAN SAD CRY?!”
He's (Not) The One!
Fortunately for all the engaged -- and already-married -- couples out there, the U.S. divorce rate hit a 50-year low in 2019. According to the Institute for Family Studies, only about 15 of those marriages fail in every 1,000. Of course, the marriage rate is also waning. There’s a record high of unmarried adults, which only points to a downward trend for the future.
Plus, the pandemic altered many marriage plans, causing couples to rethink if they can even afford the wedding they want or if they’re stable enough to start a family. If this bride had considered those factors before her marriage, perhaps her regret wouldn’t be “marrying the guy.” That confession points to a lack of compatibility more than a lack of foresight in terms of finances, but who knows; that’s her story to tell!