The thing about your wedding day is that when it comes to it, you don’t really have a dress rehearsal. Of course, you could have the wedding rehearsal the day before for the ceremony, so that the best man, ushers, bridesmaids and other key players know what is involved.
But when it comes to the flowers, your dress, the food, the photography… well you only get one chance. So we’ve spoken to some brides about their wedding day experiences and asked what they would have planned differently if they could do it again. Here’s what they said.
- Have a videographer. This is actually most brides’ top regret about their wedding day. You may have a fabulous photographer in place but not having some footage of your big day is going to be something you could really miss out on. Just think of the fun you’ll have in the future, looking at the film with your children and grandchildren. “Did you really look like that granny? Weren’t you handsome grandad.” In addition, film gives you the opportunities to record key times like the bridegroom’s speech and the first dance. So try and put some money aside to have your big day videoed.
- Have a professional photographer. You may have a great friend who is a wonderful photographer who says they will take your photographs for you but it’s not something we would really advise. The trouble is that a photographer is there to work, not have fun and your friend will at one point want to wander off, have a glass of champagne and enjoy a dance and the snapping will stop. In addition, if the photographs don’t turn out as you want, then what will you say to him/her? Far better to brief a good photographer who has a style you like, walk around your venue with them, discuss key shots and then leave the whole business in their capable hands. Certainly worth spending the money.
- Listen to the salesperson in the bridal shop. You may have always dreamed of marrying in a sleek column of silk but really, the assistants in wedding dress boutiques know their job and they know what will suit you. Some brides regret having very fixed opinions about their wedding dresses that they later regret. So keep an open mind when you start shopping, try on everything suggested and you could well surprise yourself.
- Have less of a handmade wedding. Many brides say that they start off with great plans about making 150 homemade favours, wedding table centrepieces, scented confetti, cupcakes etc. They then feel completely stressed about it when they realise all the other things they have to do. They wish they had been more realistic about what was achievable from the get-go. So take some advice and think carefully about how much you want to commit yourself to beforehand.
- Set a wedding budget. Some couples overspend on their wedding day or stress about how much it’s costing them. It’s usually because they haven’t sat down together in the first place and created a solid wedding budget which shows them what they can afford. Knowing what you have put aside for photography, flowers, a venue and entertaining guests will make the wedding planning a whole lot simpler. You will probably avoid sleepless nights too. You don’t want to start married life off in a whole load of debt. One of the best ways of avoiding this is to have a budget that you stick to.
- Invite who they want to. You don’t want to look around your wedding and think that you don’t know half of the guests there. If your parents are footing the bill, then they will have a say in who comes. But if you and your other half are financing the big day then you should be able to invite just who you want. You don’t have to invite your boss. Your ex-next door neighbour. Those cousins you never see. Have people at your wedding you know and love who want to be there for you.
- “I wish I’d relaxed and enjoyed it more”. Many brides forget to take a bit of time out for themselves on the day itself. Make sure you and your new partner get away from the party for a short while so that you can press the reset button and take a breather. Also take a long look around at the party as it’s in full flow and try and imprint that image on your memory.