When you get engaged and start planning a wedding, everyone (and I do mean everyone) will tell you to be prepared for things to go wrong. For all your well-laid plans to fall apart. For disaster to strike. My mother even went so far as to question why I was even making such specific plans for every little detail, since things were going to go So! Horribly! Wrong!
As a former TV news producer, though, I was prepared to take it all in stride. I treated planning my wedding much as I would have treated producing a newscast. You make your plans, down to every last detail. Get everything in place well ahead of time. Then when “breaking news happens” (ie, things go wrong), all you have to do is simply address the new problem because everything else is already done.
But as fully prepared as I was for things to go wrong on our wedding day, when that day finally rolled around … well, it was all kind of perfect. I mean, the only “problem” is that there was a small smudge on the front of the cake, which had occurred in transport. But guess what? The cake was still delicious. I really didn’t care about a smudge.
There isn’t much I would change about our wedding day, but now that a few months have passed, my husband and I did discuss the tiny things we’d do differently, if given the chance. Perhaps take these into consideration when planning your own nuptials:
1. Eat more.
I was pretty proud of myself for managing to sample all of the hors d’oeuvres served at our cocktail hour. They were delicious, and as it happened, I was able to squeeze a few minutes by myself, even while I was in the middle of all my guests. Sure, I was the bride snarfing down steak bite skewers and brie en croute, but so what? I ate at my own wedding!
For the lunch, we had a buffet — and my husband and I were the first ones to go through. So unlike some horror stories you hear, where the bride and groom never eat, we did eat. I just wish I’d taken the time to go back for seconds. I think a lot of my hesitation was having to navigate getting up and down from my seat in my ginormously poofy wedding dress – but our food was really good, and I wish I’d had just a little bit more. Also, I would have gone back for a second piece of wedding cake.
2. Drink more.
Following up the first thing – DRINK! We had an open bar for three hours during our reception, and a catering manager from our venue who offered multiple times to fetch us drinks. But I was just so dang dehydrated, all I wanted was water. I did manage one glass of wine, and some champagne with our toast. But by the time I was finally ready to grab another drink, the bar had closed.
Similarly, we offered up a hot chocolate station for our guests – one that my husband and I never actually saw until we got the photos back from our photographer. It looked amazing, and we both wished we’d taken the time to partake.
3. Hair Pro
I made the decision early on in the wedding planning process to do my own hair and makeup for the wedding. This was less about budget (though it did save us a good chunk of money), and more about my own personal comfort. I hate having other people do my hair and makeup. I’m very particular and I know what I like and how I like it.
On the makeup side, I’m still 100% pleased with how everything turned out. I used the perfect combination of products, and love how I looked. Plus, it lasted the entire day. From 7am until the after-party that went past 9pm — my makeup held up. (Here’s a look at what I used!)
My hair, on the other hand … not so much. I’d done plenty of trial run-throughs of my hair style ahead of time, and was relatively pleased with the results. But I’m less confident in my hair-styling skills than I am in my makeup skills — and my nerves took over BIG TIME on the day of the wedding, as I was trying to do my hair. It looked okay for our pre-ceremony photos, but even as I walked down the aisle, some of the curls had started to come undone, and by the time the reception started, it was a limp, frizzy mess.
I wish I’d had someone more skilled and less nervous to do my hair that day, so it might have held up better.
Everyone warned me this would happen — and unlike the “unavoidable disasters” advice, this one did hold true. And that is your wedding day will go by so fast. I wish my husband and I had taken just a little more time to be together away from the crowds during the day. There was one particular moment, where we snuck away with our photographer to take some more photos. And I just wish we’d taken more time then. I wish I’d bothered to go back to my room, fix up my hair and powder my nose. And then have a more leisurely time with our photographer taking some photos away from the reception crowd.
Likewise, I wish we’d spent more time immediately following the ceremony alone, just the two of us. Of course, we were followed by our coordinator, our photographer, our videographer, and our entire bridal party — to take off mics, sign our marriage license, and head down to cocktail hour for the formal introductions. If I could do it over again, we’d have kicked them all away and made them wait somewhere else, so the two of us could have had just a few minutes alone together to bask in our new marriage.
5. Forgotten Photos
It’s hard to get every photo you want on your wedding day, no matter how meticulous you are. And believe me, I was meticulous. But even with the detailed list I’d given my photographer, we all got swept up in the big day and a few photos never happened: our rings, my something old/new/borrowed/blue together, a photo of my husband and I with BOTH sets of parents, a snapshot with my aunt and uncle. Nothing major, but just a few images we wished we’d remember to have taken.
As for my desire to have a few more photos of the two of us? I’m thinking perhaps we’ll get dressed up in our wedding clothes again for an anniversary photo shoot.
For the comments: What are some things you’d do differently at your wedding?
All photos in this post by May Gunsul Photography