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Ever since I got engaged, wedding planning is constantly on my mind. Even though our wedding isn’t until October of 2017, I still can’t help but spend most of my free time getting lost in ideas on Pinterest!

It’s been specifically hard to narrow my focus when planning. There are SO many things to think about that I tend to get distracted and lose my focus! I started to wonder, “What would women do differently if they could do their wedding all over again? I decided to set out and talk to a few brides about that.

Here’s what 30 brides have to say about what they would have done differently on their wedding day:

“I wouldn’t have worried about seating charts and last minute details that weren’t important. It caused more stress, and I wish I had just left things that weren’t done undone and enjoyed it even more.”
-Geenie, Thegiftofgabblog.com

“I would have had a “first look” moment with pictures instead of having the first look be as I came down the aisle. We had lined the aisle with candles and my dress went over every single one on one side. My husband’s concerned look was not the romantic/excited first look I had in mind.”
-Alysa, 
alysalovely.com

“I would not have skimped on photography! We were trying to save money, since we were paying for everything ourselves. We hired some photography students, and the pictures were not very creative, and the students were unprofessional about getting our photos to us. It took us a year after the wedding to get the discs with our pictures. It would have been worth putting out a little bit more money to have really great photos and professional conduct!”
-Katie, http://alwayskatie.com

“I would have kept it small (we had a little over 70 guests) but I would have been stricter on who couldn’t come so I could have invited others. Also I would have done my own hair!”
-Joy, http://www.fortheloveoftuna.com

“I would have taken more pictures with my family and not just my wedding party. I think I only have one shot of my parents, and it’s in a big group shot with all the parents and grandparents. I think we get so focused on who is in the wedding party that we forget about family who may not be.”
-Meredith, Barbeedreamhouse.com

“I would have written a list of the people I wanted to get pictures with. Everything is crazy and one big blur on your wedding day. Plus you’re on cloud 9 from just being married!! I realized about a month later when we got our photos that I never got a picture alone with my mom. That kills me now!”
-Chelsea, http://www.livingthesweetwife.com

“I would have budgeted for hair and makeup to come to us so I could have enjoyed quality time with the bridal party on the morning of the wedding.”
-Beckah, http://resolve-blog.com

“I would have let loose a little more. I would have stressed less about getting dinner started on time and taken more candid pictures with my husband. I also would have danced more instead of worrying about visiting with everyone.”
-Brittany, http://thenestednomad.com

“I would have practiced my day of hairstyle first. I had a friend do it, and she’s very talented, but my hair just wasn’t what I’d envisioned. I should have scheduled at least one session with her to make sure we got it right.”
-Abby, Winsteadwandering.com

“The  number one thing I would have done differently would be have a wedding video! I wish I could look back on the day without all the crazy madness that is your wedding day. The pictures do a great job but a video would have been better.”
-Tiffany,  
http://www.stellarmama.com

“First off, I wouldn’t stress about the small stuff. The day goes by so quickly; something is bound to go wrong anyway, and it really doesn’t matter. I mean, you’re supposed to be getting married because you love your fiance…not because you want to have your dream Pinterest wedding…right?  Also, if I could do it over again, we would have probably eloped or just had a small ceremony…just spending extra on announcement cards. The only reason we had a traditional wedding was because we knew it meant a lot to our family.”
-Samantha,
http://www.hisendlesslove.com

“I had a really laid back wedding in general – but I definitely wish I would have spend more intentional time with my bridesmaids and family. We were so busy setting up and decorating all day that I feel like I really missed that part.”
-Heather, http://www.thedeanslistblog.com

“I would have gotten more pictures with my husband and family, and that would have required adding an hour to our wedding package. Ultimately, I think that money would have been well spent. My family is rarely together and I barely have any photos of us all.”
-Tori, http://chasethewritedream.com

“Oh gosh, so many things! Honestly, though the biggest thing for me is that I would have had a smaller wedding. I was so worried about inviting everyone we knew…. and now many of those people we don’t really talk to anymore. If I had it to do over, I’d definitely keep it smaller on every level – it would have been less expensive, too!”
-Jess, http://beingmrsbeer.com 

“Live in the moment of your day. Many brides worry about having that absolutely perfect day (and who would not want that) and miss out on the little moments that are so heart warming and memorable. Things may not go as planned but enjoying every minute of your big day makes for awesome memories. Something extra examples of things that went wrong but left an amazing memory/ experience: The car which carried myself and the mini bride maid of honor (cousin and sister) broke down at the most unusual corner. We had so much fun taking pics and singing in the car while waiting for help that we still talk about that today.”
-KayNicole, http://www.kaynicole.com/

“As for me, one thing I wish I would’ve done was pull together my bridesmaids regularly, whether it be for coffee, lunch, asking for their input and opinion, or working on wedding projects – I wish they would’ve been more involved, and it was really my fault for not involving them. Granted, in my situation more than half of my maids lived out of state; but I wish I would’ve made more of an effort to connect with them, involve them, and have them connect with each other when they were in the same place at the same time or via social media. Taking the time to strengthen your relationship and connection with your girls is something you will never regret during the wedding process.”
-Rachel, Green Bay, WI

“My biggest regret was not having a themed wedding. I wanted a stress-free environment and gave into my emotions very quickly. I should have taken more time to think about what I really wanted and made the wedding reflect our personalities. I definitely would have taken more time to think about ALL of the details.”
-Laura, Pound, WI

I would have done a receiving line! We were suggested to get away just us for a few minutes after but it was so rushed and there were several guests that we never got to say hi to because they had to leave before the reception. I hate that we missed out on that.”
-Brandy, http://Www.asweetaromablog.com

“I would have loved to get a photo with every guest – in the photo booth or posed with the photographer. There were so many people I didn’t get to speak to. It would have been nice to hug every person, even if it was just for a moment.”
-Elise, http://www.polkadottedbluejay.com/

I would have created a photo back drop for my guests and done some searching on Pinterest for ideas. I also would have made sure to take an individual photograph with everyone in my wedding party, they were so important to the big day and I wish I had those moments captured.”
-Samantha, http://www.diyjustcuz.com

I think the first tip that always comes to mind when someone asks is: Hire a day of coordinator if you don’t have a wedding planner!!! Like many brides, I did a lot of DIY, but since we had an outdoor wedding that meant we couldn’t set anything up beforehand in case it rained the night before. So I was rushing around trying to get stuff set up the day of, and even though I got a little help, it was hard for me to let go and let people help because I had my own vision and hadn’t properly shared all those details beforehand. In the end, some things did not turn out like I’d wanted, which in hindsight is okay but at the time was disappointing, and could have been avoided. So in short, shell out a little money for a coordinator!”
-Linda, http://themurphmans.com

“A wedding video would be nice – but my other thing I would have changed was that by the end of the day the lining on my dress was was cutting in and bruising me. I do sort of wonder whether I should have tried some other dresses rather than going with my first choice without looking at others.”
-Hannah, http://hannahsays.co.uk/

“I didn’t have a wedding planner; I did it on my own. I would have made a point to run through the reception during the wedding rehearsal. The rehearsal for the ceremony went perfectly, and everything for the reception was properly arranged with stations totally manned, but it wasn’t until the guests entered the reception area that I realized the MC had no idea how everything was to be organized. We had never walked through it and I had forgotten to give him my notes! My husband had to pull me back from trying to be the MC myself! Rehearsing the reception is just as important as rehearsing the ceremony.”
-S’ambrosia, http://www.kansastokenyawithlove.com

“I would have hired a wedding planner, too many details and coordinating from out of town. Enjoy more time with friends and family. And yes, make a list of the people you would like pictures with!”
-Carmilla, http://www.carmillafashih.com/

I would have done a first look! My husband really wanted the first time he saw me to be when I walked down the aisle, but after our ceremony my makeup was a teary mess! I either laughed hysterically or cried uncontrollably through our whole ceremony. After the ceremony everything is a whirlwind. It would have also been nice to have a few quiet moments with him during our first look.”
-Jessica, Loveeveryadventure.com

“I would have taken more fun pictures with my wedding party. I also would have taken separate pictures with each of my bridesmaids. Also, a photo booth and maybe karaoke would have also added to the day.”
-Tessa, Youmeandchewymakesthree.blogspot.com

“I wish I kept my hair down! I grew it out because I wanted long pretty curls and then it somehow got into my head that I needed to wear it up. I hated it and it’s my biggest regret about our wedding pictures!”
-Chelsie, http://lifewithrosie.com 

One thing I regret was that I bought a dress for $200 and then had alterations done totaling close to $750 — too much for a dress I didn’t love! I was just trying to save money! If I were to do it over, I would’ve spent a little more money to avoid alterations on a dress I didn’t love in the first place. One thing that I DID do that I don’t regret one bit was have my mom and mother-in-law plan the whole thing. I gave them a theme and colors and they went at it! It left me stress-free because the only thing that mattered to me was my husband and I were making promises to each other and to God that day. Everything else was for family anyway!”
-Vicki, http://vickiandjosh.blogspot.com/

“I would have put more thought into the future when we were deciding our wedding budget. When we were wedding planning, we didn’t consider when we might like to buy a house, upgrade cars, etc when we were married. Now that we’re married and want to buy a house, we regret spending as much as we did on the wedding. Had we spent half as much on the wedding, we could already be homeowners!”
-Erin, veryerin.com

“Don’t ever make an important decision when you are tired, frustrated, and stressed. Wait until you are in a better place emotionally and if you still want to make those changes, then go for it!”
-Tina, Pound, WI

…..and a BONUS!!!

“Eat. Between hugs, tears, pictures and dances I totally forgot to eat dinner.”

-Aishah, http://www.happilyhitchedmarriages.com

Do you have any advice for future brides? Leave a comment below!

Xoxo,

P.S. Need help planning YOUR wedding? Check out my favorite wedding planner, my VICE!

Love this post? Check out the other in my wedding series:
How to Pick Your Bridesmaids
10 Things to Do After You Get Engaged

  • KayNicole

    I see my tip there.. yayyy! but seriously, these are all great tips, lots of things that many brides fail to consider in planning their big day!

    • Chelsea

      Thank you so much for contributing!

  • yce05

    Thanks for this post. My sister is getting married on December and she would definitely would like to read this.

    • Chelsea

      Yay! Hope she enjoys it! And congrats to your sis!!

  • Interesting to see all these different views. Since my BIL is a photographer, I would definitely say to not skimp on photos.

    • Chelsea

      I am definitely planning not to!

  • Liz

    Such great insights for a bride to be! Thanks for sharing this :)

    • Chelsea

      Thanks for reading! :)

  • Cindy @HometownQueenBee

    I like this post, very interesting to hear what brides say about what they would do differently looking back. I think we put way too much stress on this ONE day…enjoy it, don’t regret, don’t over do it…you have the man you love…the rest is just a bonus 😉

    http://www.HometownQueenBee.blogspot.com

    • Chelsea

      Exactly…it’s just ONE day :) And it’s about the marriage, not everything else.

  • Sarah Emily

    I love this! As a bride to be for March 2016, I will definitely take these into consideration

    • Chelsea

      Hope it helps! xo

  • I love this! I think you posted this question/survey on one of the Facebook groups? So awesome to see it on your blog. This is all useful information. I think our wedding bells excitement sometimes blinds us and we forget to do things, or be respectful to out family and friends. Sometimes we focus so much on perfection of the wedding that we forget the whole meaning of two becoming one. Great post!

    http://www.healthymominabusyworld.com

    • Chelsea

      Great reminder. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your insight! Us brides need to remember that it’s about the marriage and if the day doesn’t go perfectly, it will all be okay!

  • Lisa Emperador

    Love this! I’m getting married in February and these are all things I needed to hear!

    • Chelsea

      Yay! I’m so glad it helped, Lisa! :)

  • I am married for 16 years now and one thing I regret was worrying so much about my looks… I was so happy I invested in photography and I did not have credit in my wedding. I spent only 60 thousand pesos that is around S 1,500 dollars. Because of our tight budget, we did not invite a lot of people… ONLY THE IMPORTANT ONES. Many people got angry at us…Then my parents gave furniture as wedding and we did not spend so much on honeymoon… We even got extra money from cash gifts to start our life together… DO NOT EVER GO IN DEBT FOR A WEDDING. I have met so many couples who were off to a bad start in their marriage because of debts from their wedding.

    • Chelsea

      Such good advice. Thank you for sharing!

  • Thanks for including me in this post! I loved reading everyone else’s thoughts. So many good points in here!

    • Chelsea

      Thank you so much for contributing!

  • Im actually having a conversation with a friend now about what she would have done differently and it sounds like she would have either done no bridesmaids or different ones because the ones she had were stressful

    • Chelsea

      Oh boy!!

  • Sunshine Momma

    I love this post! Pinning it for future reference!

    • Chelsea

      Thank you so much for pinning!

  • Love this post!! I especially love Aishah’s advice at the end. I actually did get a good amount to eat at dinner, but even so, by the end of the night Dan and I were so tired and hungry that we wanted another meal! I’d heard this advice before, so ahead of time we asked the caterer to pack us two kids’ meals to go (chicken tenders and mac and cheese). They ended up sending us off with an entire party-sized tray of mac and cheese with chicken tenders on top, plus the whole top tier of the cake. We pigged out at 2 am and it was awesome!

    • Thanks Brittany! That’s awesome! The big day is so exhausting and who doesn’t love chicken tenders?!

    • Chelsea

      OMG! Classic! This was definitely be us at 2am lol

  • Emma Palmer

    I love this! So refreshing to have some honest and real advice. Thanks for everyone for sharing xx

    • Chelsea

      Thanks for reading! xo

  • Wow, SO many great tips here! Lots of stuff for you to explore as you do your own wedding planning! :) There were a few that mentioned wishing they’d made the wedding more personal, and that would be my number one advice. Your wedding is about y’all and your love story (and the people who are a part of that), so make it something YOU love…not something that follows every tradition or thing you feel like you should do. I didn’t throw a bouquet because we didn’t feel like stopping the party or being the center of attention and the world didn’t stop turning! Thanks for compiling all these. So helpful for brides-to-be!

    • Chelsea

      Aw that is just so sweet. I feel like sometimes people might forget it’s about YOUR day, and YOUR marriage!

  • Loved this! All of these were such great tips. It’s always nice to get tips from brides that have been through all the craziness of wedding planning. I will keep these all in mind when my day comes.

    • Chelsea

      They had such great advice! :)

  • Becky @Disney in your Day

    I’m with Katie, my big thing is that I would not have skimped on photography. I would have taken other stuff out first. We hired an amateur photographer who did decent work but nothing great and didn’t do any editing. I don’t really like my photos so I really regret that.

    • Chelsea

      I’m definitely splurging on our photographer. Pictures are SO important to me.

  • Love this advice! So useful for us gals getting married! Thanks for sharing this Chelsea! Also, October 2017?! Girl, props to you for waiting so long! I couldn’t do it :) <3

    • Chelsea

      I’m in grad school right now and want to be almost finished otherwise I would get married now!!

  • love how you asked these ladies about what they would have done differently. It really helps for future brides.

    • Chelsea

      :) Thanks for reading!

  • Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    this is such a great collection of wonderful advice for brides!

    • Chelsea

      Thank you! They did awesome.

  • So many great responses! It’s great to hear other advice so I know what to do/ not do in the future (:

    • Chelsea

      These girls rock!!!

  • Shann Eva

    Great advice from everyone! I have to agree with wishing I would have had a video. Plus, more pictures with family!

    • Chelsea

      I definitely plan on having a videographer! :)

  • Definitely schedule 3, one-hour activities for yourself the week-of to chill out. Budget in a massage, a spa mani or pedi or just a coffee/wine date with 1 close friend. You will need time to relax that week and these moments are what will help you NOT become a bridezilla and also allow you to really enjoy your day!

    • Chelsea

      Aw! Love this!! I really hope that I am never a bridezilla. I don’t think I will be one? I’m pretty chill.

  • such great advice!!! Clearly paying for a good photographer and (at least) a day of coordinator, as well as making one on one time for those important people are big themes! Great to keep in mind :)

    • Chelsea

      Thank you for reading! :)

  • JessSC7879

    Love every single one of these…as a wedding planner, these are right on target and I wish more people thought about the “after” of their wedding so they could make better decisions beforehand.

    • Chelsea

      That’s so awesome you are a wedding planner!! aww :) Thank you for your comment!

  • This is super helpful! I’m currently in the beginning phases of planning my wedding, so this is perfect!

    • Chelsea

      yay!! So happy it’s of help!!! xo

  • So happy I was able to contribute. I love this post!!!!!

    • Chelsea

      Thank you SO much for contributing!

  • Great advice for all future brides here! “Don’t ever make an important decision when tired, frustrated, and stressed” is one I try to follow every day of my life!

    • Chelsea

      I know! I love that last bit so much!

  • I couldn’t agree more about the photography. We were trying so hard to not spend a lot of money (our wedding was pretty small but still it all adds up) so I asked my friend who’s a relatively good photographer to just take a few snapshots if she could and although we’ve got some nice photos they’re not the best quality and not very creative. I definitely regret that now, so I’d have to say definitely don’t scrimp on the photography!

    • Thanks for your input, Hannah!

  • Chelsea Damon

    Awesome post Chelsea! The advice here is so helpful!

    • Thank you Chelsea! Glad it helps!!

  • I actually think planning a wedding in two years would be much harder than planning a wedding in two months the way ours was. Two months meant I simply didn’t have time to think about lots of details, so I ignored them. I wouldn’t have changed anything about my wedding–though my grandma and I disagreed about plates (plates of all things! I wanted small, clear, elegant plates. She wanted big, sturdy plates so that guests could pile them up with as much food as they could want). I still think I was right about the plates, but I gave in, because she’s my grandma. What other option did I have? 😛

    • lol!!! Awww, you are such a sweet granddaughter!

      I DO feel like it’s hard to plan a wedding for 2 years in advance! Mostly because I just want to start planning NOW but it’s sort of too early to sign off on many things!! lol. I literally called my priest and he said, “My calendar doesn’t go to 2017.” LOL.

  • I’m starting to plan for my 2017 wedding now and I’ve called two venues that were already FULLY BOOKED! I kind of live in a very popular wedding town though so things are very competitive and tight. You have to be on the things you want at least a year in advance! :)

    • Exactly! I actually booked my venue 2 years in advance just for this reason.

  • I love this! So cheesy-sounding but I honestly wouldn’t have done anything differently but it’s so interesting to read what other people experienced :)

    • That’s so awesome though! Best answer thus far (:

  • bbh23

    I’m getting married in 10 days so reading these were fun. We were engaged for a little over a year and it’s been fun planning it. We started out planning a month after the proposal and booked pretty much everything within the first 5 months. Booking venues and caterers in 2015 made a lot of things cheaper. My MOH has been super helpful with the DIY projects being the super crafty one, and it helped get all the bridesmaids to know/meet each other. Getting a coordinator is a must, even if she (or he) is a friend of yours, it’s nice to have someone who isn’t your intimidate family to ask questions too. They also look at the whole picture, pointing out little details. My photographer had us write down all the people we want to have pictures with, and made sure she knew what they look like. Also, make sure you start out with a budget in mind. It helps to let you know where you have room to spend more money and where you can cut back! Happy planning!

    • Great tips! Thank you so much! :)

  • Nice post. :) I will have my wedding in June 2016. As I read the comments I feel lucky, because I live in Hungary and it is so much easier to arrange everything. For example, my love proposed me in December 2015, and we started to plan our wedding in January 2016, for 120 guests. It is just February, and we are almost done without a wedding planner :)

    • Wow, that’s so awesome that your planning is going along so smoothly! And thanks for reading all the way from Hungary!

  • Carol

    My husband and I are seniors, 2nd marriage for both, we planned our wedding in 10 weeks and it was amazing. i wore the big ivory wedding dress, we had no attendants so no stress there and a lot less decisions to make, no wedding cake; we video taped the ceremony and saved our favourite music from Spotify for waiting, mingling, dinner then dancing music. my daughter walked me down the aisle. She and my husbands son were the witnesses, We had a very small, intimate wedding, 30 guests, only our favouite people. We had the ceremony, dinner and dance all in one room in a lovely hotel and everything was done for us, We just planned the menu. We sent out lovely romantic invitations via 123 Egreetings, We also made a list of the photos we wanted taken so we have lots of family, I did not worry about tiny details, the main thing was for us to have a lovely day and for everyone to enjoy themselves and to dance. We also had early wedding so as to accommodate young children. We enjoyed a quiet morning together then he had a few duties and I just went to hair, makeup and to dress at the hotel. my priority was to not be stressed. Two things I would have done differently; I would have had a few minutes together right after the ceremony before the party and I would have made a point of visiting our guests along with my husband after the ceremony. I also could not eat anything, just far too excited. I made lists for absolutely everything! music, duties, photos, seating plan, etc. Instead of a guest book, my granddaughter took a picture of the guests as they arrived and I have inserted their pictures on the page that they wrote there comments and Blessings in. I bought this book at Chapters, on the front it says “today will be amazing”. And the day certainly was, amazing!

    • AW!! Thank you so much for sharing your story of your wedding day with me! Sounds like it truly was the most perfect and spectacular day. All the best to you and your husband! xo

      • Carol

        Thank you, Chelsea, just remember to do exactly what you and your fiance want to do, it is your day and your memory Enjoy every minute and RELAX

      • Yes love this!!! Thanks again for reading.

  • michel Berda

    I have been a wedding master photographer for now over 16 years here in our beautiful city of Charleston South Carolina. http://www.kingstreetphotoweddings.com I have been blessed to be a destination wedding photographer and I have traveled to many amazing places. I always, always, have a phone conference with my clients months before their weddings and go through the entire day with them, giving them my many years of experience, most of them that many of your brides mentioned. The key is having a great historian wedding photographer that can give and take all of the comments above and design the perfect timeline. Once you have agreed to a first look, family photos, getting ready photos, and it is all organized it is the duty of that said wedding photographer as one bride put it into the perfect context by saying “your wedding day goes by so fast” very true the more you need a wedding photographer that will execute all that is on that timeline, let you enjoy your day, and exceed those expectation. That is my goal 1000% every time. Chelsea you did a great job by having ex brides post their feedback and comment awesome post. Thank You Michel Berda

    • That is awesome advice! You sound like an absolute amazing wedding photographer! :) And I’ve always wanted to visit Charleston. Thank you for reading!

      • Aww Chelsea, I wish I would of met you before this article, I would of loved to capture your magical day. Keep on doing what you do best. Thank you happy Sunday.

  • De Fleischer

    My love and I are renewing our vows this Oct-2016 after 32 years of marriage. One piece of advice I would give is delegate,delegate and then delegate some more… don’t feel you have to do and plan every detail. Having friends and family help out things will go so much easier.Plus you get the benefit of other people’s ideas. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And a lot of it is small stuff.Will something really matter 10 years from now?If not-don’t worry about it(That works well for after the wedding in your life together also.) The main regret I have from our first time around is not spending the money for a good photographer.You want someone who will capture the moments and be creative with them.

    • I really do not want to sweat the small stuff! I really don’t care about the main details. I’m with you on the photographer; I told my fiancé that I wanted to splurge on that!

      • I agree someone that want the very best for every client, and someone who not only has a passion but wants to create amazing images and be a true story teller.

        It has been said that “a photograph is worth a thousand words” “Then a wedding photographer that creates that story threw his images is worth millions of dollars”