Relationships

Wedding Question: What Would You Do Differently?

Wedding Question: What Would You Do Differently?

Alex and I got hitched 7 1/2 years ago, and I loved every moment. But it’s fun to think about what we might do differently if we were planning our wedding today. Surprisingly, as the years pass, I find myself imagining a simpler and simpler wedding. Maybe it’s because I know more than ever that the core elements (family, the vows) are what really matters, or maybe because at this point in life I can’t imagine planning something elaborate! Here are seven things I’d switch up…

Wedding Question: What Would You Do Differently?

My J.Crew dress made me feel like a ballerina, but these days I might go for a shorter, more casual number, like this one by Samuelle. (Also, remember these cute overalls and this sweater?)

Wedding Question: What Would You Do Differently?

My heels pinched and I ended up barefoot by the end of the night, so I’d pick pretty shoes with a comfy stacked heel. And you could wear them on your honeymoon, too.

Walking down the aisle was such a magical moment, it still gives me chills to think about. We had considered playing Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm” as our processional song, but I worried that, at five minutes, the song was too long. Instead, we played “Ave Maria,” which was beautiful — but I always secretly wished we’d gone with our first choice. (What would you play?)

Wedding Question: What Would You Do Differently?

We served chocolate chip cookies for dessert, but if we were going for that cut-the-cake moment, I’d choose flourless chocolate. So good.

Wedding Question: What Would You Do Differently?

How sweet and simple is this bouquet of white roses?

Wedding Question: What Would You Do Differently?

Alex is a passable dancer, but I’m terrible (like, Elaine Benes bad). We felt like our guests would expect a dance floor, though, so we ended our wedding that way. I know this will sound crazy but nowadays I’d probably scrap the dancing and focus on the fun conversations, toasts and dinner. That’s is my favorite part anyway:)

Wedding Question: What Would You Do Differently?

After the reception, Alex and I went back to our hotel, ordered a burger on the bed and gossiped while I spent an hour taking out all my bobby pins:) If we had a do-over, we might stop by our friends’ after party first. It’s one of those rare times that everyone you love comes together, and it’s worth soaking that up as long as possible.

A couple things from our wedding that I’d definitely do again: A first look. An Italian dinner. This nail polish. Marrying Alex. Our honeymoon souvenir. xoxo

Are you planning a wedding right now? If you’re married, what would switch up if you got married again (to the same person, of course)? Here’s what I would have done four years ago:) It’s funny to see how your taste and wishes change!

P.S. The sweetest wedding proposal, and 10 wedding dos and don’ts.

  1. Whitney says...

    I’m only a year and a half post wedding and right now I wouldn’t change anything except hire a videographer. We had an intimate ceremony where guests got up and said a few words and I wish I could hear their well wishes again. And being able to hear by dad’s toast. There are so many emotions that day that it is hard to remember the smaller details.

  2. Samantha says...

    I had an AWESOME wedding, but it’s fun to think about what I should have changed.

    I wish I’d asked both my parents to walk me down the aisle, instead of just my Dad.

    I wish I’d cut out some off the excess tulle off from around my beautiful lace dress, and added a little leather belt.

    I wish I’d told the groomsmen to wear their own grey pants and white shirts and shoes, and gifted them matching vests and ties, instead of making them rent tuxes, and I wish I’d let my husband wear suspenders like he’d wanted! :(

    I wish I’d spent a little more time making the rounds and visiting with the guests, many of whom my parents had invited – people who’ve supported me all my life and had traveled far to be there.

    I wish we’d stuck around afterwards when a bunch of our friends jumped in the lake – it was so hot, I might have joined them.

    But for every thing I would change, there are ten things we did right. The venue was dreamy, the DJ and dancing were killer, the food was amazing, our photographers were perfect, and multiple people told us afterwards it was the most fun (funnest) wedding they’d ever attended. Dancing with my new husband is still one of my most cherished memories to this day.

  3. Samantha says...

    I would change a few things about my wedding. First, my dress. I bought my dress when I thought we would be having a religious ceremony (I was Mormon at the time) so it had short sleeves and was not really my style. I would go back and get a sleeveless dress. I would also try to work a videographer into our budget. I have a really bad memory and know it won’t be long before I forget most of the day. Finally, I would have opted to have an outdoor wedding instead. I wanted to but my husband was nervous about the weather (in August? Okay husband.) so we got married in an old train station. It was really beautiful, but they double booked and we had to share the day with a Zombie Prom.

  4. One of the best pieces of advice I received about wedding planning was to plan for who you are now, not the wedding your six year old self thought of. For us, that (ironically) meant dancing and our wedding plans all formed from that. My husband found us dancing lessons when we first started dating, so we wanted to show that. I got a tea length dress so it would twirl as we danced and a sort of retro theme developed from there. The other really good advice I got was to treat it like a stage manager would. Make a binder that has all the info about the day of (vendors’ name/numbers etc) and to pass it off to someone else (like a mom or friend) the day before the wedding. You don’t have to worry about managing anything; you get to enjoy your day.

    The only two things I would change was to include more silly/fun dances that people who aren’t dancers would get up and dance to (like the Cupid shuffle or YMCA. Even kids and grandpas would do those). Second,- I’d be more assertive and clear with what I wanted from the photographers. My father is a photographer and his 3 friends (also professionals) photographed our wedding. We got great shots, but it was too many cooks. In all the group shots people are all looking at different cameras. Also- we didn’t get hardly any photos of just me and my husband.

  5. Your wedding looks beautiful and so long as you married the right one, the rest is all secondary!

    My husband and I got married last summer in Louveciennes, a small town outside of Paris. It was absolutely perfect! (Photos here: http://shessobright.com/2017/01/03/our-wedding-on-snippet-ink/)

    We decided VERY early on that we didn’t care what anyone else wanted and would go all in on the things that made us happy. That meant ditching a traditional wedding cake for decorative pastries and limiting the guest list to only people we were close with. We also only had a maid of honor and best man, rather than a large wedding party. It was true to our relationship and worked for us.

    To be honest, the only thing I would change, would have been to figure out how to take some of the stress off my husband, as he planned almost all of the wedding. The pressure really got to him, so if I could have made it a happier experience for him, that would have made it better.

    Oh and not having a tooth fall out two days before the wedding while I was in another country would have been great!

  6. Holly says...

    We got married almost five years ago and our engagement spanned 2 years while I earned a master’s degree and completed my first year of teaching high school English. It was hectic! I would redo my dress and hair, and not feel so afraid that I’d miss something if I didn’t go the traditional route. Also, I would’ve included the bouquet toss because that’s how my parents met (skipped it because I was too concerned singles would be offended or wouldn’t participate — lame!)
    My favorite part of the whole thing was the rehearsal dinner, which was just us and our parents, siblings, and closest friends on the patio of my favorite Italian restaurant!

  7. Truthfully, not a thing. We had a destination wedding in Punta Cana… we loved it so much, that I have now shifted my travel agency business to focus mostly on destination weddings. It was a great time and a wonderful memory maker for our family.

    Maybe I would wear different shoes. Oh and not jump in the pool :)

  8. Paula says...

    Oh I love this! So many interesting comments! Even though I got married young, I’m glad I picked a timeless dress so that I never cringe when I look at pictures. I’m not sure that short dress and chunky heel would be so much different then something I would wear to a wedding as a guest? To each their own. Just like music. I cannot imagine a wedding without dancing. Besides food, music and dancing is the thing that brings people together. I’m just glad I got to get married before Pinterest and Instagram.

  9. Stella says...

    I love this post – and the comments. I’m only recently married, and yet there are things I tell other friend brides-to-be all the time of what I would have done differently and what I would have definitely done again. I would have sat next to my mom for the dinner. I would have asked my best friend (who I had only known for a year when I got engaged) to be a bridesmaid like I wanted to (but thought we didn’t know each other long enough). And I probably would have bought a long sleeve wedding dress.

    But two things I wouldn’t have changed for the world – the 20 minutes I spent with my husband alone between the ceremony and the reception. (We had a mini first dance there to practice, had a glass of champagne and just laughed!) And my cheese wedding cake. OMG I still dream of it. x

  10. M says...

    Married 21 years, yay!

    1. Better photographer
    2. Make a video recording
    3. Buy, not make, veil

    All else just perfect!

  11. My gosh, I love this post. And I love Lynn’s comment that you posted on your weekend round-up. We were married less than a year ago, and it’s one of those things that if you look at the photos… of course it looks perfect.

    I didn’t want a wedding, and my fiance did, so we “compromised” on a throwing an inclusive vacation for our friends and family in Greece. What I didn’t realize was… this would be like throwing 5 weddings back to back: organizing activities and quelling my rough family dynamics every day.

    I did have a sweet moment the day before the wedding: we were on a boat ride, and I broke down crying (secretly, I thought) behind my sunglasses. The stranger across from me leaned over and whispered, “You’re getting married this week, aren’t you?” I sheepishly nodded back, and she said, “I know what you’re feeling right now, but it’s going to be the best day of your life.” Well, she was wrong; the stress did not pass – ha! BUT that moment with this wonderful, sweet stranger was one of the highlights.

    And it’s so comforting to read from you and others that there are things you’d change – and that’s okay! – or that it wasn’t the best day of Lynn’s life either – and that’s okay too :)

  12. This past summer my husband and I had a 25th vow renewal ceremony at our newly built home in Vermont. It was magical! Although I loved so many things about our “first” wedding, the vow renewal was simply amazing. The best part was the ceremony and renewing our vows in front of our three young adult children. Having them witness our continuing love for one another and then share toasts with our guests was the highlight of the evening. Secondly, I love all our photographs so much better than our wedding ones – I actually think we look more attractive at this mature stage in our lives…settled, serene, comfortable and confident with who we are and where we are in life. I can’t recommend the vow renewal highly enough!

  13. Kat says...

    We had a big country wedding in a marquee on my parents’ farm in Australia – best things were the man I married, and my dress, which was white and covered in big pink roses, it was heaven. The day before the wedding, all my mum’s friends arrived with huge car loads of flowers from their own country gardens, and made the most gorgeous vases and arrangements for the marquee – it was such a happy time with flowers everywhere and dear family friends working together to make it so beautiful. This is a bit of a tradition in the country area where we live and I now love going to help ‘do the flowers’ for my cousins and friends weddings.

    • Paula says...

      your dress and wedding both sound amazing, I kinda want to see it!

  14. Noelle says...

    I started photographing weddings a couple years after we got married, and I’ve often thought about this!

    The only thing I would change was that I’d have had my hair done professionally. And that’s it. The rest was exactly what we wanted! :)

  15. Riley says...

    My wedding is coming up in June! We both come from extremely large families, so our wedding is going to be a big affair at a church with the reception at a ritzy country club in town. (Pleasing to our mothers!) Although I secretly wish I were heading to the courthouse in a dress similar to the one you posted and meeting our close friends and family at an intimate dinner after! Sounds so personal and sweet.:)

  16. 25 years ago, my husband and I got married in the middle of a 6 month backpacking trip through Europe. We decided on England, just so that we would understand what was being said. We ended up getting married in one of the most sought after registry offices in London, “Kensington and Chelsea”, because the youth hostel that we were staying at happened to be in that district when we registered.
    I wore a dark green lace dress and a large green hat, with a distressed brown leather coat that I bought at a second hand store in London because it was December and I was worried it would be cold. My husband had a white puffy sleeved shirt ( he kind of looked a bit piratey) and a brown leather moroccan vest that I bought him for Valentine’s day shortly after we met.
    We invited two “new” friends (strangers really) to be our witnesses and sign for us and we took all our own wedding photos with a tripod and a long cord with an air squeezing thing at the end.
    After a month of staying at our new friends’ flat in London (while they went back to Canada for Christmas, we ran out of money and so we decided to spend the remaining months of our trip working as volunteers on a kibbutz in Israel.
    I would not change a thing.
    (I have drawn live cartoon portraits at weddings for the past 30 years and have never been to a wedding that I loved more than ours.)

    • What an incredible story ! Thank you for sharing

    • Lana says...

      Hi Catherine, thank you for sharing. Where are you based? We are looking for someone to do live illustration of our big day – but we live in London, UK…

  17. Rachel says...

    I got married at 25, so my tastes have definitely changed quite a bit. If I could have a do-over, I’d have less people in my bridal party (I had EIGHT bridesmaids and am only friends with 3 of them now). I also would have bought the dress I really wanted. It was really pricey, but I still think about it ten years later. Life is short. If you can afford it, buy the dress.

    • Sarah says...

      Same – less people in the wedding party and the more expensive dress I still remember!

  18. kelly ehlers says...

    Our wedding was incredibly causal with Buffet BBQ. At first I really wished I had paid for a photographer but in hindsight I never do anything with photos anyway. I have some really lovely images from our wedding but nothing professional and that’s enough. It just took me three years of whining “oh I wish we had paid a photographer.” Everything else I loved and I’m content with.

  19. Ellen says...

    We were married almost 9 years ago. I was a pretty low-maintenance bride, and in retrospect, I would spend more time picking out my own little details. I only tried on a few dresses, and I see so many beautiful choices now! I would love a dress do over.

  20. It’s only been 2 years for us, but I absolutely love what we did for our wedding. We rented out a trendy/modern pizza & wine bar near us and had a really laid-back cocktail-party style wedding. I didn’t do any seating assignments or anything because I wanted our guests to meet people they didn’t know. It’s amazing to see how many connections, friendships, and jobs (!!) were forged out of doing it this way. I also didn’t have sit down courses served because I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of conversation & mingling. People ate at their own pace, in their own time. It was great! I was also very glad we got a sheet cake instead of a wedding cake because a) the cake was absolutely delicious (and $100) and b) no one noticed. Not one! Maybe I’ll regret not having a blowout wedding one day (?) but as of now, I’m so glad we didn’t it *our* way.

    • Anna S. says...

      Thanks for your comment. This sounds very similar to how I am currently planning my wedding and it’s very encouraging :)

  21. Jenny says...

    The only thing I would change would be that I would wear my glasses instead of contacts. Contacts don’t fully correct my vision and I felt like I was seasick during half of the wedding. Then I couldn’t get them out and my husband had to pick them off my eyeballs.

  22. Elizabeth says...

    I loved my wedding so much. I actually didn’t have a dance floor – I knew it would make me feel so awkward and icky, and I am 1000% happy with that decision. Instead of dancing, we released sky lanterns, toasted s’mores, and had a giant impromptu singalong around 2 campfires. There are a few things I would change, though:
    1. My dress. I wish I had gone with J.Crew’s Vivienne, a simpler satin number with sleeves.
    2. The desserts. We got married on a lake in the North Woods, so we were scrambling to find vendors that lived up to our Chicago-sensibilities. Our food was fantastic, our desserts were embarrassing (cherry cobbler with too much baking powder in it, blech) and our caterer actually forgot to thaw the pies we had driven 400 miles for the wedding. If I could do it over, I would do all pies from Chicago, in a lot of different flavors (at the appropriate temp).
    3. The photographer. We were trying to save pennies, so we had a friend of a friend do it. He worked a really long day and gave us a super reasonable price, but the photos don’t really do the day justice.
    4. The drink tubs. We put out non-alcoholic beverages in tubs of ice near the bar, so our bartender didn’t have to hand those out. My mom assured me she had something that would work, so I didn’t source the tubs myself. Facepalm. My wedding had gorgeous flowers, mismatched china I collected myself, white paper lanterns hung all over a forest . . . and the drinks sat in clear rubbermaid tubs, the kind that go under the bed, minus the lids.

    But all in all, it was still pretty perfect.

  23. Laura S says...

    Am I the only one who wouldn’t change a thing? I know a lot of these are minor things one would have done differently, but a lot of these are down right depressing!

    TO ANY FUTURE BRIDES READING THIS COMMENT: None of it will matter as long as you love him/her. xx

    • Heppy says...

      I just cried reading that – it was just what I needed to hear! I think I need to sort out these pre-wedding stress levels haha. Thank you x

  24. Mara says...

    I was dead set on a BHLDN gown, and one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t look elsewhere! Based on what they had online, I waited til 4 months before the wedding to try on dresses [I’m clearly not the typical girly bride], assuming with the huge variety of styles online that I’d find something perfect. Well, in person, not so much. I went with an “ok” dress, and all day felt so self-conscious in it. Big mistake. I regret not toning my arms before wearing the strapless gown… and I also regret the Laura Mercier “sheer” finishing powder for my wedding look, because it gave me a bit of a ghostly white cast and it showed in all the pics!

    If I had to do it again, I’d also be CRYSTAL CLEAR with my photographer, telling him again that we don’t want dozens of pics of us kissing and doing other goofy stuff that we’d never normally do. Despite mentioning this a week prior to the wedding, I wish I’d told him onsite, at the beginning of shooting and/or upon wrapping up, that we didn’t want lots of final pics be awkward kissing pictures. Our families are conservative and those would NEVER be printed and hung up. Kind of a waste.

    With that said, my immediate family-only, destination wedding in Tuscany was a dream. The perfect day, and I’d recommend a destination wedding to everyone from now on… even an international one with different marriage laws than the U.S. (where you can get married without much delay). We had a big party upon returning home, which came with its own drama and a hurricane (we were outside in a tent), but it was wonderful.

    It’s SO TRUE that your wedding day goes by in a flash, so try to be as present as possible! Take our your camera and snap pics of you and your friends getting ready, even at your reception… in our case, our photographer’s final shots were ok, but I really look back and wish I’d taken some candid shots of my own immediately after the wedding and during dinner.

  25. Robin says...

    I would love to see a post about wedding dresses for smaller/casual ceremonies. (Dresses instead of the formal gowns.) I remember looking through the City Hall wedding pictures, fascinated with each woman’s choice for what she wanted to wear as a bride!

  26. Anita says...

    I had a knee-length dress (actually two!) but not the perfect shoes for either one. I still find myself looking for those perfect shoes, even though my wedding was 7 years ago and I have absolutely no plans about getting married again, still very happy with my guy!
    We are not very good dancers either and therefore had no dancing, didn’t want any speeches, my husband did a little toast before the meal started.
    The wedding was in the morning in a little church on a hill. We had a reception and lunch at a nearby scenic hotel. After lunch, we took a walk with most of our guests, than chatted with everyone else before the wedding cake was served. In the late afternoon we and our guests went out to take photographs on a meadow while the sun was setting behind us. Then we said good-bye to our guests and went back to the beautiful hotel by ourselves. We loved it that way and a lot of our guests told us they did, too.

  27. lana says...

    We eloped and then had a full on wedding. The eloping part felt very intimate and lovely. If I had to do it over again. I wouldn’t have let my husband call his folks until after we got back home. My MIL pitched a fit! Also, I was coerced into inviting EVERY last human our parents knew. Ridiculous. I would have kept the wedding in a chapel instead of the main sanctuary also. But everything else was awesome. Married happily for 29 years.

  28. Aileen says...

    I wouldn’t change much but if I could get away with it, I would not have told my mother anything until it was all organised and all she had to do was buy an outfit and turn up! She annoyed me so much! I do feel I should be grateful because due to her we did get a lot of things for free or cheap (cars, flowers, etc) but actually I would rather have just paid more and got the things I wanted. However we had to let her stick her nose in as my dad had died 5 months prior to the wedding so we had to let her have her project. I also wouldn’t have bothered with my 2nd bridesmaid as she was useless. Normally I don’t care about any of these things as the most important thing is I am still married to the man I said I do to and we have a gorgeous little girl, but when I read articles like this, the feelings of annoyance come back haha. You looked lovely on your wedding day btw

  29. Grace says...

    I totally agree with what you said about going simpler! Our wedding was small/medium size with only 80 people, but in retrospect I would love it if it was just our family and super close friends.

  30. Cassie says...

    Aaah, such a good question! Mostly small things…

    – I was trying to be very cost conscious with my dress (and the whole thing!), but I wish I let myself splurge a bit more to get one I was in love with. Mine was lovely, but you (hopefully) only get to be the bride once!

    – I’d wear my hair down. I almost always have my hair down, so I don’t know what I was thinking with wearing it up! It looks less like me and I’m bummed about that.

    – I wish I went simpler with jewelry. Mine wasn’t very understated, which is also nothing like me. It’s like I saw one photo with someone in chunky jewelry and liked it. Doesn’t mean it’s my style! Gah.

    – I would have my brother contain my nieces so we could eat without being climbed all over :/ Love those little ladies, but we needed FOOD.

  31. Char says...

    The main thing I would change would be my dress.
    I went for a very traditional ball gown style dress because my mom kept suggesting them to me and then happy-crying when I tried them on; the one I settled on was a beautiful dress, but I secretly wanted a simple, short A-line sheath. The consolation is that my mom absolutely loved it!
    Of course, there are other things that didn’t go as planned during the day, but all of the little hiccups helped to make things unique and memorable!

  32. Emily says...

    I would change so much! I got married to my high school sweetheart at the age of 22 (23?) nearly 8 years ago, and it was my mother’s wedding. The thing that bothers me the most: she insisted on formality and propriety, and didn’t include my husband’s parent’s names on the invitation. I know it bothered them, but they are polite, and she also didn’t allow them to look at reception venues with us (saying it would be too much of a crowd) and made an effort to exclude them in nearly every way, while being sweet and cloaking it under the guise of etitiquette. Overall, I’d probably scrap the whole thing and elope, but I’d definitely: 1. stand up to my mother 2. insist on no chair covers (my one rule and eventually I was overruled by the convenience of the venue) 3. have it outdoors and secular (we are not religious) 4. make it more about us and less about tradition – at the time, there was no pinterest, and I ended up choosing “wedding colors” which always sort of bothered me. I realized I had no real interest in planning it, which is sad because I loved planning parties all growing up (and do it for a living now) – a sure sign it wasn’t really “me” or “us.” But in the end, it was a happy day filled with friends and family and our marriage and relationship is always bigger than one day, which is what matters most.

  33. Genna says...

    My fiance and I are eloping in Big Sur, CA in 5 weeks. We’ve been together for 10 years. He proposed in June while on a hiking trip in Acadia, Maine and we started planning a pretty traditional wedding in the mountains of VA set for early October 2017. While home in upstate NY over the holidays we were hearing nothing but nightmare stories, it was sad to us that in conversation it seemed like couples were prone to reflect on many of the negative aspects surrounding their day and already torn with how much everything was adding up to – and how challenging it was to plan with our hectic DC lifestyles…gifted with a trip to Napa for my 30th that same week, en route back to DC from NY we talked about how nice it would be do to something private while in California and just decided to go for it! I took a solo trip down highway 1 three years ago and I recall approaching Big Sur and thinking to myself “Man, I wish Sam could see this.” Our families are a little sad but mostly supportive of our decision. They requested we still hire a photographer so we’ll have someone there for the private ceremony in the redwoods. Still a bit of planning but much less than the traditional route and we look forward to enjoying every moment of the day.

    • Jennifer says...

      Genna,
      My husband of almost 11 years and I also eloped to Big Sur. Great decision! It wasn’t a planned thing- I had always loved Bug Sur so we literally went online and searched “elopement packages.” We got married at La Ventana, and it was fantastic. We bought our rings in Carmel, my simple linen dress was from Macy’s, and we went on a beautiful hike before our wedding. It was all a little bit crazy, but perfect! No seating charts, no arguments, and just us telling each other that we loved each other. ❤️
      Best wishes for a lovely and intimate day!

    • Johanna says...

      My husband and I got engaged after 7.5 years together, and started planning a big wedding close to his family in NY state (we lived in New Mexico at the time). As we realized how much money it would cost and stress it would cause, we scrapped the whole idea and decided to elope instead. We got married at a waterfall in Costa Rica with just our officiant, photographer, two traveling friends as witnesses, and an audience of tourists, then spent an amazing 12 days together as newlyweds, before coming home, packing up our lives and moving to Oregon. We had a big first anniversary party in Pennsylvania (my home state) last summer to celebrate with friends and family. It was the perfect choice for us, and I recommend it to everyone who is wavering about the big, traditional wedding plan. (Seriously, Megan at ourcostaricawedding.com was great, and arranged everything.)

  34. Leslie says...

    My husband I got married 5 years ago and it was the best day of our lives. It was simple, sweet, and low-key. I have 2 regrets, the first small, the second big. I wish that we would have made our friends a bigger part of the day, instead of just family. My husband LOVES music and has such great taste. It’s been a big part of our relationship and it means a lot to both of us. He put together a playlist for our wedding and I swapped it out last minute for a totally boring one so I wouldn’t offend my parents friends. We joke about this, but I really do wish I would have let him had his moment and allowed it to announce who we were/are as a couple.

  35. Lacey says...

    I didn’t have a wedding and 9 years later, I still regret it. I live overseas and we had to move up our wedding date due to immigration issues. My parents weren’t able to come at that time, so we ended up just having a civil ceremony at the mayor’s office on a random weeknight with two friends as witnesses and no photos. I have a wonderful husband and two lovely children and that’s what really matters, but I still feel a twinge of sadness whenever I see other peoples’ wedding photos.

    • You still can! Sounds like a vow renewal celebration for your 10 year anniversary might be perfect ;).

  36. We got married less than 11 months after meeting each other and have now been married for almost 33 years.

    When it comes to our wedding there isn’t anything that I would want to change really. It was a wonderful day and evening. One thing we did do however is booked our accommodation at a different hotel from where we held the wedding party at. I have a family who love to play tricks. So they didn’t have the opportunity to do it at mine.

  37. Chiara says...

    I get married 10 years ago. Everything was perfect and I loved every minute but, if I were about to marry these days, I would chance my dress – which was a very traditional gown – with something more sophisticated, and I would have lots of music and dances! And I would change also the wedding cake, probably the only thing that I didn’t love even at that time!

  38. I just got married few months ago, and let me tell you, it was a disaster. there was so many things I wish I can change and these are the list:
    – Fewer guests. thanks to my dad, I shook hands with a lot of strangers on my wedding day.
    – Do my own make up. I was contemplating to do this, at the end I used a MUA to do my make up, and she forced me to wear a horrible bottom lashes that look terrible at the end.
    – I will ask the photographer to take every picture twice. they only take one picture of us with the priest+parents, and both my husband and dad were closing their eyes.
    – Basically just have my own way for my wedding and do not listen to other people’s opinion.

  39. JB says...

    This is kind of timely as I’m getting married in 8 weeks and wonder if anyone has had the same experience – we talked about eloping but decided on a wedding because our families live far apart and it was the one chance for everyone to come together for a weekend and get to know each other – BUT, I’m so regretting it and so not a DIYer and so OVER spending so much money that 8 weeks before I’ve totally thrown in the towel and decided to just “see how it goes”! I’m so sick of paying for stuff and talking about weddings – I wish we had done it already. I know it will be fun on the day and as my guy keeps saying “All we want out of this is to come out of it married”, I’m trying to keep it all in perspective.

    (It probably doesn’t help that I picked a dress for the venue, and not my style, and when it didn’t fit quite perfectly at my 1st fitting, my future MIL helpfully told the seamstress “Well, she has got fatter.” Why did we choose to celebrate with family, again?)

  40. My husband and I got married nearly 11(!!) years ago. I wanted a destination wedding so much, which not nearly as many people were doing back then, and he was happy for anything that required less work. So we asked our closest family and friends if they’d be willing to spend the money to go to Jamaica, and they were all thrilled. So I began planning and was about to sign the papers to have a low-key wedding with about 15 people on a gorgeous property in Negril, when his parents told us they decided that they wouldn’t be able to swing it financially. I was crushed.

    We ended up having the wedding in Omaha, Nebraska so they would’t have to travel. It was beautiful and we had an amazing time with all of the family and friends who were able to show up, but in retrospect it still would’ve been far cheaper to just pay for my in-laws to go to Jamaica! Plus, I’m with you on the dancing, and a destination wedding would’ve been all about the food, conversations, and company.

  41. shopgirl (eu) says...

    Best honeymoon souvenir ever!! :-) :-)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      :) :) :) :) :)

  42. SCG says...

    Definitely a simpler shorter dress, less guests so I can have a sit-down brunch (I initially planned to have a really small wedding surrounded by immediate family and a few close friends, but my relatives were inviting themselves over, so brunch became huge lunch party), and no speeches (I cried then for feeling so overwhelmed with the dress and the guests. Looking at my wedding photos now, I cringe all the time).

  43. I really hope other brides to be read this and don’t make the same mistakes as me…

    DELEGATE / SCALE DOWN THE PERSONAL TOUCHES: I made my own traybakes for the reception, organised the centrepieces, created the table plan (with my now husband), organised a sweetie table, and was the main contact for all the vendors…I’ve never been so stressed in my whole entire life. The morning of the wedding, I felt like I was a general heading into battle, who had to ensure a victory for 250 of my fine citizens! (It was totally victorious, thank goodness – but it took until after the speeches until I felt a sense of calm and fun!

    I think if I’d to do it all again, I’d go to Sicily, where Liam and I had our first holiday together. We fell in love with its romance and fell deeper in love with each other. But we felt a sense of duty to our families to throw a big, traditional, Irish wedding. Don’t feel duty – just do what’s in your heart.

  44. Lauren says...

    I loved everything about our wedding except my dress and our photographer. I spent too much to get a dress I didn’t love and our photographer was a friend who didn’t specialize in weddings. But we kept it small (courthouse followed by dinner at a fancy restaurant) and I married the love of my life. For our first anniversary I got a little do-over, I bought a cuter dress and we hired the photographer of my dreams to do a redo session at my husband’s urging because he knew those things bugged me. Like I said, I married a gem and that’s the best of all.

  45. Stephanie says...

    I would be all over reading a post about alternatives to dancing at weddings! I’m not married or engaged, but i’ve never been much of a dancer and I think I’d rather do something else if I do get married. I’d love to hear some cool, different things couples did, and how that worked logistically!

    • Megan says...

      I love dancing, but my husband doesn’t, and our parents didn’t care about the parent/child dances, and I’ve hated going to weddings single/seeing single friends sit out the dancing at weddings, so we had our friend who is an amazing musician play a mini concert (5 songs) instead! He also played the music for the ceremony itself (guitar/violin and sang). He did mostly his own stuff but everyone loved when he started singing George Michael :) We got SO much great feedback on that aspect of the wedding, I couldn’t recommend it enough!

    • Natalie says...

      Agreeed! Please please can this be a topic?

    • Crissy says...

      I got married a year ago and we didn’t have any dancing. Instead we offered cigars on a deck and champagne near the fire for those who wanted it. We had an even split down the middle (there was plenty of milling before and after that and men were more than welcome next to the fire and ladies were more than welcome to the cigars), men went outside for cigars and women headed towards the fireplace. It was intimate and fun, one guest said it was reminiscent of downtown abbey. A perfect ending to an awesome evening.

  46. Nidhi says...

    We have been married for 5 years now. Ours was a traditional Indian wedding with approx 500- 600 guests and we ended up spending a “lot” on the wedding ceremony, reception, food, stay and the gifts.
    If I were to have the wedding again, I would have a court marriage and a small cosy reception for my family and friends. I would want to save all that money and travel the world with my husband. Also put some amount of money in buying a house :)

  47. I would have invited fewer coworkers & more friends! Picked more music that older people would have danced to – we made our own playlist.
    I do not regret having no attendants. We have many good friends that helped us out, and we didn’t have to worry about outfits and obligations. (I’ve also never been an attendant at a wedding.)
    We had it in the middle of the afternoon & didn’t have a full meal and that’s another reason people didn’t really dance much.

  48. * An outdoor wedding either at a park or at the beach.
    * A pastor that we know personally, not a near stranger who didn’t know anything about us, really.
    * A brunch the following day to hang with family who had come from out of town, rather than rushing out of town right away.
    That’s all, I think. The reception was perfect but I feel like the ceremony was so formal and kind of stuffy and impersonal. Still, it was a perfect day. We’ll be married 30 years this summer and I would love to do the more casual second wedding of my dreams and invite the same people. We shall see. :)

  49. Rebecca Hough says...

    My than boyfriend, now husband, and I both live in anchorage ak. We got engaged and everyone had their own opinion of what our wedding should be. It was exhausting. We told both sets of parents that we were eloping a week before we did. We went to a small “end of the road town,” McCarthy, AK. Had the pastor at the small church perform the ceremony and the witnesses was the pastor and his wife’s friends visiting from Florida. I wore jeans and a cashmere jcrew sweater with frye boots and my husband wore jeans and a button down.

    We ended up having the best dinner of our lives that evening at the restaurant in town, copper river red salmon with blueberry sauce and my husband had scallops.
    I loved that man so much and still do and all the other people’s expectations… not so much!

  50. Katie says...

    Three things:
    1) I would have added straps to my dress. I’m not curvy enough to hold up a strapless dress very well, and I was tugging at it all night. It drove me crazy.
    2) I would have done my own makeup. I got it done professionally, and it didn’t feel like me, and I didn’t like it (and don’t in photos either).
    3) I might have done photos earlier. We had to miss the little cocktail hour, which was a bummer since it’s a rare chance to talk to so many people we love.

  51. Twyla says...

    I have to say I feel very relieved reading all these comments, because I didn’t get the dress of my dreams (my mom made it as added her own ‘touch’) and I’ve always regretted it. Like, a lot. But hearing how many women also felt the same way about their dress, and remembering all the totally awesome parts of our wedding (we still say our wedding was the funniest wedding we’ve ever been to!) makes me relax about it all.

  52. Theresa says...

    We had a great wedding. I would have chosen a different dress maybe. I loved my simple, Jcrew dress at the time, but now see so many dresses I might have picked. I also wouldn’t have taken so long after the ceremony to take pictures. It took too long!

  53. Meghan says...

    Funny you say you’d ditch the dance! We didn’t plan a dance, but we did have my iPod out playing music. Instead, we had drinks, games (I LOVE the pictures and seeing groups of friends and family playing Uno, Scrabble, Yahtzee!), and we had a fire and made s’mores. But you know what? My friend switched up the music and people dance anyways! We barely had room for it! It was great to see everyone so relaxed and enjoying themselves how they wanted.

    We had our wedding outside under a big tent – and it rained during the day. And even with a tent, by evening the grass and inside were very damp. It was August and people were wearing coats! So – even though I have no control over it, I would change the weather.

  54. jones says...

    We had an extremely small destination wedding with just our immediate family and it was amazing. The only thing I would do differently was have a different cake. Ours was a bit dry, but it the scheme of things who cares?

  55. Elizabeth Spence says...

    I really loved our wedding and I wouldn’t change the venue or guests or what we wore. We had a very traditional priest who didn’t include a kiss in our ceremony. We wish we had made a point to include that. Also my husband had his back turned whilst I walked down the aisle and he never saw me with my veil on so I would change that. I would also want more speeches from family. We only had a few and I treasure them. I wish I had more to remember. Lastly, we were pretty ambiguous about gifts vs money to our guests and ultimately we were given money presents from friends and that felt a little awkward to us. I’m not really a fan of wishing wells and I find registries impersonal so I think if I could do it again I would just say nothing and let guests bring something or not and not try and instruct them at all.

  56. Lisa says...

    Great question. We’ve been married 8 years and I loved so much of our day. As much as I think that I would have changed this or that, it was really about having our families and friends together, which we were able to have. I wouldn’t change that for the world. I definitely would have decided to write my own vows. We used typical ones and perhaps just knowing what I know now and what we’ve been through, I would have said so much more. (But who knows if I would have been able to articulate all of that then?) After our wedding, getting dropped off at a very fancy hotel by good friends in my dress with my handsome husband at my side and being oohhhed and aahhhed at…I wouldn’t change that either.

  57. Carla Cram says...

    We didn’t do a dance as my hubby hates it, but I wish I’d pushed it more. I would have made an entrance, we just slinked back in quietly. We didn’t do a cake and I’m OK with that.

  58. Tammy says...

    I loved our intimate restaurant wedding full of laughter, including a surprise recitation by one of the wedding party of the “Family Ties” theme song during the ceremony. (All the guests spontaneously sang the “Sha la la la” at the end.) But my one change would be to audition the accordion player I hired to play “La Vie en Rose” as I walked down the aisle. In my effort to not be a bridezilla, I got a little too casual and just hired someone off a friend’s recommendation. As the video shows, it was a pretty shaky rendition. Alas, doesn’t change the marriage!

    Oh, and I said no, no, no to a wedding video, but my husband’s friend decided to bring along his camera at the last minute and taped it all. Seven years later, I treasure that video. We watch it with our daughters every year on our anniversary and toast the beginnings of our little family.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so beautiful, tammy, what an incredible tradition:)

  59. Chelsey says...

    We got married almost 7 years ago in Italy (we are Canadian) and the only thing I would do differently is I would wear my mothers beautiful bohemian wedding dress. I guess I also wouldn’t stress about the minutia! Those little details just don’t really matter!

    If anyone needs a beautiful spot in Tuscany just look up Pondere Patrignone.

    • Chris says...

      I am swooning over the photos from that venue! Wow.

  60. Christina says...

    It’s been fascinating reading these wonderful comments! My husband & I didn’t marry until our early 30s and it was the second time around for both of us. I think by that time in our lives we knew exactly what we did and didn’t want, so I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe my dress…I should have picked something I would have worn again…) Almost 17 years later he’s still the guy for me, that hasn’t changed either!

  61. Gwen says...

    I would do everything differently. My parents are traditional and they pretty much had the wedding of their dreams…accept we were the bride and groom. We had karaoke at our wedding…enough said…wait we also had tons of people we didn’t know and some drunk dude had to be carried out of the venue.

  62. Thinking about some wedding do-overs is so fun!! Two years later and I feel like I would choose the simpler route as well. I loved my white lace dress, but I considered wearing red (I know, everyone talked me out of it) and I think I would have forgone the engagement ring because now I love the look of a simple wedding band. Also, I often wonder how romantic it would have been to elope.

    • Julia says...

      I also love the look of a simple wedding band- so I had my engagement ring resized and I now wear it on my right hand ring finger.

  63. I really loved every second of our wedding… but, if I were planning it now I think we’d elope and perhaps just have immediate family there to witness.

    C x

  64. Elise says...

    I would have hired a “day of” wedding planner. We went very DIY with most aspects of our wedding, which was fantastic in many ways, but we relied heavily on family and friends leading up to the celebration. As the bride, I still felt like I had to manage the pace and details after the ceremony, which did not allow me to fully enjoy the amazingness of having so many of our friends and family. Regardless, almost 8 years later, it still gives me goosebumps thinking about how magical the experience was.

  65. cgw says...

    It will be 20 years at the end of March for me and The Huz. There isn’t a whole lot I would change -minus my views on dress styles now vs. what was available then. But I still love the dress I chose then (1997) as it was simple and uncomplicated. I would have paid more attention to flower centerpieces at the tables. I may have gone a bit overboard on avoiding being a Bridezilla and took a “too chill” approach to the planning bit. We had ours at a hotel, so a coordinator came with the package. I literally told him “Our colors are black and white (because it was easy, and cheap to print homemade invites), I want only white tulips.” So when it came time choose the centerpieces I said “just a bunch of tulips in a vase, and let’s keep it low.” So to make it look a little fancy, they put the vases of tulips on top of a mirror. But each time someone took a photograph, the flash would reflect and leave a funky thing on people’s foreheads. Hahahaha! I’d also have worn a few more traditional Chinese adornments during our tea ceremony.

  66. ras says...

    would marry someone else.

    • KS says...

      Shit. Sorry. But kudos for this comment—you definitely keep it real.

  67. Lizzy says...

    Oh, and what I’d totally do over again: not get stressed out about my wedding! I love that we were organized, not picky, and excited to celebrate our love. Seriously. No drama, no panicking, no crying, none of that. It was a blast.

  68. Jessie says...

    We are eloping to Hawaii in 10 weeks! I sometimes worry I may regret forgoing a traditional wedding with family and friends present, but this elopement feels very “us.” The comments on here have inspired me to hire a videographer to share the day with loved ones when we return.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how fun!!!

    • Genna says...

      Eloping in 5 weeks! We decided on a videographer at the last minute, too!

  69. Lizzy says...

    I would have actually had a bigger wedding. I am an introvert and had my heart set on a tiny wedding, but my husband’s family is so big that once we invited all our close relatives, we only had room in our guest list for a few friends. Now, I find myself chatting with close friends and thinking, “why weren’t you at our wedding?” We should have just invited everybody we really cared about. Yes, it would have cost more, but in the grand scheme of things our wedding was already very modest. A few more people would only have made it more joyful. I also would have eaten before the ceremony when I was calm and not surrounded by people. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn’t eat a bite at the reception and ended up getting sooooo drunk on only a little bit of champagne! Not my finest moment.

  70. Rosha says...

    I would have spent more money on a fantastic photographer. We thought we were being smart by hiring a student photographer to do a great job for cheap… but it backfired and now I have few photos to remember my favorite day.
    Things I would have done again? Worn Frye boots under my lacy dress, had my best friend marry us, and get the dancing started after cocktails and before dinner. It made the night one long party. We ended with beers and dumplings around a bon fire which was a perfect ending to our home grown night.

  71. Katy says...

    JO, you are amazing! Thank you for this! Getting married in September and am going to read every single one of these comments to make sure I don’t miss a thing! XOXO

  72. Emily Lambert says...

    I am in the midst of planning our wedding (this May!) and while there are already some things I might have done differently (not going down the rabbit hole of Pinterest! shoe options!), I think we both stuck to our original plan: to have a simple, elegant and love-filled day with our closest friends & family. We chose an incredible venue that we have a deep connection to and we asked our close friend to be our officiant. We have one maid of honor and one best man but no big wedding party. Most elements of the day are very “us” and that felt the most natural and romantic…without the extra wedding fluff. We can’t wait to experience the day we’ve been planning for so long!

  73. This is a great idea! What I want now in a wedding isn’t what I wanted 5 years ago, and I love the idea of a small wedding. Very interesting to see what you would and wouldn’t have changed!

    http://thedianaedition.com

  74. Lauren says...

    I loved my beautiful, big dress but I would pick a fun party dress for the reception. I think that’s about all I’d change other than eloping altogether! Our wedding was a whole weekend of partying, with a BBQ for everyone the night before (with kegs and my dad’s country rock band playing all night) so the night of was actually pretty stress-free. Dress is a big regret though…I still danced the night away but wish I could have focused on my giant skirt less

  75. Kerri says...

    The one thing I’d change is getting married outside in the sunshine instead of in a dark building. And maybe have a huge picnic and BBQ. And a less stiff dress. And icecream. Ok, so apparently I’d change a lot. We got married when we were 19 and 20 and we are about to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the marriage is the real prize to look foward to, not the wedding.

  76. We got married on a summer day in May–outside! I figured the lighting would be so incredible and our friends’ iPhone photos were good enough. I didn’t spring for a photographer.
    Did. Not. Count. on the fact that there would be a torrential down pour all day–and the entire week leading up to the wedding.
    Due to the horrible lighting under the tent–we didn’t get a single bride and groom photo that was worth printing. But I know that a professional photographer could have made those photos as magical as the day felt.

  77. sarah says...

    love this. i’m 28 and my partner is 30. he grew up in oregon, i grew up in north carolina where we live. he proposed in november and we are planning a very small, intimate may wedding. he’s the one who actually wants a ceremony, i’m the one who wants to go to the courthouse! i’m very excited about being married, i’m less excited about the process of planning something. i am easily stressed and want to enjoy being engaged! so small is our style.

    we’re planning on spending the whole weekend hanging with the 35ish immediate family and close friends who are coming into town. we’ll touring our town, hiking, drinking beer, with a wedding ceremony mixed in somewhere. and a small reception at his parent’s home. just quality time with our people.

    most of our family has belittled us for wanting something rather unfancy. i didn’t even go dress shopping (i bought something off bhldn clearance!). but fancy isn’t our scene, we like hanging out and spending time with each other and our friends – so that’s what we want our wedding weekend to be -authentic to us. i figure life is going to be full of a lot more little, special ordinary moments, rather than huge, spectacular ones – so i’d rather our wedding be more like that.

    i keep wondering if in 20 years we will regret doing something so different than our family and friends, but i don’t think so. :)

    i could go on and on and on talking about this (i’m a minister and am always thinking about the theology of weddings, especially since i’m semi-planning one!)… it’s all very interesting what becomes important as you mature and grow.

    instagram – @sarahavl

    • Tara says...

      I loved this comment, Sarah! My boyfriend and I (both 28) are preparing to elope in the city where we live in just a few weeks. I can’t wait. We’re both incredibly low-key, party planning is not one of my favorite things, and I had no desire to expend any stress or emotional energy on a traditional wedding. It’s a decision that I’m sure some people in our lives won’t understand (like my poor grandmother — she’s going to be totally shocked), but I’ve never doubted for a second that it’s the right decision for us and our relationship. I don’t think I’ll regret it, and I don’t think you will either! It’s a special kind of blessing to know yourself well enough to feel comfortable enough to choose your own path, particularly in areas that carry so many cultural expectations and traditions.. Wishing you and your future husband all the best. xoxo

  78. We did have flourless chocolate cake! It was so “un-wedding”…which is totally perfect for me. I’m so glad we had that cake. If you’re getting married in Seattle, seriously consider Dilletante. Yu-hum!
    We also chose my very favorite cover band – The Kennedy Brothers – to play. Perfection.

  79. Midge says...

    Put sunscreen on my arms at my rehearsal dinner. I had a 3/4-sleeve lobster sunburn with my strapless gown.

  80. Lindsay says...

    We just got married on Long Meadow in Prospect Park last September and threw an after party at my wife’s bar in Manhattan, Otto’s Shrunken Head. My good friend sang Sea of Love (Cat Power version) & our neighbor serenaded her on guitar as we walked up to our friends & family gathered in the park. It was the perfect, laid back, balanced day and everyone loved it. Tacos from Tacombi & tiki later at the bar, a gluten-free cake from Ovenly, our DJ friend curated our favorite music, etc. A couple things I would have changed – 1) definitely don’t go back to work following the wedding! A honeymoon or some downtime is a must, 2) I would have asked guests to donate to an LGBTQ organization of their choice bc I feel so privileged that we were married under Obama, and the political climate has changed, 3) designate a photographer! We (and so many of our friends) are photographers so we didn’t hire one, but it’s straining tonguests to feel obligated to capture the best moments.

  81. HILLARY says...

    I got married in October of 2015 so not too long ago- but I would NOT have 13 bridesmaids again haha- it was a cluster and so much drama combining groups of friends from my childhood, high school and college. Just because people had be in their wedding doesn’t mean I have to reciprocate the offer.
    Also I wish I would’ve had the ceremony 30 mins earlier because of daylight issues in October. We had a very small window of daylight after our 5pm ceremony so we had very rushed family photos- wished we could’ve taken many more, same with the entire bridal party photos.

  82. Kim says...

    Our wedding is in 4 months – eek! Reading these comments is slightly stressful ;) As someone who lovesss aesthetics but doesn’t have a huge wedding budget, I’ve found planning the little details very stressful. I have this perfectly personalized, gorgeous vision in my mind (all the flowers and all the paper goods), but the DIY work and/or money to make it all happen is daunting. I guess these messages abut simplifying should inspire me to lower my expectations a bit ;) Since we are having a semi-destination wedding in the south of France (!!!) (half the family is French so its not destination for everyone), I feel this pressure for it to be the most amazing wedding ever so the out of town guests feel it was “worth” the trip. Not to mention family tensions I’m trying not to think about… Oh man, do you sense my stress mounting?? I am super-excited, but won’t lie – I find wedding planning stressful! P.S. My future husband loves dancing and I’ve had so much fun at weddings that turned into crazy dance parties! So I am excited for that part :)

    • Lydia says...

      I also found wedding planning to be stressful and wish I had been married before Pinterest existed. What helped calm me was picking 3 things we cared about most (playlist, good food, photos) and not worrrying/spending money on all the other stuff. Also, having great conversations with my fiancé about how we envisioned our marriage rather than just our wedding day. Still going strong almost 5 years later!

    • Chris says...

      I’m of the opinion that your wedding WILL be “worth” the trip because it’s in the South of France and these people obviously love you & your partner. I can empathize with the desire for things to be perfect, but I can also tell you that of the weddings I’ve been to in the past 5 years, I only remember the flowers that I as a bridesmaid held, or that the bride held (and even then, I only remember the bride who carried sunflowers in October because they were so bright & distinctive). Honestly. And I’m a detail-oriented (read: Type A) person! Once you arrive at a wedding, and get to drinking, eating, dancing, socializing, laughing, soaking up the love of a beautiful couple…that other stuff just tends to fade away. :)

      So, I guess the conclusion of this long comment (from a total stranger) is that I encourage you to DIY to the extent that it makes you feel happy…but if it gets to be stressful, forget about it, and take faith in knowing that you are going to have a totally amazing wedding regardless. Best wishes!

  83. Tracy says...

    I would 100% change my dress. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted, but everyone cried when I tried it on. I’ll admit, it was beautiful, but way more formal than what I had planned. Our buddy played guitar and sang the processional – The Beatles’ “In My Life” – and it’s fun that we hear it in random places from time to time. My bestie/bridesmaid sang “Grow Old Along with Me” as our rings were passed for our guests to put their blessings/good wishes on them. We only had 20 guests, which was perfect for us, and I wanted to find a way to involve everyone. Passing the rings was a terrific solution – and I really cherish carrying their loving thoughts everywhere I go.

  84. Cait says...

    I walked down the aisle to “Everlasting Light” by The Black Keys. I worried it was too edgy, but I really liked the beat and lyrics. In the end it was a perfect moment that I wouldn’t change at all. We even got some comments from friends after the fact! Maybe I am kind of cool. ;)

  85. Patti says...

    Things I wouldn’t change about our wedding:
    – super small group (9 including us!)
    – destination wedding; which meant we toured around Portland, OR for a week with our family eating, visiting, whale watching and so much more!
    – my flowers were foraged locally and so stunning.
    – the day was easy breezy meandering, 15 minutes of wedding and then an AMAZING meal.
    – crepe cake!!!
    – week of honeymoon sans cell signal
    Things I would change:
    – I cheaped out and wore pretty, but old shoes. They were so uncomfortable!
    – I spent a ridiculous amount on makeup and wound up doing what I always do!

    • Mara says...

      I have been so, so excited reading these comments. There are so many weddings that sound like the one I’m planning, and I never see them represented in blogs or photos. I am planning a teeny tiny wedding (11 including us!) wedding near Asheville, NC for this coming June. We have the same idea- 15 minute wedding followed by an outstanding, outdoor farm-to-table meal. But I’m curious, what did you do AFTER the food? Did it just flow? We will be on a friend’s farm and it will be dark after the meal. A bonfire is an option. Anyone?

    • Christine says...

      Curious, what was your venue?! Sounds like a dreamy occasion. I’ve hoping to visit Portland this year.

  86. Linn says...

    I would’ve hired / enlisted someone to clean up! We had a mostly DIY wedding in our neighborhood park, and I just couldn’t bring myself to ask someone to be in charge of cleanup. The wedding was amazing, but it was kind of a bummer to end the night hauling home boxes of mason jars and lace tablecloths. Here are some photos, if you’d like to see! http://theplannery.com/2013/08/linn-and-daves-diy-outdoor-wedding-patterson-park-baltimore/

    • Harriet says...

      Same!! We got married in my BIL’s back yard, and had to go clean up the next day. If I could redo, we’d hire someone to handle all the cleaning.

  87. Sarah says...

    Almost 10 years married! I loooved my wedding (great architectural location, marzipan cake, black velvet heels I still wear for special occasions, minimal dance floor and dancing) but two things I regretted immediately after and to this day: not taking a picture with every table of guests and not purposefully visiting every table of guests. Through the excitement and hubbub and spending time with some, I realized I didn’t get to all.

  88. Alex says...

    I wish I had either practiced putting in/taking out my contact lenses or just worn my glasses. The optometrist didn’t get them in until two days before the wedding (I ordered them six weeks out!) and then was too busy to teach me how to use them, so I had a trial run with youtube videos only. I spent an hour that morning putting them in, and even longer trying to get them out in our hotel room – the bath went cold, my champagne went warm and we were too sleepy for wedding night sex! For a day that goes too quickly I spent a lot of it with my fingers in my eyes!

  89. Teree says...

    We had a teeny wedding of 12 almost 18 years ago (!!!). Just our immediate family. But I really regret not inviting my best friend since she is part of my family. I missed being able to roll my eyes at someone.

  90. Caitlin says...

    I’m getting married in 16 days! I can’t wait for the big day to get here after all this planning. I feel like we’ve stayed pretty true to ourselves throughout the planning process. I guess we’ll find out if we made the right decisions soon enough. :)

  91. Anna says...

    I didn’t have a dance floor, and I wish we had! My husband & I both love dancing – that’s how we got together, actually, so I don’t know why we didn’t! The rest of my wedding was pretty perfect though!

  92. Katie says...

    I love this question! I was 23 when I got married (almost 10 years ago!), living in New York City, which meant I was basically treated as a child bride, haha. And of course, now that I’m older and wiser, I can think of a million small things to change – but in general, it was a lovely day and an awesome party. But agreed with growing older and wanting something simpler. I had barely attended any weddings (I didn’t have older cousins, and I was the first of my friends to get married), so I had no idea what elements of traditional weddings I liked or didn’t like.

    Would have changed:

    I am still friends with all my bridesmaids, but ten years later I have drifted apart from some, and have gotten closer with other friends in their place – I think it would have been nicer not to have bridesmaids and rather just have lots of friends around me without trying to prioritize some over others. I think I would have preferred a lower key music/DJ portion, maybe just having a friend play music instead. We planned the wedding in three months (we partly got married young due to a job that was about to take me out of the country), which I don’t regret (it felt good not to have much time to obsess), but I do wish I’d put more care/thought into my dress, which I was indifferent toward.

    Would keep:

    The groom :); getting married young despite all the judgment because there is no way it would have been the same crazy party without the energy of a bunch of 23-year-olds fueling it; the venue (a beautiful museum in my home state); having plenty of rich fall colors in the flowers and table linens (I am not a white-and-blush-pink type); having a short ceremony (my husband and I are not really into big public vows).

  93. Georgia says...

    Coming up on two years in June! Would skip the bridal shower for sure- it wasn’t necessary, we have such a tiny apartment we hardly use anything from it!

  94. Samantha says...

    My husband and I got married young, 21, and I think our inexperience led us to make a lot of choices we thought would make parents and others happy. Our wedding didn’t reflect us very much. I would have hired a different photographer and I would make it much smaller and more intimate if I had a do over. Also I would have wine! Because of very conservative backgrounds we assumed it would upset both our families to serve alcohol. After going through several sibling weddings in the past few years we’ve realized we could have just done things our own way without any real issues. You live and your learn!

  95. Alexandra Cohen says...

    I would have worn a different dress. Mine wasn’t quite a ballgown i guess it was A Line. That style isn’t really in anymore I would have worn something form fitting. I made the mistake of not losing weight before i went to try on dresses so nothing looked good. I would have hired a decorator and eaten the desserts! was too busy to eat them and would have had a videographer but it was too expensive

  96. Pearl says...

    Noticed a lot of folks mentioned an afterparty – despite how overtired you are of the planning process (I hear you there!) do an after party…but keep it very chill. We were across the street from a old-timey bowling alley and we rented it out after the reception. It was one of the highlights – we brought in pitchers of cheap beer, deep-dish pizzas, and had bucket of quarters for the jukebox. Also, we turned on black light bowling and my dress totally glowed unexpectedly!

    After a more formal/traditional wedding, it was great to kick back with all of the day’s stresses behind us. At that point, it’s total bliss without a worry in the world. One of life’s truly perfect moments.

  97. jen says...

    I had a big church wedding with cake and punch after cause it was at the church. Now I would have it in our botanical garden and serve Mexican food.

    • Brianna says...

      A botanical garden and Mexican food sound perfect for a wedding.

  98. Kim says...

    That’s my dress. I was really comfy. Sam was a friend of mine and did it as a favour before she moved the NYC. (We are standing outside Marylebone Registry office in London, where we live). I was only 26 (a baby!) and we got married 11 years ago, pre-Instagram, pre-Pinterest. I’m glad there was none of that. What a lot of pressure now. Cupcakes had just become trendy so we had those instead of cake. We had the reception in a pub in North London called Monkey Chews. The wedding was kind of messy, but we all had a blast.

  99. Naomi P says...

    I would change nothing. I’ll do it all again, the same way. We had a non-traditional traditional wedding. Our twist on the traditional. Me = short white dress with feathers (very me). Him = black tuxedo ala James Bond (very him). Outdoors. Winery. Champagne galore. Only red roses in my bouquet and his boutinier. White roses for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Short black dresses for the bridesmaids, black tuxes for the groomsmen. Very classic and beautiful and simple. Music = during the ceremony friends performed “Hard to Concentrate” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (if you don’t know – look it up and listen). First dance = “Endlessly” by Muse (also an incredible love song). We had a club DJ who played music like when you go out dancing … no “make the old people happy” music and guess what! EVERYONE danced! No cake. Tiered cupcakes instead. We cut a cupcake with my father-in-law’s saber from the army. The WHOLE night was amazing.

    My advice: do what YOU want. Not what the wedding magazines recommend or Pinterest suggests. :)

  100. I love how you would simplify if you could do it again. The real marriage is what comes after a wedding. I got married on a weekday after teaching a class in the morning. I came home, ironed a dress, and went to the courthouse. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant afterwards and then drinks to celebrate with friends. Later that year, my mom had a party for us at her house with friends and family. We’ve been married for almost 16 years!

  101. Jessica says...

    Joanna,

    Just want to thank you (and all the lovely commenters) for this post. Been reading religiously for years but this is my first comment (eek!). I’m less than five months out from planning a 100 guest destination wedding in Italy and I just combed through every comment. All the nudges towards simplicity are comforting me. I also discovered Vitamin String Quartet from one comment (thank you, kind person!) and listened to every single album of theirs for three hours, picturing our processional. I am not having the most productive work day but I loved every second of this conversation. THANK YOU.

    Love,
    A loyal reader in California

    • Tracy says...

      I got married 9 years ago and We did a playlist of vitamin string quartet while people were being seated at our outdoor ceremony. and then I walked the aisle to their Tuesday’s Gone cover. I am not a Lynard Skynard fan by any means but the instrumental version was lovely. Everyone asked us about our playlist, they were making a game of guessing the songs while they were waiting for the ceremony.

    • Delaney says...

      I walked down the aisle to Vitamin String Quartet’s Kings of Leon cover of “Use Somebody”. It’s one of my favourite choices we made for the day!

    • jordan says...

      Same here! I am poring over these comments for tips. Currently planning a 50-person wedding in the French countryside for September, and definitely trying to live by the mantra to make this about what we want!

  102. We had a somewhat shotgun wedding on the cheap and a few things I’d redo if I could go back in time would be :
    -spend a little more money on the dress and get one I loved
    -pay a photographer and have a million pictures instead of relying on photo buff family members with too little time on their hands
    -consider moving the wedding date up and getting married while I was pregnant rather than four months postpartum. In my mind, I’d be a glowing mother to be with a beautiful empire waist gown and no new born to feed. Totally not exhausted and cranky and feeling huge at all!
    -find the time and money to take a real honeymoon to somewhere exotic and inspiring. If I’d known how long it would be until we could take a vacation just the two of us, I’d have tried to spring for something more.

    Everything else really was perfect though.

  103. Also married 7 1/2 years and there isn’t really anything I would change, but I would do wish we would have hired a cinematographer/videographer. I would love a really artistic video from our day instead of the very basic recording that a family member did for us. Also, now that we have three kids I often think how we had everyone we loved there, except for our kids (because they weren’t born yet) and how much I’d love a do-over with them there. So maybe a vow renewal someday.

  104. Liz says...

    Directly after the wedding I felt like I had a million things I wanted to change, but after some time those things kind of fade away! I do have a few though. I wish I had put more thought in which pictures I wanted—I had this “I’m going to be the OPPOSITE of a Bridezilla!” mentality (“I’m not a regular bride, I’m a cool bride!”) and thought that everyone hates taking pictures so I’d rush on through them. Ended up not getting a lot of shots with my family, especially my late grandmother, that I would have liked now. I also would have chosen a dark nail polish color (one of my bridesmaids called the color I chose “Band-Aid”), and probably would have been more specific in the shade of grey that I requested the groomsmen choose for their suits. My brother-in-law chose a light pewter and everyone else had black or charcoal. He looked like he was supposed to be the groom. In the grand scheme of things, those are minor complaints, and looking back I’m just glad that nothing went off the rails!

  105. Olivia's Mum says...

    different groom

    • diana says...

      haha A+ for honesty

    • Em says...

      Hahahah

  106. Michelle says...

    My wedding day was the most incredible day filled with our nearest and dearest in a different country with amazing food and a killer dance party (including an Otis Redding karaoke moment with me standing on one of the really big speakers a la Ducky from “Pretty In Pink”).
    I’ve thought about what I would change and really the only thing I could think of would be to have the party maybe end at 1am instead of 2am. There were some pretty bad hangovers the next day despite our midnight snack of fries and tamales.

    One thing I wish I would have done is also the biggest piece of advice I always give to engaged couples. Make sure to to tell friends, family and wedding planners “No thank you” to any surprises on the wedding day – unless that’s something you’d like. A few relatives decided to surprise us with an hour of mariachi music during our reception. It was a kind gesture but we flew our DJ from the states to the country where we got married to make sure we had an amazing dance party. Really, the music was one of the things I cared about most when planning. At midnight the mariachi band came out to play for an hour and we asked them to only play for 20 minutes. Our guests returned to the dance floor and the party picked up pace after the performance was done but sadly several members of my family stormed out of the reception, wrote me a scathing email during my honeymoon and are still angry and wont speak to me two years later.

    In the end – I regret nothing. It was the best night of my life. Several little things went wrong but in the moment, everything was perfect and beautiful and I was too happy to care. Plus nobody noticed those silly things because they were having such a blast.

  107. MB says...

    AGREE RE BRIDESMAIDS. I’m not even on speaking terms with one of them anymore. Should have done sisters only.

    • Jill says...

      I had a lovely group of girlfriends that actually begged me not to do the bridesmaids thing, so my husband and I just had a best man (his brother in law) and maid of honour (my sister). We then did a sweetheart table for the two of us during dinner instead of wedding party table. I hate the clique-y vibe of wedding parties (bridesmaids/groomsmen). I’ve been in a few and you end of rarely talking to the other guests and are stuck at the head table the whole night. It also creates a hierarchy between guests, which I don’t like.

    • Kelly says...

      ours will be a family affair…his two sisters, his brother, and my two brothers as the wedding party, his dad as the officiant. We will put the whole family at one long table.

  108. Valerie Quinn says...

    OH I just love reading these posts – I’m getting married this July and as the least bridal person I’ve ever met I keep questioning my decisions…how can I make them when I’ve seriously never thought about them before?? LOL. For us the priority is the ceremony itself (it’s what it’s all about). The rest are just bonus details :)
    Thank you all for making me think about these things!

  109. i love reading all of these! i’m not married (57 and way over being worried about it! someday it will happen) but ate up all these comments (granted, i do have a wedding business so i love all things wedding). love the insights that come with time.

  110. MB says...

    I would absolutely hire a videographer. My father (who hated public speaking) gave the most wonderful speech. People still talk about it 6.5 years later. He died 2 months ago, and I so wish I had a video of his amazing speech.

    • Natalie says...

      MB, I’m so sorry for your loss.

      My husband does wedding videography and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard similar stories to this. What better way to preserve the events of the day but also snippets of time spent with the important people in our lives?

  111. London says...

    We eloped! And now we’ve been married 5 years, made 2.5 law degrees, and are finally planning our wedding/my graduation/6th anniversary party. I love these ideas because our elopement was magical (sparkly short dress, a photographer as our witness, and red and white carnations that still make me cry), but now we get a fancy do-over. We’re renting a brewery, and hiring mariachis and a taco truck! Probably breaking out the sparkly dress again.

  112. M says...

    I think that I would not have invited some people that I thought were necessary to my wedding. I got married 18 1/2 yrs ago. It was a wonderful wedding –we both still feel that way. But there are people that we feel now really did not need to be there but we kind of felt pressured to invite.

  113. jen says...

    i think i would have had a smaller wedding and gone less traditional.

  114. Eva says...

    Maybe it’s because I’m only two years out and memories are still fresh from the joy of that weekend, but the only thing I’d change is the hair stylist I used, only because they were terrible. Haha!

    Okay also I would steal something I loved from a friend’s recent wedding: an instant camera + an empty scrapbook + colorful pens. It was so fun to fill those pages, and I can only imagine how fun it was to look through it later!

  115. Lizzie says...

    I am loving reading through these comments! I’ve been engaged for a few years now and dragging my feet on planning the wedding, mainly because the idea of a 100+ person wedding just fills me with such anxiety. It took me a while to admit that to myself and my fiance, but now that I have I feel so much lighter and I’m actually excited! We are planning a small ceremony in a neighborhood park for this summer and renting out a local restaurant for a dinner and party afterwards. I am hoping for a relaxing, beautiful day with my closest friends and family. I am a little nervous that people who aren’t invited will be hurt or angry, but hoping they will understand and be happy for us.. Cheers to all you ladies out there. xx

    • This sounds absolutely incredible! I you need a photographer, that’s exactly the type of special gathering I love to document.

      Xx

    • Patti says...

      I can completely relate! We had an elopement with just our immediate family because the thought of a large wedding or planning a big party gave me anxiety. It turned out that people didn’t seem to mind not being invited and congratulated us in their own ways for the following year. Enjoy your special day! It sounds lovely :)

    • Louisa says...

      Your wedding sounds perfect!
      We waited more than 10 years to get married, in large part because we feared the wedding. We married in city hall with just our parents. It was perfect. I did hire a photographer (which feels formal, but she was super laid-back and amazing) and am SO glad I did. So that’s my little piece of advice. :)

  116. Kate says...

    Have a videographer. I would give just about anything for video footage of our wedding. I remember so many things but mostly I remember having tunnel vision on my husband. I wish I could see it all, especially our vows and dancing the hora later!

    • Liz says...

      Kate, I agree with you 100%! I thought a videographer was a totally unnecessary expense and just kind of assumed guests would film on their phones but I was wrong and now I just have the memories to go on (which is okay, just a little sad). Now I always recommend hiring one to friends getting married, and if they don’t I try to (surreptitiously) film little pieces of the wedding to send on later.

    • Natalie says...

      My husband is a film maker who often shoots wedding videos and elopements (my first panicky thought after we got engaged was “but who’s going to film OUR wedding?! hahaha) and it still blows my mind how many people don’t hire a videographer. It’s one of the top regrets of brides and grooms and yes, it can be pricey, but so worth the money to preserve those memories.

      Especially couples who elope and who are planning to later have a reception or party… Hire a videographer to be there and then you’ll have a beautiful video to share with family and friends who weren’t able to be there!

  117. Sunny says...

    The only things I would change about my wedding are that I wish I didn’t run around like crazy trying to do so much beforehand because I came down with bronchitis on my wedding day. I had a good makeup artist but it was rough. Also, I wish I spend more money and time picking out an amazing wedding photographer. Ours was just meh. Otherwise I totally loved our wedding and wish to re-live it (without having bronchitis).

  118. Tree says...

    I would have had one party and a honeymoon. I had 3 parties on consecutive days and then flew to Italy. It was all amazing but too much for me. I had a meltdown and couldn’t enjoy my first days of honeymoon because my head was spinning.

  119. Moira says...

    The only things I would change about my mid-sized wedding in Brooklyn 4 years ago would be…getting the chance to eat the delicious looking appetizers we had so carefully picked out, and not drinking too much the night before at the rehearsal dinner. I was so hung over for most of the day. Ugh.

    Overall, I loved my wedding. It felt so special to be with the friends and family who traveled locally and from further afield to be with us.

  120. Leah says...

    My husband’s father passed away the year before our wedding. He was a Bob Dylan fanatic so we used that music as a way to incorporate him into the wedding ceremony. We used Tangled Up in Blue and Forever Young as processional songs and I walked down the aisle to Shelter from the Storm.
    There are several things I’d change about my wedding (simpler, smaller) but not that!

    • Robin says...

      That is so beautiful! I’m crying at work now! (And clearly not working…)

  121. Ashley says...

    I just got married back in September and it’s just crazy looking back on the day. We were living in a house on a lake and decided to get married there. It was the perfect spot and we saved a ton of money doing it that way, but it was so so so much work. It all panned out better than I could have ever expected given all that we had to arrange on our own to make it happen.
    I guess it’s not really a regret because I don’t know what we could have done differently, but it makes me sad that the day went by so fast I feel that I really didn’t get to fully enjoy myself. The next day I was ready to do it all over again which was kind of a funny feeling. It helped that a lot of our close friends stayed over at our house so the next morning we all hung out on our deck, drank coffee, and recalled the day as we opened our gifts.

  122. Cindy says...

    It was 1994…should I go on? LOL. I wanted to elope and he wanted a big wedding. We compromised on about 75 people at a country club for both ceremony and reception. Still it was pricey. Money that would have been better spent on a house, in my opinion. The marriage is what matters, not the wedding.
    I wore a big 2 piece dress by Demetrios that I would never have picked on my own. I wanted a simple Calvin Klein long sleeved form fitting satin dress but I allowed my bridesmaids to influence me and, sigh, I wore the Demetrios. The only good thing about it was that the strapless lace dress underneath was short and perfect for the reception. but still so not my style.
    Like many of you, I also didn’t get to eat the yummy food I chose for the dinner. So starting to drink early in the day’s festivities was not such a good idea in hindsight. HA! I’m sure I’m not alone in that decision…
    I wish I had stuck to my guns and insisted on eloping. I would never do a traditional wedding again. That marriage didn’t last and I am now in a relationship with a man that was also divorced and am hoping marriage is in our future. We live together and are in the process of buying a house together so it’s looking good! Would love to run with the idea of a weekend in a rental country/lake house for our closest friends and family to fish, play games, have live music, share good food and drinks and just be together. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful.
    Joanna – maybe a future post about 2nd/3rd time around brides that are over 40? I think a lot of your readers could relate; I know I can! :)
    It was so much fun reading all of the comments – you girls rock!

    • Tree says...

      I agree! I’m 48 and enjoy this blog. But it’s often slanted toward women in 30’s or late 20″s.

  123. Jamie says...

    I was married a week after my 22nd birthday. Looking back with the wisdom of a 40 year old I know it is not the easiest thing to grow into yourself while also putting in the work to keep your marriage solid. Then adding kids, aging/sick parents, home ownership and career to the mix it gets that much more complicated. If I could have done it all over and still married my husband I would’ve given my 22 year old self some time to be independent. Live alone, date a bit. It’s not about not being with my husband, more about taking time to grow up vs playing at being grown up.

    I wouldn’t change a thing about my wedding. People still talk about how much fun they had almost 20 years later. I had the attitude of just throwing a big fun party and that is exactly what we did. My age might have influenced that attitude a bit. I still love my dress, flowers, the church etc. so I’m glad I the one thing we all still talk about is the celebration.

  124. We’ve only been married for 2 1/2 years so we have a LONG way to go! So inspired seeing people who have been married for 20 or 30+ years! I love seeing photos of peoples’ weddings, whether they are from a week ago or 50 years ago. Something so romantic and beautiful.

    But some things I would change!
    1) A small ceremony (me, my husband, and like 5 people including the officiant) outdoors during the fall (like after all the mosquitoes are dead!). And then have a large reception, where my mother and mother-in-law could invite those 400 people they wanted there.
    2) An alternative wedding dress – not really into all white. Maybe blush? Or champagne?
    3) More music and dancing!

    Some things I wouldn’t change for the world.
    1) My shoes!!! I wore a pair of Toms. Comfiest shoes ever!
    2) Our photographers because they were amazing and listened to our needs.
    3) Our cake – to die for. My husband actually got us a small cake from the same lady for our 1 year anniversary. And we devoured it all.

  125. Cousa says...

    I got married almost 3 years ago, and the whole wedding thing was totally out of my control! We had almost 600 people, we spent welcoming them for the first 1.5 hours of our wedding, and we ended up getting super sick from kissing everyone :( We got so sick during our honeymoon, it was so difficult to enjoy the whole trip and we didn’t have access to a hospital.
    Being a Middle Eastern family makes it really difficult to change things, because there’s such a big societal pressure on weddings and other ceremonies. If I could…(I know I never could) I would elope with my beloved husband to somewhere nice and quiet, say our wows and have an intimate dinner with just close family and best friends afterwards. The money my parents had to spend on our wedding still haunts me to this day. They never complained about it, they even feel proud to have such a big impressive wedding I’m sure, but being a different generation we find it unjustifiable to spend all that money, have all those people, and not have lots of special “us” moments.
    If you have a say in your wedding plans, consider yourselves very very lucky :)

  126. Andrea says...

    1. Pay a day of wedding coordinator. I relied on family and friends to implement stuff and, while they got it done, there are small things that I saw (and have never mentioned) that should have been done differently. An overall manager might have had more luck here.
    2. Make my husband CONFIRM with all his flaky relations and friends that they were going to show up and help, as they promised.
    3. Stay somewhere that night/go on a honeymoon. You are the hosts and the party seemed like about being good hosts. I needed more of a reward afterward, though.

    • ron mexico says...

      ^Salty

    • This advice is honest and I’m taking note! I don’t see this as being salty at all but that’s because A) I have a strong reliable group of friends who follow through in times like that and B) I’ve seen the flakiness happen to others. When you’re relying on someone’s help it is so incredibly frustrating to have poor communication when the time comes. Being the host of anything can be totally draining so that’s where self care comes in. I’m considering maybe not a full honeymoon but at least a small getaway after!

  127. Honestly, I would have invited more of my parents friends and my husband’s parents friends. The older guests were SO excited for us, and excited to be included. Some of the younger invitees (from college, grad school) had other priorities, and weren’t as into coming. We didn’t have a destination wedding per se, but most people did have to travel to my hometown.

    • Oh my gosh I can totally relate to this. Luckily we *did* invite my parents’ friends and my husbands’ parents friends, but I was really ‘meh’ about it because it was so many people and it made the cost go way up for us. I was certain that the most important thing were *our* friends, and while my BEST friends were there, most of my friends from college didn’t even come anyway (some were total flakes and had no excuse, others just couldn’t afford the cost of travel cross-country, which I understand)… In the end, without the parents’ friends, it would have lacked tons of excitement and enthusiasm.

  128. Kate says...

    Nothing.
    Because I’m not married.
    It would be great to feature questions/posts that acknowledge and include your readers who are not moms and/or are not married. We are out here!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, kate!

    • Roz says...

      I get it, but as the person whose blog this is DOES happen to be married and have kids – she should talk about her experiences, even if they’re not the same as yours. I think Jo’s blog covers a lot of topics that pertain to both single and married people… If you don’t like the post, why comment on it?!

    • YES ROZ! My thoughts exactly.

      I totally get wanting to see more content that relates to my exact interests (like how I wish there were fashion round-ups that had clothing options for women who are curvy and/or bigger than a size 6), but I also know that anything which doesn’t relate to my interests isn’t *meant* for me. Not everything can be. Jo and the the Cup of Jo girls create loads of content that isn’t about being a mother or being married. But given that motherhood and marriage are huge (HUGE!) things when they are a part of your life, then it makes sense they are a focus for Jo. Besides, there are loads of women (and men) who are not married with kids who are still interested in hearing about that stuff because they may just get married and/or have kids some day!

    • J says...

      I agree with Roz and Stacy – I feel like the blog not only regularly covers topics that aren’t related to marriage and kids, it also features posts specifically about dating or being single! I’m not a mom either and wasn’t engaged until recently, but always still enjoyed reading about those subjects. And, if a post ever doesn’t relate to me or just doesn’t interest me, I simply skip over it.

  129. Em says...

    If I did it again, I would have just trusted my mom’s ideas and not get stressed so much. I love my husband; I love my family, and my mom is a genius at planning and making things beautiful, but I still cringe thinking of wedding planning (and all the stress it entailed). Getting married felt like the reward for living through all that stress! I am waiting for this feeling to go away, but it’s lingered for three years–and I was 34 when I got married, so you can’t just chalk it up to being young.

    I would spend less time getting photographed during the reception and more time talking with people during the reception. We had a receiving line at the church, so at least we were able to say “thank you” to every single person immediately after the ceremony–would definitely do that again!

    And, I would have just invited the few extra people that would have put us over the limit. I STILL regret not inviting them. People get hurt when they think they’re invited. (And had good reason to be.) What would the caterer have noticed if there were two extra people? Someone else wouldn’t have shown up at the last minute and it would have been fine.

    All this said, it truly was the happiest day of my life!

  130. Julied says...

    I am with you on the short wedding dress! I wore a short pink dress, but find myself daydreaming at the Anthropologie wedding shop, they have the most gorgeous short dresses and hair accessories…
    I have fond memories of our wedding, we had no money and it was very low key… we had a small luncheon at our place and ended the day with a table football tournament in one of my favorite bars, where all my coworkers showed up! It was super fun. BUT… if it was today, I would insist more on having my parents there. Since it was so low key, they decided not to come (we live abroad), and I think my mom regrets it today… and so do I.

  131. Joanna says...

    I love your wedding photo up top. I was actually inspired by a few of your wedding posts years about simplicity of weddings, which helped inspire our small (50 people) Cape Cod wedding. We had an afterparty after with our closest friends who rented a 5 bedroom house a mile down the road, and I made sure all our other friends were with a couple miles of the big house. We all met at the big house after in our pajamas, ate chips, drank beers & cider, and played a ridiculous game of Telestrations. It was the “icing on top of the cake” for me and hubby! Huge highlight.

  132. Heather says...

    The one change that I would certainly make is wearing the bird cage veil that my mom and I loved but my friends talked me out of.

    The one thing I would definitely do over was making my Father the “point man” for day-of emergencies and questions. Any issues that came up were to be directed to him. During the planning process, he refused to so much as share an opinion. So, I told him my mother and I were off duty come wedding day. If there was a problem, he was instructed to not even tell us about it, just handle it. He made me promise I would be fine with whatever he decided, a promise I gladly made. Seven years later and I still don’t know of anything that went wrong. Either everything went smoothly (which is NOT likely) or he took care of business without ever involving me. Best decision ever. I had a wonderful, stress-free day.

  133. J says...

    We were married almost 2 years ago and I have very little regrets. We had a fairly tight budget and had to DIY a lot of these things and were lucky enough to have friends and family that helped bring down $ on a lot of other things (flowers, alcohol, invitations, cake, etc.). But we decided when we first started planning the wedding that we would not skimp on photography. So glad we didn’t – we love ALL of our photos! It helps us remember how special and meaningful that day was and brings up all the feels when we look at them.
    My only regret is not having someone video the ceremony and speeches/toasts. The day flies by and it’s all a little blurry. It could have just been a friend or family member with a phone or video camera, but they were incredibly meaningful, and it would be so great to listen to them again and share those with our future children. We had a rocky family relationship leading up to the wedding with my parents disapproving, and that was the day they truly accepted my husband and us as a couple — and it came through in my dad’s speech. I tear up to this day remembering the love felt throughout that day. Of course they now adore him and always sing his praises, so it worked out in the end :)

  134. Jbhat says...

    I love this question–it makes me think back to all of the things I would not change one bit about our wedding day, which is nice. Maybe my hairdo though? I have always loved seeing pictures of your wedding and have sometimes wished that instead of a ballerina bun towards the top of my head with my hair all pulled back that I would have done a side part with a lower, more flow-y side bun, like yours that day.

  135. Honestly, I don’t think I’d change anything beyond wishing we could have had the vendors for longer (but that comes down to money). We had some rain, which delayed things, so we were running out of time with our photographer and DJ. Everything felt so rushed (to me) that I felt like I couldn’t take a breath or take more than 3 bites of food.
    I am happy to report that my dress, the decor, etc. still holds up to my style today (I mean, I did only get married 4.5 years ago). ;)
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  136. Natalie says...

    I walked down the aisle to “Desire” by Ryan Adams and our first dance song was “Like Real People Do” by Hozier. I love how hearing those songs now bring me right back to such a beautiful day.

    Although we only got married two years ago and I loved my dress, I wouldn’t have had it altered because it fit so well to begin with! Or maybe I would have chosen a different dress all together.

    One thing I definitely would change was the fact that our limo driver (carrying 15 of our 40 guests) was an hour late arriving to the ceremony and since we opted not to do a first look, we missed out on an hour of photos with our photographer. The 15 minutes that we did get with her before the sun went down was in the rain, hail, and sleet that rolled in.
    We laugh about it now because we got married and that’s the most important thing, but I still roll my eyes when I think about that damn limo driver!

  137. Liz says...

    I would have skipped inviting my coworkers to my wedding – I don’t even work with them anymore!

    • Sabrina says...

      I agree! At the time, my husband and I both worked together at the same job. So we invited almost everyone we worked with. I had several tables full of co-workers. We both moved on to different jobs and I only keep in touch with one person now.

  138. Ramona says...

    Well, we eloped. We’d do it the same way again. We renewed our vows for our 10th anniversary and our son and daughter walked down the aisle with us. We’d do it the same way again. We’ll celebrate 37 years this April. His kisses still make me weak in the knees…

  139. I feel like this question gets trickier as the years go by… :) We have been married almost 13 years, and I feel like we now would do the whole thing completely differently! Definitely a destination wedding, and I’d still probably invite the same amount of people, but obviously they wouldn’t all come. I’d stress way less about things I know don’t matter. I’d have more creative food. I wouldn’t make my husband take dance lessons – we’re both terrible! I would have saved money on the things people throw away – invitations, programs, place cards, etc. But the thing is – we both loved our wedding and had a great time. So I’m actually really glad I don’t have to plan it again :) If we ever renew our vows, it’ll be just him and me and our daughter in the islands…

  140. Julia says...

    We eloped to Paris and I still went for the dress I’d always thought I’d have at a more traditional wedding-mermaid style. IT WAS SOOOOOOOOOOO PAINFUL. I would have done something much more casual and walkable.

    I love your idea of not having a dance floor. To be honest, it was one of the reasons we eloped. I’d gone to so many weddings where I judged the success of the party based on the dance floor and I just didnt want that pressure. Come to think of it, I think my husband also would have bought into a in town wedding if the dance floor was off the table!

  141. mary says...

    Also, pick different bridesmaids dresses! I wish I picked something they would actually wear again. :)

  142. Haley says...

    We got married in July and the whole day turned out exactly as we’d planned it. It was a bit untraditional, and we made sure to only include exactly the bits we wanted, and it was such a good day. I think maybe if I could change anything and budget wasn’t a consideration, I might choose a different dress. I loved my little short dress, and it was perfect for the type of day we had, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my eye on a few other ones that I would’ve loved to have worn.

    Our wedding was actually featured on a blog–take a peek, if you’d like! :) http://www.lovemydress.net/blog/2017/01/short-yoana-baraschi-bhldn-dress-intimate-back-garden-wedding.html

  143. Kerrie says...

    I just got married a little under 6 months ago and I would change one thing for sure and it would be the veil!! I am not a veil kind of girl and it ended up dragging my updo down a bit and I can tell in pictures from the reception! Everything else I would have kept exactly the same :)

  144. Lauren says...

    hi everyone! love reading these comments. my boyfriend and i have talked a lot about what we want our future wedding to be like, and i think we both agree that keeping it small (and inexpensive) is a priority. however, i have quite a large family – a total of 56 people including aunts, uncles, and cousins. this easily puts our total guest list to over 100 people, but i think we’d prefer to keep it between 30-50. does anyone have any suggestions for how to keep it small without offending extended family members? thanks!

    • Samantha says...

      Hi Lauren,

      My wife and I eloped and later celebrated with our families with a couple of intimate dinners. Overall everyone understood our desire to keep our wedding day private, but were grateful to be included in the celebration that followed. I’d suggest something similar. Maybe you keep the wedding ceremony and reception more intimate, and ask family to come together later in a more casual celebration.
      We had a lot of distance between our families, so we hosted a dinner on each coast out of necessity but it also allowed us to keep the groups small enough that we could spend time with everyone who came. Multiple dinners sounds like a lot of work, but it can be something as low-key as a barbecue or potluck even (which gives everyone a chance to contribute!). In our case double the dinners gave us double the memories, and we’re so glad we did it that way.

    • Heather says...

      I have a very large family, 38 first cousins not including any spouses. So our wedding was big, but we kept a lot of it simple so that we could invite everyone. Skip some of the extra details like place cards (use lists in the entry instead) and favors, buy simple invitations, find an affordable hall that charge extra for every little detail, have family make cookies for appetizers, etc.

      If you want to limit the guest list, I’d suggest making a clear cut line. As in, don’t invite some cousins but not all. You can draw a line at first cousins and not invite any extended family beyond that. Maybe no kids. Or be selective with friends so you can invite the whole family instead. I think friends tend to be more understanding, especially if you explain the reasoning. And don’t feel obligated to invite coworkers or acquaintances just because someone tells you it’s customary or that you should. It is your day, surround yourself with people you love not just people you know. Good luck.

    • Natalie says...

      Lauren, we had an intimate ceremony with only about 40 guests. If it’s important to you to have a small wedding, definitely listen to that desire. My advice? Most people who aren’t invited will get over it (because it’s not about them) and hopefully can shift their energy to being wildly happy for you and your new spouse whether they are present at the ceremony or not. And if they don’t get over it and make a fuss? It probably means you made the right decision in not inviting them in the first place and they’ll help to prove the point. ;)

    • Bairbelle says...

      Hi Lauren,
      congratulations on your engagement! I had a similar problem like you, but I really wanted my family and friends around so I told my fiancé: I’d rather pull out the grill and roast sausages than not welcoming someone who takes all the efforts to be with us on our special day. So I agree with the others; *if* you would like to have people around save on frills, they will be forgotten anyway. :-)
      Wish you a beautiful wedding!!

  145. mary says...

    I would try to simplify more, such as ordering simple, inexpensive invitations, instead of DIY’ing something pretty extravagant (we had a large guest list). And maybe perhaps try to search around more for a photographer. We still love our photos, but I know there are better options out there. I would try to not stress out as much–I ended up fighting quite a bit with family members over details that are so small in hindsight! In the end, we both still agree our day was wonderful and I loved being able to share it with the people we love!

  146. I would have had a more traditional marriage. As my dad lay dying, I realized I had denied him the pleasure/pride of walking me down the aisle. I was worried about not taxing his limited income; in fact, years later I realized I emasculated him by having a tiny ceremony with immediate family only. Weddings are not just for the couple; they are for the entire family. You don’t need to spend a fortune to accomplish that.

    • mary says...

      Yes! I realize now that they are so much about family. My mom got to invite her friends that she wanted. I don’t regret letting her do that even though I wouldn’t necessarily invite them myself and it was frustrating at the time. She did pay for them, after all!

  147. Anamaria says...

    If I did it again…
    -I would definitely just wear my mint green Vans the entire time. My blue heels were beautiful, but I took them off right after the ceremony, and really, NO ONE cares about your damn shoes. I’m glad I did end up wearing them throughout the reception, however, because now I have some awesome pictures of me wearing these cute little sneakers, dancing the night away.
    -I would pay the extra money and had a videographer (specially Sharkpig as I’d been dreaming of their films for so long but didn’t feel comfortable pulling the trigger because they are PRICEY).
    -Ask the photographer to take more candid photos of not only just us but also our guests. It’s nice to look back and see people just having a good time and enjoying this party you worked so hard on for so long.
    -Had less bridesmaids (there were 6 and should have only been 3-4 MAX) even if their were more groomsmen. The drama was not worth it!