Before I started working in the industry, I really believed that couples viewed their wedding as one of the best days of their life. But in 2014, when I started working as a hired bridesmaid for strangers, I saw what really happened behind the scenes at these celebrations.
More often than not, after the wedding ended, a bride or groom would call me up to confess that there were things that happened that made them frustrated, angry or even upset.
Even though most couples will say they had a great time at their wedding, if you ask them about any regrets they have, they likely will say they wish they handled one or two things differently. After working over a hundred weddings as a professional bridesmaid, here are the five things I see most couples regret the most about their wedding day.
5 Things Couples Regret Most About Their Weddings
1. How much money they spent
After getting engaged, couples are eager to dive into wedding planning. Some will set a budget and others will interview vendors and piece together how much a celebration will cost. While in the moment you might justify spending thousands of dollars on the party, when it’s all over, there might be a list of things you realize you really didn’t need.
I’ve seen couples spend over $250,000 on their wedding and then say that they wish they didn’t drop $20,000 on flowers that ended up in a trash bin at the end of the night. I’ve also seen couples spend $25,000 on their wedding and say that they regret spending $2,000 on a DJ when they could have rented speakers and put on a playlist instead.
If you’re not sure what will be a waste of money, work backward when planning your wedding. Set a firm budget and pick three things you want to splurge on. Everything else could fit the money you have left over in that budget.
2. How little time they spent together
While there’s a big focus on planning a celebration that impresses guests and gives them a good time, a lot of couples don’t plan on how they are going to spend quality time with each other on the big day to enjoy it all.
If a wedding day lasts for eight hours, I've seen some couples only spend 20-30 minutes total together throughout the day. After the photos are taken, the guests are hugged hello, and the dance floor is occupied, there might not be much time for the couple to actually be together and create memories with one another.
Before the wedding day happens, sit down with your partner and plan how you will make an effort to be together throughout the day. Limit how much time you spend chatting with guests and add in private moments on your wedding timeline. That way, you can share a first dance together in the reception room before your other guests enter or take some time in the bridal suite to eat a quick meal alone during cocktail hour.
3. Some of the people on their guest list
Figuring out who should be invited to your wedding can be a back-and-forth process that’s extremely stressful. A lot of couples are scared to leave people off nervous that if they don’t invite someone, that person will be mad or that they will later regret the decision.
I’ve seen couples invite people to their wedding two weeks before because they couldn’t decide whether that person deserved to be there or not.
But one of the things a lot of couples tell me, after the wedding ends, is that they wish they didn’t invite certain people to their celebration. Some people feel that way because the guest did something to embarrass them (ex: they got drunk and made a scene) or because that person ended up not being a close friend and they haven’t spoken to them since the celebration.
If you’re struggling to figure out who to invite and who to leave off your guest list, consider the relationship you have with the person and whether you truly want it to be long-lasting or whether your gut is telling you it’s most likely just a short-term friendship.
4. The wedding food they didn’t get to try
For some couples, curating a reception dinner menu is one of the highlights of the planning process. But at the actual wedding, couples rarely find the time to sit down and eat the food they worked so hard to pick out.
Before the wedding happens, talk to your wedding planner or caterer and ask them to create a tasting platter of all the food options. Carve out time in your wedding timeline to sit down and eat an uninterrupted meal. That way, you can enjoy your wedding food and make sure you don’t end the night with an empty stomach.
5. That they were so stressed
Even though couples have the intention of making their wedding day one of the best days of their life, sometimes stress and anxiety takes over and they find themselves feeling off all day.
With so many vendors, timelines to stick to, and people in the mix, a lot of couples share with me that they couldn’t relax and enjoy their own party.
In order to reduce feeling overwhelmed at your wedding, hire a professional (whether a wedding planner or day-of coordinator) to take over and take care of the details so you can be worry-free at your celebration. If that’s not in the budget, ask a good friend to take on some extra day-of responsibilities, like answering incoming phone calls or greeting vendors at the venue, so you can focus on having fun.