Weddings, like any large event, are tough to pull off without a hitch. Most brides or grooms will tell you that there are certain things — big or small — that they wished they could have done differently on their big day.
Several Global News readers shared their regrets about their wedding day, ranging from one small detail to regretting how all the events of the day went altogether.
Not planning enough & using family as vendors:
Calgary mom of three Robin Tomlinson said her wedding ended with her curled up in bed, bawling. She said almost everything about the wedding went wrong, but admits that she should have invested a bit more into the event, instead of trusting relatives to carry out the tasks they were delegated to do.
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“I sort of had a ‘get it over with’ mentality, so I backed off on a lot of planning. I guess I didn’t think I would care,” she said. “I just thought they [my family] would do it right without me telling them how to do it,” she said.
Tomlinson, who celebrated her 10-year wedding anniversary last month, said her uncle, a professional photographer, decided he didn’t want to take pictures that day so they didn’t get any useable photos. On top of that, their justice of the peace, whom they had only met on the morning of the wedding, made Tomlinson look into her sister’s eyes as she said her vows. She also added that one side of her family, who are strictly religious, objected to having alcohol inside the wedding venue, so all the wine had to be placed outdoors. She said she also regrets not getting a wedding cake.
“I don’t have any good memories about it, actually,” she said. “I wish I would have just accepted that it was going to cost some money. It’s once in a lifetime, so why not get a cake? Why not do all those things?”
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A venue that’s too small for the guest list:
Staci Anderson, a newlywed from Springfield, Mo., said she and her husband got married at an auction barn, which her husband owns.
“He was bound and determined that that’s where he wanted it at. When you’re in love with someone, you give a little bit, and that’s where I gave out,” Anderson said.
“We should’ve had a wedding where we were in a church, because we had so many people there that we couldn’t fit them in,” she said. “We had people standing outside, people standing everywhere. It was packed full of people!”
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Not ensuring the makeup is waterproof:
One Toronto-based bride, who asked to remain unnamed, said she regretted hiring her makeup artist. Despite having done a trial weeks before with the artist, who was from the salon at the hotel they were staying in, the makeup artist didn’t use waterproof mascara.
“It was a detail I didn’t think about confirming — waterproof!” she said. “I was bawling down the aisle with a black streak down my face.”
Leaving the wedding hungry:
Tamara Chun, an Ontario high school teacher, said her “I dos” in February. She said her day was special, but she wished she had thought ahead to make sure she and her husband didn’t go hungry during their buffet dinner.
“My mom grabbed us food, but everything good had run out,” she said. “We never ended up eating anything anyway, because people kept asking us to take photos with them.”
Not hiring a videographer:
Tammy Kim has been married for nearly 20 years, but says there is one lasting memory of her wedding that she wished she had caught on camera.
“I regret that we didn’t get a video of me and my girlfriends doing this dance at the reception to the Salt-N-Pepa song ‘Whatta Man,’” she said, adding that she got married at a time before social media was popular.
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How to get over regrets or avoid them altogether
For wedding planners Laura Atendido and Rebecca Chan, they’ve seen all sorts of things go wrong at events and have some sage advice on what to do to mitigate any regrets.
Atendido says she often hears two main regrets regarding vendors: not hiring a videographer and using “friend-ors” (friends as vendors).
“I find that clients are often willing to forego a videographer. It seems like a luxury added expense but the day goes by so quickly like a blur,” she said.
Atendido suggests that hiring an amateur videographer, if only to have some raw footage of the day, is one way to lower costs.
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Chan and Atendido agree that hiring friends to take care of things like photography or the cake is a risky decision.
“I always say [combining] business and pleasure is always a recipe for disaster,” Atendido said.
In her experience, she said most brides end up feeling disappointed by their “friend-ors” because the quality of service was not as great as they thought it would be.
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“If that service goes wrong and you’re not happy with the service, is that going to ruin your friendship?” asked Chan. “If you are hiring a friend, you need to take it seriously because it is a business. You need an invoice and you should pay them.”
As for making sure things don’t go wrong on the big day (like for our anonymous bride), Chan said couples should never be afraid to ask too many questions.
“Not all wedding vendors are created equally. I recommend asking what the experience of the vendor is and how many weddings they’ve done or do in a year,” she said.
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Couples counselor Sherry Amatenstein, author of The Complete Marriage Counselor, advises couples to take a breath and consider what is really important.
“In the scheme of life, what’s the most important thing? Some of the regrets that couples often tell me is, ‘Oh, my God, I spent so much time fighting over the flowers,’ or this or that,” she said.
For couples who are holding onto their wedding regrets from years past, Amatenstein says it may help to change your mindset to focus on the small things that did go right.
“Sometimes it’s the wacky things that go wrong that are the most memorable. So how can you look at it at a different way than, ‘Oh my goodness, that didn’t work out’?” she said. “Because if that’s how you look at the wedding, it’s probably how you look at other things as well.”