A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek checklist from the Wedding Industrial Complex to all the brides out there who are doing weddings wrong, and who will no doubt regret their many wedding-related sins forever.
But seriously folks: I have some regrets about our wedding.
Not the but-what-does-it-all-mean kind of regrets. But the logistical, practical kind of regrets that I think I can help folks getting married avoid having in the future. Read on for proof that I am not the smartest bride who ever lived.
1. I wish I’d realized that getting married on a bar stage would mean getting married three feet above everyone else — including our wedding photographer. Photos taken from below, especially close-ups, are especially unflattering when the last thing on your mind is trying to look pretty for a photo and the first thing on your mind is forming eternal bonds of love with another human being in front of your closest friends and family. As it is, I look like the happiest derp who ever got hitched in many of our photos. Take-away tip: ask the person taking photos at your wedding to take some preliminary shots at the location if you can, and check them out before the day to plan the best spots from which to shoot.
2. I wish I’d never sold myself short on a venue. This time last year, I was panicking because our chosen wedding venue — a fraternal order’s pool and dive bar — had been turned into a construction site 20 days before our wedding. I loved that venue, but in my heart, I had really, really wanted to get married at the rock club in our neighborhood. Patrick and I never pursued it because we assumed it would be too expensive, but we called them in our moment of panic while searching for a new location. Turns out? It was cheaper than the venue that fell through, the people were more accommodating of our needs, and the space was easier to get to, and needed less decorating. Take-away tip: if there’s something you really, really want, don’t be afraid to ask for it just because you figure it’s out of reach. Maybe it is. But maybe it isn’t.
3. I wish I’d gone more balls-out on my day-of look. This wedding dress needs a petticoat 10 times fluffier! And yet, I opted for the more refined petticoat, suspecting all the while that this one would not achieve the rock-and-roll Betty Draper look I was going for. Why didn’t I step up my fashion game? Because I was worrying about 10,000 other things, and couldn’t be bothered to put effort into a damned petticoat. Take-away tip: make a list of priority items (mine would have included “Look like rock-and-roll Betty Draper”) and get or craft what you need to make it happen.
4. I wish we’d spent money on a wedding planner. Patrick and I were operating on a budget, which meant we had places we knew we’d splurge — the open bar, for example — but were really pinching pennies most of the way through the process. We did end up paying for a day-of coordinator, which was an absolute blessing, but it would have been absolutely lovely to have been able to dump off the gruntwork of finding cheap tablecloths, arranging for rentals and wrangling vendors on to someone who wasn’t emotionally invested in it all. Take-away tip: if you can afford it, hire someone (not your brother, not your best friend) to do the heavy, boring lifting. It doesn’t have to be a wedding planner! Our day-of coordinator was a wedding attendant’s sister, a professional designer and project manager. She was awesome. Think creatively: who do you know that’s super organized, responsible and firm in disposition? Hire that person.
5. I wish we’d remembered to actually bring those centerpieces we spent all that money on, you know, to the wedding. Patrick and I live in Austin, but we got married where we met, in Dallas. We did most of our shopping for decor in and around Austin, so when it came time to head up for the wedding, we loaded up IKEA bags full of fake plants, floating candles, the works. When we arrived and began decorating our venue the day of? We realized we’d left an entire bag of decor at home, containing all the string lights, votives and cute, tropical centerpieces I’d arranged myself. Our friends stepped up, and with one sweep through a craft store, recreated almost everything in a matter of hours, which was fantastic. But I wish they hadn’t had to. Take-away tip: make a checklist of literally every single item you need to take to your venue, and do not leave until you have physically assured every item’s presence.
6. I wish I had paid attention to what I was eating. Patrick and I had a fantastic chef in Dallas cater our reception, and when we went for our pre-wedding tasting, I was just in awe of how she was able to riff on our favorite foods. Pork “wings”! Meatloaf! Ranch dip! Deviled eggs! But I sure couldn’t tell you what I actually ended up eating during the evening, even though my person-of-honor was very good about making sure I ate something. Take-away tip: take a moment during the event to focus on yourself, your body, your feelings, and absorb it all.
7. I wish I hadn’t been so irrationally worried that absolutely everything that could go wrong, would go wrong. Before our wedding, I had visions of a variety of disasters: rain on the day of, ruining our patio ceremony. Me spraining my ankle walking down the aisle. Patrick getting into some kind of horrible car accident on the way to our venue. Me getting pink eye. Turns out? The shit that went wrong was shit I hadn’t even thought to worry about — like when Men’s Warehouse ordered the wrong color jacket for Patrick, and we had no idea until he picked it up. That’s small potatoes compared to bodily injury, of course. Take-away tip: do what you can to come up with contingency scenarios, and let the rest of it go. Things will go wrong on the day of, and probably they will be less bad than you think.
Despite it all — and truly, these are minor complaints — I hope I never, ever get a chance to fix my mistakes.
Email me at Andrea.Grimes@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.