Well hello again and how on earth are we in June already?! This year is flying by and for me, wedding season is well and truly underway. I love this time of year and I know that for many of you, it’s not long until your wedding day either. Whether you’ll be saying your vows in a few weeks or a few years, there’s one thing you may want to take into consideration / avoid at all costs and that’s common wedding regrets. I don’t want you to look back at your big day and think ‘if only…’.
So, today I’m going to talk you through some of the wedding regrets that I hear most frequently from newlyweds, including some of my own wedding day regrets, and explain to you just how you can go about avoiding them.
More and more weddings these days feature homemade or handcrafted elements and don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of personal touches. What I’m not so keen on however is seeing couples driving themselves crazy wrapping, stuffing, sewing, cutting, sticking, painting, arranging or baking when this really isn’t there thing. Let’s be honest, not all of us were blessed with Blue Peter-worthy craft skills and lots of couples simply don’t have the time for such massive projects, especially if left to the last minute.
From our ‘how to design your own wedding bouquet’ tutorial
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Before you find yourself caught up in the wedding craft merry-go-round, take some time out and be honest with yourself. Do you really have the time or the inclination to take on these projects? There’s no shame AT ALL in admitting that this just isn’t your thing and it’s not something to simply feel that you HAVE to do. As with all things weddings, there really aren’t any rules.
If you’re already midway through a project that’s driving you crazy, you still have options. The first (and quite painful) option is to just keep going and if you’re making something major or you’ve spent a lot of money on materials then this might feel like the only thing to do. Of course, you could ask for help (from friends, family or the pros) or sit back and consider whether what you’re making will really be missed if you don’t finish. Will you be happier on the day without the DIY stress? If the answer is ‘yes’, you know what to do.
If you haven’t started, have your heart set on some DIY touches such as hand-written signs, photo backdrops, personalised favours or hand dyed silk linen but aren’t sure where to start or don’t have the time, then how about hiring a pro to do this for you. Little Book for Brides has a fantastic selection of curated suppliers who can help you out on this front.
Pinterest Addicts Anonymous
Now this regret kind of leads on from the previous discussion point and I’m going to say it right now – being obsessed with Pinterest has REGRET written all over it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest and am the first person to confess to being a borderline Pinoholic. When it comes to weddings, Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, it can give you confidence to try new things and it can really help you bring ideas together. On the other hand, when you become totally obsessed with it, it can be a serious cause of wedding planning procrastination and just as damaging to your time, social life, wedding budget and even your self-esteem.
Pinterest is the place to go when you’re first starting out. Create your wedding inspiration boards and then let your own personal style and vibe guide your wedding as you get further down the line. Don’t order your dress then keep browsing on Pinterest or decide on your theme and continue to search alternative ideas on a daily basis. Pinterest is a starting point, not a destination.
Also, a word of caution about so many of the amazing wedding images that you see on Pinterest – they’re often from styled shoots not from real weddings. Those set-ups can take teams of people hours to perfect, there are no guests around and no wedding day schedules to stick to. Styled shoots are great for inspiration but trying to make your whole wedding day look like a Pinterest board and forgetting to enjoy yourself is not a great idea.
OK, so now we’re getting on to the really important stuff and I’m kicking it off with a big one – photography. This is one area of your wedding that you really need to take seriously. The images that you receive from your photographer should be so amazing, so representative of you both and so perfect that you’ll love them forever. To make sure your heart leaps every time you look at your wedding photos, you NEED TO HIRE A PRO.
I know that wedding photography can eat up a big portion of your budget but trust me when I tell you, you’ll regret cutting back or attempting to save costs in this area.
Hiring a professional photographer for your wedding is one of the best wedding planning decisions you can make.
It’s 100% worth ditching wedding favours or confetti cones just to make sure that you can book the best photographer possible.
You also need to book a professional so that you can relax. Professional photographers come with back-up cameras, insurance, years of knowledge, expertise, a total understanding of how wedding days can work, an eye for the details and a storytelling style that you just can’t beat. As tempting as it might be to let a friend lose with their digital SLR, or to book a photographer based purely on price rather than their portfolio, there’s every chance that you’ll regret this for the rest of your life.
Moving on from the above, not having a professional wedding film is the most common wedding regret that I hear or read about. Couples feel odd about being filmed, have those old fashioned cheesy wedding videos in their heads or need to cut costs somewhere and therefore rule out having a videographer.
However, modern wedding films and filmmakers are nothing like those of the past. These guys make beautiful, evocative and emotional films that capture the movement of the day in a way that’s real and raw. Wedding films now are works of art so please don’t decide not to have one without looking into it fully first.
Film by Story Catchers
Research? What Research?
Please please PLEASE research your venue and suppliers fully before you book them. Look beyond their website or social media presence and do your due diligence by making sure they really can do everything they say they can and more besides. Check out their references, ask to see copies of their insurance, find out everything you can about them before you sign on the dotted line and pay any deposits.
Remember that these are the people who’ll make your wedding day a success and those people that you’ll be working with for months or even years. You need to trust them implicitly and feel that they’ve got your back and are going to do their absolute best for you. Yes, your gut feeling about people is always valid but back this up with some proper research because this is what will really give you confidence in your decisions.
Don’t fall for a charming online persona only to find out later in the process that you can never get hold of someone, that they’re a bit flaky or that the images on their website and / or social media feeds aren’t even their own work. Planning a wedding is stressful enough and you’ll carry any bad feelings about a supplier over into your wedding day and beyond. Do you really want to spend your wedding day worrying and wondering if everything will be ok? Do you want to look back at your wedding with regrets and negativity towards a venue or supplier? No, you don’t so do your research!
Money, Money, Money
Now this is a tricky one because in the next few lines, you might think that I’m giving you totally contradictory advice but stick with me. I want to tell you that going over budget AND trying to save money will be something that you’ll regret.
Firstly, going over budget will give you the wedding hangover of all hangovers. Coming back from your honeymoon and being left with no savings, no cash and maxed-out credit cards isn’t the happy start to your married life that you might necessarily want. This is why it is so vitally important that you’re strict with yourself and that you realise that a budget is a finite amount of money. Be upfront from the word go about what you can afford, apportion your cash appropriately, leave yourself a contingency so you’re not spending every penny you have and research your suppliers. Oh, and refer back to my point earlier about Pinterest because continually funding new ‘must-haves’ will bust your budget like nothing else.
As for my comment about saving money, let me explain – the way to save isn’t to stop hiring professionals. If you’ve drawn up your budget carefully, you shouldn’t need to cut back midway through the planning process. If you do have to make savings, make them with things not people. Do you really need those favours, those props or those extra gifts? Probably not. Do you need a professional hair and makeup artist to stop you stressing and give you confidence? Probably yes.
A Trusted Wing (Wo)Man
However independent you are, however much you’re loving planning your wedding and however much you’ve got everything under control, you need a trusted wing-(wo)man to be with you on the day.
Whether this person is a wedding planner, a friend, a bridesmaid or even another supplier, someone needs to have your interests at the forefront of their mind on your wedding day. This is the person who can make any emergency decisions for you, who knows what you’re worried about and can deal with any issues that might arise. They’ll know who you really want a photo with and who’s been a bit tricky in the build up to the day. They’ll understand everything about your plans and put themselves out to make sure that you get what you want. In short, this is your real wedding must-have.
Your ‘wing (wo)man’ could be the person who sets up on the day, pays the band, keeps an eye on Uncle Fred and makes sure that you Grandma goes home with your bouquet. They might be back at your venue on the following day to return items to suppliers or walk through the venue to make sure that you get your damage deposit back. It’s a big job and one which you’ll regret not filling.
Being A Pleaser
Trying to please everyone and ending up with a wedding that you don’t really recognise as yours is probably the most desolate of all regrets to have. You get one chance to have the day that speaks volumes about you as a couple, your relationship and your hopes and dreams for the future. This isn’t the day to put yourselves second to give everyone else their version of your day.
I’m not advocating selfish behaviour or trampling through your nearest and dearest shouting ‘my day my way’ at everyone who tries to provide any input. What I am suggesting is that diplomacy, tact and a little consideration will get you just what you want and what suits you best. Yes, things will inevitably crop up but when you’ve got everyone on your side (and I mean really) on your side, you’ll have your best day surrounded by people who share your joy and, when it’s all over, you can truly say ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’.
Katrina is a national award-winning wedding planner who specialises in beautiful, timeless and minimalist luxe weddings throughout the UK. Katrina is a regular contributor to Love My Dress, the resident wedding planner for Coco Wedding Venues and co-founder of Coco & Kat, a creative consultancy for wedding venues and beyond. Visit her webpage at katrinaotterweddings.co.uk.