Wedding “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda”

From choosing the right photographer, to makeup touchups, find out everything you need to know before the big day

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wedding “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda”

It’s easy to look back on an experience and say, “I wish I knew that then!” Well, don’t take chances when it comes to your wedding. From choosing the right photographer, to makeup touch-ups, find out everything you need to know before the big day from women who’ve been there, done that! You’ll definitely say ‘I do’ to all of their great advice.

Wedding Whirlwinds
I wish I remembered to take a bathroom break at least once during the party to freshen up my makeup. Between talking to guests and dancing, I literally did not take a break – and my shiny face in the late-night photos shows it! Also, my dinner looked so beautiful, but I only had time to take two bites. I wish I asked the venue to pack it up for me to take back to the hotel.  Instead I just ate about 10 pieces of chocolate before falling asleep, because I was starving! And lastly, a lot of the little items we expected to take home with us (e.g., cake topper, heirloom handkerchief, bag with broken glass, my place card) seemed to disappear by the end of the night. If you want to save these things, designate a responsible friend to keep an eye on them and take them home at the end of the evening.  – Gayle

Short Engagement Envy
If I could do it over again, I would have had a shorter engagement. Nineteen months allowed for way too much time to rethink every decision three times over. Nine to 12 months seems like it would have been more ideal. – Sarah

Registry Regrets
I wouldn’t have registered for as much as I did, because living in a rental with no homeownership in site, makes me regret those 2 cheeseboards I “had to have” pre-wedding. Money for the honeymoon would have been a lot more fun in the present! – Meredith

Thoughts on Thank Yous
I would have pre-addressed all my thank you notes and stamped them so all I had to do on upon my return from the honeymoon was just write the cards. And I wouldn’t have spent the money on personalized napkins for the bathroom. It’s a nice touch but definitely not a must have. - Soraya

DIY Disasters
My advice is to generally avoid “do it yourself” wedding projects such as menus and programs. Unless you are VERY artsy, most DIY projects look kind of crappy. Plus, after multiple trips to Michael’s or AC Moore you’re likely to end up spending nearly as much (if not more) than what it would have cost to pay someone else to do it.  Especially with sites like, it’s really easy to find everything you need for a wedding at a reasonable price and avoid scorching yourself with a hot glue gun.  – Abbey

Shoes, Shmoes
Making my bridesmaids all wearing matching dye-able shoes was not necessary!  However, serving awesome fried chicken, biscuits, and mac and cheese at a black tie affair is always necessary! – Frankie

Photog Faux Pas
My advice would be to allocate a larger amount of the budget towards the photographer, and do your research on the photographer! I did not do my due diligence when researching my wedding photographer and was very disappointed with him! It worked out in the end, but a bigger headache then needed. – Stacey

The main thing that I wish is that I spent more time doing was working with the photographer on which pictures I wanted. There are so many people not in pictures, and then weird combos of people who it feels like no one knows. - Sherri

I wish I had more pictures with my mom and sister. They somehow seemed to be behind the scenes and we don’t have a picture that we love. – Emily

I would have had our photos together taken before the ceremony. We completely missed the cocktail hour and mingling with our guests before dinner, even though I asked the photographer to keep it quick. Plus it would have been nice to have a private moment for just the two of us before all the craziness began. - Hillary

Work the Room
“I would have made sure to have spent more time with my special guests. I woke up the next morning and kept thinking about all the people I wished I spent more time with.”- Samantha

Budget Breakdown
I probably did the very opposite of most brides. I freaked out over the big wedding, cancelled it, and ended up quasi-eloping in Carmel. I made a total non-deal out of the wedding: no gown, no big reception, etc., etc. I actually wish I’d done a little more for the wedding. I’ll often tell friends/clients to pick the three things on which they don’t want to compromise when it comes to wedding planning (For me, it would be rings, photography, and open bar). Focus attention/money on those, and work the budget around everything else. – Sarah W.

Nix the Tux
If I had to do it over again, we would have asked the groomsmen to wear black suits rather than renting tuxes. There were several mistakes with our order and the groom’s tux was too big! Although it all worked out in the end, coordinating was just not worth it! – Natasha

Jessica Solloway is a Washington, DC based writer and producer. From wedding planning to work, dating to dieting (and everything in between), she enjoys writing about lifestyle topics women want to know about. Jessica received her degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Check out her blog, The Savvy Mrs.