Learning to throw a perfect dinner party or give a winning toast takes practice, but when it comes to mastering a wedding, you only get one chance. Navigating your nuptials for the first time can be daunting, so MyDomaine called out to our readers to discover the one thing brides would do differently at their wedding. Brides-to-be, take note! Read on for nine common wedding mistakes to learn from on your big day.
If you've dreamed about your wedding for years, chances are you've got a long list of chic (and expensive) ideas. Instagram user @patriciaturosz says her biggest regret is not knowing how to prioritize what to splurge or save on. Prior to her big day, she resisted booking a videographer but admits she's glad her family changed her mind. "I didn't know that the video would be one of my favorite things. I'm so grateful that my mother-in-law volunteered to pay for it when we were going to cut it from our budget," she says.
One Reddit user agrees, saying she would tell future brides to invest in a great photographer on the big day. "We got a great deal on the fee…but it shows in the pictures," she says. "I wish I had gone with the photographer with pictures I loved, not the cheapest acceptable one."
Lesson: Look at your dream wedding list and highlight three aspects you must have and three you could compromise on. Listen to newlyweds, and splurge on videographers and photographers. If you absolutely love an expensive dinnerware set or special detail, buy a limited quantity, and opt to rent the rest of your table setting.
The number one wedding regret among MyDomaine readers? Pandering to the demands of others and not following your gut. "I wish people had told us to go have the wedding we wanted, and that they wouldn't be resentful later for not getting the one they wanted us to have," says @keyprose. "Although it may feel that way, your wedding is not about impressing others. At its core, it is about making one of the most important vows of your life. My advice for future brides? #listentoyourheart."
Another MyDomaine reader says she learned that bigger doesn't equal better when it comes to your wedding day. @nikkitreese says if she had her time again, she'd have an intimate destination wedding. "By keeping it small, you won't have to invite that co-worker you maybe feel obligated to invite or your mom's friend that you haven't seen or talked to in a decade," she says.
Lesson: Resist the feeling to impress your guests. If you've always wanted an intimate wedding but feel pressured to invite co-workers and distant relatives, go with your gut. Plus, smaller weddings mean you can pay more attention to detail and personalize your big day.
Yes, there are so many gorgeous wedding invitation options, but many brides say it's the one area they wish they'd saved on. "I stressed about this a lot, and thought having the perfect shade of gold and the right font was the key to the whole wedding coming together," says Deborah Stachelski in an article for The Motherish. "I kept adding accents to it like calligraphed addresses, wax seals, and silk ribbons, and before I knew it, I was at over $1000 for less than 100 invites. I deeply regret this, because I don’t think I even kept an invite myself!"
Lesson: Don't go overboard when designing wedding invitations. Explore premade templates, or opt for a digital invitation instead.
While it's tempting to want to manage every detail of your wedding, trying to go it alone will lead to burnout. "MyDomaine, I wish someone would've told me how necessary it would be to delegate responsibility!" says Instagram user @dupreandmoore. "I had to take control of every aspect of the day. I wish I would've trusted the judgment of others so I could relax a bit more."
Lesson: If you don't have professional help, ask friends and family to act as a support network, and make the most of free wedding apps to streamline the planning process.
"We are so afraid of saying our budget limit, like then we have to stick to it or it becomes a reality of how much money we are really spending," says @jnel30. Her advice? "Say your total budget out loud; then pick your top-three must-haves. I loved my wedding, but I felt like sometimes we tried to stretch things instead of focusing on what matters in the long run."
Another key budget lesson from a recent bride: "Never pay any vendors in full before your wedding," says @linzla via Instagram. "My photographer made us pay upfront, and my pictures were terrible. She did not honor her full contract." Instead, offer to pay a deposit, and settle the bill when you're happy with the service.
Lesson: Define your budget limit and write it down on paper to hold you and your partner accountable. If you're tempted to stretch the budget, try to compromise. Buy that vintage table runner or set of champagne flutes for the bridal party, and opt for a more affordable option for guests.
It's the ultimate modern wedding dilemma: Should you allow or ban cell phones during the ceremony? One Reddit user says she'd advise brides-to-be to adopt a phone-free policy on the big day. "I wish I had asked the officiant to tell people to put their cellphones away. We have so many lovely shots of the ceremony, but in everyone there are people in the background holding up cell phones so you can’t see their faces," she says.
Lesson: Talk to your partner about your tech stance before the wedding, and make sure it's clear on the day. If you're pro–social media, choose a great wedding hashtag and print it on your service guides. If you'd prefer a cell phone–free day, ask your officiant to make an announcement during special photo moments. After all, no one wants a photograph of your first dance or cutting the cake with a ton of phone-toting guests in the background.
If you're DIY inclined, creating your own bespoke wedding wares can be too tempting to resist. The thought of hand-cut white bunting or personally painted escort cards might sound like a great idea, but many brides say they wouldn't have a DIY wedding again. "I ended up spending money on all the craft items, wasting my time, and then changing my mind and throwing them all out," says Stachelski. "I am all about a good DIY, but when it comes to a wedding, I don’t recommend DIY-ing anything, since it means you will have to either do the setup yourself or worry about explaining your vision for these items to someone else."
Lesson: Love bespoke wedding décor, but don't want to do it yourself? Opt to outsource a gorgeous monogrammed or tailor-made item to give your wedding a personal touch. It'll save you valuable planning time and still look unique.
Wanting to mimic your favorite white wedding Pinterest image might sound romantic, but real brides admit cold-weather weddings can be challenging. "I wish I'd known about the [seasonal] cost of table decorations, which I didn't factor into my budget at all," says @ebgons. "Something that seems obvious now (but not at the time) was the cost of flowers in the middle of winter," she says.
Lesson: Chat with a few different vendors like photographers, florists, caterers, and venues to research seasonal costs before choosing a wedding date. Do you research by investing in a quality wedding guide to find out the pro tips.
We've established that splurging on a great photographer is worthwhile, but when you've found your match, avoid this final mistake. "I had envisioned several shots, but my mistake was to assume my photographer could read my mind. She was amazing, but unfortunately several things I wanted to capture were missed," says Stachelski.
Lesson: Browse websites, magazines, and wedding blogs to get a better idea of what kind of photographs you want. Then set aside time to sit down with your photographer and brief him or her on the parts of the ceremony you'd love to capture in detail. Come equipped with references and notes to make sure you're clear from the start.
What's the one thing you would advise new brides to do before their wedding day? Tell us in the comments below.