1) Pressured myself to include another bridesmaid:
My maid-of-honor brother was engaged to a wonderful woman. They had been together for 5 years, and I adored her. On a whim, I asked her to stand up with my brother. She accepted. Two months later, she ended her engagement to my brother. Ouch! While I still adore her, she is no longer in my life, and many our bridal portraits serve as a painful reminder of the breakup.
2) Grew our own flowers
What a stressful project. Flowers are just not my forte. In the middle of winter, harvesting spring flowers from the Hindsight in-laws property sounded brilliant (and economical.) The week before the wedding, my in-laws were trying to figure out how to make 250 Irises be in full bloom on May 23. Think about that for a moment. The week before the wedding, we were stressing because we might not have had enough flowers in time. In hindsight, I wish I had simply bought the flowers, even if from a flower farm or farmers market.
3) Played Pachebel’s Canon in D
I didn’t turn my attention to music until a couple of days before the wedding. Luckily, D. had compiled play lists for the dinner and dancing, and we had long picked out “our song.” Our recessional song was “Send Me on My Way,” by Rusted Root. But I was responsible for the ceremony music and had waited until the last minute. Burnt out and low on creative steam, I chose Pachebel’s Canon in D for our processional music. It’s very pretty, but not really “us.” While this is a very small regret in the grand scheme of things, I still wish I had paced myself, started on this project earlier, and managed my time a bit better.
4) Stressed about the size of the guest list:
I freaked out about our ever expanding guest list. We were getting married in D.’s home town and there were a so many people his mom thought to invite. We had originally imagined 50 people. The guest list ballooned to 130 people. I was stressing about this right up until I walked down the aisle and saw that approximately 60 out of the 130 we invited had attended. In fact, 20% of those who sent an RSVP did not show up. The reason: Our venue was an hour’s drive for most people and our area was a destination weeding for the rest. Had I paid closer attention to this detail, I would have relaxed about the guest list more. In hindsight, I also wish I had compiled A,B, and C lists. The best one I’ve found is on My Wedding Workbook, because of the language. Instead of A list and B list, the wording is “definitely invite,” “would like to invite,” and “invite if able.” This more closely matches the sentiment we felt while compiling our guest list.
5) Hired a student photographer:
In hindsight, I realize that wedding photographers are a special breed. They know weddings. They understand the rhythm of weddings and how to anticipate and capture special moments. Even if I had hired a professional photographer that knew her camera a bit better, she may not have a feel for when to get a shot, where to position oneself for the best photos, and what details are important. I wish I had hired a professional.
My overall hindsight adviceWeddings are complex things. Your wedding day should be both perfect and imperfect. To make sure the important things are perfect and the imperfect things are unimportant, be honest with yourself and honor who you truly are throughout every step of the planning process. It’s easy to get caught up in all the wedding inspiration and trends, but at the end of the day, you are part of a process of joining two families (and perhaps two cultures) together.