Friday, June 18, 2010

hindsight bride: things i wish i hadn't done

Today, The Hindsight Bride shares with us some things she wish she hadn't done!  It's hard to admit to some of these things sometimes...but I feel that it is valid advice to those planning their weddings.  Thank you for sharing so candidly with us!

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 advice
Weddings 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.


  1. My MIL offered to do our reception flowers for us and at first she planned to grow them all in her garden. I was VERY hesistant about this for many reasons. Fortunately she came to her senses and ordered the flowers from a florist and arranged those herself. They turned out beautiful and she admitted that her flowers ended up blooming a week earlier than we would have needed them anyway.

  2. I love these kinds of posts. It's great to admit that not everything was perfect... but that it all ended up okay anyway. I feel for you on the pictures... ours were not what I expected, and we ended up with a lot less than was discussed. And, as far as the extra bridesmaid, I hear you! My sister and her husband were discussing divorce when I got married. I actually wondered what I was going to do about pictures. Surprisingly, and thankfully, he ended up not even trying to include himself in the pictures, so it worked out. They divorced later in the year.

  3. @SG to SP I was having a conversation about DIY flowers with a neighbor of mine who runs a B&B. She said she would love to grow her own flowers for a wedding. She has a green thumb. She added that she would NEVER want to bake a cake though. I think it all depends on your comfort level.

    Also, I just did an interview on Hindsight Bride blog with, Katie, a local flower farmer. She said the key to U-pick flowers (and buy extension flowers from the garden) is to be flexible about what kinds of flowers you will have in your wedding. I think having a backup plan and a backup budget to buy flowers if need be is crucial. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Sometimes student photographers are good and have that special something that makes them good wedding photographers. Sorry yours didn't turn out that way : (

  5. I've seen "hiring a student photographer" given as a good cost-cutting option in a lot of wedding advice. Of course, some seasoned wedding photographers aren't any good either. I think generally if they have a portfolio you like, get recommended by other wedding professionals, and you like their personality, you'll probably be safe.

    As for flowers, that one is tough. Florists and flower marts rely on growers who stagger their flower growing so that there is a constant supply in season. Harder for a home gardener to do that.

    Weddings have so many moving parts and people are attempting to plan one with no experience as a wedding planner! Perfection is elusive and maybe the unexpected things will be funny to remember as you go through life.

    But you know, I saw photos of a super expensive wedding where the reception was held in an upscale horse barn. The photos looked perfect. Then I saw the wedding on TV later on, and it showed what a madhouse was going on behind the scenes as the professional planners faced the reality that live horses complicated all their plans. The setup was stressful.

  6. You ladies bring up excellent points! I too have heard my share of positive comments about student and family photographers. I have also heard my fair share of horror stories about pro photogs. Of note is Eastside Bride's photography FAIL with a pro. The photog lost her reception picts.

    I rack my brain daily trying to figure out a sure-fire way to assess a photog, pro or otherwise. And I just haven't come up with one. But I will say this, if you have your heart set on beautiful, picture perfect photos of your wedding, contact the photogs that you love even if their prices are over your budget. Be honest about your budget and go from there. Maybe they can do an ala cart package, or reduced hours. My biggest mistake was that I assumed that I could only afford a student.

    I think if I were to do it all over again, I would have taken the time to think about my strengths and weaknesses. I love cake and am intimidated by flowers. Therefore, DIY cake: YAY; DIY flowers: dumb idea (for me). With the photog, I should have been more thoughtful about the risk involved with hiring a student vis-a-vis my desire for amazing photos.

    To make a short story tediously long. I wish I had taken more time to make an honest assessment of myself, my skills, my interests, and my ultimate priorities.

    Thanks for the AMAZING comments on this post. I'm sure there are folks out there that will find them super useful!

  7. Another great post!

    And if these are your biggest regrets, you did really well!

  8. My biggest regret from our wedding day was not hiring a professional photographer too!

    That's the one piece of advice I always give to brides-to-be: SPLURGE on the photographer (and don't worry too much about the rest). :)

  9. i liked the honesty in this.

    we forewent using friends in my bridal party for the most part. I had my sister, 3 cousins and one friend. He had his brother, brother in law, my brother and one friend.

    i used unexperienced photographers too and don't regret it too much but... there were defiintely shots missed.



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