What I have learned about Weddings: 5 years on

This Saturday is Pete and I’s fifth wedding anniversary. How did that even happen? As it’s somewhat of a milestone and I don’t talk about weddings on here very often, I thought it would be a nice time to do a little series on wedding reflections with that 5 year perspective. I also know that many of you know me via my wedding blogging background and shared the journey with me, getting married around the same time and in the couple of years after my wedding, so I’m sure you must have something to say on the subjects I’m going to cover too – I’ll be looking forward to reading your thoughts! I’m also away this week (at a wedding!) so it will be a ‘weddings only’ special week with reduced posts.

Firstly, I thought I would write a post about my perspective on the wedding now. It goes without saying that my tastes have changed and of course, I would probably change everything looking back if we were to get in to the detail. I guess some people would say that they wouldn’t change a thing and I get the sentimental aspect of that, but I tend to be the kind of person who changes as life changes, plus I don’t feel attached to my wedding ‘day’, but the resulting marriage.

The last couple of years has also seen some of our best friends get married and so I’ve been heavily involved in weddings all over again, after a break from wedding blogging. Having that outside/inside perspective and the benefit of hindsight is interesting and has made me think about the stress and money involved, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.

Image Via SMP

1. Less formality.
You know how Carrie and Big’s guest list in the SATC movie suddenly jumps to 200 and when she tries to explain it to Big she compares the wedding to a poker match, saying ‘The dress upped the ante.’ Well that kind of happened with our wedding. My dress was probably one of the first things I found, (totally wrong order,) and ended up commanding a grander venue when an informal garden wedding was something I had always wanted. Of course there were loads of other factors that dictated the wedding, like Pete’s specification that it be held in a church, our lack of venue to hold a ‘garden wedding’ and my fears about the weather. In actual fact we had the hottest day of the year and everyone I know who has planned outdoor parts of their wedding since has been lucky and the weather held up. We have always said since the day we got married that we should have done it at our rehearsal dinner – a garden BBQ we had the night before with just our immediate family and bridal party.

2. Less people
We had a guest list of 88 and I think around that number give or take a few attended. I remember overwhelmingly feeling that there were people there that we didn’t need there and afterwards realising there were still people we hadn’t managed to speak to.

3. Less nik knacks and stress
Don’t get me wrong, I still love a creative wedding and I really admire people who put masses of effort into their day, but it totally stressed me out and with the benefit of hindsight, it wasn’t necessary. People don’t notice (other than fleetingly,) and I’d concentrate on a great venue with good bones and overdose on the flowers, forgetting much else if I did it again. All of the extra details just contributed to stress and observing other peoples weddings has reinforced the fact that the more detail there is, the more stress there is for everyone involved.

Image via SMP

4. A comfortable dress!
It’s easy to say, having worn a princess dress once already, but I would choose something much softer and less intrusive on everyone else if I did it again. My dress wasn’t heavy (light as a feather) and it wasn’t uncomfortably tight, but it got in the way of just being around people and hugging and dancing with Pete and it’s not really me to wear something that restricts me doing everything I want to.

5. Party!
Lastly, I would make the wedding much more of a party and less of a sequence of events. (drinks reception, dinner, speeches, dancing.) Casual, relaxed, FUN!

I suppose I should temper this with things I wouldn’t change or am glad that we did do as this sounds negative and I’m certainly not sat here worrying about it 5 years later!

Image credit: Lawson Photography

1. Photography
I’m so glad we spent money on Photography. Admittedly it seemed like a huge chunk of our budget then, (it was probably about 10% relatively speaking) and decent photography is even more expensive now, but I don’t think it could ever be something you regret.

2. Fake cake
Our cake was made by a friend at the time who was a pro-cake maker. It was a gift and saved us a fortune, but looking back, I certainly wouldn’t spend money on one again in the future. Ours was four tiers and would have been so much bigger than required so the top three tiers were ‘fake’ polystyrene but you never would have known.

Image credit: Lawson Photography

3. The Ceremony
I wouldn’t change a single thing about our ceremony – every bit of effort that I put into it was worthwhile and the whole thing was perfect – it remains my best memory of the day, as it should be!

4. The feast
After having quite a few bad generic wedding chicken dinners, I am so glad we spent money on the food, (we held our wedding at a restaurant and as a result the food was incredible – a four course italian menu with antipasti, a pasta course, a fish/meat course and tiramisu for dessert!) People still say how great it was now and given how much I like my food it was a worthwhile expense! We also scheduled a longer than usual (even given the fact that we had photos close to the venue and weren’t away from the guests for long,) drinks reception – it’s often my favourite bit of the day at a wedding and over before it has begun.

5. Having it close to OUR home.
Looking back, I’m so glad we had our wedding in Manchester. It meant all of our suppliers were local to where we lived, which reduced the planning stress, and the majority of our guests didn’t have to fork out for accommodation or travel. The few that did had access to the whole range of accommodation options to suit their budget and the venue was walkable from the church.

Image Via

6. Time with family
The other precious moments that I cherish the most from our wedding are spending it with the people I loved the most – I don’t mean our extended guest list when I say that, but the rehearsal dinner the night before and the morning I spent getting ready with my mum and bridesmaids. That was such a relaxed and fun time and felt really special.

7. Flowers
I love flowers and still do, so although we spent a huge amount on flowers I would do it again in a heart beat. In fact I’d have even more!

8. Get a planner
I also asked Pete what he would change and we were pretty much on the same page; ‘Smaller, more casual and less formal,’ were his words and he also reminded me that we always said if we were to do it again we would get a planner. I think wedding planners are so under rated and always considered a luxury. Whilst it’s certainly not cheap, an affordable cost is to get an ‘on the day’ planner, or someone to support you around the last week of build up and expense wise, I’d say they are worth their weight in gold.

So readers, with the benefit of married hindsight, what would you do differently looking back on your wedding, and what are you glad you spent the time, money and effort on?


PS Later in the week I’ll be talking marriage and sharing some pics of my own wedding πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy reminiscing over it all!

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32 thoughts on “What I have learned about Weddings: 5 years on

  1. We’re almost one year on. Things we did right:
    1. Having everyone in the world there: We had 150 plus children and despite the hassle and additional cost of having to put up a marquee, I’m glad we did. The marquee added to the “garden feel” I wanted to create and meant we didn’t have to cut out any family (and thus create massive rows and whatnot) in order to have our friends there.
    2. The ceremony: Again, I wouldn’t change a thing. My husband wrote a reading which I’d not heard before and its probably the most romantic and personal thing he’s ever done in my life.
    3. The creche and children’s “area”: This worked an absolute treat – the parents loved it and it saved crying children being removed from the ceremony. It cost us Β£160 for 20 children for 3 hours (ceremony and drinks reception) which was probably the best Β£160 we spent. There were some friends (read ex bridesmaid) who didn’t agree with the idea of not having children in a ceremony (despite the fact they were there for the remainder of the day) and for that, and other baby related reasons, didn’t come to the wedding at all but whatever….
    4. Our photography: I wish we’d got a few more shots of some key people but aside from this, I love our photos.
    5. Getting married near my parents: The opposite of you Rebecca, I’m glad we got married near my parents despite the additional admin hassle. It meant a lot to them and as I don’t think we’ll be in London forever, I can’t see myself having a trendy city London wedding. The other thing is that getting married near my parents meant that family, who don’t have a lot of disposable income, could still come for the wedding weekend and pay Β£20 for a night in a travelodge rather than the Β£150-Β£200 it would have cost per night for them in London.
    6. An abandonment of DIY and the DIY “look”: I did parts of our stationary suite (if you count stamping everything in sight which I do), some of our flowers (which was actually relaxing in the run up) and my Mum made some confetti bags. Aside from that, I didn’t have the time.
    7. Having a break between the wedding and the honeymoon: I would recommend this to everyone. It meant we had a relaxing few days in Norfolk post wedding and then something to look forward to after we’d opened our cards and the wedding excitement had died down. It also made it much easier to get longer off work.

    Things we did wrong:
    1. A long engagement – for work reasons, it worked out we were engaged for almost 2 and a half years. Far too long to become obsessed with napkin folding and crap that doesn’t matter.
    2. Spent too much – Whilst the majority of our budget went on the venue and the people, a large proportion of my salary went on rubbish we never even used or used once. Paying for things “as we went along” made it easier cash flow wise but harder to track. Even now, I’m too scared to add up what the wedding actually cost us. Its just too easy to think “Oh Β£600…total bargain…” or “of course I need that cream carpet – its only Β£300 more and will make such a difference (side note: it did for me)” and then realise afterwards all the little extras cost a FORTUNE.
    3. Did too much bespoke: I knew what I was looking for and couldn’t find it. Therefore I just had it made or had it imported or just spent hours doing it myself. The problem with this is that you then end up with too much choice and over complicate everything.

    P.S. Sorry for the essay.

  2. Aw, my captcha was ‘1+1=two’ – it’s like they knew this was a wedding post!

    Ahem. Clearly you have got me feeling all sentimental.

    Anywaaaaay. Like you, my taste has changed since then, or rather, wedding trends have changed and what felt fresh and stylish in 2010 seems kind of dated now. But I think that’s all part of the charm – when you look back at old family wedding picures, you love them precisely because they *are* dated. It’s just another sign of the passage of time and (hopefully) a long and happy marriage.

    Aesthetically, I’d change the bridesmaid dresses (so GREEN! I don’t even like green!), but I still love my dress, even though it’s so of its time (corset back, anyone?). One thing I definitely wouldn’t change – and I will never understand why people do anything different, frankly – is making my own veil using the patented Rebecca Norris veil-making technique. Best twenty quid I ever spent! So thank you for that πŸ™‚

    I did an insanse amount of DIY, but I enjoyed it at the time. We were fortunate that, despite being a fairly large wedding (135-ish, I think), the whole day felt so relaxed and fun, and incredibly personal. Sure, there were people there who we aren’t as close to now, but there was no way of knowing that, and ultimately my memories of the day are of smiling endlessly and feeling so loved. Can’t ask for more than that.

  3. My main regret is that my dress did not fit perfectly. When I turned up for the fitting the seamstress wasn’t there so the wedding dress shop owner pinned it. When I went back it was far too tight so had to be redone. By this time it was a few days before the wedding. I got the dress back the day before and it gaped and sort of stood proud away from my chest. When I glanced down all I could see was bra! I was in tears about it the night before but it was just too late to do anything so I got on with it. We sewed the dress to my basque and that kind of did the trick for the ceremony but that was it! By then I was over it anyway and didn’t want it to spoil the day.
    Everything else I am happy with I think. Venue was gorgeous, we got wonderful weather, everything came together and looked how I wanted it to, and the speeches were fantastic. Probably my favourite part of the day actually, as it was the one bit that was a surprise to me!
    There was one other minor niggle, our DJ ended the night by playing Looney Tunes ‘that’s all folks’ which made me cringe!

  4. Seeing as I’m having a sit down due to the baby having an epic nap day, i have no excuse not to comment.

    I would definitely have a day of coordinator. A couple of pretty major things went wrong at our wedding and while it wasn’t ruined for us, it meant that Tom’s dad and others had to sort stuff out because we weren’t at a proper venue. Would have ordered a bigger generator.

    I wish we could have gotten married closer to our home, but it was never going to happen. Our venue was perfect (and free!) so I don’t regret our choice ultimately.

    Loved our food and bar choices and that that’s where our money went, so wouldn’t change that.

    I am really struggling to come up with things to change! Not because it was perfect or my taste hasn’t changed but because I suppose I’m morning sentimental than I thought! Oh,

  5. Haha my captcha was 2-?=1. It’s like they know I was a divorce lawyer!

    Things I’d change

    1. Elope to skye where we had our honeymoon.

    2. My dress was altered and it was made 2-3inches too short so you could see my shoes. My shoes cost Β£12 from a dance shop, so they didn’t need to be on show

    3. More flowers. We had loads, but I would have MORE. Yes even if we were eloping. I’d go nuts.

    Things I wouldn’t change

    1. Errrm. Well if we’re eloping I’m changing sort of everything, right?

    I should add I did love our day, it was so us and very relaxed. But it was bloody hard work in the run up and I found the planning stressful.

  6. We’re a year on Sunday. It still remains as the best, best day in the history of best days. Aesthetically I wouldn’t change a thing- my only regrets were that the party did feel like it was stopped in it’s prime. I wish we’d started the whole day just one hour earlier. And I wish I’d asked our fantabulous photographer to stay a couple of hours later. There are certain amazing evening elements (the pizza van, dance- offs, me rapping to the Sugarhill Gang) that I would have LOVED to have been caught professionally. But que sera!

  7. Like you, I think having a day planner would have made a whole difference in the flow of the day. We had a high-tea reception in an indoor-outdoor area . The whole thing lasted from 12h to 18h. We spent a long time curating the perfect playlist… but aside from our first-dance, which was actually a last-dance (before everything was over) there was no dancing party. It is not a big deal because we are not party animals and our cocktail reception had the vibe we wanted, people walking around and mingling, all kinds of finger foods, sweet and salty, lots of cake, macarons, ice-cream…. but I kind of did want to dance. We had a cousin of mine act as a master of ceremony / guide of the day, but it was difficult to coordinate because we had too much going on (cake, ice cream car, photobooth, speeches, a surprise presentation made by my brother and sister… ) and time flew a way. So I think, like you say that a wedding-planner for organizing the days’ activities would have given more structure to the day. I don’t even know how we managed not to have time for everything we had planned because we made a point of planning extra half-an-hour for some activities here and there , because we knew things always get delayed.
    But I still love everything, I don’t think I would change much. Though sometimes I still think whether or not I should have travelled to Belgium to get the dress of my dreams…

  8. I’m not sure if I posted this before but your wedding Rebecca inspired mine! When I was looking I remember being so disappointed that the venues close to us just didn’t feel right & then on a ‘certain website’ I came across an amazing wedding with the reception held in a restaurant! πŸ™‚ so we stopped looking at castles etc and looked at our favourite places to eat. (We ended up marrying at Riverstation in Bristol and it was amazing!)

    If I was doing it again I wouldn’t spend so much on the dress. I had a Jenny Packham which was beautiful but looking back I’m not sure suited me and 2k could have gone to my house deposit fund. I also wished we eloped, with just a photographer in tow. Family politics cast a shadow in the lead up to our day and secretly I would have loved to slip off get married and send everyone a picture alongside the word ‘hitched!’

  9. Four years on I still wish I had spent longer finding the dress of my dreams rather than settling for second best simply because I felt rushed and didn’t visit enough dress shops. If I were to do it again, like you Rebecca, I’d have a more comfortable dress that I could eat and breathe in! Although I got lots of compliments about how lovely my dress was (fishtail, tight, covered in sparkly bits, very 2010) I would go for something delicate with lace now (totally blame Kate Middleton).

    What surprised me most about our wedding day was that I really enjoyed the ceremony and the actually marriage bit – that I will treasure forever. I found the drinks reception and rest of the day incredibly stressful, as I hate the pressure of hosting parties and this felt like the biggest of all parties! In hindsight, I should’ve just chilled out, as everyone loves a good wedding and it would’ve saved me getting so drunk in the evening πŸ˜‰

  10. One month on I would have looked at more dresses and tried to get a less expensive one, again with a smaller skirt, I hadn’t realised just how big I was!
    I would have loved to have a short engagement. It’s not the way it worked for us and I meant I got all the suppliers I wanted but I seriously could have planned it in a few weeks and time is my worst enemy when it comes to choice and stress. Wish I could have sat down and caught up properly with my friends who didn’t live near me, but we were too busy dancing and having the best time ever. πŸ˜€

    Things I wouldn’t change one month on would be venue. I was amazing even if an hour drive from the ceremony. Photography, just got back and so glad I flew them from Belfast to Aberdeen, even with all the stick I got for it. Videography: epic and amazing. Food, took a body source to chicken and had local venison which was risky but people loved it.

    Also people always say you end up not spending your day with the groom. We were the total opposite and Ciaran was always there at the beginning of every ceilidh dance to dance with me πŸ™‚ and now we are married and loving life πŸ™

  11. We are almost three years on from our wedding and I have thought about it a lot. To be honest the only thing I would change about our wedding would have been to have a day planner.
    Our wedding venue was a barn and although it came with all the furniture and stuff, we had to organise everything else. From the bar to catering. It was incredibly stressful but I did enjoy the organising. On the day though, we had to sort out lots of things, which meant we didn’t have the stress free day we had envisioned. Don’t get me wrong our day was wonderful, but if we could have had somebody there to deal with the minor issues that occurred it would have been that bit better. Having said that, nobody else noticed the problems, all our guests still comment on what a brilliant day it was and that in itself makes me incredibly happy.

  12. We are coming up for 4 years and it pains me to say that there are a few things I would change if I could do it all again. So you feeling the same Rebecca, makes me feel a bit better.

    1. My hair – it was ok, nothing special. Wish I got a mobile hairdresser.
    2. My photographer – I felt obliged to book the one I did because he was a family friend. I was disappointed with the results.
    3. I spent far too much money on our wedding and this is my biggest regret. If I could do it all again it would be much less extravagant. I was engaged waaaay too long and it stupidly took over my life.
    4. I cared too much about what other people thought.

    Best decisions:
    1. Ceremony was just perfect
    2. I still love my dress
    3. Booking a videographer
    4. The venue and the food
    5. Obviously marrying my hubby πŸ™‚


  13. Two years on for us and I still think of it as the most perfect day. We had a day of planner who was amazing and is actually a good friend of mine now, we hate asking friends and family for favours as we are both too stubborn and independent so worked better paying someone to sort out the little things!

    I wouldn’t have bothered having bridesmaids, I only did out of tradition/obligation but it only added to hair/make up time on the day and I really didn’t “need” them for anything else so wish I’d have suck with my guy instinct not to bother. We also had an ice cream cart but as it was unseasonably cold hot chocolate would have been better!

    I’ll never regret my dress even though it was stupidly expensive, it was perfect and made me feel great which shows in all the photos.

  14. SpendingWe were the first of our friends to get married so there were a few learning curves – mostly around how we cos have done things cheaper.

    5 big things I’d have changed:

    1) the cake was delicious but we spent far too much on it (though people still talk about how good it was).

    2) I would not bother with a first dance – our favourite songs would be something by Faithless or The Prodigy. Not music for romantic dancing. We picked a song we couldn’t care less about and felt really awkward in the spotlight.

    3) I wish I had given a speech and thanked everyone for their support.

    4) I wish I’d been more persuasive with the seamstress that altered my dress. It was a bit too big and fell down a bit which caused a lot of pain (and bruises) by the end of the night. And the bit that was supposed to hook up the dress for the dancing did not work so we used cable ties/hair bobbles/ribbons to bunch it up.

    5) I’d have paid the photographer to stay until the end rather than just to the first dance.

    I would not change:

    DIYing every last little thing. It was a huge amount of stress but every detail reflected our personalities and we both feel a wedding planning gap in our lives 2 years on.

    A short engagement. We rushed it a bit to ensure our grandmothers could be there and so as not to drag out the DIY stress.

    Spending time with future in-laws and extended family. I invited my mother in law to dress shopping as she has an only son. It put my mum out a bit at first but I think she’ll forever be gratefuland I really valued her support.

  15. Three things I would change – hair, flowers and bridesmaid. Up until yesterday I would have said weather but having relived it all in the blazing sun I’m glad we had the wet and cloudy weather we had – it meant the forest was quiet, I didn’t get burnt and we weren’t all squinting the whole day.

  16. I love this post, and it’s made me feel better about wishing I could change some things. The big one is the photography. We foolishly decided that we’d be so glowing with love, it would all be ok, so we booked the first photographers we met whose images we didn’t mind. And they did a good job, don’t get me wrong. But it just wasn’t special, and seeing more and more of our friends with wonderful, artful pictures just twinges a little. All the more reason to splash out on a gorgeous maternity shoot in the future (fingers crossed!) xxx

  17. Some great comments here guys – thanks for your honesty. A few of you have perfectly sum me dup how I feel about a lot of my wedding actually. Reflecting on what I have written, most of the issues I have listed boil down to the stress they created on the day and in the build up – the details, the dress, the formality – even the guest list… if none of those had been stressful to me then I probably wouldn’t want to change them. And they became stressful due to a lack of help (hello planner,) time (details,) and foresight (hence the benefit of hindsight element to this!)

    I forgot to say I wouldn’t change the man! I’m such a bad wife!!!!!

  18. This post is perfect timing for me, im getting married next month. I have already been wondering if i have done things right, booked the right venders, made enough things etc. I’ve realised that actually as you say the small DIY things are not the most important things, so – breath!!! Been so worried about things being ‘perfect’ but i suppose tastes do change and after i probably will want to change a few things, unfortunately thats life and theres nothing wrong with that. Cant wait to read all this weeks posts, note from today- Order more flowers!!! xxx

  19. My parents paid for our wedding, in its entirety, and they had a lot of input, including an insanely large number of guests. I don’t regret this, as what would have been a lot of money to us, wasn’t to them. Also they loved hosting the day. As they paid for it, they got a say in the day. If we’d paid for it, then we could have told them to stop interfering. We were happy to spend their money though, so made the compromises. If they hadn’t been able to afford it, then the story would have been different, and we’d have had a much smaller, less formal wedding.

    The biggest expenses were food, drink and marquee. I didn’t go for an expensive dress or flowers (we DIYed this).

    The only thing I would change is the photographer. I didn’t think I cared about nice photos, and didn’t do any research, and went for someone cheap, who seemed nice. I regret this. I hadn’t discovered blogs, when I started wedding planning.

  20. Nice honest post Rebecca! I remeber your original wedding report. Your wedding was soo glam and you were a truly beautiful bride. I loved your veil especially.

    Things I would of changed:

    I loved my dress but didnt get it fitted to save on costs – Wish I had as it was a bit tight on the day.

    Be less bullied by my mum into having a traditional wedding. Ie Speeches and top table!! I really didnt want a top table but my mum was devastated (no exageration) by this so I gave in and had one. I dont like speeches and I know that my dad, best man and husband would of preffered not to give them but ended up having them for traditions sake.

    Spend more on my photographer. My photos are awful. I look huge and Im only a size 10. No one looks good in the photos at all. My mother in law kindly offered to pay for the photographer so I felt obliged to use a cheaper one that I would of had we been paying ourselves.

    I wouldnt of invited people out of politeness. It was just a waste of money and I wouldnt of missed them if they werent there!

    I would of wore a veil!

    Things I wouldnt change:

    Getting married in the Church I was baptised, had my first communion and confirmed in. I also went there every week with my school and my parents were married there so plenty of good memories.It was so surreal walking down the same aisle that my mum had 21 years prior.

    Getting married at Christmas. It snowed, it was amazing and the first christmas wedding alot of our guests had been too!

    Keeping my hair and make up natural.

    Spending a sufficent amount on wedding rings, ours still look new 4 years on and will hopefully last us a life time!

    Spending money on good food and wine and serving our wedding cake as dessert.

    A five week honeymoon in Oz! A once in a life time opportunity and the memories will last forever.

  21. Really interesting reading all the comments!

    We’re a year in and there isn’t much I would change (maybe there will be more in years to come as tastes do change):

    1. Flowers – We really liked our florist but should have asked for prototypes/drawings as the eventual effect wasn’t quite the same as we’d thought from our conversations with her. I would have more flowers.

    2. Dress – At the time I prided myself on finding my dress very quickly; a few months down the line I was already wishing I’d tried on more in a larger number of shops. I loved it on the day but I still wish I’d spent more time trying different dresses from a wider range of designers.

    Specific elements I wouldn’t change (apart from my husband!):

    1. Our rings – we designed them and they’re unique. We’ll remember the processes behind the design for ever.

    2. No ‘top table’ – we had our siblings and partners and my maid of honour on our table, it just made the meal more relaxing for everyone.

    3. Giving a joint speech – it was lovely getting up with my husband and welcoming/ thanking everyone together. We didn’t have a father-of-bride speech – my father is not a speech-y person and wouldn’t have been comfortable.

    4. Delaying the honeymoon – we had a few days in Devon straight afterwards to sleep off the weekend, and went to New Zealand six months later. No worries about flying, packing etc.

    5. Spending time on creating our own designs for stationary. I really enjoyed this as it felt so much more ‘us’ and was a fun outlet from a non-creative job.

    6. Our ceremony – we had a C of E wedding with Jewish elements to represent our joint family history and it was perfect for us.

  22. Wow Contra, that means it’s about 5 1/2 years since I discovered YAYW! It’s our 4 years on Thursday, pretty sure he’s forgotten πŸ˜‰

    Doing it all again I’d downsize the guest list and remember that it’s our day and not my parents/his parents/the aunts/cat sitter etc.

    Going to have a look through the wedding album now, Time flies!

  23. Wow this is so useful! I’m 10 months to go and (I hate to admit) it’s already so easy to get carried away with DIY paper pom poms in the exact shade of mint green or whatever, but this post has got me thinking – what are the lasting, tangible elements of a wedding? The rings and the photographs is all I can come up with (the actual marriage goes without saying obviously). That’s pretty much it right? So tonight, I am going to re-evaluate our budget so that it reflect what really matters a bit more.

    K x

  24. We are coming up to our 3 year anniversary this year.
    We had an amazing day which a lot of family and friends still talk about whenever we see them but there are definitely a few things I would change looking back.

    Things I would have done differently:
    1) I would have gone to the venue the night before to set up all our special DIY bits rather than doing it the morning of the wedding. We got married in a castle near Nice and had bought a bouncy castle for the kids to play on but because of the morning rush it never got blown up and stayed in its box all evening. I also ended up setting up our table with family wedding photos/guest book and various other bits myself, in my wedding dress when we arrived for the reception as it still hadn’t been done by 16h!

    2) I would have asked my husband’s cousins to be my flower girls. At the time I didn’t want to ask as I knew some of my friends with kids of similar ages would be upset not to have their children in the wedding so I didn’t have any flower girls/page boys at all but we are very close to his cousins and they would have loved it.

    3) I would have painted my nails bright red to match my shoes! To be fair though I could have done this but I ran out of time on the day!

    4) I would have bought more flipflops to give out to the guests after the dancing kicked off! We had about 20 pairs and they went like hot cakes!

    5) I would have insisted the bridal shop take my husband’s suit back to have it altered. Due to a mix-up they ordered his suit a size bigger than he needed and he didn’t want to make a fuss so didn’t say anything when he picked it up. But when we look at the photos, all he sees is a too-big suit which he hates so I would have made them order the correct size for him!

    Things I wouldn’t change:

    1) My dress. I loved it then and I love it now

    2) Doing our own flowers for the reception. It took waaaaaay longer than I thought and we had to get up super early the day before the wedding to go and buy them at the local market but they looked amazing, cost nothing and we had loads of compliments from the guests.

    3) My amazing bridesmaid and witness. Both my best friends and both amazing, I couldn’t have asked for lovelier people or more help!

    4) The food. It was incredible, I still think about our main course now and how good it was πŸ™‚

    5) My husband πŸ™‚

  25. I loved reading this post.
    I absolutely loved my wedding day. It was a real fusion of cultures (British and Trinidadian) although to be honest we ‘do’ weddings the same way in Trinidad! However, I included little interesting facts about Trinidad on the tables and got the DJ to play a lot of Trinidadian music as well. We all had an absolute ball!
    What I am glad I did
    -hubby and I financed our wedding ourselves so we had complete control over everything. When my parents arrived from Trinidad they tried to meddle for example they love having lots of people give long speeches in Trinidad but we stood firm and said no and I am very happy we did not bow to pressure.
    – we had 60 wedding guests. This is compared to my twin’s wedding where she had 250+. We got to talk to everyone and that was lovely.
    – had good catering for the main sit down three course meal and drinks reception (drinks were covered for this). We let guests fund themselves for the bar/party afterwards. As I said we paid for our wedding ourselves (I was a poor intern and hubby was an even poorer postdoc) so we did not have money to waste.
    – got married in our college Chapel. Hubby is atheist/agnostic but he knew a church wedding was important to me.
    – had a horse and carriage. The initial people fell through and we almost cancelled but hubby knew how much I wanted this. So glad as the replacement people were fabulous. I LOVED this part of my day as in my head I really am a princess so I should have a carriage. Slowing down traffic in Oxford was an absolute treat!!! And I got to do it twice (once with my dad and again with my new husband).
    – spent a decent amount on flowers. This really made the venue wonderful and I had flowers moved from the chapel to the reception area to reduce costs.
    – not go crazy on the wedding dress or shoes. I bought a dress in Trinidad for the equivalent of Β£300 and shoes for Β£20. No one could tell the difference and I did not feel that I wasted too much money for items that I would only ever use once.
    – pay for a good photographer and forget making a video of the day. We upgraded and had a magazine album included in the package which was wonderfully done. I would have hated a video and it would have made me so uncomfortable during the day.

    Things I would change if I could
    – I wish my hubby’s mother could have been present. Unfortunately she died before I met my husband but he tells me she would have loved it.
    – Not let my dad give my hubby anything to drink. He poured him some glasses of (very strong) rum but did not tell him he needed to mix it with anything. Unfortunately that meant that my hubby was basically comatose on my wedding night! haha. His best man had to help me out of my dress.
    – not all of my immediate family could have attended. I had the wedding here so only my parents and twin sis made the trip. I would have loved if my other siblings and close friends from back home could have been present.
    – had someone to help hubby out on the wedding day. It was a bit more stressful for him than it was for me as he had to sort out all the little niggly stuff on the day that I was completely unaware of.

    All in all it was a perfect day and it still makes me happy. We celebrate 7 years in September πŸ™‚

  26. How lovely reading everyone’s thoughts. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not so much things we’d change but that one decision then leads to others. I loved our village barn but a part of me wonders what a London wedding would have been like…
    Reflecting back I would have insisted we spent more time searching for my sister’s bridesmaid dress. It ended up being expensive, not the best style & not one she could wear again.
    More flowers in the barn. Sometimes I think I’d like a different bouquet but then I remember how much I love roses.
    Having a trumpeter as we walked down the aisle. At the time I thought how grand that was for our country wedding but my father would have loved it.
    Sometimes I think about a different photographer, at the time pre blogs I didn’t know where to find them & didn’t realise how far they’d travel. Also that even with a seven month engagement you have time, even if your first choice is unavailable. Thst said we have some gorgeous photos straight after the ceremony that are up & that’s most important.
    If money had been no object hired gorgeous outside furniture but that’s daydream land.

    Things I’m pleased about – pretty much everything else especially dress, red bus, Elvis, gorgeous husband. I’m also quite pleased we were married before UK wedding blogs exploded as in some ways it was a lot less confusing & tempting.

  27. I’m getting married in 10 weeks! I have done everything by myself (mainly situational) so have taken a simple less is more mentality despite it being a big italian wedding of 200+ it is interesting to read the above and the comments as wedding stress can certainly change your perspective on the world ( I had a meltdown over gray card not being the right shade of gray!?!?) but now I’m nearly there I am so excited to see everyone, to eat and to dance! And FINALLY say “husband” :))

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