Biggest Wedding Regrets

Married brides reveal their ultimate shoulda, woulda, coulda moments.

by Charli Penn

What bride doesn’t want her wedding day to go exactly as she planned with a minimal amount of drama? The truth is you can plan your heart out, but things may not always work the way you hoped they would. We asked newly married brides to be up-front and honest about their biggest preparation regrets so others could learn from their mistakes. Here’s what they had to say.

Biggest Bride Regrets

About Receptions

“I would not have combined a chocolate fountain at our wedding reception with six flower girls. Thank goodness for baby wipes — they were the only thing that managed to save my dress.”

Tip: Even if you aren’t having small children or messy foods at your reception, pack a bridal emergency kit. Items like panadol, clear nail polish (for stocking runs), and a miniature sewing kit are musts. If you’re worried you’ll forget it, ask your maid of honour to be in charge of gathering the little things you might need.

“I would have ordered three times more prawns. My brothers-in-law and a few of the other guests thought we were offering an all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet.”

Tip: After sitting through the ceremony and waiting for the wedding party to arrive, many guests will work up an appetite. Beautifully prepared appetisers may not always be the most filling. If you have big eaters on the guest list, you may want to add to your food budget or plan a meal with lots of options, especially if you’re having an evening reception. At dinnertime, guests expect dinner-sized portions.

“I would have driven the route to the reception myself instead of just going by an online map. A lot of people got really lost on the way, and I’m still hearing about it to this day.”

Tip: If your ceremony and reception sites are not the same, include directions in the invitations. Don’t rely on online resources because there can be glitches. If guests get lost and frustrated, it’s likely to show in your photos. Map the route yourself and then have a family member on hand with a mobile phone for anyone who’s lost and may need clarification.

About Being the Bride

“I would have lost weight. After all, I had the time and the equipment.”

Tip: If you’re dress shopping and you’re not thrilled with the figure you see in the mirror, it’s the perfect indication that you might want to begin a pre wedding workout routine. While you don’t have to lose weight to be a beautiful bride, it’s important you feel comfortable and at your best that day. You’ll love your pictures so much more if you’re not obsessed with little flaws. Most weddings are at least a year away, which gives you plenty of time to improve on body issues.

“I would have searched the dress shop on the Internet before putting down a deposit. When I went to the designer’s website and found two stores in my area, I should have checked on them both. The Better Business Bureau would have shown me the complaints made against the one I chose.”

Tip: When you’re spending major cash at a bridal boutique, check references. Impulsive purchases very often don’t work out well when it comes to wedding planning.

“I would have taken pictures of my bustle at my final dress fitting. When I was ‘bustling up’ before the reception, we couldn’t quite figure out how to get it right.”

Tip: Arranging the bustle is indeed a not-so-easy task. Bring a member of your bridal party with you to the the bridal boutique when you go for your last fitting. She can learn precisely what needs to be done for the wedding.

“I would not have worn those ghastly fake eyelashes. They work on some people, but I’m not one of them.”

Tip: Try out new beauty products a few times before the wedding day. It’s better to know how they work and what you can expect.


Image: Ms Jane Photography

About the Wedding Party

“I wouldn’t have worried about what everyone was wearing. Instead, I would have given the maids and mums a swatch of fabric and said, ‘Don’t clash with this.’ I’m glad they choose their own dresses, but having to coordinate colours between three different designers was more stress than I needed.”

Tip: Always remember that when dealing with bridesmaid attire, being flexible comes with a price. Allowing the ladies to pick something that works for them won’t always work for you. If you insist they have options, find a designer that offers multiple dress styles in the same colour: You won’t have nightmares about clashing colours, and they’ll get a style in which they feel comfortable.

“I wouldn’t have jumped so quickly to choose my bridal party. I would have taken more time and given it more thought since I hurt quite a few people in the process. I realise now that out of sheer excitement, I hastily selected the people who were closest to me at that time, neglecting the people that were with me for many years before.”

Tip: When it comes to picking your bridal party members, give it some time before you contact anyone. There may be conflicts between who you’d like to ask and who expects you to ask them. You’ll want to identify those problems before you make any announcements. In most cases, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to do some damage control, but you’ll most likely feel better if you ask after having thought long and hard about your choices.

About the Planning

“We wouldn’t have done DIY invitations. The amount of money we saved just wasn’t worth the time it took us to make them.”

Tip: It’s important to understand the nature of the projects that you’re taking on before you or your loved ones commit to something you ultimately just won’t want to finish.

“I would have hired a day-of coordinator. It got irritating when people would ask questions like, ‘Where should I put the extra programs?’ after the ceremony.”

Tip: The one thing most brides don’t get on their wedding day is a break. If you want to enjoy individual moments more and deal with questions and disasters less, hiring day-of help should be a high priority on your to-do list. The quality time you’ll gain is well worth the fee.


Tell us Knotties, do any of you have any wedding regrets you’d like to share?

by Charli Penn


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  1. I wouldn’t have made our own invites from scratch either. I don’t even think it saved us any money!
    I also regret not hiring a photo booth for the reception.

  2. I’m married 3 weeks and if I knew what a complete blue the day was going to be I NEVER would have wasted our hard earned money-
    One huge regret so far is that I’m still sick over the fact that I spent close to 6000$ on flowers when I went in with a clear budget of $3000.00
    The florist was very vague about expect pricing but I assumed she was going to stick with my proposed budget- it’s too late in the end to change things esp when you have a contract.
    Another hindsight regret is that my photographer also 6000$ didn’t take any strategic pictures- I still don’t remember what pics he took- I know I had a gorgeous mansion venue and we didn’t go outside for any photos- again these are all things that don’t become clear until the day after- despite the meticulous planning and details over and over in my head it’s just not worth such a huge price tag for a few hours- everything in the tri state area is very pricey- so my vendors were all competitive. We got married on a Sunday night in February to cut costs- but it’s all a huge blur and I have buyers remorse now!!! Should have put that money on a house….. Oh well I wish I had not gotten so caught up on Pinterest etc…. Please take heed to this post!!!!!

  3. Letting family dictate who you should invite. We ended up inviting relatives whom we never see or speak to outside of big events like this. Some of them caused actual fights with other guests on the night. Others created dramas & stress when we then wouldn’t invite girlfriends/boyfriends of cousins that we had never even met, cousins we hadn’t even seen or spoken to for years. I badly regret not just inviting the friends we really wanted there & told the family to go jump!

  4. I regret letting my husband-to-be take control of the music. He honestly thought the speaker on his iPod would have enough volume. I kept telling me we needed a subwoofer and base or whatever but he wouldn’t listen. So for our wedding dance, it was like we were dancing to invisible music as we were nearest to the iPod and knew the song/s. No-one danced. Then again it was a lunchtime wedding and we had an afterparty from 7.30pm which made up for it.
    I also regretted trying to save money with wholesale florists as they let us down the day before the wedding saying the flowers weren’t available and/or in season and kept trying to push flowers that didn’t match our colour scheme. Took me 6 weeks to get our money back. I also had no idea how hard it was to hire wedding decor without being forced to email for a quote (5 companies just for the centrepieces alone) so it led me to set up my wedding decor business.

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