Patrick and I got married on May 17, 2008. It's been so fun and in some ways easier, and in some ways harder than I expected. As I go through the wedding planning process with friends, there are several things that I wish I could have done a little differently. It was still the happiest and best day, but I wish I was more comfortable with myself to have done a few things.
One: do my hair myself and put flowers in it. It looks so beautiful and not too "done-up", but I didn't want to stress myself out the day of by trying to do something with my own hair and take the chance on it not being great and not staying in place. So I went to a salon to have it done. I didn't love it, and it was definitely too stiff and "bridal"- but there wasn't anything I could do. It was not going anywhere.
Two: I would have skipped the open bar and just done a few signature cocktails. I think all the guests LOVED having an open bar, but it was so expensive. I think I was so obsessed with the "look" and feel of the wedding and wanting it to be a big formal party, that I was afraid if everything wasn't top notch...people wouldn't come. And I wanted EVERYONE there. So I didn't risk giving people a reason to not be excited about the celebration. But honestly, your friends will come and they'll love it no matter what. The wedding is for you, not them.
Three: Skipped the favors and the limo. Both are traditional and fun, but having your own car decorated and packed is so much easier than getting a limo and having other people pack everything for you. Favors are a fun takeaway, but so many people left without theirs that it made me think it's not worth the money.
Four: My dress. In theory, I loved my dress. It had everything I wanted, and for the most part, I thought the cut was flattering. But looking back on pictures, there was too much fabric for me. I'm 5' 1'' and although the top was cut slimly, the rest of it was just a little bit too much. In some ways it swallowed me. I should have had someone take pictures of me in it (secretly because you aren't normally allowed to do that) and then look at myself from different angles. I know that sounds superficial, but you want to make sure you see more sides than whats actually in the mirror.
The things I wouldn't have changed? Everything else.
Some of my favorites though, include: spending the night in a hotel with all my bridesmaids the night before the wedding, bringing champagne to the hair salon, doing my own make-up, getting the cheapest invitations I could find, having a dj, getting my nails done right before the rehearsal dinner, and taking almost all of our pictures outside in the sunshine and by an old shed.
Weddings are fun and they should encompass all of your favorite things. But sometimes its best to glean wisdom from former brides and to not be caught up in what people would think about you. I cared too much what people thought, and I probably would have been just as happy if I had been more willing to compromise on some of the details (and graciously saved my parents money). But alas, I'm better for the learning experiences and look forward to all the weddings that my future holds! Happy planning brides-to-be.