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We all want a wedding with no regrets.

This is one of the most important days in your life. It should be a celebration like no other – all killer, no filler, with all your favourite people, your favourite food and carefully chosen wedding day details (and of course, a kickass wedding photographer).

But I know how hard it can be to get everything right. Trust me – I had a DIY backyard wedding that only worked because of our awesome friends and family helping out. It was a communal effort, and I loved it for that. I mean, at times all the prep really dragged, but on the whole there was a bit of Dunkirk spirit going on, and the day itself felt like a reward.

wedding place setting preparation - wedding day details

But do I have wedding regrets?

Yes. Not many, but they’re certainly there.

I wanted to be authentic but I wish I’d saved a bit of money for a makeup artist to pretty me up and pamper me.

I wish I’d eaten just a few of the canapés and hadn’t had to have a lie down after a wee bit too much champagne and vigorous dancing.

I wish I’d been more interested in my wedding dress, and got something a bit more quirky.

I wish I’d spent more time with my husband (!) and had a proper photo taken with him. I was so busy that when we had our first dance I said something like “oh, it’s you! What’ve you been up to?” He then looked down and saw I’d removed my shoes, and we tried not to fall over for 2 and a half minutes.

This is the only photo I have of my husband and I on our wedding day, and my eyebrows appear to have wandered off.

But I was happy as a clam!

What do other brides wish they’d done differently?

I suspected I wasn’t alone in feeling like this, so I recently took to Facebook and asked what other people thought about their own weddings – what they’d do differently and what they loved.

Here’s what they had to say:

Bridesmaid Trouble

“Long story short, her behaviour was so bad that 3 1/2 years later we still don’t speak.”

No one wants to come away from a bride/bridesmaid relationship like this. I’ve heard some howlers about bridesmaids who didn’t live up to expectations. I guess this is one of those choices that relies so much on good communication between everyone, and a clause to opt out of the agreement if it’s just too much.

Every bride should love her bridesmaids, and every maid should love her bride.

Choosing & Timing the Food

Weddings (usually) = booze. What slows down the absorption of booze? Food! So make sure there’s some. Canapés are a really good idea for keeping everyone going mid afternoon, and if you’re having your wedding breakfast early in the day (IE not dinner time) then make sure you lay on some food for the evening too.

It really doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be chosen with care. The best wedding meals I’ve had have fitted the wedding perfectly – lamb raised on the family farm and cooked slowly, hand stretched pizzas from a mobile pizza oven, a barbecue in the back garden.

“I regret not paying enough attention to the food menu when deciding what we’d have (I was very much a ‘yeah that’ll do’ bride)”

The Booze Budget

“I might have spent less on wine for the tables if I’d realised that some guests wouldn’t make 9pm!”

This is so awkward, socially. You don’t want to be tight (your guests will be thirsty) but you don’t want to be an absolute lush. If you’re having a pay bar stick some cash behind it, and if you’re having a backyard bash then try to stop it being a free for all. This is a wedding, not a reenactment of the Somme, so find a way to slow your more enthusiastic guests down without hampering the sensible ones. Alternatively, just enjoy a drink and forget about it.

If you’re DIYing it you could even tell people to bring their own bottle in lieu of a wedding gift.

A genuine photo from a backyard wedding last year.

I nearly fell over this guy.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen

Hired wedding car, taxi, lift from a friend, motorbike, tuktuk… The way you leave your wedding and where you go might feel like an afterthought but it needn’t be. These aren’t just budget considerations. Well, they might be, but they’re important because really how many times are you going to get married? Do you want to get a black cab back to your own house, or would you rather get a swanky posh car and go to the sort of hotel you’d never normally be able to afford?

Choosing a Wedding Photographer

“I allowed the photographer to call me ‘Bride’.”

I’m biased, but if I had a pound for everyone who’s told me they wish they’d put more effort searching for a good wedding tog….

I’ve heard about bossy wedding photographers who take over the day, ones who arrive late and leave early, and ones whose style simply doesn’t match that of the couple. I’ve heard about wedding photographers didn’t even learn the bride’s name.

These are all really important things to gauge before signing a contract with a photographer. What’s their style, are they reliable, what good reviews have they had, will they respond to your questions properly, and, most importantly, do you like them?

So what about you?

Weddings are huge events to pull off, and you should see all that love and effort reflected back at you on your wedding day. You should be able to exclaim “Je regrette rien!”

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