Wedding Regrets

Oh man, I don’t want you to think this is one big bitch about all the things that went wrong on my wedding day because, honestly, it’s not.

If you were a guest, I really wouldn’t scan through this post hoping to find a thinly veiled version of yourself and me moaning about you. Because it’s not a post about rubbish wedding guests either, I’ve already written that one 😉

It’s also not a digging for compliments exercise, where I bemoan my lack of perfect body and terrible hair etc and you diligently compliment me. It’s not that.

It IS a chance to get some things off my chest. Because here’s the truth.

Wedding Planning Advice: Should you do your own bridal makeup?

I hated planning my wedding

The year before I got married was one of the worst of my life. My depression and anxiety started to overwhelm me and I was isolated, living on a tiny Thai island. I was super excited getting engaged, despite the fact I knew my husband-to-be and I had very different ideas about what constituted a ‘dream wedding’ (I wanted to be barefoot on the beach with a handful of people, he wanted approximately 1000….we compromised with 100!)

I want to write more about why I hated planning my wedding, with some practical tips for brides-to-be like me who haven’t been planning their dream weddings since the age of three and find the task of choosing flowers to be hellish.

But for now, here are a few things I regret about my wedding day.

wedding regrets - black and white image of smiling bride and groom

Staying Small

I tried so hard not to be a Bridezilla, I went the other way. I became obsessed with trying to please everyone else and pretending to be a ‘chilled out, cool bride’ that I practically wrote myself out of the wedding.

I demanded no hen do, to the point where my poor bridesmaids were forced into creating something that would be fun for the hens without scaring me off.  No mean feat.

The result was that people didn’t make such a big deal of the do because I’d demanded that they didn’t……and when I look back I feel really sad I have no pictures of it, and that people ‘popped in’ en route to another event. This was entirely my fault – you get what you put out in the world and what I put out there was this: ‘don’t have fun, and don’t treat this as a hen do.’ On reflection, this was super disrespectful and confusing for my bridesmaids!

wedding regrets - bridesmaids and bride walking along street in black and white

Avoiding Emotion

I don’t have a good relationship with my sister, and at the time of the wedding she was in a see-through dress and for reasons I won’t go into…..I avoided having any pictures with her, or my mum (who I resented for allowing her to be so unruly — as if that’s my mum’s fault!) I wish I’d ignored all of this and had pictures with my mum and aunties.

We decided early on we didn’t want fussy speeches, where things went on far too long and guests looked longingly at their (increasingly cold) food while Great Uncle Bob prattled on. And I’m so happy we did that as it meant we could get on with the day and enjoy it with the nerves of speeches behind us. But I felt so uncomfortable being in my own wedding I begged Oli not to say anything mushy or overly emotional about me. I also didn’t allow my mum to do a speech in lieu of my beloved dad saying anything, and I demanded (I really did demand this) that nobody raise a glass to: “those who couldn’t be here today” aka my dead dad.

But I felt so uncomfortable being in my own wedding I begged Oli not to say anything mushy or overly emotional about me (thankfully he ignored me!) I also didn’t allow my mum to do a speech in lieu of my dad, and I demanded (I really did demand this) that nobody raise a glass to: “those who couldn’t be here today” aka my dead dad.

Isn’t that terrible?! I was so frightened I’d cry, or that people would stare at me pityingly I cut down anything that could potentially cause it. That meant, NO personal vows, no staring lovingly at Oli while we said them and no mention of my dad.

Looking back, I can’t say I would do anything differently if I were to do it all again but it definitely shows a huge personality flaw that I am so self-conscious.

wedding regrets - bride and groom on british seaside beach

Beng Bullied

Okay, this header is misleading. Nobody bullied me in an aggressive, negative way as such. But I did allow my better judgement and gut feeling to be overridden in favour of what someone else wanted.

I wanted to walk down the aisle after my bridesmaids, I wanted to wear red lipstick, I didn’t want to wear shoes……I wanted a flower crown or veil. And I really wanted to have a big morning of pampering and getting ready, I wanted beauty treatments and prosecco….but I couldn’t afford it, and I was embarrassed to ask for help. I prioritised paying for a videographer, a musician and listening to other people’s opinions above what I actually wanted.

The list of things I wanted but was gently told might not be a good idea is endless really, because when you plan a wedding — everyone will give you their opinion and you are so vulnerable you’ll allow it to seep in. It’s really hard not to allow yourself to be taken away with the whole palaver of it all, but it’s true what everyone says — it is your day.

Having Regrets

I actually regret having regrets at all. Which, I think, means they’re cancelled out and I have none, right? Bravo! In all seriousness, it’s beyond silly to worry about a day which will not define your life. I look back at my wedding fondly, of course, but it wasn’t the best day of my life. Having my daughter was! I even look back at my first date with Oli as more of a defining moment in my life than my wedding.

But if I could offer a bride to be any advice, I would say this:

Don’t stress, it’ll all be over soon.

Take time away from the madness to enjoy five minutes alone with your husband.

Wear more make up than you think you need, and demand five minutes to touch up before you have any photos.

Wear whatever you want. Whether that’s a pink dress, or blue lips or leopard print shoes. I wish I had!

It’s just another day, and to strive to achieve perfection is just another way to beat ourselves up.

Have you got any wedding regrets? Or are you planning a wedding hoping not to make my mistakes? 

L x

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Also published on Medium.

10 Comments

  1. 23rd August 2017 / 8:57 am

    Yes to someone else who hasn’t been planning their wedding since the age of three! I’m getting married in December and am finding the whole planning thing so overwhelming. I just wanna make some cute crafty things and hang out with the people I care about but they are so many things that I expected at weddings! I have however bought a pair of Doc Martens.

    • Lucy
      Author
      8th September 2017 / 11:54 am

      Oh wow, congratulations Jodie! Yeah….it’s hard when you are constantly expected to have an opinion on tablecloths and underwear……and cutlery. SNORE! I think ou have the right idea. Crafting and DM’s for the win x

  2. 24th August 2017 / 7:38 am

    This is really interesting. Everyone assumes that Brides love being the centre of attention on their wedding day, when actually, that’s not always the case. Hubs & I cancelled our wedding twice before we finally made it down the aisle. One of those cancellations was because my wedding, was becoming uncomfortable. It was not ‘me’, so to speak. So I wrote my Mum the most difficult letter saying I wasn’t doing it the traditional way, I wasn’t comfortable. We were going to do it our way. No pomp, no relatives & friends of my parents I hardly knew just our friends and very close family. I found being the centre of attention, wearing, frankly, a ridiculous frock & being stared at all day, not to mention standing in front of a camera, really very intimidating.

    Regrets? I have a few. (see what I did there). 1) Feeling so self conscious as I walked down the aisle that I didn’t look up at hubs, instead I stared at my feet. 2) That my Dad didn’t come to my wedding, for a reason that I didn’t know about at the time (a long long story), but that I could’ve put to rest if I had known. However, because we did it our way, I can look back & say “we had a bloody good laugh on our wedding day”.

    • Lucy
      Author
      8th September 2017 / 11:58 am

      This is SO interesting Nicky. Thanks so much for sharing…..it’s so hard, and I wanted to cancel several times! I think I’ve made my peace with the fact every bride has a regret or two, even when they’ve done it ‘their way’ like you did. I guess it’s human nature, right? L x

  3. 7th September 2017 / 7:56 am

    Oh my goodness!! I could have written this post myself! In fact I kind of did – I wrote this post 6 months after my own wedding day – http://bumpkinbetty.com/wedding-reflections-6-months-on/

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE! That paragraph about not showing emotion rang so true for me – I stopped my husband mid speech when he got soppy and told him that was enough (something he still bangs on about) and I have zero photos with my mum or dad!! 2 years later I don’t hate the day anymore and manage to focus on the happy memories but it definitely wasn’t the best day of my life!!

    Jac

    • Lucy
      Author
      8th September 2017 / 12:04 pm

      OMG just read your post. How funny we share so many of the same feelings! And I love that you stopped your hubby mid-speech. I think I would have done the same tbh — I demanded NO SOPPY stuff and was fretting he’s get emosh. How silly! L x

  4. 27th September 2017 / 9:55 pm

    This is a really honest and interesting post Lucy.

    My biggest regret is how much I stressed about the build up, two years just felt too long and I ended up obsessing and second guessing every detail as it was all planned out way in advance.

    Not long before the wedding I had a huge anxiety attack and ended up quitting my job (my son was just one at the time). Looking back it seems crazy that I let it all get to me so much, a time that is supposed to be so happy turns into something so full of pressure (admittedly that we inflict upon ourselves!)

    I also ended up choosing quite a few Bridemaids as I always thought it would be lovely but that turned into a headache and only my Maid of Honour was truly involved and my rock through the whole thing. One of my Bridemaids and long term college friends even fell out with me one week before the wedding because her dress was two small (but that’s a whole different story!)

    My Husbands Favourite saying is “Hindsight is a wonderful thing” and it’s so true! It’s all about learning and one thing it certainly proves is that our Husbands truly love us, even with our crazy and sometimes irrational tendencies! 🙂 x

    • Lucy
      Author
      29th September 2017 / 9:01 am

      Oh my goodness! I relate to this so much. Although, you had far worse stresses than I!

      You’re right though (or, your husband is!) — hindsight is SUCH a wonderful thing. I didn’t make the same mistakes this time around and when my baby was born I totally celebrated everything. I’m having a christening, and have godparents and a party and everything! L x

  5. 3rd October 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Dear Lucy, I love this post! So much of it rings true for me. I’m a huge introvert and am genuinely not into being the centre of attention. And my wonderful husband to be is quite awkward – at least, that’s the impression others get sometimes. We’re getting married in a year and the whole thing stresses me out. We wanted to elope, but for the sake of family have decided to have a casual wedding. At least, that’s the plan! My mum, whom I have an extremely difficult relationship with (almost didn’t invite) has criticized and questioned my choices every step of the way. Even my friends, whom I love and adore, say things with implied judgement. They seem to think that my fiance’s lack of enthusiasm for a couple photo shoot means he doesn’t love me as much as he should. I know he does and think he’s amazing, and that should be all that matters. We’re not personalized vow people – we openly express that stuff to each other, but yet somehow it’s perceived as “less in love” if we won’t do it in front of the world. I’m trying to roll with it, but it’s HARD! I think my friends think I’m being stingy for not wanting an elaborate wedding. But for us, it’s not the best use of our money. It’s not certain, but I suspect I might have some fertility issues (I hope not) but if it turns out I do, I know I’d rather have money saved we can use for IVF than have spent it on the wedding – I’ve tried to explain this to friends, but they dismiss me as paranoid and crazy! Anyway…! So glad you wrote this xxx

    • Lucy
      Author
      4th October 2017 / 2:12 pm

      Oh man, weddings are so stressful aren’t they? Firstly, congratulations!! And secondly…..well, I obviously don’t know you’re situation or your friends…..BUT I feel like I can only say this with some clarity now: those who make you feel a bit crappy, or judge your choices, or who basically aren’t doing anything aside from being supremely happy for you are not worth your time.

      Post wedding, people drop off….and when/if you have babies — the real stars shine through! That’s my experience anyway 🙂 L xx

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