Upset People Share The One Thing They Regret About Their Wedding Day
Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful processes a couple can go through. It’s an exciting milestone, but there’s a lot of time and energy that goes into it, and all sorts of things to remember to do. From booking a venue and hiring vendors to organizing the seating chart and sending out invitations, the to-do list can feel endless. This, on top of all the emotions that come with getting married itself, can cause people make decisions about their wedding that they later regret.
As they say, hindsight is 20/20, and it seems many people agree, considering some of the stories they shared about what they most regret about their weddings.
#35 The Dance That Never Happened
If I could go back in time and do it over, I would have danced with my dad.
The story: We got engaged and started planning a wedding that was to take place the following year. Two months after the engagement, my father was diagnosed with stage-four cancer. We moved up the wedding by six months and thankfully we were able to get our deposits back from the original venue. My aunt had a large home, and to spend as little as possible (my parents needed all the money they could get to pay the bills since my dad couldn’t work due to his treatment), we decided to get married there instead. We had 70 guests plus a bridal party of 12 (my husband has three brothers, I have one, and both of our best friends are men, so naturally we had to have six girls). It was a bit crowded so we didn’t have room for dancing.
My father was able to walk me up the aisle for the ceremony, which was good because that was the main reason for moving up the wedding. But I wish I also had a father/daughter dance, even though there wasn’t any dancing at the reception.
My dad died three months later.
#34 Hungry for Love
Not having a good breakfast.
We got married early in the day on a beach and all I could think about was how much I wanted a breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, and bacon on a toasted English muffin with just a touch of hot sauce!
#33 My Wedding, Your Money, Whose Rules?
Letting other people help pay. As soon as that happens, they take over the wedding. Guest list, decor, cake, everything.
My uncle offered to pay for the limo. Great. But it turned out to be this busted 1980s limo with a spiderwebbed window, no hubcaps, and what looked like a homeless driver. He literally went on Craigslist and got the cheapest one, without doing any research. We ended up calling an Uber.
My in-laws offered to pay for half of the catering. This resulted in 200+ people showing up instead of our original guest list of only 70, because they ended up inviting their own guests. It would have been fine if they just told us so we could adjust catering, but no. The caterers had to adjust on the fly and drag some tables out of storage. We even had to order pizza for the rest of the guests. People we actually wanted there were eating pizza on dusty tables.
My in-laws even told us that we couldn’t say hello to our actual friends because that would mean we’d have to go to each table and say hi to everyone, which would have taken two hours.
My brother-in-law paid for the wine, which actually turned out fine. But we didn’t have enough because of all the completely unexpected guests.
My other uncle offered to cover the airfare for our honeymoon, which was nice… But the eighteen-day trip we were looking forward to turned into twelve days because it was cheapest ticket he could buy.
All we wanted was a smallish celebration with 75 people, and to have an awesome wedding. But we wound up with a big celebration that was kind of mediocre. And really stressful.
Maybe your families aren’t that type. But I wish we had just done our own thing and not accepted any help.
#32 Trying To Crack A Joke
I gave a heartfelt speech that ended with a joke. The punchline being “and your presence here means almost as much as the envelopes you brought with you.”
I still cringe.
#31 The Sound of Regret
Hiring my wife’s friend as the DJ. We gave him simple cues and songs, which he completely messed up — he ended up playing Hindi Dance music for the Indian segment of the dancing instead of Bhangra, as was very explicitly instructed.
Worst of all, our first dance was to that bad song from Ghost instead of “Dance Me to the End of Love” as requested.
#30 Cutting Deep
There were a couple people that we decided not to invite. We needed to cut a few after booking the hall and realizing we couldn’t fit as many people as we thought. I didn’t realize how hurt those few people would be. They brought it up years later. I still feel bad about it. Even more, some of the people we did invite ended up being horrible. For example, my wife’s uncle and his wife brought people that weren’t even invited and basically forced them into their already full table. It was awkward. I regret inviting them and not inviting the hurt friends that I mentioned above.
#29 Throwing Around Invites Like Confetti
Inviting people I didn’t really want to invite. They just cost you money, you don’t interact with them at all, and they usually don’t bring a nice gift to make up for it.
Though, it was okay letting all the divorced aunts and uncles bring +1’s. Because that led to a whole jealousy competition train that was extremely entertaining.
#28 No Pictures, Please
My number one regret is telling people not to take pictures. I know it sounds dumb but it’s much worse than that. In our agreement with our photographer, she told us that other cameras were not allowed as the flash from another camera could ruin our pictures. So we explained the situation to our guests and politely told them to refrain from taking pictures. We had a great wedding and the photographer even sent an extra photographer to work the wedding. A few weeks later we tried contacting her for the photos. We got ghosted. We tried for about a year to track her down. We were still willing to pay for the photos, even unedited. We just wanted the photos. Fortunately, some guests didn’t get the message so we have a few (10-20) photos from our wedding. The worst part was that someone had contacted my wife through Facebook two weeks before the wedding and warned us about her, but we decided to take the risk because we thought there was no way to get another photographer in that kind of time. When she showed for the date we were relieved and thought we dodged a bullet. Boy were we wrong…
#27 An Unlikely Updo
This will sound petty, but I regret wearing my hair up. It felt so unlike me and the sticky layers of hairspray wouldn’t brush out when I got undressed that night.
#26 Sent By Snail Mail
Paper invitations and RSVPs. Do yourself a favour: set up a wedding site and have people RSVP there. The amount of stress I put myself through trying to get paper mailed back to me in an era when no one uses mail anymore was so unnecessary. At one point we’d gotten very few RSVPs back and I had a total crying meltdown about how no one was going to come. Of course they were going to come, it’s just no one uses mail anymore. Save yourself the headache and the money. It’s my biggest wedding regret.
#25 No Thanks To You
Not preparing a speech. I thought I’d just go up, thank everyone for coming and sit back down. Short and sweet, get it out the way. That’s exactly what I did, without mentioning my parents or my wife.
#24 Vegas Without Elvis
Not hiring an Elvis impersonator. Flew all the way to Vegas to get married, didn’t get Elvis. Oh well.
FYI for those wanting to elope to Vegas, it is super fun and I would not talk anyone out of it. We were married at the Luxor chapel, which was very nice and the officiant was really great. Anywhere else and we would have had to go find our own Elvis officiant, hired him, and then pay the chapel to use the room, so it didn’t make sense. By the way, don’t believe what they say… You can have an amazing time in Vegas without spending a ton of money.
#23 Mute Points
Letting my parents decide the whole thing for me and not sticking up for what I wanted. Also, the groom managed to make me so angry during his speech by basically saying, “I only became friends with you because I felt sorry for you and a teacher put me up to it, but then I found out you were actually a cool person and I fell for you.” Like… what?
#22 Wedding Party Turned Cleaning Crew
Not paying for a cleaning company at my venue. Me, my wife, and wedding party had to stay two hours later to clean up to get our deposit back.
To go in a little further, my wife and I got married through a company that owned a few venues throughout the area. Our venue happened to be a restored barn. The company allowed us to either pay a $400 cleaning deposit OR pay a $200 or something cleaning fee. The deposit was refunded depending on the how well you cleaned up after. To save more money for the honeymoon we chose the deposit.
#21 Opening The Flood Gates
Crying at the alter when I saw my wife.
Like, it wasn’t cringe-worthy or anything, but it was pushing what some would call dramatic.
I couldn’t help it. I was so happy, but I hate seeing my own reaction in our video.
#20 The Cost Of Sanity
Not eloping. I didn’t think my mother paying also meant she’d want to control the whole wedding. If I wanted something a certain way and ordered it, she’d call the vendors without me knowing and change it. I never found out until my wedding day. Like the flowers, for example — What I thought was going to be my bouquet, center pieces and decorations (which I had personally picked out at the flourist) got totally switched when I got to the church. When I asked the flourist what happened, she told me it wasn’t my decision since I wasn’t the one who paid for it. I was so mad.
I also wouldn’t have hired a wedding planner. I had no idea she was working on commission and so I took home much less since she ended up getting a cut of the money we got as gifts. Big waste of my mother-in-law’s money.
#19 Skimping On The Suit
Not buying my suit. As a groom, I rented and nothing fit right. It showed in all of the pictures. My wife went all out on her dress, so I could have easily spent the $500 to buy the perfect fitting suit. Really short-sighted on my part.
#18 What Could’ve Been
We had a lovely little wedding — small, inexpensive, informal, fun. Yet I totally regret not taking it more seriously and investing more time and money in it.
I guess we were so put off by all the crazy, intense, expensive weddings we had been to in our lives that we went too far in the other direction. We had been together for eight years at that point and didn’t think marriage was going to change anything. Even having a wedding at all seemed a little silly at the time. But in the end, we realized what a beautiful, intimate thing it was; how much better it could have been, and how many more people we could have shared it with.
It’s great to be able to tell people you got married for $400 in someone’s backyard, wearing a $90 dress/tie with sharks all over it, and indulging in pigs-in-blankets with Prosecco with 12 close friends and family members. But I don’t think it was nearly as special as it could have been. We were a little too cool for school on this one.
#17 Not A Decent Shot
Not hiring a photographer. We thought we’d save money and just ask friends to take lots of pictures. They took some but I have maybe five pictures worth looking at. No pictures of the cake or table settings. I kind of remember what they look like. The only decent picture of my husband and I has our flower girl in it. She’s sweet and I love her, but it looks like she’s our kid. Every time people see the photo they’re like “I didn’t know you had an older child…” Hire a photographer people!
#16 Mulling Over A Mullet
Not doing a hair trial. I wound up with some weird Game of Thrones-inspired braids mullet thing, and the curls fell out as soon as I left the hotel because it was super humid. I would have opted for something different.
#15 Rushing To The Finish Line
My biggest regret is that it all felt so rushed — we were engaged on New Year’s Eve and got married at the end of August (having settled on a date in May). The summer was a whirlwind of planning, and both of us worked full-time jobs at the same time. We got married on a Sunday, in a city (Montreal) six hours from where we lived (Toronto). We both worked the previous Friday, and were back home on Monday to leave for our honeymoon on the Tuesday. It was a lot of driving around, and we had to jump back into the grind pretty much the day after we returned.
In short, I would have taken a few days off work to relax and get into the holy-smokes-I’m-about-to-get-married headspace. I would have also opted for a more relaxing honeymoon.
#14 Springing It On The Unsuspecting
My husband and I surprised people with our wedding. We invited his parents, my parents, and a few friends over for dinner and announced we were getting married. I don’t regret any of that.
What I do regret is allowing his mother into the bathroom with me while I finished getting ready. She spent a good 30 minutes telling me how I was ruining her sons’s life because I can no longer have children. I was so badly shaken, that when it came time for “I do” I said “Yeah. Sure. I guess.”
#13 Choosing Sales And Siblings
My dress. I knew what I wanted but I just went with something on sale even though I felt uncomfortable in it. I wish I had been a little more pushy on what I wanted to wear. And I wish we hadn’t involved my husband’s siblings in the process as they are awful people.
#12 Getting Crafty With Cupcakes
Making cupcakes instead of buying a cake. We did a lot of DIY — we made the beer and mead for the toasts, the assembled flowers and centerpieces, etc. Not only was it cheaper, we also had a lot of fun making everything. But the cupcakes, in retrospect, were a ton of work and not that great.
#11 Busy (Bride-To) Bee
Not delegating enough. I planned and organized our wedding, made all the invitations by hand, bought super cheap materials from China and handcrafted decorations, even went to flower markets the day before and put together all my bouquets and flowers for the reception. All that was fine, but I wish I had delegated some more jobs to the bridal party. I did go through the wedding schedule with them, asked them to keep an eye on proceedings and help direct the guests (we only had 50 anyway).
But on the day of the wedding I was still looking after so many things — I was corralling people for photos, using my “teacher voice” to let people know where to go next, etc. Our tea ceremony got delayed for 30 minutes because various family members had wandered off and didn’t show up on time. I was madly rushing through the hotel and surroundings looking for them, and it didn’t even occur to me at that moment that I should have asked my bridesmaids to go look for them… Besides, all they were doing was sitting at the tea ceremony area.
It wasn’t until the next day that my mom told me she loved the wedding but also wished my bridesmaids had helped me out a bit more when she realized I had still been directing everything the day before. It was very tiring!
#10 Tossing Time For Tradition
Not huge, but if I did it all again I wouldn’t waste time on a garter or bouquet toss. I think they’re pretty antiquated traditions and they weren’t at all necessary.
#9 A Boring Stranger
The pastor we got for the ceremony.
We had a very small, inexpensive wedding. We found a gazebo in a park and invited some close friends and family. My mother-in-law really liked this pastor, and we agreed to it. My husband and I aren’t religious, but I thought since she liked him, it would be okay.
We didn’t meet him before the ceremony… Big mistake. He droned on, made a few off color jokes. Didn’t ruin the wedding or anything, but I would have liked to kept it sweet, simple and to the point.
#8 Missed Opportunities For Nana
Not having our grandmas as flower girls. We didn’t have anyone to be flower girls, and I didn’t think of asking our grandmas until way after the wedding.
#7 Cigarettes And Contracts
Not having a good contract with the venue. We signed the venue contract he gave us. Our $3,000 venue became $15,000 as soon as everyone bought their plane tickets. We almost called off our wedding a month before it was supposed to happen.
We should have. On the day of the wedding, the venue owner was trash talking us and demanding extra money. My best man spent 12 hours after the wedding cleaning because the cleaning crew we paid for through the venue was there to “only pick up cigarettes butts.” $500 worth of cigarette butts. It was a nightmare.
#6 Misplaced Money
Actually having an expensive wedding. Could have saved more money for the honeymoon. Still good but could have been more low key.
#5 Mr. & Mrs. Independent
We didn’t have a wedding party, so we had no groomsmen or bridesmaids. My wife got ready in the morning with my mom and her mom at home, but I got ready all by myself in the hotel room we were staying at. It was weirdly relaxing, but looking back it seems kind of lonely. I really should have had my dad and a couple of friends there just to hang out and be cool with. Oh well, the rest of the day was amazing and have no regrets, otherwise.
#4 Kidding Around
Not paying for a babysitter. We had so many young kids at our wedding. It was kid-friendly but if we had two babysitters watching the kids it would have been more fun for the parents.
#3 Mother, May You Not
Letting my mother-in-law have any say in anything. She ruined the food.
#2 Speeding Toward The Future
I wish I had walked slower down the aisle to my (now) husband. My dad and I both naturally take long strides when we walk, so what was supposed to be a one minute-long walk of suspense turned into a brisk 20- to 30-second stroll.
#1 Happily Never After
Almost everything. My choice of best man, her choice of bridesmaids, our choice of venue, the level of expenditure on it.
Should have done a courthouse quickie. Twenty-five years later, I can say the only thing I did right that day was marry her.