Any time I tell someone I'm getting married, I receive advice. It comes in different forms—the names of photographers, links to the best Spanx (I bought these!), and horror stories about melt-downs, mess-ups, and breakups. Even when I don't take the advice at face value, I always find some version of it to be valuable. Last week, I turned to the broadest community of women I have access to and took my question to @shopcupcakesandcashmere. I asked about the biggest mistakes you've ever encountered on your wedding day, and, with the help of our Editorial Intern Natalie* and Jess, sorted through hundreds of DMs to pick out the most passionate and repeated responses. I'm sure I'll make countless mistakes on and around my wedding day (keep an eye out for that post, ha), but for now I'm learning from yours. Here are 10 of the biggest mistakes you made at your weddings and how I plan to learn from them:
"We did not budget enough time for hair and makeup for bridesmaids, mothers, and me. I was last, and ended up being soooo rushed. I didn't even look in the mirror before we raced out of the house to get to the wedding (20 min late) which just added more stress to an already stressful situation."
"My makeup artist was running late and we ended up doing what we could with the time left, which is not at all what we discussed. Hello, purple eye shadow and huge fake lashes."
My takeaway: The first version of my wedding day schedule gave myself two hours for hair and makeup, which is twice as long as I'd usually take for a special occasion. My married girlfriends advised that I double even that time! I'm getting married at 4 PM, so my hair and makeup artists are arriving at 12 PM so I have ample time to get ready, eat lunch, and relax before it's go time.
"Not getting a video of the day. Biggest. Regret. Ever."
"I didn't video. Wish I had."
"I didn't hire a videographer but looking back on it I really wish I had someone there to capture the moments that went by so fast."
"Not hiring a videographer,"
"I would have fought harder for a videographer."
My takeaway: This was easily the most repeated piece of advice, but I won't be hiring a videographer because of budget restraints (we're already spending nearly half of our budget on a talented photographer). I may, however, assign a friend to film the ceremony and speeches on an iPhone!
"I had a simpler look at the trial and hated my bridal makeup day-of."
"I went a different direction with hair and regretted it too. Was too short, not the right curl I wanted, and I just ended up not feeling very 'me' on my day."
"Tried a new hairstyle and I never do my hair, even as a bridesmaid. They kept trying to fix it and I ended up hating it. I wish I just took it down, brushed it out and called it a day."
"Got my eyebrows done by someone who wasn't my normal girl and it didn't go well..."
My takeaway: While I wasn't initially planning on doing a makeup trial (again, budget!), I decided to foot the bill and do it so I can make decisions about and changes to my makeup weeks ahead of my big-day, instead of day-of.
"The pictures were stunning, yet I didn't request specific photos, such as a pic with my sisters or a group photo with all of the wedding guests."
"We didn't have a photographer for the rehearsal dinner which I regret!"
"Make a list of the photos you want well in advance! I trusted that I'd remember, but I wish I'd made a list and given it to someone I trusted to make sure every pic happened!"
"I only have one 'posed' picture of me and my parents and not with my best friend. I would give your photographer a list of must-have shots, both candid and posed."
My takeaway: I wasn't planning on doing any posed shots (I hired a documentary-style photographer), but I may take a few minutes away from my cocktail hour to make sure I have photos with Jonah and key family members.
"We were living in the moment and totally forgot to do a toast to thank all of our guests for joining us. I've always felt bad about it."
"I wish I had written a little speech so that I was more prepared during our toast."
My takeaway: I hadn't even occurred to me to do this! I will definitely be preparing a toast with Jonah!
"I allowed myself to be talked out of the cake that I wanted, my mom hated my reception site, etc. We could've just saved money and headaches if we eloped."
"I let my makeup artist go way too heavy and didn't have the courage to say anything bad when she asked. Four years later, I can look back and laugh at it at least. Stay true to yourself!"
"I wish I took my jewelry off because I'm usually very minimalistic."
"Fell in love with my dress with a sash, but after alterations, I was told that I couldn't add the sash back. I should've advocated for myself better and insisted."
My takeaway: I've stood my ground on a lot of wedding decisions (especially the fact that we're having a small one) and am lucky enough to have friends and family that have stood behind most of my decisions. These served as a good reminder, though, to be my own advocate in cases where I may feel awkward standing up for myself, like in my makeup trial.
"Definitely get a second dress for the party! Changing into something fun and comfortable feels incredible."
"Wearing a dress for an hour in a shop is very different from wearing it for 8+ hours! I got a second, shorter dress for dancing, but, looking back, I wish I got something I would have been comfortable in the whole time."
My takeaway: I'm officially wearing my mom's dress after trying it on two weeks ago (!), but it isn't quite as forgiving or easy to move around in as the very-casual dress I initially purchased before knowing if my mom's would fit. I'll be keeping it to change into post-ceremony, pre-dinner!
"I didn't have a plate of food put aside for me and my husband and we barely ate at the reception. Make sure the caterers or your friends make up a plate for you to eat later."
"Take 20 minutes post-ceremony, pre-reception to eat something, toast to Champagne, and enjoy being with each other."
My takeaway: I often hear about taking a moment to breathe before joining the party, but I'm not sure I want to do this! We may take five minutes, but Jonah and I will have plenty of time to spend solo time together—I want to spend our wedding day with the community celebrating it with us. And because we're having a seated dinner, I feel like I'll have time to eat—unless that's naive??
"100% I felt so much guilt asking for help and took on way too much myself the weekend of our wedding (*cough* hosting a cocktail party and doing all the catering myself for 120 ppl the night before)."
"I had my SIL be my coordinator and she got too drunk to stand before the wedding even started!"
"Hire a day-of wedding planner. I wished I had someone on the day to just make sure everything was executed."
My takeaway: I have a huge issue asking for help, and would rather carry all the weight than ask for someone to do the tiniest thing, even if it makes me unhappy. Leading up to my wedding day, I'm mentally preparing myself for the reality of asking for help from friends (in lieu of a day-of coordinator) so I don't ruin my own wedding day by pure stubbornness.
"Between mimosas getting ready, etc., by the time I was halfway through the reception I was spinning since I hadn't eaten anything."
My takeaway: Even though I'm not a big drinker, I'm a cheap date and am strongly impacted by even one martini. I'm planning on not having a sip of alcohol until dinner, at which point I'll be sticking with beer, not cocktails, so I never find myself in too deep!
"When my dress first arrived I wish I would have tried on the sample to compare them."
"Make sure your dress is the correct length and fully-steamed! I had to find higher heels day-of since my dress was longer than it was at the final-fitting."
My takeaway: Although I won't be tailoring either of my dresses (both my mom's dress and the dress I purchased online fit like a glove!), I'll be taking the time to try on my "full" look with each, with the veil, shoes, and accessories long before the date, to make sure I have time for last-minute changes!
*Even after all of the advice above, Natalie's mom wisely advised me, "Don't worry too much! None of it is important in the long run." As my head spun reading about all of your words of advice and mistakes, these comments kept me grounded:
"Overall biggest mistake was getting caught up in what I thought I "should" do vs. what I needed/didn't need to actually just enjoy the day."
"I was so scared about being a crying mess that I suppressed my feelings and wasn't fully present."
"Don't drive yourself crazy worrying about making mistakes—if you're married at the end of the day, nothing else matters."
Thank you to everyone who contributed, and feel free to add your take in the comments below! I love all the advice!