7 Brides On What They Would Have Done Differently At Their Wedding

·7 min read

Planning a wedding in the last year or so has been...tricky, to say the least. The financial challenges of getting through a pandemic, the shifting restrictions on what kind of gathering is even legal and the uncertainty of when it will end have all made getting married harder. Not impossible! But definitely harder, especially if you had a specific vision in mind.

However, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and it won't be long before we can hold restriction-free events once again. And so, for all those who got engaged in the pandemic (or just before) and have been delaying making arrangements, we sought the advice of former brides on what they wish they'd known before planning a wedding.

Whether it's spending on something they barely saw on the day, the venue they chose or plumping for one of those cheese 'cakes', former brides from our Money Diaries Facebook group share the one thing they would have done differently and why, and offer their advice for people currently planning their own wedding.

<h2>Alison got married in November 2018<br></h2><br>The one thing I would have done differently is I would have picked a less traditional dress. Initially I wanted a non-traditional, more casual-style dress (I was thinking green!) but I let my friends and family talk me into ultimately getting a traditional white dress which was very wedding-y. The dress was nice enough but when I look back at photos I can’t see any of my personal style at all in how I looked on the day and that makes me sad.<br> <br>I don't regret spending money, though. We trimmed down a lot of costs at the outset by prioritising the things that were important so I feel that everything we paid for contributed in some way to the overall experience on the day.<br><br>My one piece of advice would be to spend some time prioritising the things that are important to you both and what is less important, then use that to decide how to spend your budget and resources. We did this by creating a list of as many aspects of the wedding that we could think of, ranking them individually then comparing the scores to give each thing a combined rating.<br><br>You can then use this to apportion your budget and more crucially your time. For example, live music was really important to us both so we set aside a significant budget to hire a great band, looked into it as a priority after setting the date or venue and also spent a lot of time going to gigs and showcases until we found the perfect one. Conversely, the wedding stationery wasn’t particularly important to either of us so we made a decision quickly when we found one we liked and also paid a bit extra to have the stationer assemble our invites so we didn’t have to think too much about them at all. <br><br>People tend to think of their wedding budget all in terms of money but you also need to factor your time into the equation so you can spend time working on the things you really care about and, if you can, leave the lower priority things to the professionals.

Alison got married in November 2018


The one thing I would have done differently is I would have picked a less traditional dress. Initially I wanted a non-traditional, more casual-style dress (I was thinking green!) but I let my friends and family talk me into ultimately getting a traditional white dress which was very wedding-y. The dress was nice enough but when I look back at photos I can’t see any of my personal style at all in how I looked on the day and that makes me sad.

I don't regret spending money, though. We trimmed down a lot of costs at the outset by prioritising the things that were important so I feel that everything we paid for contributed in some way to the overall experience on the day.

My one piece of advice would be to spend some time prioritising the things that are important to you both and what is less important, then use that to decide how to spend your budget and resources. We did this by creating a list of as many aspects of the wedding that we could think of, ranking them individually then comparing the scores to give each thing a combined rating.

You can then use this to apportion your budget and more crucially your time. For example, live music was really important to us both so we set aside a significant budget to hire a great band, looked into it as a priority after setting the date or venue and also spent a lot of time going to gigs and showcases until we found the perfect one. Conversely, the wedding stationery wasn’t particularly important to either of us so we made a decision quickly when we found one we liked and also paid a bit extra to have the stationer assemble our invites so we didn’t have to think too much about them at all.

People tend to think of their wedding budget all in terms of money but you also need to factor your time into the equation so you can spend time working on the things you really care about and, if you can, leave the lower priority things to the professionals.
<h2>Philippa got married in September 2019<br></h2><br>Looking back now, I wish I had not got as stressed! I ended up in hospital.<br><br>There's nothing I really regret spending money on but I'm so glad we didn’t spend money on staying close to home – we went to bed in our own flat on our wedding night and Ubered home!<br><br>When planning you should remember that you want to look out on the people in the room at the dinner, meal or reception and make sure they are all the people you love – it is rudely magic having everyone you love in one room.

Philippa got married in September 2019


Looking back now, I wish I had not got as stressed! I ended up in hospital.

There's nothing I really regret spending money on but I'm so glad we didn’t spend money on staying close to home – we went to bed in our own flat on our wedding night and Ubered home!

When planning you should remember that you want to look out on the people in the room at the dinner, meal or reception and make sure they are all the people you love – it is rudely magic having everyone you love in one room.
<h2>Cathie got married in 2015<br></h2><br>On reflection, I wish I had a smaller wedding. We were quite frugal in terms of average wedding costs, spent less than £7k, but it was still a day about other people. In hindsight, as both of us are introverted it would have been more 'us' to have a smaller wedding day for family and close friends and then a get-together for others afterwards.<br><br>I regret not spending enough on the photographer. We used a part-time person who came recommended and have lots of great photos but not enough of me and my husband alone. I think a full-time photographer would have picked up on this and pulled us away for a bit to fill that gap.<br><br>When planning you should think about what you and your partner want from the day, not what is expected of a wedding day. The only requirements are for it to be at a registered venue, someone official to oversee it and to have witnesses, the rest is up to you. What we wanted was an ice cream van so we booked one to turn up. It was a great moment.

Cathie got married in 2015


On reflection, I wish I had a smaller wedding. We were quite frugal in terms of average wedding costs, spent less than £7k, but it was still a day about other people. In hindsight, as both of us are introverted it would have been more 'us' to have a smaller wedding day for family and close friends and then a get-together for others afterwards.

I regret not spending enough on the photographer. We used a part-time person who came recommended and have lots of great photos but not enough of me and my husband alone. I think a full-time photographer would have picked up on this and pulled us away for a bit to fill that gap.

When planning you should think about what you and your partner want from the day, not what is expected of a wedding day. The only requirements are for it to be at a registered venue, someone official to oversee it and to have witnesses, the rest is up to you. What we wanted was an ice cream van so we booked one to turn up. It was a great moment.
<h2>Si got married in October 2020<br></h2><br>We changed a lot of our wedding plans last-minute thanks to COVID and in hindsight I think I would have planned a smaller wedding and hen in the first place (which we ultimately ended up having). We don’t feel like we really missed out on anything and have enjoyed lots of mini celebrations with friends and family when we’ve been able to see them. <br><br>I regret spending on the wedding cakes – our catering included dessert so they barely got touched. We also had far too much. I still have some in the freezer! They weren’t expensive but they wouldn’t have been missed. <br><br>My one piece of advice? A great photographer will help you run your day. We received so much amazing advice and we took all of it, which has given us incredible photos – even more important now as our numbers were small. Even little things like making sure I didn’t put my dress on too early and reminding us to give our gifts to our bridesmaids or groomsmen when he was in the room. If I can give a recommendation, check out Adam Lowndes for photography!

Si got married in October 2020


We changed a lot of our wedding plans last-minute thanks to COVID and in hindsight I think I would have planned a smaller wedding and hen in the first place (which we ultimately ended up having). We don’t feel like we really missed out on anything and have enjoyed lots of mini celebrations with friends and family when we’ve been able to see them.

I regret spending on the wedding cakes – our catering included dessert so they barely got touched. We also had far too much. I still have some in the freezer! They weren’t expensive but they wouldn’t have been missed.

My one piece of advice? A great photographer will help you run your day. We received so much amazing advice and we took all of it, which has given us incredible photos – even more important now as our numbers were small. Even little things like making sure I didn’t put my dress on too early and reminding us to give our gifts to our bridesmaids or groomsmen when he was in the room. If I can give a recommendation, check out Adam Lowndes for photography!
<h2>Elaine got married in July 2017</h2><br>Our venue was a village hall with a beautiful open space where we had a lovely mobile bar. On reflection, on a boiling hot day the DJ played to an empty hall – I would’ve had a live band outside so that everyone could’ve made the most of the music.<br><br>My advice is to really think about the basics like food and drink. The additional extras i.e. wedding favours are only really noticed by the bride and not appreciated by the guests as much as you’d think.

Elaine got married in July 2017


Our venue was a village hall with a beautiful open space where we had a lovely mobile bar. On reflection, on a boiling hot day the DJ played to an empty hall – I would’ve had a live band outside so that everyone could’ve made the most of the music.

My advice is to really think about the basics like food and drink. The additional extras i.e. wedding favours are only really noticed by the bride and not appreciated by the guests as much as you’d think.
<h2>Leah got married in May 2017<br></h2><br>Looking back I wish I'd invited more of my friends to the daytime and not prioritised family I never see for the sake of my parents. I ended up spending money on those random family members' meals. I never would have taken them for dinner and paid for their meals so why did I do it for my wedding?!<br><br>Our best bit of advice is to hire a videographer. We almost didn't because of expense but we look at the video more than the photographs. Invest in some decent footage. It is timeless and you will never get that moment back. Best money spent!

Leah got married in May 2017


Looking back I wish I'd invited more of my friends to the daytime and not prioritised family I never see for the sake of my parents. I ended up spending money on those random family members' meals. I never would have taken them for dinner and paid for their meals so why did I do it for my wedding?!

Our best bit of advice is to hire a videographer. We almost didn't because of expense but we look at the video more than the photographs. Invest in some decent footage. It is timeless and you will never get that moment back. Best money spent!
<h2>Alex got married in 2017</h2><br>I wish I'd been more practical with my shoe choice! Otherwise it was all perfect.<br><br>We had a destination wedding so budget had to be split between travel and the actual wedding, which meant I could only spend on the things I desperately wanted (although that turned out well).<br><br>It's really important to have a constant flow of communication with your fiancé about what you both want, your expectations, where you want to invest more or less, etc. Also, remember who is paying for it. Money can be a tough one. My husband and I were determined to pay for everything ourselves as we knew that my mum (who very generously offered to contribute) can be a bit of a bulldozer and had a VERY different idea for our wedding (we wanted 20 people in Iceland, she wanted 200 people in a church near home and to invite all her friends). My sisters have all gone the other way (taken the contribution) and then complained that my mum has 'taken over'. But she argues that if she’s paying for something, she should have a say. Both totally valid feelings from both sides so one to keep in mind for future brides if you are lucky enough to have someone who is able to contribute.

Alex got married in 2017


I wish I'd been more practical with my shoe choice! Otherwise it was all perfect.

We had a destination wedding so budget had to be split between travel and the actual wedding, which meant I could only spend on the things I desperately wanted (although that turned out well).

It's really important to have a constant flow of communication with your fiancé about what you both want, your expectations, where you want to invest more or less, etc. Also, remember who is paying for it. Money can be a tough one. My husband and I were determined to pay for everything ourselves as we knew that my mum (who very generously offered to contribute) can be a bit of a bulldozer and had a VERY different idea for our wedding (we wanted 20 people in Iceland, she wanted 200 people in a church near home and to invite all her friends). My sisters have all gone the other way (taken the contribution) and then complained that my mum has 'taken over'. But she argues that if she’s paying for something, she should have a say. Both totally valid feelings from both sides so one to keep in mind for future brides if you are lucky enough to have someone who is able to contribute.

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