weddings

"I wish we'd eloped": 50 brides share their single biggest wedding regret in one sentence.

Wedding planning can be Stressful with a capital ‘S’. It’s only when you’re in the midst of planning that you fully appreciate just how many things there are to think about.

Until you’ve worn the white dress and said ‘I do’, it’s hard to know what really matters and what really doesn’t.

Like what’s worth spending money on (photography and food, we’ve heard) and where you can scrimp (napkin rings). Or, whether your cousin will still be mad in 10 years’ time for not including them in the bridal party.

It’s for this reason we asked 50 former brides (yes, 50!!) for their biggest wedding day regret, the one thing they’d do differently if they could go back and hitched all over again.

And gee, they didn’t hold back.

Before we get into it, how much do you think is the right amount to put in a wedding wishing well? See what the Mamamia team thinks below, post continues after video.

Video by MMC

The dress.

1. “I regret my dress! It was gorgeous, but I didn’t feel comfortable in it. I gave into peer pressure.”

2. “I wish I’d thought more about what I was wearing under my dress. I didn’t think about underwear, and nothing I had looked right underneath when I look back at photos.”

3. “I’d choose a different dress. I gave into the saleswoman, I never wanted a strapless dress but that’s what I ended up in.”

4. “I wasn’t happy with my dress. I wanted to make changes, but everyone told me not to touch it, and I regret not listening to myself every time I look at photos from our wedding day.”

5. “I should have worn a veil. It’s the only time you get to do it in your life so go for it – I wish I had!”

The bridal party.

6. “I would have had another bridesmaid. I already had one more bridesmaid than my husband had groomsmen, and I thought having two more than him would be strange. I lost sight of the fact that it was my wedding and I could do whatever I wanted.”

7. “I regret not having my husband’s niece and nephews in the bridal party (now mine too). I was so adamant I didn’t want kids in the bridal party, but now I have kids of my own, I feel so bad. It would have been cute to have them toddle down the aisle. It was 19 years ago yesterday and it’s probably my only regret.”

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8. “I just had one bridesmaid, but I wish I’d had more and not cared that there would’ve been an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen.”

The photography.

9. “I regret not asking the photographer to take more photos of our guests. We ended up with so many of us and hardly any of our guests. Thankfully, we had a videographer who did a stellar job of capturing the mood of the wedding perfectly.”

10. “I wish I’d gotten a better photographer… I sourced someone local on Facebook because I was really into supporting local businesses. I loved our photos, but there were so many moments that I feel would have been captured better by a professional photographer.”

11. “I regret not paying for a professional photographer. We had family do the photos and they took some amazing shots, but they couldn’t enjoy the day and there were a few key things that got missed.”

12. “I paid a lot for a wedding album, even though so many people told me it was a waste of money. If only I had listened as now, it just sits in a box packed away.”

Side note – planning a wedding? We have a podcast for that. It’s called Hitched and it’ll tell you everything you need to know about your wedding, post continues after audio.

Videography.

13. “I wish I’d paid for someone to video the ceremony and speeches, I was married before people could use their phones to film things.”

14. “If I could do things over, I’d pay for videography. Since we spent so much anyway, it wouldn’t have made a huge difference. As time passes, the memories of the day fade and now my mum has passed, I really wish I had a video that captured her as part of our wedding day.”

15. “Not having a videographer is my biggest regret, photos just aren’t the same as having a live video. I had no idea what I was missing out on.”

16. “We got my husband’s uncle to video the ceremony and you can’t hear a thing because the breeze was too loud, it was basically a waste of time. I wish we’d gotten a videographer.”

The budget.

17. “I regret having an extravagant wedding. The pressure and stress pushed me to my limit. The days leading up to our wedding was the closest thing that I have ever felt to a panic attack. I would not have spent the amount of money that we did. My dress cost a small fortune and I regret that.”

18. “I would definitely spend as little as possible. Keep it small and have a BBQ with friends. The money would be so much better spent on a home or car.”

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19. “I regret spending too much money on invitations and disposable items, no one even remembers those things.”

20. “We should’ve spent more money on alcohol, specifically champagne. We ran out of sparkling towards the end of the night, but are still drinking the red wine five years later.”

Doing everything yourself.

21. “I regret not delegating more. Due to bad weather in the lead up to the wedding, I was up at 5am on my wedding morning filling the portaloos – not how I imagined my wedding morning to be!”

22. “I’d outsource waaay more and just generally be a bit less stingy! Because I’m crafty and genuinely enjoy making things myself, I took on way too much; the centrepieces, the favours, the mass booklets, the invitations, I did them all.”

23. “I regret not having my mental health checked out before the big day! I was walking around with undiagnosed anxiety and had no idea that was contributing to the excessive worrying and perfectionism, decision paralysis and breakdowns leading up to the day, which in the end was beautiful. It was truly one of the happiest and love-filled days with my husband, friends and family, I just wish I had the coping mechanisms I have now so I could have enjoyed the process more.”

24. “I regret being too stressed the night before and morning of. The wedding was everything I wanted and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Being stressed just meant I worried for no reason and got less sleep.”

Taking time for yourself on the day.

25. “I wish I’d spent more time with my husband on the day! I feel like we were so swept up in trying to get around to all of our friends and family that we didn’t get to enjoy much of the night actually being together.”

26. “We regret not doing a first look. I think it would have been really nice to have a quiet moment beforehand together and then be able to enjoy the time between the ceremony and reception with our guests rather than doing photos.”

bride-back-of-head
"I wish I had put my foot down a little more. I was so afraid of being a bridezilla that I let myself be pushed around a bit." Image: Unsplash.
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The ceremony and reception.

27. "I wouldn’t have gotten married in a church. I felt like a fraud agreeing to all these vows. I think it's important not to do things just because you think you’re supposed."

28. "I wish I didn’t have my dad give me away. We have a very difficult relationship and I did it because ‘that’s what you do’."

29. "I would eat more at the reception - I had spag bol in the spa bath in our hotel room afterwards... tres romantic."

30. "My regret is getting waaayy too drunk. I was so excited having my friends and family around, combined with nerves etc., it was a recipe for drunkenness. I don’t even remember throwing the bouquet."

31. "I wish we had organised the speeches at dinner a little bit more. I didn't want to interfere with any of it and we let our friends and family do all their things, but there were so many speeches that by the time dinner was over and everyone could start dancing, it was already late, and all I wanted was to dance."

32. "I would have spent less time being polite talking to my parents’ friends who I haven’t seen since, and more time celebrating with my own guests."

33. I wish I’d given a speech - I’m such a confident person, but back then, I just conformed to a lot of social norms when it came to wedding traditions."

34. "Wish we'd paid for an extra hour of reception. We got married at a winery that was a restaurant during the day and so we didn't get married until 5.15pm. Our reception started straight after but it finished at 11pm and the day felt super quick as a result."

35. "I wish I’d eaten more! The food was so yummy and something we’d really focused on. We had a cocktail reception and I always seemed to miss the trays of food going by."

36. "I wish I ate full stop! Ended up having to eat KFC afterwards because I was so hungry! And there was so much good food!"

Doing things your own way.

37. "My huge regret was allowing my mother-in-law to organise the wedding cake. My husband and I didn’t even want a cake, and the cake we ended up with was completely the opposite of the pictures I had sent. The cake maker ended being a nightmare and even started an argument with my florist on the day while our ceremony was going on. I should have listened to my gut and put my foot down."

38. "I focused too much on trying to keep my family happy instead of focusing on what we wanted. In the end, none of them appreciated it anyway."

39. "I wish I had put my foot down a little more. I was so afraid of being a bridezilla that I let myself be pushed around a bit. For example, I let my bridesmaids choose their dresses, which weren’t really to my taste, but I wanted them to have something they could wear again. To my knowledge, none of them have worn the dresses again anyway, so I may as well have chosen something that I liked."

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40. "I regret not putting my foot down when my mum insisted on walking me down the aisle with my dad. They had a bitter divorce, and she just wouldn’t accept that I wanted my dad to have that moment."

The guest list.

41. "I'd invite less people. We had a big wedding but we hardly ever see any of those people any more."

42. "I regret having a small wedding and not inviting all the friends and family I ideally would have liked to. This was due to budget. In hindsight, I would have waited another year and kept saving so I could have my wedding with all my loved ones there."

43. "I regret not telling my best friend and maid of honour to bring her young son to the reception. Kids were not on my radar... I didn’t ask her not to bring him, but no other kids were coming so she probably felt like she couldn't ask."

44. "I wish I’d been a lot more selective on the guest list. Specifically work people... you think you’re great friends because you see them every day at work, and then someone changes jobs and you never see them again."

45. "I wish I had put my foot down on two guests I didn't want at my wedding, but my husband insisted we invite them. I said yes to keep the peace and then they caused drama on the night."

The... whole thing.

46. "Not to get married... our day was beautiful, but looking back, we wish we had of just had us, our immediate family and a few close friends! Our views on marriage have also changed, we love each other deeply and will be together forever but don’t see the need for marriage to keep us together."

47. "I would have much rather have gone with our local elopement company where you have a handful of guests and that’s it. Looking back now, less than five years later, all that mattered was my husband and I, not all of the details."

48. "As much as I loved my wedding, I wish I had of just eloped like I wanted to and spent the money on my house or the honeymoon. I was trying to make family happy."

49. "I would have eloped. I wanted the wedding whereas my husband didn't and it gave him such anxiety leading up to the day. I really wished I listened to him more and just eloped. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life."

50. "I regret... not choosing a different husband."

Do you have a regret from your wedding? What would you do differently if you had your time over again?

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