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Real Brides Share Their Secret Wedding Regrets

Your wedding is going to be an incredible day no matter what—but you may end up with some regrets. Here, real brides share the things they would have changed about their big day.

wedding couple walking

wedding couple walking

While plenty of brides (and grooms!) will lovingly recall their wedding day as one of the happiest, most rose-colored and sun-drenched 24-hours of their lives—they will also note the big celebration didn’t come without some hiccups. In the rush to waltz down the aisle, check off every lingering item on their planning to-do list and ensure every guest was happy, many newlyweds forget about the finite details that bring them joy and will foster remarkable memories for generations. Though these brides wouldn’t change who they married because #soinlove, if they could go back, there are small wedding regrets they secretly wish the could have fixed.

From choosing fewer bridesmaids and inviting fewer people to actually taking a hot second to eat their first meal as husband and wife, here, women share their own wedding regrets and give their best advice on little changes brides-to-be should make.

“I would have been more selfish.”

By definition, a wedding day is meant to honor the beginning of a lifelong commitment between two people. Even though treasured friends and family members are meant to serve as witnesses to their vow exchange and be there for the champagne toast, too many brides believe they considered other people more than they gave weight to their own wishes. As Amber Dawn described it: “I would have been pickier! I cared too much about what everyone else wanted, as opposed to what I really wanted.” When you’re being asked to compromise on everything from decorations and food to the set up, challenge yourself to take a step back and consider what battles you aren’t willing to raise a white flag for. It is okay to be firm about the moments, the selections, and the experiences that mean something important for you and your spouse-to-be, so you won’t have any wedding regrets.

“I would have invited less people.”

Plenty of factors play a part in how large or small your guest list is: from when you decide to get hitched and who you marry to the demands of your parents, it is easy to double your initial estimate. Christina MaKinster says in hindsight, she would have been more selective about who she invited, since some of the people who were in attendance aren’t even her friends today. Meghan Megargee Cooper echoes MaKinster’s sentiments, explaining since she and her husband wed right after college, they had yet to understand who had staying power in their lives and who didn’t. “I feel like I could have enjoyed the time with those friends at my wedding more,” she shared.

“I would have made time to eat.”

Between visiting tables to show off your dress (and your new spouse!), worrying over every last detail of the reception and gathering your bridesmaids for a quick team-effort to make a pee break happen… chances are slim you’ll actually have time to, well, eat. Melissa Harlow says though her and her husband picked a delicious meal for her guests, they never got a chance to enjoy it themselves—one of her biggest wedding regrets. Her advice to brides-to-be is to schedule time to sit down and have your first meal as husband and wife in peace. And if that simply isn’t possible with your family shenanigans, ask a bridesmaid to pack you leftovers.

“I would have taken more photos.”

You brought along some stain guard. You let the coordinator know exactly how you’d like the table settings. You picked killer wine. But did you have a sit down with your photographer to ensure every moment is captured? One Genevieve Nadler Brooks’ wedding regrets is that she wishes her photographers would have taken photos of people at their tables. “There are some guests we have no photos of—including family members no longer with us—that would be nice to have now,” she says. It’s a small request, and one that any quality photographer would be more than happy to snap.

“I would have slowed down.”

Here’s an important rule to remember: the party doesn’t go on without you! While her wedding was gorgeous, Jessica Rose-Standafer Owens would have slowed down. “I rushed while taking pictures with my bridesmaids before the wedding. Sure, it was fun but instead of fully enjoying that time with my girls, I was scared that we would be late to the venue,” she explained. In the mix of all the festivities of the day, it’s easy to feel the pressure, but the wedding and the reception won’t begin until the bride arrives. “So enjoy and relax. Slow down and take it all in because it truly goes by in the blink of an eye,” she recommends.