Real Brides (and Grooms!) Confess Their Biggest Wedding Planning Mistakes

Every bride has something she'd do over—if she could. Here, some hard-won wisdom from the recently married.

When you're planning a wedding, you try to think of everything. You go over the details until you’re absolutely sure you’ve covered all your bases. You even work on developing a relaxed attitude toward those inevitable minor glitches — the kind that will make warm, funny stories later on. But then there are the things that even the most well-organized bride and groom get wrong and would change if they could. Their true confessions — and hard-won wisdom — may help you avoid making some bridal blunders of your own. 

Money Doesn't Buy Happiness
“If I could do it over, I wouldn’t assume that a vendor who charges top dollar is necessarily the best choice. My high-priced florist and band were awful: The band didn’t sing the songs on our list, and the florist, who was said to be a ‘celebrity floral designer,’ skipped meetings and showed up two hours late for setup. Meanwhile, the wedding coordinator and makeup guy I found on were fabulous—and they charged very reasonable rates.” —Michelle, New York, NY

ballroom wedding
Photo Credit: Javier Gomez Studio

Don't Overdo the Dieting
“I’d been dieting like a crazy person for three months, and then I was so nervous and excited that I barely ate anything the four days before the wedding. When I put on my dress, it hung on me like drapery— even though I’d had a final fitting just a week before. In the photos, the dress actually shows a gap in the back. I was mortified when I saw them!" —Loryn, Westport, CT

Don't Expect a Cakewalk 
“My cake didn’t have the icing that I ordered, and it was too small to feed all my guests. My mistake was that I didn’t ask for references from the baker. I just didn’t think the cake was such a big deal, and I trusted that he would produce what we had discussed. My advice is to get references and call them. I didn’t find out until it was too late that a lot of people had been unhappy with this baker’s work.” —Lindy, Johnstown, PA 

wedding cake monogram
Photo Credit: Long's Photography

Get Wedding Photos to Friends and Family—Pronto
“I had a few prints of my wedding pictures made for us and our parents. I got as far as having friends and family mark the prints they wanted, but I didn’t follow through. I’d also wanted to make a scrapbook, but that fell by the wayside. Now I wish I had that scrapbook! My advice is to order reprints a few days after you get your pictures back, and make your scrapbook, pronto. Otherwise, you never will.” —Mandie, Morristown, NJ  

Give 'Em a Schedule 
“I should have had an itinerary written up for the bridal party, listing the exact times when certain key things, like toasts, dances and cake-cutting, would happen. Because I didn’t do that and was just winging it, my brother was nowhere to be found during the bridal-party couple dance. Everyone went looking for him, but he’d gone outside to smoke and he missed it.” —Mandie

bridesmaids and groomsmen
Photo courtesy of Bliss Events

Next: Makeup Mishaps, Paying Attention to the Details, and More ►

Check Your Makeup 
"I should have had photos taken of myself at my preliminary makeup session. At the time I thought it looked great, but when I got my professional wedding photos back, my eyeshadow showed up glittery and metallic. As a result, I hate all of my wedding pictures. If I’d seen this beforehand, I could have had my makeup artist make the necessary changes. —Loryn 

Be Attentive to Your Guests
“Many of our guests traveled a long distance to attend the wedding, but I only spoke to them for a minute or two in passing, or not at all. I wish I had made a concerted effort to spend five minutes with everyone at the wedding and visit each table in an organized fashion. It meant a lot to me that everyone came to share our day, but I realized later that some of them didn’t know that because I didn’t take the time to talk to them.” —Lauren, New York, NY 

wedding photo with guests
Photo Credit: Kimbry Studios

Don't Overlook the Details
“Make sure the small things are attended to. For example, I should have checked to make sure the air-conditioning in the ballroom was working. It wasn’t, and our wedding took place on a stifling August night. Everyone was sweating!” —Sarah, Boston, MA

Get Out Save-the-Dates 
“It was a mistake not to send save-the-date cards. Some people I wanted to invite had already made vacation plans by the time they got our invitation, which I sent out too late anyway, only three weeks before the wedding. I could only give the guests five days to reply. Some key people couldn’t attend because they didn’t have enough time to make plans.” —Toni, Shelton, CT 

photo save the dates
Photo Credit: w+e photographie

Allot Enough Time 
“I would have had my cocktail hour actually last longer than an hour. My husband and I were out taking pictures with the bridal party, so by the time we joined everyone else, it was almost over.” —Sarah

Next: Vow Mistakes, Why to Go Pro, Making Compromises, and More ►

Vow to Make it Happen 
“I am glad that we recited the Christian vows at our ceremony, but I also wish that we’d written our own vows, so that we could have expressed what is in our hearts. It is too easy simply to repeat vows. Speaking from the heart would have made it all the more meaningful to us.” —Toni 


Be Attentive to Yourselves 
“We planned special touches for our guests, but we didn’t savor them ourselves. We rented a photo booth so that everyone could take pictures to keep as mementos. But we got so caught up in the whirlwind that we didn’t do it ourselves. It’s important for you to enjoy your entire night and the special parts of it.” —Cara, New York, NY 

Go Pro
“I would have hired a professional, not a pal, to be our videographer. He didn’t have the camera on ‘record’ for ninety-five percent of the ceremony.” —Rob, Los Angeles, CA

Practice Makes Perfect
“I wish I had spent more time planning my speech. Everything was rushed and I didn’t have time to sit down and think about all the things I wanted to say. Plus, my father-in-law gave an amazing speech, so I looked especially bad.” —Michael, New York, NY

best man giving toast
Photo Credit: Timecut Photography

Sweet, Sweet Music
“The mistake I made was choosing the band without hearing them first. My wife hated them. We almost had a blowout at the wedding over it.” —Ryan, Westport, CT

It Takes Two
“I wanted a big bash for our wedding, and I didn’t pay attention when my fiancée said she wanted something smaller. We went ahead and had a huge party; later, she said she felt like I hadn’t been listening to her. If I could do it over again, I would compromise. Believe me, you don’t want to end up with regrets.” —Paul, Philadelphia, PA 

bride and groom
Photo Credit: Sarah Kate Photographer


The rule of the social makeup (for different events) also applies for brides. However, the most important rule is to know how to respect the style of each. According to experts in bridal makeup, if she never makeup cannot opt for a very exaggerated or overdone on her wedding day makeup as it will look very different and uncomfortable. Another basic rule is to have an emergency kit makeup during the religious ceremony and the wedding party. Make sure you have a small bag all the basics such as base, eyeliner, lipstick and concealed if you want to run any tears makeup face of the bride.