Every year as I approach my husband's and my wedding anniversary, we get a little older and wiser and look back with retrospect at how we did our wedding, and what we might do differently had we gotten married later. Of course, I would've killed Drew had he not proposed until we'd been dating 8 or 9 years, but this is hypothetical anyways. And also I totally understand that this is coming from a place of having had our wedding exactly as it was (so maybe if we HAD eloped and only had 20 guests, I'd be sitting here writing about the huge Southern wedding we wished we could've had... the grass is always greener on the other side).
Without further ado, here are the things I think four years out, we might have done differently:
Pay more attention in writing invitations. Include everyone's names on envelopes. Cut down the guest list but communicate clearly to avoid hurt feelings later on.
Smaller bridal party and guest list, probably. As you get older you pare down those you're closest to!
Keep up with thank you notes!!! Better system for tracking, follow up where needed. (I'm still getting flack about screwing these up. Brides, take heed and get organized in this arena!)
Try the pistachio cake!!! Juanita doesn't make it anymore. :(
Pay for a bigger cake.
Opt for a smaller bachelorette party group, and go on a little weekend excursion to a beach city away (like NOLA or Charleston or Savannah).
Hot glue the cake topper to its base, since Ken kept falling off.
More classic bridesmaid shoes and accessories. I wanted to go whimsical and I did, but I now look back and think what?? Some pretty pink teardrop earrings would've gone with my emerald ones and looked lovely. And an almond-toed leather shoe in a similar hue would have looked a little more timeless than the rounded suede pink pumps I had them wear. But it was just the style then!
Wear Clean Feel bug spray (non-greasy! unscented! my favorite!) to avoid those millions of mosquito bites.
Start the wedding a hour earlier, add on extra hour of dancing. Attend cocktails and serve a simple dinner. I did love our cake and coffee reception but we were starving and I'm sure guests were too!
Not feel bad asserting boundaries and cutting off people who chatted us up too long.
Maybe nix the ice cream bar, since it melted anyways in the 95-degree heat!
Ante up the cash to provide ample champagne for guests. We didn't need to serve a full bar (that's not really our style), but we needed way more champ than we had.
Provide hair stylist for bridesmaids. We did fine without it, but it would've been nice to pamper everyone.
More classic song selections. I've mentioned this before, but I was really trying to be clever with Pour Some Sugar On Me for our cake cutting...
Walk slower down the aisle. I dragged my dad at lightspeed...
Cut my dad's jacket stays.
Not set an alarm the morning after the wedding. We had all day to sleep in and catch up on rest, but instead we woke up too early and were bored out of our minds all day.
Put more thought into the letters we wrote one another.
Store a nice bottle of champ that ages well in our wine box.
Opt for a looser style updo and darker lips. Maybe do a lighter nail color.
Thank my vendor team in my speech.
Do different favors and nicer escort cards and table numbers.
Finalize seating chart the week of/before the wedding and tell people no when they tried to RSVP late.
Pare down our photo list so the things that were most important got captured. Like the punch bowl.
Label items better, have fewer knickknacks for planner to keep up with.
Opt for nicer champagne. Get a bottle of Veuve for me & Drew.
Maybe buy the more expensive wedding dress. I still think about it.
Put more thought into comprising our ceremony script. Change the verses to more meaningful ones.
Dance with my dad to the song he actually requested.
Do a post-wedding brunch to see everyone before they departed.
Cut our honeymoon down to 6 days, 5 nights in Riviera Maya, and not go to Cozumel afterwards.
In all honesty, if we redid our wedding older and wiser, we'd probably elope to some destination beach, only invite absolute closest friends and family, and spoil the heck out of them. We were so concerned with trying to include everyone that we didn't even get to see 1/3 of the guests that came. We didn't have any semblance of an unlimited budget so this would've allowed us to "do right" for a few guests rather than scrape by for everyone (and still piss people off because that's inevitable). We could've sent announcements after the fact so no one felt pressured to give us a gift but could still be in the loop. That would've saved the headache of keeping up with so many table assignments / thank you cards / last-minute RSVPs / getting to talk to everyone. We probably would've been a little sad to not include everyone but I think it would've been worth it. Ah well!!!
Photo credits: Kelsey & Jon Bufkin and Kristine Neeley.