After the wedding planning journey is over, you want to look back at your day with the happiest of memories and have zero wedding regrets to ponder over. And while that's usually the case on the whole, it's not uncommon have one or two small regrets about the big day - it's human nature to think 'what if?' about a few things here and there.
We asked Hitched Instagram users* if they had any wedding regrets after the day was over, and surprisingly, people were completely divided. 50% of respondents said they had no wedding regrets at all, (we love to hear it!), while the other half did.
45% said they had a few wedding regrets, and sadly 5% said they had lots they regretted. Though the number of couples who had several wedding regrets was small in comparison to those who didn't, we'd much rather it be zero - so we've gathered some of the most common real wedding day regrets together with simple solutions so you can avoid them altogether.
8 Real Wedding Day Regrets You Can Totally Avoid
Sharing is caring, so we've put together a list of common wedding regrets real couples have after the special day is over, along with some advice on how you can steer clear of being in the same boat as them.
From people pleasing and having bridesmaids you don't really want, to wedding photography regrets and not tidying up your makeup (yep, you need to hear this!), here's what other couples regretted and some simple solutions to avoid feeling the same.
1. Taking on Too Many Opinions
The Wedding Regret: From the moment you announce your engagement, you can expect a number of unwarranted opinions coming your way. Unfortunately, that's just the way it goes, but that doesn't mean you have to take them all on.
One Hitched user expressed taking on too many opinions as a big wedding day regret of theirs, explaining, "I wish we'd not listened to everyone's opinions. Had we not, we would have avoided a lot of unnecessary stress." Sadly, this doesn't surprise us at all. Another user also added, "I wish I hadn't bent over backwards to please everyone."
It can be really difficult to drown out the noise, especially if it's coming from close family members or friends, but as this user expressed, taking on opinions that aren't your own, and letting them impact your wedding planning decisions can add additional stress that you could easily avoid.
Not only can this result in you planning a wedding that doesn't feel like your own, but it can lead to animosity between you and the people giving those opinions. What's more - once you start taking one opinion on board, people will see this as a welcomed invitation to give even more - no, thank, you!
The Solution: The solution to this is easier said than done. Telling people that their opinion isn't welcome is not a fun experience for many, and some people find doing this much harder than others, but there are ways you can prepare for this.
One way to combat opinions is to have some pre-prepared responses to avoid being caught off guard by suggestions and over-bearing guests. Another is to keep details close to your chest. Phrases like, "You'll just have to wait and see!" and, "We might already be doing that, you never know," can help to quash the conversation without giving any definitive answers.
2. Telling People Too Many Details
The Wedding Regret: Sharing too many details about the wedding itself is a wedding regret many people experience, because talking about your wedding is exciting, right!? As you're planning the most exciting day of your life with the world's best wedding entertainment and surprises, it's only natural to want to scream it all from the rooftops, but you may wish you hadn't when the day itself comes around.
One Hitched user shared their regrets with us, saying, "I wish I'd told people fewer about the wedding. I loved having my parents and family involved but wish things were more of a surprise for them."
The Solution: As hard as it is, if you're the kind of couple who love to surprise people, gate keep a few key details about your wedding for just yours and your partner's ears only. Whether you're hiring a wedding saxophonist or having an unusual photo booth, having a few key details as complete surprises will make all the difference on the day.
It's also nice for your closest family and friends to still have things to anticipate and look forward to that they don't even know to expect.
3. Hiring a Venue That Doesn't Fit Your Vision
The Wedding Regret: Choosing a wedding venue is a hugely important task when planning a wedding, and it's a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. But as with any big decision, there are mistakes that can be made. Hitched users shared their experiences on this with us.
One wrote, "I wish I'd chosen a small ceremony on a beach instead of a traditional wedding venue," while another wrote, "I felt pressure to get a wedding venue which gave me guest numbers to hit when I just wanted to hire a pub."
Everyone is going to have different visions for their wedding day, and different styles they're trying to achieve, and to do this, getting the venue right is essential. Much like not listening to too many opinions, it's important to also not be tempted by venues and wedding styles just because it's deemed 'the norm'.
The Solution: Really think about the wedding you want before booking a venue. If it's a London pub with beers and burgers, or a coastal wedding venue with beach views that you want, then that's what you should look for.
Think practically as well, taking advice from the Hitched user who had to 'fill spaces' with additional wedding guests they didn't really want there just to hit their capacity quota. Before you book your venue, think about the size of your wedding, the budget and the overall look and feel. Once you have that down, you can get searching!
4. Not Having the Wedding Party You Want
The Wedding Regret: Much taking on lots of opinions, it's not uncommon for couples to feel pressured to have certain people in their wedding party.
Often, couples feel the need to have family members or their partner's siblings as part of their wedding party, and pressure can also come from scenarios where people have had you as part of their wedding party when they got married, and you feel like you need to return the favour.
As part of our Instagram poll, one user replied saying, "I got forced into having my sisters-in-laws as bridesmaids when I really didn't want them to be."
Having too big of a wedding party can hugely impact your wedding budget, but money aside, you shouldn't get married with anyone in your wedding party that you don't particularly want there. Not choosing someone as a bridesmaid or usher doesn't mean you don't love and care about them, and you shouldn't feel pressured to assign wedding roles based on box-ticking.
The Solution: It's easier said than done, but you should only have people in your wedding party who you genuinely want there - and the best way to make others feel important and involved without having to assign them a role, is by sharing out other responsibilities. There are plenty of ways that people can be involved in your wedding without giving them an official role.
Wedding speeches, giving a wedding reading, helping to plan the hen party or stag do are all important jobs and responsibilities that people outside of your wedding party can be tasked with. It may be that your sister in law is a dab-hand with a glue-gun and helps you with your DIY wedding favours.
Perhaps your friend from university is the group's grammar pro and could help you proof-read your vows and wedding invites. Maybe your childhood bestie knows everyone coming and can help you with the seating plan. There are plenty of ways to involve people without feeling pressure to have them in the wedding party, and then regretting it afterwards.
5. Not Allowing Pictures
The Wedding Regret: We recently spoke about unplugged weddings, a trend which is growing in popularity amongst couples who want to ensure that their wedding is nowhere to be seen on socials, keeping guests present and off their phones throughout the day.
However, this was a wedding regret that one Hitched user expressed in our poll, saying, "I regret not getting more guests to take pictures of us on the day as now we have to wait for the professional images."
In this case, the couple are now experiencing the painstaking wait for their professional wedding pictures, which is often fairly short, but must feel like forever when you're dying to look back at special moments throughout the day.
The Solution: There are a few ways to solve this, and it all depends on your personal preferences. If you want some pictures from the ceremony to look back on immediately afterwards, go unplugged, but ask a member of the venue staff to snap a few pictures for you, as they won't get in the way of the pros doing their job.
If it's post-ceremony that you'd like to look back on, be very clear in your unplugged signs or announcements that after the wedding, people are fine (and encouraged!) to take pictures. The only thing to keep in mind here is whether or not you're happy for people to share images on social media before you have yourself.
If you're happy for guests to take pictures, but don't want them shared on Instagram, be sure to include that in any comms.
6. Not Spending Enough Time With Guests
The Wedding Regret: Not taking time to talk with guests is a wedding regret we hear from so many people, including this Hitched user who felt like they didn't get to sit down with their pals enough on the day. "I wish I spent more time with my friends at the wedding," they wrote.
You are only human, and of course, are unlikely to spend a good few minutes with each and every one of your guests at the wedding, but it's not uncommon for couples to feel like they missed out on socialising at their wedding. It's pretty easy to get swept up in it all!
The Solution: As we said, it's pretty hard to get face time with all of your guests, but if you know this is something that's important to you, think about the people you really want to check in with at the wedding, and make a note of where they are on the seating plan. Between courses or speeches, give yourself five minutes to visit one or two tables with people you know you'll regret not talking to.
As well as this, the dance floor is a great time to boogie with your besties, so ensure your DJ or live wedding band has songs that are guaranteed to get the crew up and dancing. You may not be having a DMC in the middle of the reception, but not all quality time requires talking, and dancing together on your wedding day is the perfect example of that.
7. Taking Too Long on Wedding Pictures
The Wedding Regret: Linked to not spending enough time with certain guests is couples not understanding how much time they will need to spend with their wedding photographer and videographer. One Hitched used said, "I wish I'd discussed with my photographer and videographer how much time we'd need to spend away from our guests before the wedding day."
Now, the time you spend doing group and couple shots with your wedding vendors is completely up to you, and of course, you can cut it short at any time, but what a lot of couples aren't aware of is how much time certain shots take to get. If you're planning on doing lots of group pictures that require logistics and gathering people, it'll take longer if it's not planned for properly.
The Solution: The best thing about this regret, is that it's completely avoidable if you communicate with your vendors. Wedding photographers are brilliant at planning - they've done this before, you know... As part of the questions to ask your wedding photographer, discuss with them the type of wedding pictures you want and they will be able to advise you of timings.
Photographers will be able to give you a pretty clear idea of how long certain shots will take, and if you're keen to be strict on timings, they can help you prioritise the shots you want so you aren't spending more time away from your guests than you actually want to.
8. Messy Photograph Backgrounds
The Wedding Regret: A less-talked-about regret which was submitted by our Hitched users was the amount of mess in their getting ready pictures. We can't thank this person enough for sharing, because we see it time and time again, and the solution is so simple.
The user wrote, "I really regret not taking the time to tidy up after my hair and makeup as I had to pay a lot of money for photo edits to help remove the mess," so here it is, the wedding advice you never knew you needed.
Wedding pictures look so much more professional when the backdrops are lovely and tidy, and it's not just couples who this impacts. Speaking to wedding photographers in the past, we know how much time it takes them to either edit the pictures, or tidy up spaces themselves just so the images look as good as they can.
The Solution: The solution to this is so simple - as part of your wedding party roles, ensure your tidiest friend is on hand to encourage the rest of the crew to pick up their bridesmaid robes and PJs off the floor so they don't mess up your pictures.
Sure, you could pay extra for edits, but that only adds to your overall wedding spend and it's also a risk to assume that all mess can actually be edited out of the images - photographers are good, but they're not miracle workers!
So, there you have it - common wedding regrets from real couples, and how to completely avoid experiencing it yourself. If you're in the mood for more tips, check out these wedding vendor mistakes you can easily avoid.
*Hitched Instagram poll of 159 users on 22nd June 2023.