The Dress: I wish I would have spent more on the dress. We threw our wedding on a budget, but I think I could have spent a few more bucks on the wedding dress and been a lot happier in the end.
I got my dress on sale for $78 at J. Crew. It was probably the least expensive thing at the wedding (Why does everything at a wedding cost $300? Napkins = $300! Tablecloth rental = $300!).
When I look back at the pictures, I cringe. My dress didn’t fit and I threw out any picture from the wedding that showed my back fat. Which turned out to be about half of them.
The wedding dress really is a big deal. You’re not being vain if you try on 100 dresses and look at yourself from every angle. Because everyone at your wedding will be doing the same thing and you want that dress to be working for you, rather than against you.
Even if you only wear your wedding dress once, wedding pictures are forever. And that is a fact.
The Stress: I wish I hadn’t worried so much. Throwing a wedding is a big stress machine – whether you’re planning it yourself or hiring a wedding planner. I planned our wedding – which we threw in our backyard to keep costs down. But that meant I was in charge of everything – from planning the rehearsal dinner to booking the port-a-let. It probably would have worked in my favor to delegate and get more people involved in the wedding planning process.
Spent the Money Elsewhere: Yes, it was a great party. Yes, it was amazing. Unforgettable. Wonderful. Totally spectacular.
But I still wonder, was that the best way to spend our money? What if we had used the money as a down payment on a bigger/better/different house in the city? Maybe then I wouldn’t have so many issues about houses.
Probably because I did the math and I knew it wouldn’t make a difference.
(What can I say? Caviar taste on a french fry budget.)
But I still do wonder — are weddings even necessary today? Is it really just a big party? Why do we do this to ourselves?
But then I read the essays in Altared and they make me want to throw a wedding all over again.
Because there’s just something wonderful about it all — no matter how much goes wrong or how much you would have done differently. It’s a wild, crazy act of hope. Of belief. In life and love.
For more wedding mistake and success stories, check out Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings.
*Photo of our wedding cake with blue hydrangeas. I wouldn’t change one thing about that cake.