“I wish I had chosen an indoor venue. We wish we had hired a professional photographer. I wish I hadn’t picked that dress. We wish we had spent more time with family. I wish I had purchased more wine.”
It’s extremely common to have these thoughts after you’re married. When I got married I’d always say how unfortunate it was that by the time it was all said and done, I’d know everything I needed to know about wedding planning, but then I’d never use it again.
Weddings are big events and there are a ton of tiny details involved with them. There are so many options, looks, trends, and options for every part of your wedding, so it’s natural that you might think about what your wedding would have been like had you gone with another option. If anything went wrong, it’s natural that you might regret how it happened. Wedding regrets are completely natural, so when handling those thoughts think to yourself how you can help others learn from you, know what’s important, what you can change, where your regrets are coming from, and how to go through those emotions.
Help others learn from you
Maybe you didn’t have enough alcohol at your wedding, maybe your flowers were really wilted, maybe it rained during your ceremony, and maybe you spent way too much money on wedding favors and ended up with a ton of extras. These are all unfortunate things to happen at your wedding, and there’s not much you can do about it now. However, you can help others learn from the things that went wrong at your wedding. Whether it’s a friend getting married, a wedding forum, or a vender review, you can share a formula for buying the right amount of alcohol for your guests, review the florist honestly for other brides, suggest a Plan B venue in case of inclement weather, or suggest to spend less money on favors. You may not be able to go back, but you can help other brides not to make the same mistakes.
Remember what is important
Regret can come in so many different forms, but in order to handle those feelings you’ll need to remember what is important. The important thing is that you and your spouse are married, even in the face of the biggest wedding disasters. You’ve committed to each other, you have been bound together, and you have each other. No matter how many guests didn’t show up, even if you couldn’t find your veil, or if your mother and mother-in-law didn’t get along, you still married the love of your life.
Focus, instead, on the positives. Focus on the one picture of you and your spouse that you love, on how good the food was, and on how your dad got a little teary as he watched you say your vows. Those are the memories that are important, and at least you’ll have an entertaining story about the things that may have gone wrong.
What can you change?
With many wedding regrets, you are unable to change the decisions you’ve made. You can’t go back and change the dress you wore, you can’t go back and spend more time with your out of town relatives, and you can’t go back and choose different linens. For this reason it’s best to focus on the things that went well and remember what is really important. And having a good attitude and good sense of humor about the things that didn’t helps as well.
However, if there are things that you can change then there’s no problem in coping with regret by making a plan. If you regret having a stressful honeymoon overseas, consider planning a vacation somewhere close and warm like Lake Tahoe or San Diego and keep your itinerary romantic. If you regret missing photos with certain family members, consider scheduling a family photo shoot with a photographer and take some photos. Even if you aren’t in your dress, the photos will still be great. If you can’t change something you regret, it’s best to learn to accept it. If you can change it somehow, it may not be a perfect fix but it may help.
Where is this regret coming from?
By discovering where your feelings are coming from, it’ll be easier to handle the regret you are feeling. Are you regretting your wedding ring because you didn’t get the most popular diamond cut? Regret having a big wedding because you weren’t able to see everyone? Maybe you regret not having your makeup professionally done, because you don’t like how you looked in your photos.
You may be able to get another ring with the cut you like, plan trips to see family, and Photoshop some of your photos. However, your ring is still a symbol of love, your family understands how stressful a big wedding can be, and your pictures still show you having the time of your life. Whether these feelings are coming from jealousy, guilt, self-consciousness, or anything else, realizing the underlying problem is important. It’s so common for brides to feel this way, but it’s important to love the day you had instead of wishing for your day to look different.
Going through the emotions
Regretting having too many bridesmaids or choosing donuts over a wedding cake is one thing, but feeling regret over the marriage itself is an entirely different situation. Taking the time to really understand where that feeling is coming from is important. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by making such a big decision about your life is common, and uncertainty about that decision is common, too. You are allowed to second-guess yourself without that meaning that it is a mistake. However, if you’re really feeling like you have made a mistake, discuss it with a therapist, family, or your spouse.
For those that feel regret after their wedding regarding their actions, how things went, what things looked like, or how people felt, it’s important to remember that you probably feel this way because of how much time you’ve spent planning such an important day. You can get lost in the details and it’s natural to regret certain aspects. That goes especially when you spend so long planning one day and looking at all the options for how everything can go.
At the end of the day, your wedding day was yours – for better or for worse. Most of the regrets that brides have others didn’t notice. The guests noticed how great it was to be in the presence of true love. Your spouse noticed how breathtaking you looked as you walked toward them. Your families noticed how happy you are. You may wish you had chosen different colors or that your centerpieces looked different. However, your day already happened and it was uniquely yours. Instead of living in regret, help other brides avoid the same mistakes.
Remember what’s really important, change the things you can and accept the things you can’t. Figure out why you feel the way you feel, realize your emotions are probably normal and you’re allowed to feel this way. At the end of the day, you married the person you love. That’s worth more than any regrets over flowers or song choices you may have.
Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. Chelsy just got married on 10/01/16, loves trying new beer, and can be found throwing a Frisbee for her dog, Titan. Follow her on Twitter!
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– The Gala Pal Team