What I Would & Wouldn't Change About My Own Wedding

I can’t believe I’m about to type this sentence, but it’s been 3 years since my own wedding. (Takes a moment to reflect on HOLY CRAP THREE YEARS). 

I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on not only how my marriage has grown, but how I view my wedding after these 3 years. As a wedding photographer, I feel like I dish out advice (quite often) on what will make your wedding day meaningful and memorable. But does that advice hold up over time? I think back to my wedding and even now, it is still the best day of my life. My wedding weekend + our honeymoon is truly the most content, peaceful, and flat out happy I have ever been. So thumbs up, I obviously did something right in the planning and executing of my own wedding!   

But guess what? There are definitely some things I would change looking back on my wedding. Yes, it was the best day of my life, and I wouldn’t trade any of it. But if we were to have a wedding 2.0 tomorrow, I’d change a couple of things. And that includes NOT changing a couple of things. So whether you’re a bride to be, former bride, or simply a fellow wedding vendor, read on to see what I would and wouldn’t change about my wedding!

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What I Would Change… 

1. Our guest count and location

Please hear me – I DO NOT regret who attended our wedding, or our venue. But if I were to do it again, I think I would prioritize a lower guest count and have our wedding at a destination venue. I loved our wedding in Austin, TX, but that city didn’t hold a lot of meaning to us. I almost wish we would have chosen a really adventurous location, or picked a great destination where we could have brought select family and friends. Knowing who I was at 24 and 25, I think a destination wedding would have felt far-fetched. But today at 28, a destination wedding is completely my style. Whenever I see someone else’s pictures from their wedding in Europe or at a beach, I get a tiny gut feeling of “dang, we should have done that.” And though I loved everyone who attended our wedding, I would have slashed our guest count in half and invested our money elsewhere in our budget. 

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2. My dress

 Whenever I tell friends how much I hate my dress now, they look at me like I’m crazy. But if I have one major regret from my wedding, it’s this. When I got engaged, my first priority was to pick a dress that was nothing like anyone who’s wedding I had photographed. I realize now that I was probably too determined to be unique that I didn’t stay true to myself when dress shopping. Dress shopping is really tough if you work in the wedding industry, and I wish I could go back and do it right. It actually brings me pain to think about how much I wish I could go back in time and dress shop all over again. I don’t think I was patient enough in looking for dresses, and I wish I would have been less focused on “but have other brides worn this?” My biggest wish is to back in time and get this right. Insert a million sad faces. (And not to mention that my bustle gave me lots of grief at the reception). 

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3. A lot of the little nonsense 

 I’m a detail-oriented person at my finest, so you would think that I would get a lot of the “little things” right. But now I think back and cringe at some of my decisions, big time. I hate the outfits I chose for my bridesmaids and I to get ready in – I wish I could back and choose something different! I wish I could change our cake flavor, our signature drinks, our paper, and so many miscellaneous things. None of these are important in hindsight, and I know I’m the only person who will ever remember these little details. But it’s still enough to make me think, “I wish I could change that.”

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 4. The flowers in my hair 

 I don’t regret wearing flowers in my hair - that was one of my biggest wishes for my wedding day. But dear goodness could no one tell me how dead my flowers were by the time our ceremony hit? I had the loveliest sweet peas in my hair, and they made me feel like a garden princess. But my goodness. If you could see how very dead they were, you would be embarrassed for me. I really wish that we would have had some backup florals to swap out, or just taken them out! 

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What I Wouldn’t Change…

1. My vendors

I invested in a dream vendor team and I have not regretted it, ever, to this day. My parents were extremely gracious to help contribute to our wedding, but there were a couple of vendors they admitted they wouldn’t pay for. So, I paid for some myself. I know how expensive weddings can be, but they’re expensive for a reason. If you want a smooth wedding day, if you want pictures to last a lifetime, if you want show-stopping florals, if you want an amazing reception experience, if you want a video you’ll treasure forever, you better put your money and trust in the right hands. In fact, here is my amazing vendor team below. And to each and every one of you, I still and will forever value your talent and everything you did to make our wedding so amazing. 

Wedding Planner - Lindsey Brunk

Photography - Nicole Berrett

Video - Candlelight Films

Florist - Everly Alaine Florals

Hair & Makeup - Lola Beauty

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2. Our first look

Hands down, one of the best decisions we made for our wedding. That moment of relief, of seeing each other and washing all of our anxieties away, cannot be emphasized enough. We each took the deepest breath, and instead of sitting on pins and needles until the ceremony, we were able to be present for our wedding day. Not to mention that those memories we made before the ceremony with each other, plus our friends and family, are so special. 

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3. The time of year we got married

April is my favorite month of the year, and I always knew I wanted a spring wedding. I know spring weather can be unpredictable, but I still owe Mother Nature my first born child for how perfect the weather was for our day. I’m one of the those people whose mood is directly affected by the weather outside, and I honestly couldn’t have picked a better date for more perfect weather and surroundings. 

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4. How much dang fun I had 

You know how when you picture a bride, you usually picture a poised, graceful, lovely, even-mannered woman? That is not the bride I was. There are so many moments in the day where I went a little rogue, and to this day, I do not care. In fact, I’m so happy I threw caution to the wind and did what my bleeding heart desired. Some of those moments include…

Walking down the aisle. I squeezed my dad’s arm, and paused. Three times, in fact. I know this probably weird out my guests, and maybe gave concern to my dad. But I was walking with my dad, in the most perfect weather, to my dream “walk-down-the-aisle” song, towards my very best friend. I wanted to be patient and take that moment in for the one time I would get to experience it. 

Dancing back up the aisle. Once we were pronounced husband and wife, I rejected my flowers as my sister tried to hand them to me (sorry Em). Because I knew in my soul that I was going to grab on to JJ’s hand, use my other free to hand to pick up my dress, and boogie up that aisle. In fact, I believe I skipped. I actually couldn’t contain the joy I was feeling in the moment. And then JJ picked me up (literally swept me off my feet) once we got back up the aisle. It was a perfect moment (and yes it’s disgusting how cute it was). 

How much I danced at my reception. I probably looked crazy. I fell on my butt twice (all thanks to my dress and it’s terrible bustle). But my goodness if I didn’t have the time of my freaking life. I’ve seen so many of my own brides feel obligated to interact with their guests all evening, and I just knew I would regret not being selfish at my own wedding. I danced and danced and I will never regret it. 

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It’s amazing how much my style and preferences have changed in just 3 years. And for every decision I wish I could go back and change, there are plenty more that were exactly right. So if you’re in the process of planning your wedding, know that your mind will change after your wedding, and that’s okay. Keep your heart focused on the decisions that really matter, and let go of the decisions you’re unsure of. 

Jessica WelshansComment