What I Didn't Do on My Wedding Day (and should have)The Newlywed Notebook

The Newlywed Notebook



April 2014

What I Didn’t Do On My Wedding Day (and should have)

Written by Lindsay Ropella

I can easily say that my wedding day was the best day of my life thus far. Although I almost threw up on myself that morning about 5 separate times, and was a little late to the reception, it really was as close to perfect as you can get. I wouldn’t have changed a thing, however there were a few things that I would have added. 

With how many details you have to remember to do for your wedding, a few things are bound to fall through the cracks here and there. However, I want to share with you a few things that, looking back, I really would have liked to remember to incorporate/do for my wedding day.

what I didn't do on my wedding day

1. I didn’t get any formal pictures with my siblings. On your wedding day, you typically don’t forget to get special pictures taken with your parents; but what about your siblings? I have a great picture of me and my dad, as well as me with my mom, but no professional pictures of just my brother and I. Luckily, my aunt remembered to snap one of the two of us toward the end of the night. But as you can see below, it’s not an awesome pic. I really had wanted to get a nice picture with my brother, as well as a few goofy pictures to really highlight our close relationship. If I were to get a do-over, that’s the most important thing I would make sure to add to my wedding day itinerary.

 what I didn't do on my wedding day

2. I didn’t have enough time to relax with my bridesmaids the morning of the wedding. Our wedding was scheduled for 3:00 in the afternoon because I wanted to make sure I had enough time to spend with my bridesmaids that morning getting ready and just hanging out. Well, my hair appointment ended up running late (I was at a different location than all my bridesmaids) and I didn’t get back home until just after noon. All of my bridesmaids were already there eating and getting their makeup on. I had wanted to leave the house by 1:00 to head to the church, so I was scrambling to get my makeup done, collect all my items for the church, and finish up a few last minute things. We didn’t end up leaving the house until after 1:00, and got to the church around 1:45. Once we got to the church I still had to get all the decor set up in the church (luckily there wasn’t much) and get dressed.

By this time I was pretty much having a full-blown anxiety attack because I was feeling so rushed and like I didn’t have a moment to just stop and breathe. I had hoped to have a relaxing morning with my girls, but there just wasn’t enough time. So my advice to brides is give yourself way more time than you think you will need the morning of your wedding to get things done. It’s really important to have time to stop and enjoy the day. Are you thinking of scheduling your hair appointment for 10? Move it back to 9. Take care of as many things as possible the day before the wedding and delegate as much as you can to other people. You will want to take as much stress as possible out of the morning of your wedding so you have time to relax and get excited for what’s coming next – meeting your new husband at the end of that aisle.


3. I didn’t say hello to every guest. We had 300 guests in attendance at our wedding – way more than I was expecting. I was so thrilled that we had so many people who wanted to share in our special day with us! But it did make a few of the logistics a little bit tricky. For example, the church we got married at was just a little chapel – it really had no lobby or reception area. There was no place for us to have a receiving line (plus, who likes waiting in those anyways) so our plan was to just go around to every dinner table at the reception and say hello to our guests. Well, pictures ran late (give yourself more time than you think you will need for EVERYTHING, I can’t stress that enough) and so as soon as we got to the reception, dinner had to start. After we quickly ate and did the toasts, Eric and I started walking around to every table to say hi and thank our guests for coming. Well let me tell you, 22 tables of guests is a lot more than I thought it would be. After about an hour we had only been to half the tables. At this point it was after 8:30 and first dances had to happen so that the dancing could start. By the time that was done, all our guests had moved all over the place and it was impossible to keep track of who we hadn’t said hello to yet.

My advice would be, if you aren’t having a receiving line, think of another way where you can be sure you welcome and say thank you to every guest – I still feel bad about not being able to do that to this day. Maybe take pictures before the ceremony so you can stand by the reception doors and welcome your guests as they arrive. Or hold a more informal receiving line at the reception site during the cocktail hour. Google different ways to do this – I’m sure there are a dozen ideas out there. Just make sure that you do everything in your power to talk to all your guests for at least a minute or two – they are there for you, and you want to make sure they know how much they are appreciated.


4. I didn’t plan when I was going to bustle my dress. This was something the planner in me totally spaced on. Since we got to the reception late for dinner, we had to start dinner right away before we could bustle my dress (I had wanted it down for pictures). Of course by this point, I was just about ready to rip my train right off it was getting so annoying. I honestly don’t even remember how it happened, but at one point someone was dragging me into the bathroom during dinner to bustle up my dress. It took almost 20 minutes to tie all the bustle points, and I know they were waiting for me to come back so they could start toasts. However, I couldn’t keep waddling around the reception dragging my dress behind me, so it had to be done. I wish I would have planned out a specific time to bustle my dress (take off my veil, etc.) at a point during the day when it would have been convenient, and I would have had lots of hands ready to help.


5. I didn’t plan who was going to hand out the corsages. Eric and I had ordered corsages and boutonnieres for our grandparents, godparents, and ceremony readers to wear for the day (I think this is pretty common?). However, I wasn’t allowed to go upstairs once the guests started to arrive (plus let’s be honest, I wasn’t even close to being ready) and my mom was scrambling to help me get my dress on. I started freaking out a bit because I had no idea who was going to hand the flowers out to our special guests. To this day I actually have no idea who did it (shout out to you, mystery man), but it would have saved me a lot less worry if there had been someone delegated to do this task. Maybe an Usher or Attendant – just make sure it’s someone who knows these special people well and will be able to recognize them as they walk into the ceremony.


6. I didn’t have my own emergency kit prepared. This was really just plain stupid. One of the things I was going to do the day before the wedding was assemble a last-minute emergency kit for the day of the wedding (but I ran out of time, that seems to be the theme here, doesn’t it). That really was one of the dumbest steps to skip because what if something had happened to my dress or one of the girls dresses and we had no way to mend it? Nightmare.

I was extremely lucky not to have anything major happen, however, the sole of my dad’s rented shoe did come off. Thank goodness it happened just before we were leaving and he could grab some trusty duct tape from the garage. So my advice would be to make up your day-of emergency kit days or even weeks before the wedding if you have to. It’s one of those things you hope you won’t have to use, but if something does happen you will be so grateful you have it!


7. I didn’t hire someone to do my makeup. I was very adamant about doing my own makeup for the wedding from day one. I had a bad experience at a makeup counter a few years back, and I think that had freaked me out for letting someone else do my makeup for the wedding. Well, as crazy as the morning of the wedding was, it would have been nice to have someone to do my makeup for me so it was one less thing for me to worry about. I had come up with what I wanted to do makeup-wise a week or so before the wedding in my head, but when I sat down that morning to actually do it I was a little freaked out. If you really do want to do your own makeup, at the very least practice the look full out multiple times before your wedding and actually take pictures with the makeup on. I think that was where I made the mistake – I had a good idea of how the makeup was going to look in the mirror, but I had no idea what it was going to look like in professional photos. I wasn’t unhappy with my makeup for my wedding day, but in photos it doesn’t look like anything special or give me that “wedding glow” I was trying to achieve on my own.


8. I didn’t give a big enough thank you to my “special people.” I’m convinced that this is pretty impossible to do – your parents and grandparents and bridesmaids and groomsmen do so much for you in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding, I really don’t think there is a big enough way to say “thank you.” Sure, we bought them gifts and gave them a shout out in our wedding toast, but at the end of the day it hadn’t seemed like enough. I wish Eric and I would have taken the time to plan out a fun “surprise thank you” for our parents during the wedding reception. Of course, this was something I didn’t think of until a week before the wedding, and by then it was too late. There are always  so many little last minute details that need to be taken care of right before the wedding, that I think the more important stuff ends up falling to the wayside. I would recommend that you start thinking about how you want to thank your special people early on in the wedding planning process so that you have enough time for brainstorming and creating. Because at the end of the day, those relationships are the most important thing you will be left with after the last piece of cake is eaten and the DJ plays one last song.

what I didn't do on my wedding day


What do you wish you would have done for your wedding? Leave it in the comments below!


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  • Paige Gunter

    I wish I would have had better control of our picture-taking. I had friends taking the pictures (& they turned out amazing). Unfortunately, I had family from out of town decide that our wedding was their family reunion and so we spent at least 20 minutes taking pictures with just them. It rushed us through the pictures I had really wanted and by the time we looked up most of my husband’s family had left. So, at the end of the day, if I could go back, I would have had a better handle on that moment.

    • Lindsay Ropella

      That’s a great tip! I think that if your photographer doesn’t bring along an assistant to basically corral the herd, I think it would be a great idea to find a family member to delegate to do that. It seems like pictures is that one aspect of the wedding day that can get your time schedule all messed up. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah Klein

    This is so well written. I think Grandma F. pinned my corsage on me (so shout out to her) !!!! These tips will be very, very helpful to others planning weddings….very reflective and informative. p.s. good thing you have an aunt who likes to take pictures… least there is that!!!! xoxo

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thank you. And yes, big THANK YOU to Grandma! lol. Yes, and thank you so much for taking the picture of Brady and me. I’m so glad we at least got that one!

  • Melissa @ Loving Here

    Thanks so much for stopping by our blog! I enjoyed looking our your site today, too! I’m glad you’ll be following along with our kitchen project! (Sorry for fooling you that it was finished!) Side note: that mac and cheese looks so good! :)

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Lol oh no it was funny! I should have been more prepared knowing it was April fools. :) Thanks! If you like mac and cheese you should give it a try some time and let me know what you think!

  • Don & Virgie Pirlot

    You did a great job. I am sure it will help so many.

    Almost 56 years ago–can’t remember.

  • Rachel G

    It’s good to learn from the experience, even though there won’t be a re-do ;) it might help others! We chose to take photos before the ceremony and I think that really helped with not being rushed throughout the day. I’m actually really glad I did my own makeup because I wanted to look “normal”, I wanted to look like me on an everyday basis, just slightly polished for the cameras. :) If I could do anything different? I can’t think of anything. I wish my parents and siblings could have come, but I didn’t have any control over that (they live overseas and couldn’t afford the trip to the US for the wedding). I would have liked to take outdoor pictures! But it was December in Michigan–I did not want to freeze to death!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      LOL exactly. :) I actually think taking photos before is a great idea, if the bride and groom are OK with it, of course. I didn’t do that because I wanted the ceremony to be the first time Eric and I saw each other, but now having talked to other brides and seen how they have done things, I really like the idea of a “first look.” I think it’s a great time to get some neat photos, plus like you said you can get all the photos out of the way before the ceremony even starts. Looking back I definitely think that was the main thing that messed up our time schedule. :) And only because I didn’t plan enough time – nothing to do with the photographers or anything like that. LOL December in Michigan – living in Wisconsin I can totally relate. I barely want to walk out to get the mail in December let alone have pictures taken in a strapless dress! :)

      • Kimberly

        My aunt does photography as her own personal hobby. Started out with family photos at Christmas and now friends ask her to do their weddings. As a way to save time for the bride and groom between ceremony and reception a bulk of the pictures are taken before the wedding. All of them except those involving both bride and groom that way the first time he sees her is coming down the aisle. Basically, the guys start with their pictures while the women finish getting ready. Shortly after, the bridesmaids join to get pictures with the men while the bride gets some mother daughter time alone and can finish any last minute things that have been running through her head. The groom then leaves so the bride can enter the photo session. She gets her pictures with the wedding party. When the groomsmen join him back at the church, the girls have the photographer to themselves. So when the ceremony is over all that’s left are pictures involving the two of them or family that wasn’t there at the time.

        • Lindsay Ropella

          That’s a GREAT way to do it! I will definitely have to remember that to recommend to other brides! I love that the “first look” is still the walk down the aisle too doing it this way. Thanks so much for sharing!