Editor Claire Eliza here, about to drop a truth bomb. Please, I beg of you, stop telling brides (AND grooms) they'll regret things about their wedding. It's rude, it's negative, it's manipulative & guess what, their wedding is not about you!
This real talk is for all the friends, family, guests, vendors and YES you bloggers & wedding magazines out there that for some reason think it's okay to spark negativity about someone else's joyful event.
I am tired of seeing clickbait headlines that read “10 Things All Brides Regret from Their Wedding”. I'm fed up listening to friends of friends tell their own “you'll regret that” diatribes to newly engaged couples.
Let's rewind a little bit. If you're one of the guilty above who thinks that what you're doing is “protecting” your bride from making a mistake you did – or perhaps a choice your friends or clients made – I'm going to tell you a story about how a real bride (yours truly) felt about all of her own unsolicited advice…
All The Things I Was Supposedly “Going To Regret” About My Wedding But Didn't
“You'll regret cutting your hair short before your wedding. Wait until after the wedding.” – Basically every person I told about my bridal bob plans. I wanted to show off the beautiful back of my wedding gown and also wear my hair down. I was also inspired by so many of my own short-haired brides. When I chopped my long locks I was thrilled. (That's me by the way, with the cute bob & the blue dress).
“Oh, you'll regret not hiring a professional makeup artist & you can't get married without wearing makeup. The camera shows all your flaws.” – A real quote told to me by a potential wedding rental vendor I was interviewing. Are my flaws truly that unsightly for you? As a bride who doesn't wear makeup, I'm so happy I went au natural for my wedding day, I felt like myself, I felt beautiful. (Also, reminder, I am a professional wedding photographer, this one seriously pissed me off).
“You'll regret having a small wedding. You'll never get a chance to have all that family together at once.” – Maybe we don't want all our family together at once? Maybe we have small families? Maybe we want to spend ample intimate time with our beloved guests? Maybe we don't want to be judged by extended family who we've rarely met and might never see again? Small weddings are special, don't let someone bully you into extending your guest list.
“Oh, you'll regret asking guests to move chairs from the beach to the dinner reception area, it's tacky.” – Another potential vendor, who you might guess did not get hired.
“You'll regret not buying flowers. Foraging rarely works out in the end.” – Ha! Here's proof this is 100% false. I LOVE flowers (as seen on our DIY series) but we splurged on things like the venue and fancy food for our guests & thus foraged for flowers. We cut masses of local bougainvillea, palms & florals to mix with local funky fruits. It was beautiful, it was fun and it made our experience even more “us” by DIYing. I hear so much “You'll regret DIYing” bs told to our brides and grooms. Just block out the noise! You do you!
The “regrets” went on and on. Do you see how none of this is okay? Do you see how simple “advice” comes off as judgemental and mean-spirited? Jack and I don't regret a single thing about our wedding because we made our own personal decisions that represented us not based on someone else's unsolicited advice about my own personal appearance, guest list, or other wedding choices.
Okay, so I'm going to flesh out the issues here for anyone who needs to hear it (or any bride or groom who doesn't want to explain why they're hurt, or annoyed, or fed up)…
Your “Advice” is Manipulative & Negative
When you say “You'll regret xyz…” what you're really saying is “I don't want you to do xyz so I'm going to scare you into not doing it.”
I have particular rage when watching my brides and grooms be bullied, guilted and manipulated into doing things they don't want to do. They chose to get married, this is their celebration. I think a lot of people don't see when their actions are manipulative, but that doesn't make it okay.
A wedding day is supposed to be a joyous celebration so let's help keep things positive for the couple. As the saying goes, “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.”
This Wedding Isn't About You
You may be a wedding professional who has seen thousands of weddings and thinks that some decision is unwise (for whatever reason). You may have gotten married before and something went wrong. You may have been to a wedding where there was a disaster…
Guess what, this isn't that day. This isn't your wedding. This wedding isn't about you.
Whether or not your advice and opinions are grounded in experience and reason, ultimately, this is someone else's day. If the couple has decided they want to do something – or not do something – that's their decision. Sure, we all should learn from experiences and mistakes, but that's for us to include in our own decision-making, not to impose upon others.
Life is made of choices and experiences. So what if something goes haywire? So what if I decide later I would have preferred something else? You can't go a day of life without making a choice that could either be the best decision or the worst, and we can't let “potential regrets” guide our decision-making.
Here's a great example. Don't you love looking back at brides' dresses from the 1970s? Those rad, free-spirited gals in crocheted dresses with bell sleeves whose gowns we all try to copy now? Well, a decade after those badass brides said “I do” those gowns looked “totally out of style”.
One might have said back then, “You'll regret wearing anything trendy because it won't age well.” Now, we love looking back and seeing wedding photos that show a moment in time. The hair, the makeup, the fashion, the shag carpet, the mustaches, the corduroy…
A quote I live my life by, credited to both my Grammy and explorer Yvon Chouinard: “It's not an adventure until something goes wrong.” When you look back at the trips, the parties, the most memorable life experiences you often remember the disasters, the funny things, the hilarious style…and you laugh.
It's okay if your wedding day isn't perfect. It's okay if something goes wrong. Don't you agree? Okay, if you do, stop trying to fix someone else's wedding plans.
Here's What To Say Instead…
I know you want me to tell you ways to get your point across using an alternative method…but I'm not going to! It's still manipulation!
If you want to be a positive, supportive friend, family member, vendor or wedding guest, here are some phrases to keep in your arsenal for when a bride or groom tells you their wedding plans…
“That's such a great idea!”
“I can't wait to see it!”
“Your wedding is going to be amazing!”
See how easy that is? Wait until you see the smile that lights up on their face and the sense of relief they'll show when they haven't received any judgment or backlash for their own wedding plans.
Alright, it's time to bring this Ted Talk home, I'm just going to say it one more time…
To all the wedding professionals, wedding bloggers, wedding magazines, friends, family members, wedding guests out there: Please stop telling brides and grooms that they will regret whatever they want to do at their wedding. If they want to shoot a money gun off when they kiss during their ceremony, let them. It's going to be awesome.
For more real talk & and positive advice, head to our wedding planning section.