A wedding postmortem: what I'd change about our wedding


Guest post by Brink Powell
A wedding postmortem: what I'd change about our wedding
Going back in time!
Back To The Future Movie License Plate

After a wedding is over "they" say to remember the good and forget the bad. There's no point harping about things that went wrong because there's no way to change them. The day happened as it happened and as long as the couple ends up married at the end then the wedding was successful. However, with the benefit of hindsight, there are some things that I would do differently that might benefit you to know. Some of them we were adamantly opposed to and viewed as unnecessary. But in doing a wedding postmortem, those things probably would have enhanced the day.

Getting ready photos/video

We both thought these were silly and not applicable to our Halloween horror wedding. A lot of shots taken during those sessions just didn't occur. But I've found that I would've liked photos of my maid of honor doing my hair, my bridesman eating breakfast cake, or our costumer lacing my dress. It also would've been fun for my husband to see us getting ready and vice versa.

A second photographer

Our wedding photos are totally what we wanted with lots of candid shots and very few "posed" photos. But Jo is only one person and she cannot be in two places at once. Looking back we should have hired a second shooter to capture more guest reactions. We don't have any photos of guests actually watching and reacting which would have been really fun to see.

More posed photos

I realize this directly contradicts my previous statement of wanting mostly candid photos. However, I now think it would've been nice to get more photos of just us. I love our zombie engagement photos and would like to have a set like that in our wedding clothes. We don't have any photos of us outside our ceremony venue and aside from a few poses on the altar we actually don't have very many pictures of us together period. But in our desperation to not miss cocktail hour, we sacrificed photo time. A first look would've solved this problem, but my husband was adamant that he did not want to see me prior to me walking down the aisle.

A receiving line

We also sacrificed the receiving line in the interest of time. We wanted guests to head straight to the reception so we could do the posed photos and get to cocktail hour. But they didn't leave, they milled about on the lawn so we didn't save any time at all. We planned to do table visits during dinner to greet everyone which was a disaster because people were already done eating and had dispersed by the time we tried to do visits. There were a handful of people who I did not exchange one word with which I still feel like shit about. With a receiving line, we could have greeted every single guest individually so at least we would've had the "Congratulations!" "Thanks! So glad you could come!" greeting with everyone.

Hired our officiant as DJ/MC

Out officiant knocked it out of the park and set the perfect tone for the ceremony. I wanted him to also DJ/MC the reception but my husband didn't want him to have to "work" all day. I agreed and we hired a guy who we thought would be great but really fell flat and was a major disappointment.

Done a test cake

Our cake was supposed to bleed when we cut it. It did not. There are several theories as to why it went wrong. I personally think that using my husband's Freddy Krueger glove to cut the cake did not allow us to remove a big enough piece to release the strawberry filling. If we had done a test run then we would've known it wasn't going to work and tried something else.

Spent more time with our wedding party

I don't know how this would've happened but I feel like we just didn't get to hang out with them enough on our wedding day. Maybe a "wedding party only" area? An after party just with them? Perhaps instead of joining the big cocktail hour we should have had a smaller one with just them? I'm not sure, but I just know that I feel like I didn't spend enough time with them.

Better directions to our videographer

We didn't realize at the time that his intention was to just use guest footage for the montage and then do a highlight reel of the reception. Once we saw it we explained what we felt was missing and he did go back and put more guest footage in. But I'd imagined the guest footage set to music and in reality it's set to our videographer going "Hey, could you just stop at look and me for a minute, I need a shot for the video." We also didn't think to invite him over to the reception space the day before to do shots of all the tables and decorations. All the shots like that are from the end of the night when everything is covered in Solo cups, napkins, and candy wrappers… which is awesome but shots of the pristine decorations would have been nice. This was simply a lack communication or possibly thinking that our videographer is a mind reader.

To sum up

I'm not in any way shape or form unhappy or disappointed about our wedding day. It was truly awesome, it was everything we wanted, and the photos and video that we have are priceless to me. But hindsight is 20/20 and if we were to do it all over again these are the main items that I would do differently. I've thought of ways we could potentially "fix" some of these things but it's over, and changing the past without a flux capacitor is impossible.

But, this year for our anniversary I did get us a small version of our wedding cake and it bled!

More lessons learned from Brink:

  1. Thank you for this article. It makes me feel way better about wanting to change things about my wedding day. Mostly I would have hired a different photographer, but it could have been worse, and no one's day is perfect. I needed this reminder that it happens to other people, too!

    • You are definitely not alone! I'm pretty sure every one who has ever gotten married has at least one thing that they look back and say "You know, if I could do it again …" I think it's totally normal and good to acknowledge because once acknowledge you can move on and put it behind you. You are also right that nobody's day is perfect!

  2. I would also have hired a second photographer – after the wedding I thought "Hey, I should have hired a college student to keep guests busy with family photos while we were out getting our photos done!"

    Also, I almost cut the receiving line, but my hubby wanted to do it, so we did. I'm so glad we did! We had people who had to leave right after the ceremony, and if we didn't do a receiving line, we would have not talked to them.

    • We do have a lot of great shots of our guests but none of them watching the ceremony or cake cutting etc. It makes sense why because naturally our photographer was capturing us doing those things but it would have been nice to see our guests seeing us do things … if that makes any sense at all?

      We only had one guest who left right after the ceremony but due to the sheer volume of guests (we had 124) it was just impossible to greet everyone individually at the reception because they were so spread out. I actually reviewed our guest list after the wedding and reached out to the five people who I literally did not exchange a word with to apologize.
      They were all very gracious about it and it made me feel way better about things.

  3. I'm not exactly sure what a receiving line is or where it usually fits in to a wedding, but it sounds time consuming and awful! I guess it's a regional thing?

    This is having me check myself re: my instructions to the photographer, which were "lots of candids, limited posed." I think I'll ask her opinion and let her be my guide – she knows my personality enough and I trust her indefinitely! Thanks for this post.

    • A receiving line is where, typically right after the ceremony, the couple stands right outside the door and greets every guest individually as they exit. It is definitely time consuming which is why we nixed it BUT having one would have meant that we actually got to greet every guest and exchange at least a few words. Without the receiving line we did miss out on seeing some people which really bothered me.

      Our instructions to our photographer were the same. Don't get me wrong, I love our candid photos so much but looking back even a quick half hour with just the two of us would've made me happier in the end. Glad you found this useful! 🙂

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