Survey Reveals the 10 Biggest Wedding Regrets

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Wedding couple
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If wedding bells are in your future, you’re probably in the thick of planning for the big day. Save money and minimize disappointment by avoiding these 10 things that couples say are their biggest regrets.

Regret No. 1: Overspending on the venue

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EverQuote, an online insurance marketplace, surveyed 500 people between the ages of 21 to 39 who have been married within the past five years. The biggest financial regret for these respondents was paying so much for the venue. Among those surveyed, 36 percent say they would spend less if they could do it all over again.

“The wedding venue, flowers and decorations may be among the most fleeting items,” says Amy Danise, spokesperson for EverQuote. That may explain why all those things topped the list of items on which couples wished they’d spent less.

Regret No. 2: Not spending enough on photos and videos

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On the other hand, many couples regretted not spending more on photography or videos. Nearly 30 percent told EverQuote they wish they’d spent more on this aspect of the wedding. Meanwhile, only 19 percent would have spent less on photography.

“This suggests that money for photos and video is well spent, likely because they help provide lasting memories once the big day is long over,” Danise says.

Regret No. 3: Blowing the budget

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While a quarter of those surveyed told EverQuote they spent less than expected on their wedding budget, nearly half — 49 percent — said they spent more. For 25 percent of the people who went over budget, the damage amounted to $1,000 to $5,000. However, 3 percent said the final bill was more than $20,000 higher than they planned.

Regret No. 4: Having someone important miss the big day

Sad woman looks out the rainy window.
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Not all wedding regrets have to do with money, and not all can be avoided. Twenty-three percent of respondents to the EverQuote survey said the biggest problem with their wedding was that someone important couldn’t attend because of an illness or injury.

Regret No. 5: Letting long-winded people have the microphone

Wedding toast speech
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In 2014, David’s Bridal asked newly married women what they wish had been different about their big day. Nearly 1 in 4 said they regretted handing over the microphone to someone who droned on and on. In hindsight, they wished they had told those speaking to keep their comments short and sweet.

Regret No. 6: A no-show vendor

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It seems a given that something is bound to go wrong on a big day. For 13 percent of those responding to the EverQuote survey, that thing was a vendor who didn’t show up for the wedding. Another 13 percent said one of their vendors went out of business before the ceremony.

Vetting vendors carefully and choosing those with a long track record of customer satisfaction could go a long way to avoiding this regret. If it should still happen to you, wedding insurance may compensate for lost deposits.

Regret No. 7: Inviting the wrong number of guests

DJ/sound board set up at a wedding reception where guests dance
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Jeweler Dana Rebecca Designs asked 2,000 people married in 2010 if there was anything they flat-out regretted about their wedding. Of the 43 percent who said yes, 20 percent pointed to guests as the problem.

However, couples were evenly split when it came to whether they had too many or too few guests. While 41 percent wished they had invited more people, another 41 percent said they would put fewer names on the guest list if they had to do it all over again. Meanwhile, 18 percent said their regret was not inviting different people.

Regret No. 8: Trying to make everything perfect

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Wedding website Zola surveyed 500 engaged and newlywed couples this year and found that the experience of wedding planning is almost universally stressful. Overall, 96 percent of respondents said wedding planning stressed them out, and 86 percent experienced three or more stress-induced symptoms such as headaches, anxiety and hair loss.

Why is wedding planning so stressful? Couples pointed to perfection as being one of the top three reasons. “Couples may feel a lot pressure to make everything perfect,” says Danise, the EverQuote spokeswoman. Although easier said than done, accepting that everything won’t be perfect could go a long way to reducing stress and improving the experience of the big day.

Regret No. 9: Having a traditional wedding

Couple at a wedding
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Some brides regret everything about their wedding. Among those surveyed by Dana Rebecca Designs, 19 percent of those with regrets wished they had eloped rather than making their nuptials a big production.

Regret No. 10: Not enjoying the day more

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This may be the saddest regret of all. According to the Dana Rebecca Designs survey, 47 percent of those who had wedding day regrets wished they had enjoyed the day more.

So if you’ll be saying “I do” this summer, don’t forget that you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself, not party planning for your guests. Kick up your heels, roll with the punches, and make it a day to remember.

Do you have regrets about your wedding or memories from attending a poorly planned wedding? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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