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The one thing “dream wedding” doesn’t quite infer is that it takes a lot of time (couples spend, on average, one to two hours a day planning) and a lot of money ($37,000 on average). That’s way too much moolah and hours of your life to have regrets over one big party. Since hindsight is 20/20, we talked to real brides about their biggest mistakes so you don’t make the same ones.

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Twenty20

“I had a very specific idea of what I wanted for my wedding, and wish I had communicated my desires more instead of being overly concerned that I was coming across as a ‘bridezilla.’” - Jorie B.

“Indulging any family members in their drama. I wish I had ignored that more and focused on the joy of the day.” - Meera S.

“I wouldn't have spent the first seven months of planning trying to please every single person but me. Huge mistake.” - Portia D.

“Having my thinnest friend pick the bridesmaid dress with me. Gorgeous dress, but not on everyone.” - Dabee K.

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“We did family photos after the ceremony and I missed my whole cocktail hour. Regret that to this day!” - Allie K.

“We didn't get the right combo for pictures. I wish we had written down a list of what we wanted and given it to the photographer ahead of time.” - Kei R.

“Not looking behind me in family photos is my biggest regret. I didn't realize we were in front of a buffet table. Even though the room was pretty, we have glasses and serving trays as the background.” - Julie G.

“My biggest regret was trying to save money by asking friends to help out. We asked a friend to be our videographer…which he interpreted as photographer, so we didn't get any videos of the speeches, our first dance, etc. The lesson learned: Make sure you're super clear about what you want even if you’re asking for favors.” - Alexia D.

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“Freaking out over the details. Nobody will remember the confetti packets you created by hand.” - Rachel A.

“Worrying so much about seeing every guest that I didn't get to spend very much time with my new husband.” - Tori D.  

“Not eating enough. Even though every bride warns you about this. We had amazing food and I barely ate any. I did get cake, though—nothing will keep me from the dessert table.” - Nancy E.

“We had over 250 guests, which turned out to feel like a lot more people than I realized. So there were definitely people at my wedding that I didn't get to talk to. There's definitely an advantage to small weddings!” - Brittany E.

“I wish I had been able to connect in some way with more people at the reception. We had a non-traditional reception at a forest preserve and didn't do the table-to-table thing. I didn't even think about that. We just talked to anyone who approached us and ended up getting trapped in a few long conversations with some people and never even getting to speak to a bunch of others.” - Andrea C.

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“My lovely grandfather officiated our wedding and led a 60-minute ceremony. Love him to death, but my mother-in-law, who fainted, wasn’t so in love with the ceremony.” - Rebecca F.

“I should have had someone hold my lipstick for me, never reapplied.” - Ellen P.

“I wish I had worn a more comfortable dress. I wound up changing into another dress so I could dance.” - Emma M.

“If you're providing the alcohol, check it over multiple times to make sure you've got everything, especially your favorite drink—we forgot a full bottle of bourbon in our apartment.” - Lauren F.

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Twenty20

“Winging my speech...after several drinks.” - Erin I.

“Straight up: Don’t do shots at your own wedding. Learned that the hard way.” - Mara A.

“You mean other than my wedding being at the Wilshire Wedding Chapel, located right next to a barber shop specializing in cheap fades?” - Dana D.

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