Real Newlyweds Reveal What They'd Change About Their Wedding

Including how they'd spend their money differently

Updated 04/03/18

Melissa Marshall

"Your wedding is supposed to be the best day of your life." How many times have you heard that? Any newlywed knows that some of the stress of wedding planning comes from a feeling that everything has to be perfect. There are expectations from family and friends and traditions that take over when all you really want to do is celebrate your love for your partner.

What if we told you that you could go through all that stress, plan meticulously, and still wish you could do things differently? Well, you certainly wouldn't be alone. Dana Rebecca Designs asked over 2,000 newlyweds (married between 2010 and now) how they felt about their weddings—and what they would change if given the chance. The answers might surprise you.

Budgeting and Planning

When asked if they would change anything, 75 percent said they would—and women were 21 percent more likely to have ideas for changes. The planning stress was so much for some couples that 19 percent said they "should have just eloped." A reminder that if you're not about the big party, an intimate celebration can be just as special.

If these couples could go back in time, a reallocation of funds would be in order, too. The survey found that there were five top spending regrets.

Respondents wish they would have splurged more on the honeymoon, the rings, and the photographer. In terms of overspending, couples would have reined in their budgets for the dress and invitations.

Of course, those are personal choices, but you should be intentional about spending your money the way you want to, not the way you think you have to. Interestingly, 50 percent said they would have saved some of their wedding budget for the future. A wedding is more than just the most expensive party you'll ever throw; it's also the start of a new chapter in your relationship, and one that could lead to home ownership, children, and other major financial burdens that come as you invest more in your life together.

The Big Day

When asked if there's anything they "flat out regret" about their weddings, 43 percent answered 'yes'. Stress levels were high: 58 percent said they were stressed at the wedding. Luckily, though, the same percentage said they enjoyed the wedding. An even larger group—72 percent of respondents—said they would describe their wedding day as one of the best days of their life.

For many couples, the guest list can either be a breeze or a total nightmare. About 41 percent of respondents would invite more people—the same proportion that would invite fewer if they got a do-over.

The respondents were split about wedding party, though. They had an average of 8 people in the wedding party, but 36 percent said they should have asked more friends and 30 percent said they'd ask fewer. Surprisingly, 34 percent said they should have invited different friends.

Gifts were another important area for these couples. While only 18 percent said they were not happy with their registry, women were 52 percent more likely to answer that way than men. They raked in a good amount of dough, though. Monetary gifts totaled $500 to $2,000 for 33 percent of respondents. A lucky 2 percent got a total of $10,000 to $25,000. That should cover any issues with the registry, right?

The Demographic

It's important to note that most of the respondents had fairly modest weddings. About 70 percent spent less than $25,000. They got a lot of bang for their buck, though, because only 41 percent had fewer than 50 guests, where 31 percent had 51-100, 21 percent had 100-200, and 7 percent had more than that. Kudos to them for wrangling a long guest list!

It's no wonder so many of the respondents were stressed even as the wedding unfolded; 40 percent said family or friends were the biggest influence on their wedding planning decisions. Remember: even though celebrating with friends and family is a big part of your wedding day, not everyone gets a say in your choices.

Take it from these newlyweds: do everything you can to make your wedding events all about you as a couple—your journey, your personalities, and all your favorite things. No one is more of an expert on that than the two of you.

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