3 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently at My Wedding

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna the hip suburban wedding tips and inspiration

It’s officially wedding season – and after a few years of wedding madness (I was a bridesmaid in three weddings in 2016 alone), I’m relieved to have zero on my calendar so far this year. Despite my general matrimonial fatigue, I still love reading about weddings. And for you readers who are soon-to-be brides, I wanted to start a series where I share what I’ve learned both through my own wedding and through the many weddings I’ve participated in and attended.

I got married in 2014 (read about it here), and while my wedding was unquestionably the happiest day of my life, there are a few things that I wish I’d done differently throughout the process. So today, I’m sharing the three things I wish I’d done at my wedding.

  1. Explain to certain people why they didn’t score an invite. We had a destination wedding at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a resort in South Carolina where my parents now reside full time. I come from a large family (my mom is the youngest of seven children and I’m the baby of 21 cousins), and event space was both expensive and limited at Palmetto Bluff. All of this translated to a smaller guest list when it came to inviting our friends, and we had to make some tough decisions. There were so many people that I would have loved to have invited if we’d had more space – but it just wasn’t feasible. We had a strict “no ring, no bring” rule for significant others, and I had to exclude some high school and college friends that probably thought they should have been invited. Instead of dealing with all of this head on (I’m pretty averse to conflict), I just didn’t address it – and lost a few friends in the process. I wish I’d taken the time to explain to some of these people what my restrictions were – I’m sure they would have understood, even if they were bummed not to be included in the festivities.
  2. Have a “first look.” I did things the traditional way, and Andrew didn’t see my in my dress until I walked down the aisle. I wanted the first moment he saw me to be special, and my impression of first looks was that they were not. After being a bridesmaid in a few weddings where the first look was done, I now realize that this is a sweet, private moment that a bride and groom get to share before being thrown into the rest of the festivities. Despite the fact that your wedding is about the two of you, private moments are hard to come by once everything gets into full swing. It also would have allowed us to participate in our cocktail hour and not feel rushed to get our 1:1 portraits done before the reception.
  3. Create a shot list.  Now that I run a blog, I’m much more aware of the importance of planning your shots and being specific with your photographer about what you want to capture. A lot of photographers will proactively ask for a shot list, but mine did not. While my photos are gorgeous, there are some missing that I wish I had asked for: a shot of all of our college friends together with our Hamilton flag, a shot of me and my mother alone, etc. My advice would be to spend some time on Pinterest finding the types of photos you love, and make a list of everyone and everything you want to capture. After all, you only get one chance to get it right.

Stay tuned throughout the rest of the season for more of my wedding insights. What would you like to see next?

Photography + Prop Styling: Coco Prop Shop // Hair + Hair Adornments: Phairis Luxury // Makeup: Lina Zuniga // Dress: Mariolkas Bridal Boutique // Jewelry: Katillac Gems // Venue: Social House



  1. Yes, yes, yes! I totally wish I would have done number 2 and 3 now too! It’s funny how we realize all this later. You look gorgeous in this picture by the way!

  2. May 16, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    I wish I would have done the first look too. I love the private moment aspect of it too.


  3. May 17, 2017 / 1:00 am

    Oh man, I completely feel you. There are a few key things I would have done differently, too, if I knew what I know now!

  4. May 17, 2017 / 10:27 am

    I was with you on this first look thing. I thought they were kind of cheesy and a bit stage but now when I see your perspective about how it allows the couple to get some time alone together before the wedding (and a few shots in) I actually love it. While I don’t want anything cheesy or staged I really do think it’s the perfect moment to have some time alone before the craziness begins.

  5. Sandy a la Mode
    May 17, 2017 / 10:36 am

    I love the first look idea! I hope you still enjoyed your day! 🙂

  6. May 17, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    This is such a great idea! I’m not even close to getting married, but you brought up a lot of really great points. I’m Pinning this for the day when I will need to remember these things! Thank you so much!


  7. May 18, 2017 / 11:57 am

    I loved reading your suggestions looking back on your wedding! My parents, too, had a small wedding and similar experience to you. It’s so hard to please everyone in the process! Thanks for sharing your insight. 🙂

  8. May 19, 2017 / 2:04 am

    I can imagine how challenging guest lists are. Hopefully they understood. Maybe a small event after for other friends would be a fun thing to do too.

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