This is a hard post for me to write b/c I tend to harp on the negative, yet I have issues admitting that I am (gasp!) wrong. However, in order to get it off my chest and/or in the hopes of helping others by learning through my mistakes, here goes (in no particular order).
Practiced smiling/posing and remembered which was my better side. Half of the pictures I look weird in and I've come to realize how I really shouldn't smile. Too bad I realized this after the fact. Perhaps engagement shots would have helped with this?
Packed water (or designated a water carrier). I was parched for most of the day but there was no water to be found. When someone was kind enough to bring some to me, I had a few sips and then the bottle disappeared.
Planned for alone time. I wish that I had spent some alone time with my Dear, even if it was just five minutes. We were always surrounded by people or there were things to take care of so we didn't get to enjoy each other's company until well after everything was done.
Got Dear cuff links. I meant to get Dear a little something as a surprise on the day of but it completely slipped my mind. In one picture, Dear's arm is extended, and he also remarked how he should have worn cuff links. If not for Photoshop, that would be a big DOH!
Researched more DJs/used an iPod. Ugh, I've already ranted about this before and I don't want to go into more.
Got more readers (or spread the reading around). We had one guy do all the English readings, which got repetitive. I totally didn't think of the simple solution of asking the Mandarin-speaking reader to also read one of the English passages (see below about the addled brain).
Packed bobby pins. If I just had one or two with me, I would have felt more comfortable during the ceremony. At the salon, the hairdresser gave BM a bunch of bobby pins to hold for me but it was not until the banquet when I got a moment to rest a little was I able to finally pin up the strands of hair that were bothering me.
BM dresses. Hrmm... where do I begin with this? We got the dresses from a Vera Wang sample sale for dirt cheap. Perhaps that's what clouded my vision because the styles in the colors that I liked were very limited. I actually LOVED the color (a deep red that was shimmery but not too bright to outshine the bride) but not everyone was crazy about the style I chose for them. Alterations were also a huge headache and things happened that I'd rather not repeat. Those close to me (or nosy enough to ask) know, and if you're really curious, I'll tell you in person too. The right way to do this would have been to get input from your BMs, like asking what style of dress they like/are comfortable in general, have them send you pictures of stuff they like, and then make a decision that satisfies everyone based on that, keeping everyone's body type in mind.
Taken medication. I think I needed Prozac, Xanax, Paxil or some other happy pills for that entire week leading up to the wedding. Or maybe the entire month. I couldn't think straight. But I never thought to even go see my doctor any time before the wedding, who later told me that she could have helped me time my monthly cycle, which could have helped with my mood swings (is this TMI?!).
Provided a better day-of timeline. I really wish that we had had time to go to the Staten Island Ferry, but we didn't. I also left a very small window for getting to the church on time, not planning for traffic or getting lost on the way. I hated making everyone wait for me and was embarrassed for doing so. A lot of headache would have been saved had I just gotten ready in the church, which brings me to the next item.
Got ready in the church. True, the church doesn't have the best facilities (not sure they even have a full-length mirror) but it would have made things a lot easier. If I just got ready at the church, I would at least have some pictures of me getting ready -- I was so rushed at the hotel that I just changed on my own and I think I could have used help (certainly extra sets of eyes) with attaching my veil. We also wouldn't have had to travel back and forth between Ctown and the hotel (saving precious time and taking out the wild card of having to travel to the church). This probably doesn't hold true for everyone, but to generalize, think more about convenience than pretty surroundings if it makes planning 10 times easier.
Communicated better. I should have told my parents not to squeeze alongside me when walking me down the aisle. They had no experience with church ceremonies at all so they were probably very lost. I should have communicated everything that everyone needed to know. Also, I'm not sure people had a timeline in their mind (I didn't really either). And let's not go into how badly we communicated with some of our vendors (i.e. DJ).
Translated faster/better or skipped the Chinese part of the programs. This was very aggravating and I've already complained about it before, so I won't again.
Remembered/knew about displaying my train while standing in the front for the ceremony. I didn't realize until I saw pictures that there are no pictures of my train, displayed for all to see. It was just bunched up all in the back (which kinda made it look like it had a fishtail back). I totally forgot about all this until afterwards, when I remembered that in other weddings I had seen the BM adjust the bride's train for best photo ops. In the same vein...
I think my veil looked weird the way I placed it in my hair. I think I should have put the floor length one at the back of my head, under the mass of curls. At minimum, I should have brought the veil to the salon for the hairdresser to put on me but I didn't want the hassle of schlepping all that tulle through the mean streets of Ctown and I couldn't (still can't) think of a good, logistical way to bring it the salon and then to wear it back to the hotel. Again, perhaps this would not have been as big of a problem if I just changed at the church.
Not skimped out on last minute beauty preparations. One example was the nails. I had it all set in my mind to go to the salon and we even had time for it but instead I decided to let a friend do it (see above with the not thinking straight). I really appreciate that she was doing me a favor and it came out quite nice, but for some reason or another my cuticles were extremely dry (sign of poor health?) and kept peeling, which stressed me out a lot. In my endeavors to fix my cuticles, I chipped a few nails. Then when BM re-did my fingers for me at night (preventing an early night), we were so tired and it was late that I rushed to go to bed and smudged a finger in the process. Good thing it wasn't really visible in pictures but unlike me, you'll want to make sure you have picture-perfect nails in case your photographer wants close-ups of the ring or you holding your flowers.
Socialized more with guests. There were times I just felt hermit-like (or was it tiredness?)throughout the day but I should have sucked down a deep breath and gone to greet guests. Thankfully, Dear was pretty good about that but I feel bad for ignoring my guests.
Made a speech with Dear. Dear's the more eloquent and personable one, so it would have been more like me standing next to him as he thanked everyone, but we barely discussed this prior to and of course, on the actual day, we forgot.
Practiced dancing. Our first dance was quite awkward and the song lasted forever. I felt very self-conscious of everyone staring at us as we fumbled around. Dancing with my father was very very weird as well. I think he was lost in it all too (see my communication problems above).
Decided on thank you stationary way ahead of time. We couldn't decide on what to do for thank yous and we had no idea that our parents would want to give out pictures of us along with the thank yous, otherwise I would have just done a photomontage of us on a card from winkflash or something. Instead we did more traditional thank you notes that do not appeal to Chinese folk. Hence, we are big bums in the thank you department -- I feel so bad!
Prepared for my shower. I ignored/forgot all the advice about dressing up kinda nice for the few weekends leading up to the wedding. Instead I was a total slob that day -- it was so embarrassing!
Hung out with family. We didn't go directly on our honeymoon (and the mini-moon itself was quite short) so I had no excuse to not hang out with my cousin and uncle from Indonesia. For all my talk of sightseeing and loving NY, I didn't really do much to show them around. (See above about the poor communication skills.)
Overall, throughout the year or so of being engaged, I think I, unfortunately, became a different person. Being a bride and having all that pressure to do so many things (and to do it well) really changes you and in some ways I was really unreasonable. I think I was quite loopy, and maybe even mean, with a friend of a friend who was helping me out. I regret not being able to control my emotions better.
I wish that I had someone to guide me along, remind me of things. True, I had read a lot of info on what should and should not be done, what to keep in mind, but it all became a jumbled mess in my addled brain. Since I'm one of the first in my circle of friends to get married (what are you guys waiting for?!) and this was a first experience being a BM for all my BMs, I didn't have anyone who had experienced all this to keep me on focused. So I'm passing this on to whoever will read this. Hopefully you'll remember!
Endnote: even though there are a lot of things that I would do differently, I realize that it was just one day of the rest of our lives together and those other days are the more important focus.