One Year On: What I Learned From My Wedding

Contributor Amanda Betts looks back her big day: moments she loved and what she'd change.

  • Story by Photo Stephen Tilley & Words Amanda Betts

You might remember Amanda Betts from her pre-wedding Brides-to-Be blog series. Here, she looks back her big day: moments she loved and what she'd change. 

Didn’t 2014 fly by? Like, really. Where did it go? If you’re anything like me, and many of our friends, it was quite the challenging year, energy-wise. It wasn’t our best year. I mean I try to be quite spiritual and grateful and all, but truth is it was quite torturous.Thank goodness I had my wife standing by my side for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. Because I took a massive leap of faith and left the company I co-founded in Red11 Models just before I got married (I don’t recommend such pressure). My wife, in the meantime, had two major back surgeries. Nice one. So yeah, we looked at each other a few times and thought, ‘It wasn’t this hard before we were married…’

Regrets? I don’t do regrets. I do ‘learn from what I could have done better’, or got downright wrong. If I could adjust a few things from the big day? Absolutely. 

So what did I waste time sweating about? 

Whether to get a car or not. We didn’t get a car. Why did I invest so much time tossing it up?

The amount of food – The Wharf’s The Collective knew what they were doing, and they delivered beyond my dreams. That also goes for table settings and favours by the amazing Richard Stott of MOR, our florists, our celebrant … hand over as much to the experts as you possibly can.  Let go of that steering wheel you’re gripping for dear life onto and ‘throw it to the Gods’.

What others would think – whether people would be impressed enough. People have their opinions on how a wedding went, and it seems there’s always something about weddings to critique. But opinions are just that. So don’t think about others. This is your day, so do it your way. Put your foot down, and if you’re a little dramatic, be dramatic. It’s a really big deal and you want it to go really well. Of course you’re going to get a little stressy sometimes!

So what would I do differently? 

Cake: we didn’t get to cut our beautiful cake (we did enjoy it the next night on New Years Eve, though).

The first dance: we missed that, too. Speeches went on a tad long. But man, were some of them funny! The Irish father-in-law went places only an Irishman can. There were a lot of people to thank for the day, and it was a really emotional time for so many reasons. Take high emotions into account, and reiterate to people speaking they have to keep it reasonably brief. 

The photobooth. Everyone was well on the way by the time we were ready for the photobooth so antics and people made for fascinating pics. And because the whole schedule was pushed out, the photobooth guy was pressuring us that he had to leave. Make sure your photobooth person doesn’t have another gig to go to. It’ll be worth the few extra dollars. 

Spend time on the photos. I had a great and experienced friend of mine do our photos. But I was so aware of being with everyone, the wind picked up and it clouded over, and trying to get everyone just right for the photos ended up being a bigger a challenge than I was prepared for. Hailing from the modeling and fashion industry for 29 years, just because I know what to do for photos, I was reminded that most people don’t. But because I was one of the ‘stars of the show’, I couldn’t direct people and be in the pictures at the same time. Torture. 

Everyone wants to be close to you. That’s wonderful, as we (generally) love our family and friends. But trying to spend time with everyone is tricky. So try and enjoy the moments as they occur (back to that mindfulness), because it’s a day jam-packed with a tapestry of beautiful moments. 

If I had a few tips for money best spent? Food. But then we, and most of our friends and family, are foodies. It was our gift of generosity to our friends and family who had all played their part in helping us get there. 

Videography. Garth Badger of Thievery Studios did our videography, and I was wondering how we could manage it all financially. But it was so well worth the money. I love how videography captures energy and the spirit of the day. Having video is priceless.

Most importantly, you cannot bring your day back. Even if you renewed your vows, it’s not the same as your wedding day.  I think sometimes we need to take the ‘helicopter view’ – step back and up and look down on your day, the people, what’s happening and the joy and love of the event. Then come back down to earth and lap up every precious moment of it.  

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