If They Could Do It Again…

Local brides reveal what they would’ve done differently on their wedding day.

Writer: Kelsey Batschelet

There’s a lot of pressure on brides these days, from planning the perfect ceremony to capturing Instagram-worthy photos to making sure the cake shows up on time.

Any bride will tell you, however, that no matter how well you plan, you’re never truly in control of your wedding day. 

We asked local brides what they would change about their wedding day if given the chance. Though they all said what mattered most was celebrating their love for their partner, they also all acknowledged there are things they’d do differently—from finding time to relax beforehand to foregoing a wedding altogether in favor of eloping.


Miriam De Dios Woodward

CEO, PolicyWorks

Repurpose Your Flowers

Miriam De Dios Woodward and her husband, Nick, left for their honeymoon the day after their wedding, which meant the majority of their flower arrangements ended up being tossed. “The only thing I would’ve liked to change was having a plan in place to repurpose all of our amazing flowers after the big day,” she says. “I learned after the fact that we could have potentially donated them to a nursing home, homeless shelter or other organizations. I do wish others could have enjoyed our beautiful flowers for a while longer.”


Sophia Ahmad

Senior director of development, MercyOne Des Moines Foundation

Hire a Helping Hand

Sophia Ahmad wed in the Temple for Performing Arts, where she and her groom, John Helmich, both serve on the Des Moines Symphony Academy faculty. “We had a magical day, but if I could tweak one element, I would have hired a day-of coordinator,” she says. “Our cake didn’t show up—fortunately, Glorious Desserts swept in to save the day—and a coordinator managing all aspects of things like catering, audiovisual and traffic flow would have helped me focus even more on our special day.”


Kristin Porter

Blogger at Iowagirleats.com and author

Vet Your Vendors

Kristin Porter wouldn’t change anything about the actual wedding day she shared with husband Ben, but she would change the way it was documented. “I wish we had interviewed more photographers before settling on ours, who we didn’t love,” she says. “Ask the photographer for references so you can call their past clients and ask how their wedding and engagement shoot went. Then see if they’d recommend them.”


Liz Keehner

Program manager, VentureNet Iowa

Elect to Elope

Though Liz Keehner’s wedding day turned out exactly as she and her husband, Logan, wanted, she might not do it again, given the chance. “My husband and I are very low-key, and planning a wedding felt like more of a production than we were interested in—not to mention the cost,” she says. “If there’s one thing I could change about our wedding day, it would be choosing to elope versus having a traditional wedding.”


Hillary Ferry

Senior digital marketing director, Two Rivers Marketing

Consider The Season

A minimalist venue with floor-to-ceiling windows—but no air conditioning—set the scene for Hillary and Adam Ferry’s wedding. “Looking back, I have no regrets about the venue, but I would have moved our wedding date to the spring or fall to make it a little more comfortable for our guests,” she says. 


Erica Axiotis 

Director of development, ChildServe

The More the Merrier

Erica Axiotis’ background in event planning and fundraising meant her wedding went off without a hitch. “Because of my organized planning, I was able to invite a lot of people. We had 300 people at our wedding, but at some point I had to cut the [invitation] list off,” says Axiotis, whose husband is Christopher Axiotis. “I don’t think we left anyone off the list that we wanted to celebrate with us, but if I could go back I might invite even more people, because in the end, the more the merrier!”


Lauren Day

Freelance stylist and designer; blogger at dayshiftblog.com 

Take Time to Relax and Enjoy It All

A DIY-er at heart with a gift for styling, Lauren Day and her husband, Austin, did most of the handiwork when it came to their wedding decorations. “We took on a lot of DIY projects that saved us money, but also demanded a lot of time and decision-making,” she says. “I had planned to have a few weeks off of work before the big day, but I let my employer talk me out of it to help with a project at the 11th hour. The week of the wedding I went from painting a pergola half the size of a football field to my bachelorette party to unloading decorations and furniture to my rehearsal. I wish I had allowed myself the margin of spending more time with my wedding party, getting pampered and just feeling at ease before the big day.”

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