Wedding Planning Q&A

If I Could Do It All Again… with Gillian Johnston, Kathryn Goddard and Alwyn Thomas

September 13, 2019

If I could do it all again… get married that is! Join our round table chat on how we’d do things differently today! Don’t risk having Wedding Day regrets!

We recently asked a few of our Wedding Supplier buddies to chime in on what they would consider changing about their Wedding Days if they could go back in time and do it all again. Here are the rather surprising results…

As you can see, the results are REALLY varied. Everyone experiences something different on their Wedding Day. Use this as a basis for really drilling down into what matters most to you. Pay close attention to areas where the biggest regrets are found and double down on your Wedding Planning in these areas specifically. There’s no such thing as over planning and exploring ALL your options is consistently the best way to make sure you get everything you dreamed of having, in the way you imagined having it!

A massive thank you to the following Wedding Suppliers for sharing in this research with us:

Kathryn Goddard, Capture This Moment

Selina Allan, Mission Hair

Jodie Henshall, Jodie Gearing Bespoke Jewellery Design

Yvonne Beck, Bilingual Wedding Celebrant

Gillian Johnston, Scots Celebrant

Michelle Taylor, The Funky Celebrant

Alwyn Thomas, Your Wedding Songs

Paul Roland Williams, Wedding Photographer

Carina Ioannou, Love / Life Photography

Jenny Rowlands, Wedding Photographer

Lynz Crichton, Wedding Song Writer / Singer

Chris Howells Makeup

Clare Hartland-brown, Betty Bee Bakes

Fiona Kelly, Wedding Photographer

Lisa Bourne, Humanist Wedding Celebrant

Dara Rollins, DJR Weddings & Events

Roberto Revilla, Bespoke Menswear

Sylvia Pearson, Eco Blooms


We also put a round table chat together to drill into some of the more specific ideas surrounding what we would change about our Weddings. When the stats become stories, amazing truths are shared and there are some stunning learning outcomes here. Enjoy!

Listen to Gillian, Kathryn and Alwyn on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Gillian Johnston, Scots Celebrant

Kathryn Goddard, Capture This Moment

Alwyn Thomas, Your Wedding Songs


James [00:00:05] Hey guys thanks so much for joining me. 

Alwyn [00:00:08] Hello. 

Gillian [00:00:08] Hello. 

Kathryn [00:00:08] Hi! 

James [00:00:11] So just before I get to introductions about who these amazing people are, I just want to kind of frame what we’re going to talk about today. And that is that obviously everybody knows that a wedding day can’t be repeated – it’s a one off. So it’s really really important to do as much research as is humanly possible to find out what’s available. Are there any alternatives? Are there better alternatives? Are there things you don’t know about? And that’s what we encourage all Brides and Grooms to do. And it’s basically right at the heart of Wedding Espresso.

Making sure that we basically look under every single stone up and down the country to try to find everything that’s out there for you guys so you can have the most amazing wedding day possible. 

James [00:00:57] Now what happens and what has happened in the past is us, we probably didn’t have access to the amazing resources that you have access to today. I mean a lot of us didn’t even have the Internet. So things have changed massively over the years. And of course when you don’t do the due diligence (that’s a lot of “D’s”) then you end up having regrets or things that you wish you could go back on and have done differently.

And my Grandpa did tell me that if he could change anything about his wedding, he would have had it filmed. But the technology didn’t exist. 

James [00:01:37] I was thinking about this myself, if I could go back and change anything about our wedding. It would actually be my wedding ring. I had a chat with a fantastic guy, Mark Fenn, he’s been with us for many, many, many months now producing videos with us, and he makes bespoke rings. Well he actually lets the couples make each other’s wedding rings in his workshop, which is such an incredible experience.

My wedding ring was bespoke, but I didn’t have any hand in it and neither did Rachel. And I just think that’s an experience that we would have loved, perhaps it just wasn’t available or we didn’t know about it when we got married. 

James [00:02:15] So these guys here today are joining me to basically share the things about their weddings that they would change if I could invent a time machine for them and send them back. What would they have done differently? Or what would they tweak to make it even more special? It’s not meant to be really “what do I regret?” so much as,

“I know a little bit more now, I’m a little bit older, I’m a little bit wiser. How would I have done things slightly differently or would I have made alternative choices?”

James [00:02:45] So joining me today is Gillian Johnston from Scots Celebrant. If you wanna give us a wave Gill. Hi! 

Gillian [00:02:50] Hello! 

James [00:02:50] She’s an independent celebrant for weddings. And we’ve also got Kathryn Goddard from Capture This Moment, she is a photographer. 

Kathryn [00:02:59] Hi.

James [00:03:00] Hi Kathryn! And we’ve got Alwyn Thomas from Your Wedding Songs who is a bespoke writer of wedding songs. So I’m actually going to start with you Gill. Do you want to share your little anecdote with us. 

Alwyn [00:03:12] Hi.

Gillian [00:03:13] Right. My thing that I would love to change now with hindsight is to have a greater sense of control over what was going on.

Obviously as an independent celebrant now, I know that you don’t have to follow straight paths. You don’t have to take the church route, or take the registrar’s route.

When we were getting married he was coming from a staunch Italian Catholic family. I’m coming from a staunch Scottish Free Kirk family! The long and short of it was we ended up doing an awful lot of compromising. We actually got married in the Glasgow University’s Chapel. With not only a Catholic Priest but a Church of Scotland Minister to keep both sides of the family happy. 

Gillian [00:04:07] The result was… it kept everybody happy, but there was nothing to do with us, and it became a bit too big. It was something that you felt you were doing by rote. We were given vows to say because it was to fall within specific parameters. It was the Priest that actually led the main part of it, so it was working within the Roman Catholic parameters.

And we were given specific vows which we were given a few weeks in advance. So we just learned them and all we did was just reel this off. And it had absolutely no meaning. 

Gillian [00:04:44] So what I would love to do now, if I ever wanted to renew vows or take a plunge or do something again, would be to actually turn around and say right “No this is definitely going to be our vision. How we do it and how we say it”. It’s going to be standing… if we want to be halfway up a hill, if we want to be knee deep in the water, wherever we happen to be, that’s it. 

Gillian [00:05:09] I mean at the time leading up to the wedding we kept on saying look let’s just do it. We’re on the islands up in the Hebrides so we thought, “we could do this right here, right now” . But we couldn’t because we were boxed in.

So yeah, what I would do is turn up and say “no, this is our day, it’s got nothing to do with anybody else. We want you to come, we want you to enjoy the experience, but back off. This is how we’re going to envision it. And it is going to be all the better for that”. 

Gillian [00:05:39] And then we would feel that was true to who we were because we just felt very peripheral the whole day. It was quite a strange situation being disconnected from it. You get nerves and all the rest of it but yeah, I just felt terminally disconnected. So yeah I would like to have it more reflecting who I am. Haha heaven help them. 

James [00:05:59] And I think that really speaks to your role nowadays doesn’t it. Because obviously all you do is make bespoke ceremonies for people that are all about the couples.

Gillian [00:06:13] That’s it! I run the gauntlet now, people turn around and say

“well my mother, my father, my you know, we’ve been told we’ve got to do this” No you don’t!!! And if anybody was to argue, and you can’t argue with them, I’ll do it for you! I can be nice. But you know yeah I’m going to protect you and it’s going to be what you want.

And you know there will be compromises obviously but at the end of the day it’s the vision that’s got to be the beating heart of everything I do now. 

James [00:06:38] Absolutely fantastic. Thank you for sharing. 

James [00:06:42] So Kathryn would you like to share your little anecdote with us. 

Kathryn [00:06:50] Yes.

Well I’ve been married for 23 years this year and I suppose because technology has changed so much, the one thing that I look back on is my photographs, and that’s the one thing I would have changed, is my photographs.

And actually have a more comprehensive record of the day and the people that were actually involved in that. 

Kathryn [00:07:14] So all I’ve got are my formal group shots, because that’s how photgraphers worked in those days. So you know it’s going back to the days of when it was film. We didn’t have the capability of actually photographing thousands of photographs like I do now.

But in actual fact there’s so many moments of that day that I don’t have a record of and obviously people that are no longer with us as well. So we have very limited photographs.

I’ve got my formal group shots and about three photographs of me and my husband. But there’s nothing during the Ceremony, nothing capturing just those moments. So that’s the one thing I would change, but then obviously technology needed to have been in place for us to do that. 

James [00:08:05] Of course at the time they were 20 exposure rolls of film or something, so you didn’t get that much. 

Kathryn [00:08:10] And you booked your photographer by how many rolls of film you wanted them to take!

James [00:08:18] Of course. 

Kathryn [00:08:18] You were limited. The photographs I have are treasured memories but there’s so much of the day that you miss and you don’t see, and I think actually it would be really nice to have had a much more detailed record of that day. 

James [00:08:37] It’s even applicable today I think because when Brides and Grooms are considering the total cost of their weddings, everyone has a different priority. And I think Film and Photo particularly, they live somewhere in the future, the value of them.

And I think it’s so easy to say “well let’s just have up to the ceremony filmed or photographed”. Or “let’s just have up to the speeches”. Or cut it off at some point and then lose all of those other pictures which you will treasure for the rest of your life.

So it’s a really valid point, it’s a really good story and I think it’s still kind of valuable today. 

Kathryn [00:09:25] Yeah I think it is. 

James [00:09:28] And it’s also really interesting to know that you’ve become a photographer. And the thing that you would change is the photography. There’s a pattern emerging! It’s kind of interesting. And again thank you also for sharing with us. 

James [00:09:44] Cool, so Alwyn.  What’s the thing that you would change if you could change anything? 

Alwyn [00:09:51] I totally agree, photographs and video. I mean I got married 30 and a bit years ago. So yeah technology was different.

But it’s the photographs and the video. That’s the thing that you will sit down and look at in years to come. Those are the things that you use to show your children and your grandchildren what a great day you had. So they really need to be optimised. 

Alwyn [00:10:16] And I think back at my wedding, the photographs were posed, that’s what they did in those days. You didn’t have the artistry that you get today with photographers where they’re snapping people on the move, they’re catching emotions, they’re catching the spirit of the day. That just wasn’t done years ago.

So I think make sure you get the right photographer who’s funky enough for you.

It’s great to have colour or black and white, which is an option I never had when we got married. I love all the silhouette shots that you get these days, the shots with the sparklers where they are spelling out words, and somehow there’s a photograph – that’s amazing. So yeah it’s the photo and the video that you will cherish in years to come. Do not forget that and get that right. 

James [00:11:10] Was video an option for you Alwyn or was that outside of the …..

Alwyn [00:11:16] Yeah it was, but the videographer had this camera on his shoulder that was the size of a small house. And he was walking with a limp, I mean that was back in the days of when the kit was cumbersome. 

James [00:11:36] Fantastic. Well thank you very much. 

James [00:11:41] Right guys well thank you for your honesty, your candidness. I’m sure we all appreciate it.

There’s a lot to be learned from asking wedding suppliers if you could change something about your wedding what would it be? Because I think everybody has a story. Most of us have been through that process and lived with it for decades.

And you know we change as people over time. And I think our opinions of things change. And the one thing that I’ve sort of brought forward from my Grandpa is the photo and the video. Like Alwyn was saying, and Kathryn, it’s really important to have that solid record to be able to share with your future generations. Great. Well that’s been awesome, really, really enjoyed having you today. So thank you all for sharing. Really appreciate that. 

Kathryn [00:12:29] Thank you. 

Gillian [00:12:29] Thank you. 

Alwyn [00:12:29] Thank you.

James [00:12:29]  We will speak to you all soon. Thanks again. Bye bye. 

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