Recently, I noticed wedding sizes have shrunk. Between people canceling last minute and costs to fly “back home” becomimg prohibitive, many have to err on the side of caution and stick with a budget rather than with guest counts. Also, and in my opinion, not a lot of people are 100% looking forward to spending 10k to 25k on a wedding instead of spending it on themselves. Who would? Many don’t realize how they have been conditioned by their elders to want a big wedding because it is a sign of prestige and power or a way to tout their children did “the right thing”. Sad though because weddings used to be an intimate gathering and the ultimate block party and now they have become glorified sweet sixteens or are sold as “the bride’s big day”. Hint: It’s not just about the bride and never was, the groom counts too, and trust me you will have better days in your marriage than the wedding day. That’s the whole point of getting married: to spend a lifetime making greater memories together. (Like kids and college degrees.)
Society has turned weddings into an industry. The original intent of throwing a party to fundraise for the couple, donating services and gifts to ensure their financial success, has gone by the wayside. The celebration of love is manipulated into this big affair where the guest is the priority. Weddings were never about the dress or the flowers, they were about the marriage and about the honeymoon destination and duration as you need time as spouses to enjoy each other and become a new family – detached from the families of origin. The wedding should be about you two not the guest list! If you are catering to a guest, parent or just to yourself and not your spouse, you are doing it wrong too.
Growing together as a new family will always be a better investment than flowers, roast beef and chocolate tiered cake. Looking back – hindsight is 20/20 – I would have enjoyed more spending 5k at Les Champs Elysee on a shopping spree than on a wedding. I felt I was making others rich at my expense and with the excuse that it had to be done because wedding. Throughout the process of planning the event I realized that one must learn to stop bending over backwards to please parents and friends. If they don’t like the way the wedding turned out they won’t like the way you run your marriage. But you know what? Tough luck! It is your marriage, yours to mess up and doesn’t require their approval or guardianship! It is hard to do but we can break the cycle and challenge old traditions in order to create our own. Any reasonable parent will come to realize that you are an adult and that your decision is your prerogative.
Dare to throw a small destination wedding and make it official halfway across the world. Let the guests decide if they want to treak over there. Hate Aunt Gertrude? Don’t invite her! Mom’s guilt trip shouldn’t stop you. Buy the Louboutins or the nice suit and wear the 10k dress to a courthouse wedding. Your dad’s boss doesn’t need to witness your day, neither do 300 peep. Hire an excellent photographer and make your friends jealous of your Bali ceremony. It’s a commitment you make on your own and under your own volition. Sharing it with your guests won’t make it any more successful or satisfying. That’s the first myth. The guests are invited so they feel obligated to give a gift. Look up the definition and texts on wedding etiquette and you will be amazed to learn that the only time you are obligated to send a gift even if you don’t attend is for weddings. So there, you can ask for gifts without throwing a humongous party. A bridal shower will do. You’d be surprised at how a nice potluck and BBQ can go a long way to tell your fans how much you love them and how grateful you are for their support. Win-win.
Whether it is wedding #1 or #1000, make it about you and your future spouse. Don’t waste time combining colors or arguing with bridesmaids. Run with the most cost effective options. Focus on what you and your partner want out of life. Skip the reception and buy the house. Ask for donations to the honeymoon. Take back the wedding and make it yours. Marriage isn’t about pleasing others, it is about sharing your life with the person you chose to love, support and care for during the rest of your life. No one cares if your party was the best. The guests will eat the food, drink the beverages, criticize your event and move on. The only thing that survives the test of time is the pictures, so please, splurge in this area and cut guests instead. iPads in the middle of the aisle way and guests taking selfies is not what you want to remember about the day you married your soulmate. Customize and enjoy your day without putting the guests first. It’s a personal experience regardless of what people say and many of these people won’t survive the marriage.
Take it from me. I hated my traditional wedding day with a passion, still do, because everyone fought me tooth and nail to make it about them and not me. It was up to my husband to remind me the day was just an act that was required of us to make things official. We’ve had better days in Prague and Tokyo instead to make up for the wedding memories. Glad to say that I am still happily married 8 years later but I am still butthurt about not getting a honeymoon for the sake of the pomp and circumstance. Ugh. Follow this advice and I guarantee you won’t regret it. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. 😀