Wedding Planning Expectations and What They Really Mean

Wedding Planning Expectations

Let’s talk about weddings and expectations. You fall in love, get engaged, and then start planning the wedding. There are things that as couples getting married we are expected to do. Brace yourself.

  • Invite everyone you know.
  • Pick an even number of same sex friends for each of you to have standing next to you at the alter in matching outfits.
  • Have an engagement party. Have a bridal shower. And now sometimes a stock the bar party. Don’t forget the actually fun parties: bachelor/bachelorette.
  • Make your parents happy. Make your partner’s parents happy.
  • Have a rehearsal dinner.
  • Flowers must be everywhere.
  • Where a white gown. Have an open bar. And good food. For all 300 of your guests. Have a 3 tier cake.
  • Have a morning after brunch.
  • Oh and I almost forgot the welcome gifts in the hotel room for each of your 300 guests.

What it All Actually Means

Are you overwhelmed yet? I am. I cringed just thinking about ALL THE EVENTS, ALL THE TIME, WITH ALL THE PEOPLE. Yeah. Don’t get me wrong. Getting married is a thing to celebrate but damn, have we complicated and commercialized the hell out of it. I want to take a look at these events and expectations again through a different lens-  let’s read between the lines:

  • Invite everyone you know: this includes everyone your parents have ever met and each of your 50 1st cousins, their children and partners. Your guest list is now 1,200.
  • Bridal party: You are only  allowed your same sex friend and have to have them in even numbers on each side of you at the alter. In matching outfits. This one is self explanatory. It’s just bad.
  • Make all parents happy: This is straight up impossible.
  • Open Bar: But what about so and so the alcoholic…. will they behave? Not to mention venues out in the middle of nowhere with drunk guests leaving to their hotels. Oh and the cost of an open bar for 1,200 people.
  • 3 tier cake: Ok, I can’t argue with cake. Or flowers everywhere, but again I’m thinking about $$$$
  • White gown for the bride: I actually don’t mind this if I ignore the fact that historically its about “purity” and just think about a beautiful dress. But not all women wear dresses. And some would rather wear a different color. Go for it.
  • All the parties and dinners: Some of us are introverts, have limited time off, don’t like our families. In reality these events amount to too much for all of your friends. Keep the bachlor/ette parties and rehearsal dinners and forget the rest.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

But here is something you may not know, you don’t have to do it this way. You can do it all differently. Don’t make decisions based on expectations from anyone. Know that it’s okay to question cultural “norms” even if know one else gets it. I wish someone had told me that 6 years ago while planning my wedding. Listen to your gut/instinct/intuition whatever you want to call it.  You don’t have to have a bridal shower, or any of the parties actually. Bridal showers are overall pretty boring and awkward. I’ve yet to be to a truly fun one. I hate having people watch me open gifts, and I was mortified at mine. Don’t me wrong, I’m grateful for the support and care, but it would be so much better if it could be demonstrated in a way that doesn’t feel forced by ‘tradition’. The rehearsal dinner is worth keeping because feeding friends and family who have come in from out of town and likely (although I say hopefully not) have spent the day setting up your venue, is just a nice thing to do

If the thought of walking down the aisle in front of guests gives you hives, maybe don’t do it? There are so many ways to get married. Elope at the courthouse with no reception. Elope and have dinner with your parents after. Have a private ceremony and a big reception. Have a destination elopement then a ceremony and reception at a later date. Have a destination wedding and reception. Have as many or few guests as you desire. Don’t invite people who cause you emotional harm. Don’t have a bigger/more expensive wedding than you can afford. Certainly don’t go into debt for it. Know that the wedding is as important as you want it to be, but that a healthy marriage is the most important thing.

My desire is to free us all of expectations created by industries to profit from. I want each and every one of you to feel free to make independent choices that enable you to live your best, fullest life. While a wedding is a wonderful thing (if you do it in a way that makes you happy), again, the most important thing is to have a healthy, honest relationship with your partner. That’s what it’s all about, right?!

Tell me about any expectations/norms you had issues with when planning your wedding. I know I’m not alone in this frustration.

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