4 Big Wedding Mistakes Everyone Makes
You’re engaged! Amazing!
Take a quick minute to consider what you want your wedding to be like.
Let me guess - a beautiful party, your wonderful friends and family eating and laughing and dancing, perfect outfits… Shouldn't planning the wedding be as lovely?
Wedding planning can be hellish, really hellish. It can cause tension in your beautiful romance, and leave you stressed and irritable. But it doesn't have to be - not if you’re smart.
Here are the top four mistakes people make and how to avoid them!
1. Falling for the dumb gender myths
There’s a persistent myth that every woman has been dreaming about her wedding since she was in utero, and she's marrying a man who is cluelessly along for the ride (goodness only knows what happens when two women marry each other, or there are no women in the marriage at all!)
Sometimes it seems like every wedding mag is aimed squarely at a female audience - which is fine, I suppose, if you’re a woman (and you want to do all the work). You only have to read a few articles with helpful hints like “get your guy involved! He could choose bowties for the groomsmen!” to realise how bad things are (what about the 1,000 other things to do!).
These dumb gender myths leave one person exhausted and the other excluded from something that’s actually really exciting.
Let’s be clear - wedding planning can be lovely, but it is WORK. It’s not easy - and no one has an innate capacity for choosing a floral arrangement or coordinating vendors. This is basic decency: don’t let your partner shoulder too much of the burden, and don’t be a hero and do it all alone - your true love is also very capable!
Sit down right at the beginning of the planning process and map out what needs to be organised. Work out a budget together, and then divide tasks by interest and skill (maybe one of you loves spreadsheets, and one is happy to scroll through endless photos or listen to endless tunes in the search for the perfect band).
Just make sure the workload is shared fairly or there’s a risk of resentment, stress and anxiety (or a wedding with a weird ugly theme you would never have chosen if you were involved)!
2. GIVING YOURSELF TOO MANY OPTIONS
When you think about organising your wedding, you’re probably making long lists of every kind of vendor - 10 photographers, 10 florists, 10 Djs, 10 celebrants…. It seems logical that having a lot of great options to choose between would make you happier right? Well, maybe not!
Recent research suggests that when we’re overwhelmed with choices, we end up less satisfied than we would be if we had fewer options. People who spend a lot more time and energy to reach a decision often end up anxious about whether they’re actually making the best choice.
When there are lots of options to consider, it is easy to imagine the attractive features of the alternatives that you reject (what if a stretch hummer would fit more people? What if we’re actually Limo people not Bentley people? Should we have gone with the Kombi with no seat belts?). This makes you less satisfied with the decision you’ve made.
On the other hand, people who make a decision once their minimum criteria are met (“they’re only the second pair I’ve tried, but these shoes are super stylish AND comfortable!”) tend to be a lot more satisfied. This doesn’t mean settling for mediocrity - your minimum criteria can be quite high - but as soon as you find the outfit, venue, photographer with the qualities you’re after, lock it in! Because science!
3. Focusing too much on the perfect day (at the expense of an amazing day)
Pinterest has a lot to answer for. There are so many beautiful, whimsical, elegant, endless endless endless options for… everything.
It’s so easy to fall victim to the “perfect day” story - and work yourself into a frenzy trying to make it happen. (Not to mention how disappointed you’ll be if anything goes wrong). Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
With a limitless budget and a team of helpers you could plan the event of the century. Assuming you don't have these resources, try to keep this in mind: you two and your lovely relationship are the only important things.
Having beautiful details is nice - but certainly not worth stressing over. And frankly - how many people do you think will notice the cute little burlap napkin holders that you spent 3 days hot-glueing lace onto?
Try to keep your eye on the prize. Sort out the big stuff that will make a difference to how much YOU enjoy the day - the right florist can transform a room (no hot glue required), a venue with a great menu to keep your tummies full, and a DJ to get your friends on the dance floor. Hire people whose work you trust, and relax while you let them do what you hired them for.
Choose the things that matter most to you, and ignore all the rest!
4. Sticking to traditions that seem weird to you
By all means embrace the traditions you love - break some glasses, wear some henna, dance with drummers, light some candles - but don’t feel obligated to stick to the rest - especially if you don’t like it! If you just do what you think you're supposed to, you’re at risk of having a wedding that says nothing about who you are.
Not into honouring and obeying? Would rather your mum walk you down the aisle (or that there be no aisle at all)?
There are lots of traditions that have a pretty creepy past if you look into it: if having your dad present you to your spouse who lifts your veil to symbolically consummate the marriage (!) seems a little - ahem - old fashioned, feel free to skip those bits.
If there are some things that are really important to your families, definitely hear them out - there might be a way that you can incorporate the bits that are important to them without sacrificing your broader plan. (Plus if you seem reasonable they’re more likely to help you with all the planning!).