In all my years experience helping brides plan their weddings, and the comments and messages I receive from confused brides-to-be, I’ve seen my fair share of wedding planning myths, fallacies and downright lies!
Whether well-meaning or budget-saving (or advertiser-serving), bad wedding planning advice can lead you astray and add unnecessary stress. To assist, I’ve debunked the most common little lies we tell ourselves while wedding planning (don’t fall for these!)
You have to follow the traditions!
Probably my favourite wedding planning misconception to debunk, this is such an old-fashioned view, and one that need not have a place at your millennial wedding.
Modern couples’ wedding celebrations show they are clearly not afraid to shake up the wedding industry, rejecting all pressures and expectations, dropping outdated customs, utilising technology and social media, and getting creative and unique with everything else. Couples are much more diverse, and paying homage to this blending of backgrounds often means a less orthodox approach to wedding traditions – incorporating different cultures, ethnicities and religions in their own unique and special way.
Personally, we broke all the rules, and make decisions according to what made us happy. See also How to have a feminist wedding.
But it’s MY day, it’s all about ME!
No. Your wedding is NOT all about you. If all you want is a day to revolve around yourself, why bother having wedding guests at all?
By focussing exclusively on what you want, at the expense of everyone else, your poor guests won’t feel comfortable, valued, or necessary – and they certainly won’t enjoy themselves. Why would you do that to the most important and special people in your lives?
Yes, it’s your wedding – but if you want your celebration to bring together your closest friends and families, honour and value their time, effort and expense in being there (being a wedding guest is expensive).
Consider your guests’ enjoyment of the entire day, such as their comfort during and post-ceremony, having adequate seating, shade and beverages, entertainment while you disappear for photos, dietary requirements and considerations for catering, and plenty of food, of course.
It’s always better to be a Bridechilla than Bridezilla
Noone wants to be labelled a Bridezilla, but before you pushh your little white book under the bed and vow to chillax about everything, beware the dangers of being a Bridechilla.
Bridechilla doesn’t worry too much, feel the need to get organised, make lists, or spend a lot of time planning her wedding…
In principle, that might sound great… unless, that is, you’re actually a guest at her disorganised wedding, or worse still, find yourself in the bridal party. The bridal party find themselves having to do all the work, right up to the eleventh hour or alternatively, chaos ensues, guests don’t know where they are supposed to be, or what to be doing, when they’ll get anything to eat or drink, or worse, whether there’ll actually be enough food and drink for them.
Wedding Planning is the Bride’s Job
If your H2B even mutters this under his breath, threaten him with the job of hand-writing all the thank you cards if he doesn’t take his role seriously.
With all the talk of weddings being ‘the bride’s day’ grooms are often under the false impression that all they have to do is arrive on time. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and is hard work, it’s unfair (and totally sexist) to heap all of that responsibility on the bride.
Instead of suggesting what individual responsibilities the bride and groom ought to be assigned, why not do things together? Besides perhaps choosing the attire for yourself and your bridesmaids, everything else can be a joint effort.
You don’t need a Wedding Organiser and Diary
Feedback I often hear from brides, and customers, is that they wish they’d started using their little white book earlier, because now they just have a shoebox of clippings, lists, ideas and notes,
Use any old notebook/your iPhone notes/excel spreadsheets/iCal/Evernote /Asana/Pro Workflow/Google Docs/one of hundreds of free Apps!
So you’re fully converted to the digital age, you don’t like making lists, wasting paper or spending time filling in a wedding planner… but here’s a few reasons I consider this a big, fat wedding planning lie.
– There is no one electronic wedding planning tool that can tick all the boxes (no pun intended), so instead you’ll have to use multiple electronic tools, set up your digital calendars, and keep very much on top of all of them.
– Technology isn’t foolproof: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve lost or mislaid work on a computer, sometimes through no fault of my own, or misentered something into my calendar, or overlooked one of fifteen iCal reminders that popped up on my phone.
– The keepsake element: Another huge wedding planning regret I hear over and over is that from brides who didn’t keep any kind of diary of wedding planning.
In fact, one of the biggest compliments I get comes from brides for whom it’s too late “I wish I’d had one of these when I was engaged!”
Thankfully, I have a combination of my yearly diary, a wedding planning notebook, and this blog, as a keepsake of my engagement, but I do truly wish I’d had one physical item to encapsulate all of the above, and that’s the main reason I created the little white book.
6. Don’t worry about the weather!
So what if it rains, you can always send the bridesmaids out at the last minute for some bright umbrellas and matching gumboots, making for perfect Pinterest-worthy shots!
Rain doesn’t ruin weddings, but a lack of wet-weather plan can. Total disarray, disappointed bride and groom, uncomfortable guests and sopping wet, muddy outfits.
For one, the bridesmaids do not have time to be running last minute shopping errands (and where does one buy bright brollys and boots at short notice, anyway?). For another, a couple of accessories are not going to fix the multitude of other issues that can arise if it rains. Rather than list those, I suggest you talk to your wedding venue about what to do in a potential thunderstorm.
7. You don’t need a Wedding Photographer
Photographer… pah, waste of money – everyone has such capable smart-phones now, RIP DSLR. Wedding photography may be expensive, but it’s the one thing you’ll have after the big day too (besides a new husband). Relying on friends with smartphones is likely to lead to grainy, blurry snaps for one, but for another, every shot will be replete with every other guest on their smartphones. Do you really want your wedding snaps to look like there’s a crowd of Beliebers greeting their idol. We didn’t want our guests on their phones all day, so we asked them to put them away and let the photographers do their job.
Okay okay… get a photography student for free and save thousands! For some, this may solve budget issues. However, let me pass on one piece of advice (take it or leave it…) – wedding photography is the most common answer to ‘What do you wish you’d spent more money on?’
Over to you…
8. No matter the question, Pinterest is the answer!
Who needs enemies with friends like you… right Pinterest? We have a total love-hate relationship (I’ve documented before) with the never-ending source of ideas, lust and envy-inducing ‘inspiration’
Champagne tastes on a beer budget? Just DIY everything, a la Pinterest!
Need style inspiration to show your wedding vendors? Share your pins with them!
Centrepieces out of things you already had lying around the house? Sure, I’ve seen that on Pinterest.
If you haven’t come across the hilarious Pinterest expectation v reality pictures before, prepare to laugh, and cry, for those that have tried, and failed at Pinterest tutorials.
When it comes to wedding planning though, there’s another reason that a Pinterest Wedding can be a big fat lie.
Beautiful, inspiring, curated to perfection, styled shoots are the wedding industry’s way of advertising – get together a group of hugely talented wedding vendors and have them contribute to a photo shoot for submission to a wedding magazine, blog and Pinterest, and have the bookings come rolling in for all. Pinterest fails to say it took 8-10 hours to complete that shoot for just the one table, and that replicating it for 100 guests isn’t possible or practical on a budget.
When you ask your wedding vendors to replicate the ‘Pinterest’ wedding of your dreams, it can get very extravagant for this reason.
9. Don’t forget the details!
If someone’s telling you to focus on the flowers, centrepieces, chiviari chairs or hues of ombre rose petals in the aisle, I’d be questioning their motives.
I’ve written before about what guests don’t care one bit about/what guests like at a wedding, and I have never heard of one guest valuing the charger plate and napkin ring over a filling and delicious meal, good music or afternoon activities. Looking back on every wedding I’ve ever been to, the only centrepieces I remember are basic olive leaves, because they were so elegant and simple.
I attended one amazing wedding with a thoughtful, expensive and personalised favour. I took mine home, but now I can’t bear to throw it away though it’s totally useless… I can’t believe I’m saying this but I wish I left it on the table like most of the other guests.
I get a bit like this when I tie the ribbons around the little white book, but as Blair reminds me, people care about the overall content a lot more than they do the accessories and decoration.
Details help to add charm and tie in with any theme you’ve selected, but they are so not necessary, or important, in comparison to the big picture.
10. Your wedding dress should cost around 10% of your budget
This is a big little lie that permeates many wedding budget suggestions, and it’s accurate insofar as purchasing a dress from a bridal store, where you’ll hand over anywhere from $2-10,000k. I’ve just realised my dress was 20% of our budget, but I digress. You don’t need to spend any more than $50 on your ‘wedding dress’ if that’s what feels right to you – a white dress from The Iconic might fit the bill for you more than any Vera or Vivienne.
11. If they invited you, you have to invite them.
We don’t all have the same wedding budget, size, circle of friends, or priorities when it comes to working out our guest list, and there are no ‘have to’s’ when it comes to wedding planning beyond 2 legal words in the vows themselves.
Sure, you ‘have to’ live with the consequences of those you didn’t invite, and that might cause some discomfort, but real friends will get over it and appreciate that your wedding day guest list might be really difficult, and you should choose those that you sincerely want there – those that truly matter to you.
12. Wedding planning takes around 12 months.
Not true. It’s common for couples to have around 6-12 months between getting engaged and the wedding, or from booking their wedding venue, to getting married, but that is largely due to the dates available at their chosen venue and/or giving ample notice to guests. The only things that really take time are having a couture dress made (up to 6 months) and sending invitations and awaiting RSVPs (3-6 months generally), but what happens is up to you.
Wedding planning took us: 3 days to choose and book a venue and wedding photographers (12 months in advance); 3 months later another 3 days’ research to choose and book a cake/caterer/DJ/hireage; 3 months later (6 months to go) the same again to choose and book a florist/stationery/wedding singer/and men’s attire. In the last 3 months we finalised details, wrote our vows and speeches
13. Vendors triple their prices just because you say “Wedding”
If someone tells you it’s a good idea to save money by booking a photographer for the birthday party of 150 of your closest friends, they’re lying.
A peony costs the same whether it’s for your bridal bouquet or your bedside.
A wedding cake frequently costs more than a birthday cake because of the standard of structure required, level of details and the size, not because it’s white and has a bride and groom cake-topper.
Wedding photographers are expensive because you’re paying for their experience, valuable equipment, and hours and hours of editing afterwards to ensure the best photos of your life.
The cost of a ‘wedding dress’ is similar to any couture dress that’s made of up to 10 metres of expensive lace and tulle.
14. You can save heaps of money with a DIY/dry-hire venue
All that money you save on BYO alcohol can cost you just as much on the hireage of glasses for all that wine, not to mention the crockery and cutlery.
If the venue is totally beautiful without floral centrepieces, fine, but you still have to bring that table in!
15. It’s all fun and exciting!
It might be, but it isn’t always! Not everyone loves finding and choosing a wedding venue, or wedding dress shopping, or budgeting for a spend of half their salary on one day…
If that’s you, don’t feel left out or like you’re the only one who hates wedding planning. Many people find it stressful and sometimes even downright miserable. Often though, those are the ones who are best-organised, thinking of every possible element, and have the smoothest-running wedding days, if that makes you feel better!? Embrace the stressful times now, knowing that you’re cutting down any day of dilemmas.
16. One size fits all
Wedding planning’s a unique ‘beast’ to tackle, and one person’s wedding planning ‘lies’ will be another person’s ‘truth’. I can’t expect you agree with everything I write, or disagree with every one of these ‘mis-truths’, and I wouldn’t want you to either!
However, if your wedding planning ideas are is built upon too many of the above myths, I suggest you question what caused you to believe in all these things in the first place, and whether you can challenge some of them!