Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life, so why is it such a stressful journey to make it to the altar? There are so many details to plan, and it’s a challenge to stay within budget on such a large event. But in the midst of choosing napkin colors and seating charts, remember that your wedding is about you and your soon-to-be spouse; don’t feel pressured into anyone else’s idea of your wedding. To help keep you from overstressing, we’ve compiled a list of five myths you may hear (and should ignore!) about your big day.
You have to invite everyone
While you may feel pressure from either side of your family, remember that this is one of the most important days of your life—you shouldn’t feel obligated to share it with anyone you don’t want to share it with. For tough decisions, consider crossing guests off the list if you haven’t seen them in person in the past 12 months (long-distance friendships excluded). Or maybe even nine months if the list is long or your budget is small.
If you really feel compelled to include everyone, host a small ceremony and reception on the day of, and a larger at-home party post-honeymoon for anyone who couldn’t make it or wasn’t invited. While you don’t want to upset anyone, you also want to keep the wedding within your budget and ensure you have a good time.
You have to go broke
Weddings can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Yes, certain aspects like your location are unavoidable—a venue in Boston, MA is going to cost more than one in rural Maine. But you can easily save money on other areas, like centerpieces, decorations, and reception style. Finances are a huge stressor, and starting off your new life together with impending wedding debt isn’t going to help anyone!
To save money without compromising value, ask your friends and family to help with a part of the wedding, instead of getting a gift. For example, if one of your friends is a professional designer, as them to design your invitations in lieu of a wedding present. Or maybe your sisters can take charge of the table centerpieces or decor for the ceremony. Get creative!
You have to follow tradition
Let’s be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with tradition. But there’s also nothing wrong with not following tradition. You may feel pressure from friends who did their weddings a certain way, or family who always pictured you with a traditional veil—but they’re not the ones getting married, you are. If you don’t want a traditional bridal party or you don’t want the typical ceremony and reception, don’t do either! Plan the wedding of your dreams, so you don’t regret looking back at the memories.
Because weddings are a sensitive area for most people, always be polite when someone gives you advice, even if you don’t plan on taking it. Chances are, their wedding was so great and they just want you to have the same experience.
You have to have an open bar
Let’s face it, we all secretly hope that every wedding we go to has an open bar. We’ve spent money traveling to the wedding, buying the present, maybe buying a new dress or suit for it; we don’t want to spend money to buy a few beers during the reception. But if you’re planning a wedding, it’s not your job to pay for your guests’ drinks. You’re already paying for their food—and the overall point is to celebrate your union, regardless of the alcohol content.
Find a middle ground, pay ahead for a drink voucher for every guest, so the first round’s on you, and the rest are on them. Some brides even give out a round of shots— it’s completely up to you!
You have to give everyone a “plus one”
Unless there’s bad blood between you and someone’s spouse, spouses are always invited. But where do you draw the line with non-married guests? There are a few different approaches you can take to make the decision.
First, are they living together? If they’re living together, the relationship is serious and the invite should be addressed to both parties.
Second, how long have they been together? If they’ve been together for more than six months, consider giving a plus one to the guest if you have the seating available.
Third, have you met them? If you’ve met the significant other, did you like them? If you think they’d be a fun addition, give the guest a plus one!
For guests who aren’t in a relationship, but want a plus one, think carefully about it—sometimes they invite a date they haven’t known for a very long time, and that’s a big risk.
Remember that this day is about the happy couple, and not about pleasing everyone else. Consider their suggestions, but don’t feel any pressure or obligation to comply.