I’m getting married. I’ve been engaged for almost 4 months now and in that time I feel like I’ve entered a new society with new social norms and rules I never knew existed. I’m excited to marry Kevin but the sheer volume of wedding etiquette and the “you need…”, “you have to…,” “you can’t…,” “you shouldn’t…,” “you must…” of wedding planning feels more like peer pressure than advice.
Everyone says, “It’s your day. Do whatever you want” but then I see the looks on people’s faces or hear the tone of disappointment in their voices when I say I don’t want a wedding cake (I don’t like cake) or that I don’t want to spend money on a wedding dress unless I can wear it again. When I mention my lackadaisical attitude about my dress people then ask what I’m going to have Kevin wear. I’m supposed to pick out what Kevin wears? I don’t think so. He’s an adult. I think he can figure out what to wear to his own wedding. Somehow the fact that I trust my future husband enough to dress himself makes me seem like I don’t care enough about my wedding. It’s this type of backward nonsense that is making my head spin.
I went to The Knot, a popular wedding planning website, seeking advice on what information to put on the Save the Dates. Since we are having a destination(ish) wedding in a remote location, I didn’t know how much info to give and how soon. I thought The Knot’s message boards would be a place to get help without bugging my friends and family. Instead, all I found was ridicule and judgment. I was called selfish, rude and inconsiderate and told I was a terrible host for planning a wedding that might be inconvenient for some of my guests. I was also told I should have picked a venue all my guests are familiar with. I’ve attended a lot of weddings in my life and every one of them has been a location that was new to me.
The illogical “advice” bothered me less than the mean and accusing tone. I asked what I thought would be a simple question and instead got tons of responses berating me and questioning how much I actually care about my friends and family.
Here are just a few other gems of etiquette I’ve learned about during my time travelling wedding planning adventures:
- The bride-to-be is never congratulated on the engagement because it will make her seem like a gold digger or like she was desperate to find a husband. It is okay however to congratulate her on scoring the sparkle on her finger since she “earned” that.
- All invitations must be written in the 3rd person so it doesn’t seem like the bride and groom are throwing the party for themselves. This may have made sense when the bride’s parents were actually in charge of and paying for the wedding but in this day and age that is no longer the case. Do the thank you notes then read, “Kevin and Elizabeth would like to thank you for your gift.”?
- All invitations must be hand-written because labels are déclassé and not appropriate for a formal occasion. Computers and printers were invented for a reason. If someone thinks I’m gauche for not learning calligraphy then they probably aren’t going to have any fun at my wedding anyway.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like event planning. I’ve planned conferences and large events for hundreds of people before. I love excel spreadsheets and organization. There are certain aspects of wedding planning that I’m more than excited to talk about and discuss. Making sure the table linens match the bridesmaid dresses is just not one of them.
So, here is my wedding manifesto:
- I will not be going on a wedding diet
- I will not tell anyone participating in my wedding how to dress
- I will not read about what wedding disagreements will signal in my coming marriage – A real article from The Knot
- Gender will not be a factor in picking the bridal party
I will not be made to feel that my wedding will be less than if it does not have a wedding cake and a groom’s cake, a ceremony and reception dress, escort cards, party favors, a bouquet and garter toss, a signature cocktail and a unity candle. If I really feel like finding some ideas for my wedding I will go to the non-judgmental space that is Pinterest. There, the only way I can find something for my wedding is if I dream it up first and type it into the search bar, instead of having outdated wedding rules and an overabundance of items to purchase shoved down my throat.