There are so many people and factors that can make us lose sight of what the purpose and premise of a wedding is truly supposed to be about. Opinions, feelings, threats, people trying to vicariously live through you, people trying to impose their views on you. Over the years I have heard some shocking things, both personally and professionally. I remember being told, “This day is not about you.” There are few things in this life that I am adamant in my certainty of, but a wedding day being about the couple getting married is one of them. I have seen a non-religious parent pressure a non-religious child to have a religious ceremony to appease a religious parent, even though it was not in line with the beliefs of the couple getting married. I have seen mother’s pressure daughters into getting flowers they literally hate, because they are paying for them, and they are their personal favorite flowers. These are just a few examples, but you can see where this is going, and I could easily go on and on.
So, let’s start with what a wedding is. A wedding is simply a ceremony where two people unite in marriage. Customs and traditions vary greatly, and there is a great deal of personal preference as to what a couple incorporates into their ceremony and celebration. So, when it comes down to it, the wedding is about these two individuals, and these two individuals alone, making a commitment to each other, to unite in marriage. While most couples opt to share this happy moment with close family and friends, the ceremony and celebration are where things can start to slip out of the couple’s grasp, and cause a great deal of anxiety, conflict, unhappiness, and start to become a day that does not resemble what the couple imagined what it would be.
While it is true that many couples turn to their families to help them pay for the wedding, the families need to keep in mind that this is their children’s day, and that if their needs and wants are within budget, and within reason, they should let them have the day they had envisioned. This is about what makes them happy, not about reliving something you feel you missed out on, not about showing off to people in your life, and not about your personal taste. If the couple feels that there is too much interference, that their voices are not being heard, and that the day no longer resembles anything like what they had envisioned for themselves, they should seriously consider taking a step back and financing the wedding themselves. While this may change the scale and scope of wedding they can have, it may be well worth it to them in the end.
These days, with many couples waiting to get married at a later age, many are paying for the wedding themselves, which gives them complete control of decision making and tone for the day. You will also often see things go one of two ways. People will either go all out, thinking they are finally doing this and they are going to celebrate, or people being lower key, and keeping the genuine purpose of the commitment to one another in perspective.
The most important advice I give couples leading up to their weddings is this, do not let anyone else influence your feelings about the day or the commitment you are making to each other. The day is about the two of you, and nothing else, and no one else matters. Do not let anyone take away one second of happiness or joy from this experience that you have waited your whole life for. If someone is stressing you out, turn to your partner, ground each other, be each other’s touch stone, you are partner’s and that is what you are there for. This is one of your first tests to be there for each other, and it is supposed to be a day celebrating the joyous commitment you are making to one another, focus on that, and each other, and you will be off to an amazing start!