Few things in life are as steeped in pomp and ceremony as a wedding. And as anyone who’s ever planned one knows, there’s plenty of opinions about what you “must” do and what you “must” have – to the point where they almost take on mythical status. But there’s nothing legally essential about them, which means you can happily ignore them to plan your day your way. Here are 10 myth busters to get you started.
The bride must wear white
This is perhaps the biggest wedding myth of them all, dating back, so it’s said, to Queen Victoria, who wore white for her wedding. But just because it’s still the norm in western cultures, doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. It’s your wedding, to the person you love, so you should wear a gown in the colour that best represents your personality, your love and your relationship. Even if you don’t want to go the whole hog, some vibrant and colourful elements can still look beautiful. And remember that colour has long been a part of weddings in other cultures, such as in Asia, where gowns are red.
The bride must wear a veil
The rising popularity of flower crowns and intricate embellished headpieces has definitely paved the way for the individual bride. If you fancy yourself a bit of a trend setter, or you don’t identity with the concept of a traditional bride, or maybe you’re a bohemian spirit then we say – ditch the veil! It’s really your day, and all the important decisions should ultimately be made by you, so please go ahead and rock that flower crown.
You must be engaged for a year
Somewhere along the way, wedding lore seems to have decided that an ideal engagement is about a year long. But there’s no reason this should be the case. In fact, the average length of an engagement in Australia is actually 21 months! It all comes down to how much time you need – and want – to plan. If you’re keen on a pop-up wedding two months after the engagement, do it. If you want two years to make sure everyone you love can attend, that’s fine too. It’s absolutely your decision, so listen to your gut and act on instinct.
You must do reciprocal invites
This convention dictates that if someone invites you to their wedding, you must return the favour and, though it’s always a nice gesture, the fact is relationships change over time. Perhaps a once strong friendship has faded. Maybe your guest list is necessarily smaller because of budget. Or, perhaps, you’re just keeping it to family members. Whatever the case you should do what feels right – and much of that time that may be extending a reciprocal invitations, but other times it will mean not doing so. However, if it’s playing on your mind, a quick phone call to explain an unavoidable reason such as finances can be a nice way to put someone’s mind at ease.
You will cry – a lot
There seems to be an expectation that the couple will tear up on their journey towards “I do”. And for many couples that can be the case as they get caught up in the emotion of moments such as trying on your wedding gown for the first time, or choosing the rings. But there’s no equation that says people who cry are the only truly happy ones. Everyone expresses themselves in different ways, so if you find yourself plastering a joyful smile across your face instead of reaching for a hanky, we say go for it.
Weddings need cheesy music
Almost no one is immune to the dancefloor lure of Abba’s Dancing Queen. Or even the Nutbush City Limits. But while some couples wouldn’t consider a playlist complete without a healthy dose of cheesy tunes, there’s nothing to say they’re a must. In fact there’s something refreshing about a couple who want to use their music to tell a story in an entirely original fashion, and who will trust their DJ to blend the classic and the modern, the funky and the slow to encourage people to their feet. So give them your ideas on mood and your not-to-play list and let them go. You may find the night is all the better for it.
Wedding food is all about meat and three veg…
We all know the classic menu story of meat and three veg. But these days, traditional food can be the exception, as well as the rule. Modern chefs who cater for weddings are incredibly versatile and innovative with what they offer. Yes, you could do a three-course sit-down meal, but you could also have a home-style barbecue, gorgeous food stations, dessert tables and midnight snacks. In short, if you want to bring your favourite food to the party, there’s a way to match your will.
Wedding planners are expensive and unnecessary
Television and movies have helped create a wonderful mystique around wedding planners, and the ways in which they help to create dream wedding days. But alongside this can come an expectation that they are expensive, which is not necessarily the case. As with anything, you get what you pay for, and far from being unnecessary, they can save you time, money, effort – and STRESS – while also bringing a passion for weddings and a sense of creativity that makes every cent worthwhile. We’re talking keeping vendors organised, tracking a budget, negotiating deals with vendors and even giving an honest opinion on menu choices. And who wouldn’t want a helping hand like that?
There must be an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen
If one of you has your heart set on more attendants than the other, it can be tempting to feel as though you have to match up the numbers. But no one really wants to have someone standing beside them at the altar just to even out the ranks, and these days, there’s no need. After all, attendants are quite capable of walking the recessional alone, the photographer can work with any size wedding party, the first dance can draw in a parent or usher if needed and the head table can be set as required. If you do go down the path of uneven numbers in the bridal party, just keep in mind that the downside will be that you may have partner-less attendants, which means they won’t be able to participate in everything – and may feel a little lonely on the day.
DIY is always cheaper
When you’re working to a tighter budget, it’s temping to think that DIY is the answer to all of your problems, whether it’s doing your own bouquets, making your own stationery suite or creating your own favours. But, price things out and you may discover that by the time you factor in raw materials, timing and expertise, the DIY route may end up costing more than you would spend with a professional. That’s not to say it can’t provide lovely, and cost-effective results, just that it’s worth considering a limit on how many projects you tackle at home.
You must spend a certain amount on your wedding
The average cost of a wedding is about $30,000 – and it’s worth every penny to those couples who want, or can afford, that much cash. But that doesn’t mean you are obliged to spend exactly that amount, nor, frankly, does it mean you can’t spend more if you so wish! Technically – and legally, all you need to get married is a qualified celebrant and some witnesses, as well as you and your spouse-to-be, of course. Anything above that is a nice-to-have, but not legally necessary.
At the end of the day, it’s your big day and you should spend as little or as much as you want.
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