Man oh man, this is a hot topic amongst my friends at the moment. I’m at that stage in my life where it seems like there is a wedding every other weekend. Between buying gifts, travelling to/from the venue and finding accommodation, it seems like the vast majority of my money is going towards weddings this year and the next. I’ve found ways to mitigate this, including room sharing at the hotel, having a sober night and driving, using public transit when available, and wearing the same outfit multiple times (trust me, absolutely no one gives a shit).
But this article isn’t about my savings, or about my tips for weddings (don’t hit the open bar until after the dinner is the best advice I can give anyone…learnt from rather exciting experiences). No, no, this is perhaps a touchier subject for people, but one that I feel I must address: the only people who should get to decide anything about the wedding is the bride and groom. Period.
I’m sure in the past there were good reasons for people (I’m thinking parents and relatives in particular) to make big decisions about a couple’s special day, but I’m struggling to think of any that are applicable now. The big argument I always hear is that if people are putting money towards the wedding, they should get some say in it. I call horse shit on that argument. If anyone wants to give money to help the couple with the wedding then that is entirely up to them, and is a very generous offer. For me, that is where the discussion ends. Saying a heartfelt thank you and writing a note expressing your gratitude is enough, and then feel free to spend that money any way you wish for the big day.
Too many times I have seen close friends give up something that they really wanted because someone in their family was upset by it, or wanted something different. The pressure applied to the bride and groom is astounding, and in any other social scenario completely unacceptable. If fact, I would argue it is the height of ass-hattery and deserves to be shamed. It doesn’t matter if mother or father or auntie or cousin or grandpa always wanted to have this at your wedding – if you don’t want it, you don’t have to do it. (That being said, there are always ways to work something in, but only IF YOU WANT TO)
For my own wedding we were lucky enough to have people offer to pay for some aspect of the wedding. We thanked them profusely and accepted. There was a condition attached to one of them: the giver wanted to have several more of his friends added to the dinner guest list (evening guests were of no cost to us because there is no such thing as an open bar in Scotland) which would have added an addition $800 to our overall budget, PLUS we had no idea who these people were. The best decision we made was to politely decline the decision, but offer to invite all those people to the evening reception on the basis that we wanted our service and meal to be more intimate. There was some disgruntlement, but ultimately our wishes were respected and no one’s feelings were permanently damaged.
So whether it’s for the location, the dress (though I will admit to being kind of addicted to Say Yes to the Dress), the food, the music, the theme, the guest list, whatever, for the bride and groom I say: do whatever you want! It’s your wedding, and even if you are lucky enough to have someone help you out with it doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to cater to their whims. To the relatives or guests who feel they should have some sort of say: please stop. It is not your decision, it is not the day that you’ll be looking back on, and frankly, it is not your business. If you are contributing to the wedding that is wonderful, but let your generosity be without conditions.
Thank you, rant over.