In many cultures, weddings seem to be larger than life. Admittedly, a wedding is a big deal; it marks a major milestone in two people’s lives, bringing them together as their own little family—and it means having a party that’s a whole lot of fun!
However, the idea of a wedding has taken on a life of its own, particularly as the wedding industry has blossomed into the colossus it is today. As a result, many myths have sprung up around what it means to have a wedding. Like it or not, these myths shape every step of the process from the proposal to the honeymoon. Let’s look at five of the common myths couples hear when they decide to get married—and talk about why they’re absolutely not necessary for your wedding.
1. You Need to Be Engaged for a Year
When you get engaged, one of the first questions people ask is if you’ve set a date yet. If you have set a date—specifically, one that’s fast-approaching—you’ll probably be met with wide-eyed expressions and the phrase “Good luck with that” through your friend’s teeth. For some reason, everyone seems to think that it’s essential to wait one year before you can go from affianced to happily wed. I believe this myth has practical applications: folks believe you need time to plan (the average wedding planning process takes 14 months), and that you need that year to mull over your decision. After all, how well do you really know your partner?
As younger couples delay marriage later and later, the whirlwind romance is predominately falling by the wayside. So, if you know your sweetheart is the one, why wait to tie the knot? Get married on your own timeline and take as little (or as much) time as you need.
2. You Need to Stick to Tradition
There are certain things people just expect from a wedding. The bride’s father will walk her down the aisle. The couple will dance together in front of everyone. At some point, they’ll toss the bouquet (and the groom will remove the garter amid the kind of hoots and hollers that would leave women like me totally mortified).
Why do we do these things? I don’t know—it’s just “what you do” at a wedding! Many of us have seen these traditions played out again and again at every wedding we’ve attended, and we just think it’s required. Believe it or not, your marriage will still be real even if you don’t give out candy coated almonds and kiss every time someone taps their champagne glass. But if you don’t like a certain tradition, just don’t do it!
3. Never Buy the First Dress (or Cake, or Flowers) You Find
If you’ve ever tried on wedding dresses, gone cake tasting, or visited wedding venues, you’ve probably heard someone tell you, “Don’t buy the first one you see. Look around some more.” This myth was probably born from helpful advice, but it’s morphed into this weird superstition that says your first choice is always the WRONG choice.
Your wedding day is a very special day for you and your partner, and it’s only natural to want it to be a beautiful event. Finding the perfect dress, venue, or vendors may require some shopping around…but sometimes you just know the first one is the right one. If you fall in love with the first dress you try on, the first venue you visit, or the first DJ you listen to, there’s no shame in going with your gut.
4. It’s YOUR Big Day
This is another myth that was probably meant to be helpful. The idea behind it is accurate; this wedding is all about celebrating your love story, and therefore you shouldn’t cave into pressure from others. However, anyone who’s seen an episode of Bridezillas (or worse, met one in the flesh) knows that “It’s MY day” can be a disastrous philosophy.
Firstly, it’s not just YOUR day; you’re marrying someone else, and he or she should have some say in the wedding planning process. Also, having a special day doesn’t mean you have the right to boss your family and friends around. Remember: although it is your (and your partner’s) big day, you need to treat everyone around you with respect.
5. This Is the Happiest Day of Your Life
Okay, this one is a biggie. This is the myth that everyone—wedding magazines, your family, your friends, that stranger in the bridal boutique—loves to perpetuate. You should be beaming from ear to ear from the day he proposes until you say “I do;” after all, this is the happiest day of your life!
Personally, I find this myth incredibly dangerous. Firstly, it puts a lot of undue pressure on your wedding to be perfect (which might be why the bride- and groom-zillas of the world feel their behavior is justified). And secondly, it implies (at least to cynics like me) that you will never again be as happy as you are on your wedding day. THAT’S NONSENSE! There are many happy moments in your future: the birth of future children, promotions at work, and even the honeymoon that follows your big day!
Whatever you do, please don’t let these wedding myths keep you from planning the wedding you want to have. Get married whenever you want to. Exclude traditions you don’t like (or make new ones!). Buy whichever dress you like best. Consider other people’s feelings, and please please PLEASE remember that there are still happy days ahead.