8 Old-Fashioned Wedding Stereotypes & Rules That Need To Go
Nothing gives you stress hives quite like planning a huge event, and weddings are the tip of that iceberg. There are far too many details to think of, from the song you'll choose for your first dance, to how to keep your Great Aunt Bertha away from the open bar. Plus, you'll likely feel at least a little bit of pressure to have your wedding look and feel a certain way — not for you, but for everyone else. Some of these wedding stereotypes and rules are, in the words of the great poet Hilary Duff, so yesterday, and it's about time we stopped forcing them upon each other.
To be clear, I'm not referring to your desire to make sure everyone has a good time at your wedding. That's thoughtful and hopefully fulfilling for you. I'm referring more to the "These people I went to high school with had their dog walk down the aisle with a pillow on its head and the ring tied on it and now we have to do that too" type of thing — the competition, or the decades-old traditions you think you have to align with; the things you've seen at everyone else's wedding and thus think you have to have at your wedding. It's every single one of those unreasonable cultural standards insisting there's one right way to have a wedding, and it's your obligation to follow it.
But if something doesn't sit right with you, you're on the right track. In fact, these eight wedding rules, stereotypes, misconceptions, and myths need to be done away with, pronto.
1. A Long Engagement Means Something's "Wrong" In The Relationship
If I had a nickel for every time I heard this, I'd have a dollar. (That's a lot of nickels!) Why do people feel the need to put a timer on other couples' engagements? When did it become acceptable to look straight in someone's face and claim their desire to wait is really some kind of bad omen for their relationship?
There are so many reasons two people are choosing to wait to get married. Maybe they're saving money. (FYI, a survey from Student Loan Hero found 52 percent of couples hold off on a wedding because of the cost.) Maybe they're focused on their careers. Maybe they're working around their relatives' schedules so everyone can be there. Maybe they just don't care to rush. Maybe they like being engaged and don't even want to get married. Here's a novel thought: maybe it's nobody's business!
2. The Bigger The Wedding, The Better The Relationship
I wonder how many of us have extravagant weddings simply because we're scared of what other people would think if we didn't. (Not-so-fun fact: according to that same Student Loan Hero survey, around 74 percent of couples plan to go into debt for their wedding. I'm going to have nightmares about this later.)
Listen, if a big wedding is what you want, more power to you. I wish I had that kind of money (although if I did, I'd probably spend it on Chipotle burritos and drugstore make-up, because priorities). However, to look at a huge wedding and be all, "Dude, that couple is legit," or conversely, to look at a small wedding and be all, "... Wait, what happened?" is just wrong. Don't judge a wedding by its cover — at the end of the day, they're still a testament to the exact same kind of commitment and love. (And heck, so is not having a wedding in the first place! Love does not just exist in the vacuum of calligraphy name cards and cake, y'all.)
3. Smaller Gemstones Mean They Love You Less
Lord have mercy. We need to dump this stereotype, like, yesterday. Listen, just because you're not walking with a limp due to the weight of your engagement ring doesn't mean the gorgeous soul who put it on your finger thinks any less of you. Some people want a sparkler that'll blind anyone within a one-mile radius. Others want something small and dainty. Still others want a Harry Potter ring, because WHY NOT? And some people don't wear rings at all. A ring should reflect your own unique style. If I had my way, my ring would be a tiny rose gold Chipotle burrito, because priorities!
4. The Engagement Ring Should Cost Three Months Of Salary
I can't imagine the pressure one feels thinking they have to spend this much money on the ring. Do you know how many sacrifices one must make to pull this off? Three months of your salary going to a piece of jewelry means ramen noodles for dinner and the generic toilet paper that leaves crumbs on your bum.
It's just so upsetting.
All that matters about a ring is the giver and recipient love it, whether it came from Tiffany & Co. or a gum ball machine.
5. Bridesmaids/Groomsmen For Miles = Popularity
Sure, there are cute pics of weddings that have miles of bridesmaids and groomsmen, but that doesn't float everyone's boat (but I also have, like, three friends, and three of them are canines). A wedding is a celebration, and we all celebrate differently. If you moonwalk down the aisle by yourself, you're not any better or worse than the people who have enough friends in the lineup to form their own softball team. End of story.
6. If It's Not On Social Media, It Never Happened
With the skyrocketing popularity of social media comes this unwritten rule: pics or it didn't happen. It's like the veggie burger I had for lunch and forgot to post about on Instagram — did I even really eat it? We often post things on social media because we're looking for other people's approval and validation, but that's nothing but an empty promise of happiness that won't last. Happiness has to come within you.
Don't feel like you have to blast your photos to the world wide web. If you choose to do it, do it because you're so proud and happy and you want everyone to know it — not because you feel like your wedding will have less meaning if you don't.
7. Planning On Your Wedding Being *The Best* Day Of Your Life
Hey, I'm here to tell you something important: it's just fine if your wedding really isn't that big of a deal to you. There's nothing wrong with you. This doesn't mean you're marrying the wrong person. It doesn't mean anything. I'm looking forward to my wedding day. You know what I'm also looking forward to? No, not Chipotle.
Fine. It's Chipotle.
My point is this: if you have a courthouse wedding, head to Carl's Jr., and go home to do a load of laundry like it's a regular day, that's totally, completely, 100 percent fine.
8. Literally Any Other Rule You Can Think Of
Do traditional wedding rules give you cramps? Maybe you don't want to go on a honeymoon right after (or... at all), toss the bouquet to all your single friends, have your SO remove your garter belt with their teeth, buy a dress that'll take you months to pay off, or invite everybody and their mailman to your nuptials.
Are you noticing a common denominator here? You. Do. You. Whether you have 500 guests or five, a five-tier cake or a s'mores station, a celebrity DJ or a college kid with a banjo, your wedding day should be one you always look back fondly on. Make it your own.