Weddings are significant events, so consequently, there are all sorts of traditions, misconceptions, and superstitions that surround them. A wedding marks the beginning of a new marriage, so while it’s understandable that people want to do everything right, planning and executing one does not need to be nearly as stressful as some people make it out to be. There are particular elements of traditional weddings in American culture that also have interesting histories, so you can feel free to omit or change up what you want. If you are feeling stifled during the planning process, or if you are a guest in the near future, here are a few debunked myths to both give you some guidance and set you free.
DIY-ing it will save money
You might be tempted to skip purchasing pre-made products or hiring professionals for specific tasks. Sometimes this is necessary if your budget demands it, but do not assume that doing something yourself will be cheaper in the end. The price of creating centerpieces, signs, and flower arrangements will all add up—and that’s just accounting for materials, not labor. Thoroughly research your most economical options, which may include getting someone else to do something for you.
Your bridesmaids and groomsmen need to be equal in number
Do you have bouquets in order? Available plus size wedding dresses picked out for fittings? Matching ties ordered? You might be stressing, however, about the number of actual people you and your partner have selected to stand near you during your ceremony (and to carry out event-related responsibilities). What will your pictures look like if they are asymmetrical because one of you has more friends than the other?
A more important question is, does it matter? Your photographer will know what to do. Instead of asking “filler” people to even out the party, enjoy knowing that the people you truly want to stand behind you are doing so. Do not feel pressured to show off to your guests who has the closest relationships—that’s not healthy, and it might confuse people who you have asked. There is also no reason your wedding party has to be the same gender as you, either. If you are a woman with close male friends, then they deserve a place on the altar with you.
You need a maid of honor or best man
On a related note, you technically do not need a maid of honor or best man, either. This may sound controversial because such roles are so traditional, but if you cannot pick one of your friends or siblings, then don’t. The origin of the maid of honor and best man date back to when cultures practiced “marriage by capture,” in which a man and several companions would kidnap a woman. The best man was at the wedding was often the same man who did the kidnapping on his friend’s behalf, and he was probably the best swordsman for fighting off the woman’s angry family. You do not have to single out a relationship that means more to you than others, so if your marriage is not under duress, feel free to distribute bridesmaid duties evenly.
It doesn’t matter what you wear
This one is for the guests. If you are attending a wedding soon, you know you need to look nice (unless the couple has specified otherwise), but you also may be thinking that that’s enough. Sure, weddings have themes, but you are by no means bound to those if they require you to dress uncomfortably. However, while your comfort is important, it does indeed matter what you wear.
Besides themes, weddings have different styles, including a black-tie, black-tie optional, semi-formal, and casual. You do not want to wear a sundress to a formal event, nor do you want to wear a tuxedo to a casual affair. If you do, not only will you stand out amongst the crowd, you will look odd in photos and potentially draw attention away from the marrying couple.
Every detail needs to have meaning
Filling details of your wedding with meaning is a wonderful thing to do. Maybe your flowers were your late grandmother’s favorite, or maybe your centerpieces are a throwback to your childhood. These kinds of details can make a wedding event rich with symbolism and significance—but do not overwhelm yourself with it. Sometimes a flower arrangement is just a pretty-looking flower arrangement. Maybe you had never even seen your venue until you did an internet search. Personalize what you can think to, but make sure you do not ruin your overall vision or strain yourself customizing too much.
While there are etiquette standards people should adhere to, feel free to break or follow what traditions you want to. What are some wedding myths you want to address?