What Makes a Good Wedding?

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (28/06/2020)
Categories: |  Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Planning
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Pink roses
                      and rosebuds surrounding the words How to have a
                      good weddingAfter 14 years and well over 1000 weddings (legal and non-legal), together with 11 books and 190+ blog posts about things wedding,  I know a bit about weddings, and in particular about what makes for a good wedding, and what doesn't.

Along the way, working with same-sex couples has given me lots of experience of how great a wedding can be when the old gender-driven traditions and stereotypes are pushed to one side. And lately, COVID-19 has reinforced how special, intimate, and personal a small wedding can be.

Spoiler Alert

The bridal sphere on the web and on social media is choc-a-bloc with advice about how to have "a perfect wedding". Spoiler Alert: There is no such thing as a perfect wedding. As I tell my couples, however meticulously you plan, something will always go not according to your plan. And that's OK. It is life. I'm not a superstitious person, but there is one old Irish belief that I wholeheartedly embrace.
Something must go wrong in the wedding because that protects the more important thing, the marriage.

4 Good reasons why you should not aim for a perfect wedding

  • Despite subliminal messages that it does, a perfect wedding does not guarantee a successful marriage, let alone a perfect one.
  • Perfectionism can be a relationship killer. Focusing on having a perfect wedding can actually push a relationship in the opposite direction when that relationship gets put on the back burner in favour of wedding planning.
  • Perfectionism, the psychologists tell us, is a form of self-abuse.
  • There is a strong link between perfectionism and anxiety.
  • The illusion that a perfect wedding is possible can push you to spend way more than you can afford, creating stress and arguments.

An interesting thing about good weddings

I often tell my couples that a good wedding ceremony has a lot in common with a good funeral. We all know people from a particular sphere of their lives. We may be a family member or personal friend, we may know them through a sporting or interest group, or we may work with them. During a funeral ceremony we learn things we hadn't previously known when tributes are paid by people who know the person from different perspectives. So we come away with a richer, rounder, understanding and appreciation of that person.  A good wedding does the same thing. We come away with a richer and rounder understanding and appreciation of the couple as a couple, and as individuals.

A good wedding is not all about taste and style

The perfect wedding myth is very much about showcasing your excellent taste and your personal style, both of which can tell us something about what you are, where in society you fit, but not much about who you are as a human being.

Taste and style can convey information about
  • your social class (not something that we tend to talk about much in Australia, but which the traditional white wedding is all about given that it has been handed down to us by the British aristocracy)
  • the community you come from
  • your financial position (how much you have or how much you can borrow)

But what you feel impelled to choose for your wedding could also be what's trending at the moment, or more about the taste of your various wedding suppliers than your own.

What makes for a good wedding?

First and foremost, a good wedding is one that everyone can enjoy on the day. And that means that both of you are relaxed, and your guests are relaxed and feel included. Simple as that.

What do you need to make sure that your wedding is a good wedding?

A good wedding is, at heart, a wedding that fits you, the marrying couple perfectly. Which is something that is a world away from the mythical perfect wedding. Your wedding day isn't (hopefully) going to be the best day of your marriage.

To make your wedding a good one you do not need a lot of money, or a lot of time. I can understand why so many weddings have been postponed when restrictions were so tight that only the couple and their two witnesses were allowed to be present. I am unconvinced about putting your wedding off indefinitely to make sure you can have a huge number of guests present. Put the big party off. But don't put your love or your relationship on hold for too long.

This is what you do need
  • The two of you working as a team
  • Heart, soul and lots of love
  • A focus on your future
  • A dash of courage (given the all round pressure couples experience when planning their weddings - everyone has an opinion about the way a wedding should be, family, friends, and vendors alike)
  • An attitude of gratitude - gratitude for your relationship with one another, gratitude for your relationships with friends and loved ones
  • Some Outside-the-Box thinking, not that you're aiming for the weird and wonderful, but enough to say Nope to outdated traditions, excessive expenditure, and other people's taste
  • An open-minded, flexible celebrant who shares your values and not only gets you, but who knows their stuff and puts their own ego aside
  • Guests you care about, and who care about you

If you then add

  • Vows that speak to your  commitment to one another and to how you will treat one another in your marriage
  • Beautiful words - you don't need a lot of words, a few well-crafted words serve the purpose
  • Music of your choice (optional but it does add to the atmosphere)

On the day you will have

  • Laughter (and happy tears)
  • Relaxed and engaged guests
  • Magic
In short, a good wedding celebrates who you are rather than what you spend.

Thanks for reading!

Jenny xxx Let's talk
                      soon about how you can have the best ceremony
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