| Wedding Ceremony | Wedding
After 14 years and well
over 1000 weddings (legal and non-legal
together with 11 books
blog posts about things wedding,
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.
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
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
- 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
- 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
In short, a good wedding celebrates who you are
rather than what you spend.