Wedding Planning and Rising Above the Peer Pressure

If you were to take a moment to imagine your dream wedding, what would come to mind? Perhaps something you saw in a movie, magazine or a ceremony that you attended a year prior? Chances are the idea of what you desire for your nuptials has been molded by various cultural influences. While finding outside inspiration is not always a negative, it can place unnecessary pressure on women as they feel obligated to live up to the very costly illustrations featured on TV and in magazines, and feel like failures if they don’t spend lavishly. When the accepted expectation is nothing less than perfection, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, and this can weigh heavily on engaged couples. Therefore, if you find yourself soon walking down the aisle, take some simple steps to averting the common traps of bridal peer pressure that can be imposed by the industry, society and those around you.


1)      Start your planning at least one year in advance to allow more time for contemplation rather than rash decisions. Next, make a list of what is important to you and what you honestly have little opinion about; when budgeting, set strict and specific financial boundaries for yourself to make sure that you don’t later feel pressured to pump more money into a specific detail that you personally do not care about, simply because you read that it is necessary.


2)      In addition to setting firm boundaries for yourself financially, set boundaries with loved ones. Your family and friends will undoubtedly be excited about the upcoming vow exchange, and they will want to offer you their opinion and tips. The result is that you may feel like you’re being yanked in a million different directions by future in-laws, siblings and more. Your vision of your wanted décor, dress and venue might be slowly compromised until you can’t even recognize your own wedding. Therefore, thank people for their advice but, unless you specifically asked for it, inform them that you have a clear idea of what you imagine. Additionally, set boundaries with your staff and venue – yes, the hotel that is slightly outside your budget might offer 70% off their chocolate fountain, but be weary of being seduced by talk of “discounts” and “affordable upgrades”, as these are designed to make you spend on items you otherwise wouldn’t. When talking with professionals, it is advised to give them a firm budget and the question of “what would be possible for this amount?” as this should hopefully prevent them from hassling you about indulging in a larger cake or fancier dress.


3)      Broaden your mind to what a “wedding” must look like, as there are pleasant, gorgeous alternatives to some of the more costly wedding expenditures. For instance, flowers can cost thousands, but who says that you need opulent floral arrangements on every pew, table, doorframe and unfilled corner? Stores like American Bridal and Martha Stewart offer decorative options that are equally as charming but only a fraction of the cost of high-demand and overly promoted flowers.


4)      Your wedding is about love, joy, friends coming together . . . what it should not be is a mark of status. However, couples will often go into crippling debt to appear richer than they are for a single day as a way of impressing others. Furthermore, pay little heed to what you imagine others may be expecting at your ceremony or reception; even if your sister splurged on details like an aisle runner, wedding favors and balloons that are dropped from the ceiling does not mean that you have to do the same in order to have an equally enjoyable event! Make sure you catch yourself when you are starting to think with this competitive mentality, as it is a long way down that rabbit hole.


Above all else, remember that people are attending your wedding to show their love and support, and not to judge the ceremony with a scrutinizing eye. So make sure that you’re honestly happy on your big day by not sweating the details, pushing cultural expectations out of your mind and making sure that your voice and preferences are heard.

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