On Not Rising to People’s Expectations by Carina Mead

Weddings bring out funny things in people. Those of you who have already informed your family that you are engaged have likely heard your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, aunt, sister, friends, etc. all throw tons of advice at you, under the apparent assumption that you want a wedding just like theirs, no matter how many decades ago it took place.

One of the points my husband and I made early on in regard to wedding planning was that this is our moment. This is just the two of us getting married. There won’t be a single activity or decoration there that doesn’t have a meaningful reason behind it. We didn’t have a guest book, because we didn’t quite understand the use for it in modern life (their original purpose was to gather all of your guests’ addresses, but we already had a spreadsheet of that information). We thought the garter toss was awkward and I never enjoyed being roped into the bouquet toss at other weddings, so we didn’t do those either.

wedding day expectations

Thankfully, we have lived much of our lives on our own, away from our families, so I imagine they learned early on that we are very much individuals with good heads on our shoulders and that they can trust our decisions. We also have pretty relaxed family members overall, but that didn’t stop a few loose screws from trying to have a hand in our wedding plans.

One of the first crafts I made for our wedding was a sign of my husband and I’s names made from paint chips (the kind you can get from a hardware store). I was so proud and happy with the way it turned out and looked forward to having something I made with my own hands and creativity on display. Months later, after much built-up excitement, when my mother came over during the week of our wedding and I showed it to her where it was hanging up in our laundry room, she got wide eyed and had that smile like she couldn’t say anything nice so she was choosing to keep quiet. When I asked her what she thought, she said, “I think that should just stay in here”. I was upset that she didn’t support my effort, but understood if she didn’t ‘get it’. To each their own. On our wedding day, it was happily displayed on our head table and we got loads of compliments on it.

wedding day decor

A dear friend of mine is currently planning her wedding and has chosen a very small venue that can’t accommodate everyone they want to invite. Because it’s a destination wedding, they chose not to include dates for their single friends who they are inviting. I think it’s a no-brainer that at a small, intimate wedding with limited guest space, you wouldn’t want nearly a quarter of your guests to be people you don’t know and will probably never see again (your sister’s 7th boyfriend this year, the girl your best guy friend is currently hooking up with, etc.). Unfortunately, some of her family members are extremely traditional and called her to tell her how offensive it was that their son, daughter, etc. did not receive a Plus 1. Personally, I think its rude to call and complain about the way two people choose to celebrate their marriage, but that’s just me.

wedding reception bar

As I said before, weddings bring about weird qualities in people that you often can’t foresee. Do what you want, this is YOUR wedding, not theirs! Stand your ground. Be polite, yet firm and if you can’t get away from the heaps of advice, just say “Thank you, I’ll consider that” and smile before changing the subject.

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On Not Rising to People’s Expectations by Carina Mead
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On Not Rising to People’s Expectations by Carina Mead
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Carina Mead reflects on her wedding planning process and how it felt to have everyone express their opinions on her wedding.
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