11 Questions and Statements NOT to Say to a Couple Getting Married
Hey Mom, Dad, Step-Mom, Step-Dad, Brother, Sister, Grandma, Grandpa, family member or friend! I am going to be completely real with you - weddings have changed drastically over the last 10-20 years (and that’s OKAY!!). The biggest thing to remember is that a wedding is the celebrating of these two wonderful people coming together and making a commitment to each other.
A celebration shouldn’t end in a broken relationship - and it’s also not the place to try and mend a broken relationship either. I’ve compiled some frequent questions/statements that couples get that really upsets them and puts a damper on their wedding planning. But who are you to tell me what to do with their wedding? I am their voice when they are too afraid to tell you, to hurt your feelings or have you upset at them - but this is THEIR wedding, not yours. Please read this, please be willing to listen to the couple and put your own wants and needs to the side, just for one day. This post is not to make fun or hurt any feelings, these are real issues couples are having with their families.
Before we start, I want to give you some real facts and information from Wedding Wire’s 2019 Wedding Report. We are going to be referring to the wedding report with the questions below.
1. WHY ARE WEDDINGS SO EXPENSIVE?
From the venue to the food, photographer and flowers, it can all seem overwhelming and VERY expensive if you haven’t been a part of a wedding in a few years.
But why? One word, Expectations.
You have expectations right now, a vision of how you think the wedding day will look like and go. For vendors to fit those demands it costs a lot of time and money. Vendors aren’t friends of the family anymore - couples are looking for professionals for their wedding because that’s what they have come to expect and also prioritize.
The best explanation of this is comparing what a $2000 wedding in 1974 would cost in 2017.
According to the wedding report, 45% of couples pay for their whole wedding themselves, which is why engagements are getting longer (the average is 14 months) so they can save and pay off their vendors in a fashion that works with them and without going into debt.
2. Why are you seeing each other before the ceremony?
In some traditions the couple doesn’t see each other before the ceremony - and that’s totally okay. But a lot of couples are moving towards having a first look - which is okay too!
A first look is meant for two things: helping with wedding day nerves and working better with the timeline for photos.
“But it’s going to ruin the ceremony” - no, it’s not. Having a first look before the ceremony doesn’t change any reaction during the ceremony - besides the couple being more relaxed (and less likely to pass out).
There are also couples who want to spend their cocktail hour with their guests, and getting photos done before the ceremony works better in their favor. Many couples skip on having a “party bus” if transportation isn’t necessary to save money and put more money towards vendors that mean more to them. This decision is going to be between the couple, their planner and their photographer.
3. Why is taking so long to get the proofs back from your photographer?
As a photographer myself, I get this. You didn’t see the contract the couple signed, you are not in the know and you want to see all the photos. Let me explain the process most photographers use.
Long gone are the days of the proof, most photographers use digital and deliver a full wedding gallery within 4-8 weeks, 6 weeks being the average for most photographers.
But why so long? Photographers with digital can take 2000+ images during the wedding day, but they aren’t going to give you them all - and please don’t ask. The process of culling and editing takes time, and your couple isn’t the only couple the photographer is working with. Please be patient, don’t make rude comments to the photographer or the couple. If there truly is an issue, the couple can handle it with the information on their contract.
4. Why can’t we invite all of our work friends/second cousins/whoever to your wedding?
Couples are moving away from inviting 300+ guests and only inviting the people that matter the most to them Why? Because 45% of couples are paying for their own weddings and venues/catering is expensive.
But that’s extra money and gifts!! They don’t need the extra gifts or money, they want to be surrounded by the people that matter to them as a couple. Looking at the wedding report, the average wedding only has 126 guests. The extra money to move up from a 150 maximum guest venue to a 200 maximum guest venue plus food is more expensive than the gifts that they will receive from those guests by a long shot.
*DON’T get upset at who the couple decides to invite, even if you don’t get along with them. I understand divorces/bio parents can make situations difficult - but it’s one day. The couple just wants everyone they love to come together and enjoy one peaceful day together. DON’T hold that against them, no matter your personal opinion/feelings. Put your differences aside, and celebrate the couple.
5. Why aren’t you getting married in a church?
Looking at the wedding report again, only 25% of couples are getting married in a religious institution. Many venues are accommodating both receptions and ceremonies with specific spaces or the option to flip the room. This makes it easier with the couples timeline for vendors and means they don’t have to pay for separate transportation for them/the wedding party.
But, I want you to get married in our family church, it’s tradition. Just because it’s what you want, doesn’t mean the couple wants that. 58% of couples marry someone with a different background - and want to celebrate both sides or create their own wedding separate of tradition. Some churches also have a long list of rules for photographers/videographers that results in less photos and less of what the couple really wants out of the vendors they are paying for.
Having a ceremony outside of a religious institution gives the couple freedom to have whoever they want officiate their wedding. I’ve had couples married by a father who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, the best friend that introduced them, and also couples who hire officiants and pastors that work outside of a religious institution.
6. You need to have a bridal shower.
72% of couples have lived together before getting married. Long gone are the days that a couple lives separately and receive all these exciting household items to start their new lives together. They have their own towels, pans, dishes, appliances, etc. and don’t have any reason to want to upgrade - and that’s totally okay! For some couples who have moved away - having a shower isn’t practical to bring gifts home. There are options with online registries (if the couple chooses to have one) to send them items directly to their house. This is a great option, that is cost effective for everyone - since a shower is an added expense to the full wedding experience.
DON’T buy couples things you THINK they need, that aren’t on their registry. These items usually end up going to the resale store or hanging out in a storage area not being used. Couples take the time to put together a registry of things they need and want, respect that list.
The average honeymoon is $4,500 - and couples DON’T want to do dollar dances or other gimmicky things at their reception to get more money. There has been a surge of couples doing Honeymoon Funds instead of a registry.
7. Why aren’t you including our family/heritage traditions in your wedding?
Nearly 1 in 5 couples incorporate cultural elements related to race or religion into their ceremony to pay homage to their background. Above all 58% of couples have different backgrounds, trying to include EVERYTHING from both sides of their families in one day leaves no room for their own personalization as a couple (plus there is a limited amount of time to a wedding day).
But our family has this specific tradition and it’s going to happen on your wedding day. I understand your family is very rooted in it’s tradition of how a wedding should go - but that’s not up to you to decide. It’s 2019, and couples are moving far away from tradition and being told what they can and can’t do - especially when they are footing the bill. If they say no to you ASKING about this specific tradition, DON’T force it on them.
8. You CAN’T have an outdoor wedding, WHAT IF IT RAINS?!?!
Most venues have a Plan B for when the weather isn’t looking to great. From a tent they can put up, an indoor space, or using the reception space, they can be super accommodating.
DON’T put doubt into the couples minds just because you don’t want to stand out in the rain or it’s cold outside. If they want to have an outdoor ceremony/reception, let them. Take the positive route and ask about the plan B and what options you have instead of being negative.
9. I’m giving you money for your wedding - why can’t I have something my way?
Simply put, you’re giving them a gift. If you’re going to play games with the couple and put stipulations into the money you give - it’s honestly best you don’t give any at all.
Let me put this into a different perspective. It’s your anniversary with your spouse, and your kids give you a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant. But they give you stipulations on what date you can go and what you can order on the menu. Sounds pretty rude right? This is how the couple feels about you.
Your gift of money should be to help them have the wedding they want to have, that they can’t quite afford right now. NOT to get your way with what vendors they choose and who they invite. This day is about the celebrating the couple, not about you.
DON’T say your going to pay for something, and decide not to later. This includes giving less money than what was originally stated, or changing your mind because a decision was made you didn’t like.
10. Why aren’t you using my family photo list/photo list of things I want?
Couples book their photographer for an average of 6-10 hours, of those hours 30-45 minutes is allotted for family photos. There are only so many groupings you can do in that amount of time, extending that time takes away from the rest of the timeline.
But I really want a photo with my side of the family with my siblings and my cousins. Cool. If there isn’t enough time, you can do that on your own during the reception or cocktail hour. DON’T make family photos stressful and requesting extra photos that the couple did not approve. If you wish to have a family session with all your family that comes into town for the wedding - booking a separate photographer for a family session the day before or the day after would be best. That way you get all the photos you want of your family.
11. Why aren’t you having kids at the wedding?
Couples are gravitating to kid free weddings/receptions for multiple reasons. The biggest one is that 45% of couples are paying for their wedding and every kid counts as an extra guest with the venue and the caterer. Some couples just don’t have the room to add kids to the guest list, that would mean finding another venue and completely changing their venue - just to please you.
But if I can’t bring my kids, I’m not going. 76% of couples have an open bar, are you honestly not going to drink and watch your kids during the whole wedding? Or are you going to let them run around and do whatever they want because you’re trying to enjoy yourself? The couple invited you for you to ENJOY their wedding, not to babysit your kids or for your kids to act out of line because no one is telling them to stop. Find a babysitter, either a friend or via care.com, there are a ton of options so you can go to the wedding and enjoy it.
At the end of the day, it’s the couples wedding. I hope this helps you understand a bit more about modern weddings and that couples aren’t trying to disrespect you and your wishes - they just want a day that celebrates them and is special for years to come. I’ve seen too many times weddings putting wedges between couples and their families, and all it takes is just some understanding and letting go of what you want for their wedding day.
Want another perspective? Check out Rachel’s review of her own wedding, and why she everything the way she did.