It’s engagement season, and things are about to get real in the planning process with many couples. Your wedding to do list is starting to grow, so let’s get down to brass tacks. As much as you plan down to the finite details of this monumentous occasion, there is no sure-fire way to ensure that your event goes perfectly, nor that your guests will remember your wedding. Although it may sometimes seem there is a universal book of event planning rules somewhere in the cosmos, there is not. Common practices and beliefs surrounding events are often set by tradition and society (and billions of Pinterest boards), but the great thing about traditions is they can be broken. Conventions can be thrown out the window, and in doing so, it may just elevate your wedding day, making it both memorable and reflective of you as a couple! Check out the top 10 Wedding Planning Myths Debunked to keep in mind as you tackle your wedding planning.
Myth #1: Your wedding needs to incorporate flowers. Your decor doesn’t need to be floral-heavy to be beautiful any more than your home does. Decorative accents can be as compelling and chic as fresh florals, and are often more contemporary and sophisticated. If you’re still itching to include florals but wish to keep it minimal and sophisticated, split the difference and include a mix of composed florals and/or floral still life serving as an accent to your inspired decor. So often, our clients feel like they have to dive into floral selections right out of the gate, and we try to encourage each to think about this process like building a house: first we select the location, then we build the frame, then we pick the wall colors, flooring, and finishings, then we select the furnishings, and finally we decide what will go on the coffee table. This may consist of florals, a stack of books on your favorite interests, your personal collection of pewter horse sculptures, or authentic Spanish pottery. Personalize your decor to be reflective of your unique personalites and passions for a dynamic and memorable approach to your wedding design.
Myth #2: A bouquet and garter toss must be done. Mmmm nope. Most women do not wish to be 1) called out as single in front of an entire room of people and 2) be called onto the floor to desperately scramble for the bouquet at the idea of being “next” – this isn’t the 1950’s. Modern-day women are working, self-sufficient dynamos – some may even be single mothers slaying at the parenting and work balance every single day. With or without a spouse, we good. So unless you feel like your girls would be particularly excited about this tradition feel free to skip it. As an alternative, instead of throwing the bouquet to “all the single ladies,” perhaps present “all the single flowers” from your bouquet to any friends or family who you feel who should be honored. Now, as for having your newlywed husband fish for your undergarment from under your dress while your closest friends and family members look on, only to toss it like a prize in a lawsuit-worthy frat moment, I feel like most would be more than happy to not have to witness this. I can’t be the only one who feels this is little Handmaid’s Tail, no? Instead of these two somewhat-antiquated proceedings, consider foregoing them all together for some more dance-offs or a good old fashioned Sweet Caroline sing-along.
Myth #3: You need to include children in the ceremony. Some tykes might eat it up and work that amateur runway moment, while others will refuse and run for the hills. Not all kids want to be stared down by hundreds of your closest friends and family to perform like circus animals for the sake of your wedding album. And no one needs to see the mom of a flower girl run out and try to coach a kid down the aisle, Toddlers and Tiaras-style. Additionally, trusting a tiny human with your bling might end unfavorably as well. Would you tie a stack of hundreds to a rabbit and let it free in the wild? Its not coming back and if it does, it will not likely be with your money. Rethink this part of the ceremony and ask yourself, “Is the kid really up for this or do I just want to see a miniature person wearing a tiny suit?” And further, if the kid is under two, the likelihood that this moment is going to go down they way you are envisioning is pretty much slim to none – in our experience they definitely aren’t mature enough for a task of this size and a mini-meltdown is almost ensured. If you’re dead set on keeping kids as a central party of your big day, consult the parents first and consider having Mom and Dad escort and or hold their tiny hands down the aisle.
Myth #4: You. Must. Wear. White. Lets be honest, you’re probably not a virgin anyway so live a little and consider which colors you love and what flatters you most. What shows off your daring style or quirky personality? If white is your jam, then do it as there is absolutely nothing wrong with following tradition; however, don’t feel that you have to wear white if something else speaks to you more. One of the most gorgeous gowns I’ve seen was all black. The bottom line is that you will enjoy your big day most when you look and feel your best. And if your goal is to be memorable, nothing would stand out more than a blushing bride wearing canary yellow, dusty sapphire or deep aubergine. Do you, boo!
Myth #5: You need to have a bridal party. Most couples want to include their closest friends and family in a special way, but they can still stand up for you without having buy specific attire and parade around like pageant folk. Fun Fact: originally bridal parties were created as a decoy for the bride to prevent her from being stolen; they wore exactly the same dress and veiled their faces heavily to confuse pirates, jealous suitors, and evil spirits. Doesn’t really apply now unless you are living somewhere really salty. In reality, most of your friends would rather not spend thousands on festivities, bachelor(ette) parties, travel and matching outfits – they’re there to celebrate you and utilize that open bar. Switch it up by taking the “bridal” out of “party” and simply invite them to your room to get ready together the morning of and then set them free to party like a dove release of beasties wearing something they will actually wear again. If having a formal bridal party is a must on your wedding to do list, all good, but perhaps invite your crew to wear the same general color while allowing them to select a style that best suits them so there’s uniformity AND individuality and a total avoidance of a “Who wore it better” moment.
Myth #6: The Maid of Honor and Best Man need to make a toast. I’m not saying they need to be an international debate champion or Tony Robbins, but if you are going have someone stop everything in its tracks with the clinking of a glass, let’s set them up for success. A crying girl talking about how much she loves her “sister” or a groomsman regaling one too many explicit frat stories might not be the move. Spare your guests some bleeding ears and nodding heads by having] someone who can succinctly articulate themselves do the main toasting. You can always elect to have certain people do a prepared reading at the ceremony or be in charge of holding the rings or signing the marriage license so they still feel special and included on the big day. No matter who does the speaking, it should still be succinct and should end on a high note – we laughed a little, we cried a little and then after a couple of minutes we went back to eating our salmon. If you are at all unsure, have them speak at the rehearsal dinner instead and keep toasts to an absolute minimum at the wedding – the fewer interruptions to dinner and dancing, the better!
Myth #7: You have to have a cake. If you don’t like cake, then you shouldn’t have one. The cake cutting was once an iconic part of weddings, but can easily be replaced with something more authentic to the couple getting married and believe me, your guests wont miss seeing you cut a cake – they just want a delicious dessert. If it’s a photo op you are looking for, there will be plenty of others. If this is about the expected offering of a sweet treat, there are plenty of alternatives. If you prefer something a little less traditional or if you just prefer an alternate dessert option, consider creating a pop-up mini pie shoppe – guests can even take their favorite mini pies home as a gift. Not into pie, a milk shake bar with optional spirits for the spiking might offer an indulgent adult-shake that will surely be a hit. Or if you are looking for something interactive and original, how about a crepe action station featuring a la minute customized crepes including nutella, fruit or powdered sugar filling options. Bottom line is, whatever you are serving should be something you love whether that be a kick-ass cake or ice cream sundaes – it’s your show.
Myth #8: You need to host a seated dinner. A cocktail party offering a full tray passed dinner can ensure your guests have had ample delicious food while also serving to be a cost effective alternative to a seated dinner service, removing the need for line items like centerpieces, chargers and table numbers. There is definitely no obligation to do a formal seated dinner while still being gracious hosts but that doesn’t mean you can’t still include some of the formalities such as the first dance, toasts, and a grand entrance if desired. Consider creating a luxe lounge scene with high and low cocktail tables, sofa vignettes and a stylish bar. Your guests will socialize in style while experiencing a whole range of cuisine and the freedom to mingle and dance all night. Bonus, if you forgo the sit-down dinner, you may save a lot of time and effort you can spent tackling other things on your wedding to do list.
Myth #9: You must decide on a color palette before anything else. The colors should evolve once you have selected a space and have decided what kind of experience you wish to create for your guests. Color blocking your wedding can make the design feel one dimensional, removing the sophistication from the aesthetic. Think about your wedding design more in terms of textures and patterns with color groupings such as soft pastels, jewel tones or dark moody hues. Do you respond more to a palette of mixed neutrals from gray and beige to cream and blush? Or, perhaps you gravitate more towards an all white look with an unexpected pop of color. Balance your evolving palette with mixed textures from concrete and copper to rattan, wood and metallics to keep the color story feel balanced and luxe. You want your guests to remember that the room felt good and not that they spend the evening inside of the Smurf’s Village or a pep rally.
Myth #10: More is more. It’s not. Really, I promise. I often subscribe to a less is more approach opting for thoughtful design and personalized details over throwing money at it. A million flowers isn’t necessarily going to make anyone FEEL anything. A space thoughtfully dressed with interesting, eclectic and personal details, will be more memorable and impactful every time. Consider giving your guests different areas and details to discover throughout the evening in lieu of gigantic centerpieces that prevent guests from bonding. Create a well curated bar area featuring a dramatic triple-length bar, incorporate interactive stations to visit like a whisky tasting experience or truffle station, or spend on comfortable lounge vignettes to instigate memorable conversation. Its the experiences and the bonding of your guests, not oversaturated decor, that will make the event a success.
Bonus Myth — Your wedding will go exactly as planned, since you spent so much time carefully planning each and every detail. Did having an extra tip down here throw you off because there were only supposed to be 10 in this list? Exactly. Last, but not least, it is absolutely imperative to expect for the unexpected. Not everything will go exactly as planned, so always have an emergency kit on hand and a Plan B waiting in the wings. Have spares of everything you can possibly think of and prep back-up plans as if they were your first choice , i.e. even if it’s an LA wedding in the middle of summer, have the name of a tent vendor on deck in case the impossible happens and it rains. Better safe than sorry but at the end of the day, all that truly matters is that you keep your sense of humor and remember this is about you and your person. Use your wedding do to list as a place to start, but know that the day will be perfect even with it’s imperfections.