weddings

'It's migraine-inducing': Why it's time to rethink the "big, pretentious wedding".

Anyone who has ever been to a wedding knows the fairytale narrative so many of us are obsessed with is far from the truth. 

The breathtaking bride, the tear-jerking vows, the “wow” moments, the picture-perfect details... behind all these “perfect” moments are stories of stress, tears, bridezillas, and budgets that quickly spiral out of control.

Side note: How much should a wedding dress cost? Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

I’ve never been someone who fantasised about having a wedding. 

To me, weddings have always seemed so needlessly over-the-top; the exorbitantly priced dress, the speeches, the throwing of the bouquet. It all feels showy, outdated, and, most of all, not like me.

I might be in danger of sounding like the wedding grinch, but weddings aren’t some sacred day where everything magically comes together – unless, of course, you have a kick-ass wedding planner and an enormous budget. 

A big wedding can be enormously stressful, and I find myself questioning whether it will be worth the cash, the drama, and my sanity.

And there’s a good chance the cost of our wedding might put us into debt if we’re not careful. 

The average cost of a wedding in Australia is $36,000. 

To me, that doesn’t sound completely insane, but it also sounds like a lot of money to spend on one day. 

Listen to Mamamia's wedding podcast, Hitched, where we discuss the all-important budget. Post continues below.

I think about what my fiancé and I could do with that money; we could pay off our home loan that much sooner. We could put it towards the future of our (as yet unborn) children. 

We could spend it on any number of things that I see as being infinitely more worthwhile than a dress that will be worn for one day and then tucked in a cupboard for the rest of eternity.

So, the question I’ve been asking myself is this; am I willing to spend a small fortune and expend a huge amount of energy in planning to celebrate this day? 

Or, should I spend only what I am willing to spend, give only the time I can, and adjust my expectations accordingly? 

After I got engaged recently, one of the first questions was “when is the wedding?”, as if I was already teetering on the brink of writing my vows.

Yet I found myself wondering if a wedding was even worth it.

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I found myself trying to want the whole big wedding thing; the flowy princess dress, the speeches, and the cutting of the cake. But I felt like I was forcing a square peg into a round hole; all of it just didn’t feel right.

When I tell people I’m not too keen on having a big wedding, they try to plague me with the fear of regret. But I can’t justify spending more than five minutes of my life deciding on what kind of wedding cake I’d like, or which flowers I’d like at my wedding. 

While I’d want my wedding to look beautiful, for me, this level of wedding minutiae is migraine-inducing.

I find it crazy that couples are willing to hand over huge amounts of cash without batting an eyelid when it comes to their “special day”. 

It seems ridiculous that they’re willing to invite distant family members that they haven’t spoken to in ten years to attend their wedding or spend thousands of dollars on flowers that will probably be dead before the end of the week.

Not everyone has to feel the same way as I do. It’s ok to want a perfect wedding. I know couples out there who live for their “dream” wedding and are willing to go into debt to achieve it. And if so, that’s entirely up to them. If anything, your wedding day should be what you want; whatever that might be. It’s just not for me.

It feels selfish to have an elopement and shut friends and family out of celebrating with us, but the fact that the pressure to include everyone could push us to have a bigger celebration than we might need to, bothers me. 

There’s a part of me that wants that “perfect” day. I’m just not sure I’m willing to pay the price to achieve it.

Even though COVID-19 caused wedding mayhem for so many, it did change the way couples viewed their weddings. 

We saw pandemic weddings that didn’t conform to tradition at all - everything from elopements to backyard weddings. 

I can only hope that this past year has changed the expectations society puts on couples to have big, pretentious weddings forever.

When I have my own wedding, I don’t want any of the traditions; the cake-cutting, the garter-tossing, or the bouquet-throwing.

Why should I throw a bouquet to the next girl in line who wants to get married, as if getting hitched is still the most important thing in a young woman’s life?

Equally, I don’t want my wedding to be a display of how in love we are. 

The people we invite to our wedding should already feel our love and be over the moon for us. 

I’m still navigating the big, sparkly, extravagant world of wedding planning, but there’s one thing I know for sure. 

Our wedding, whatever that looks like, should be about our relationship and what that means to us. It should be about committing our lives to each other, our way, rather than having to conform to a bunch of age-old traditions created hundreds of years ago.

Megan is a Sydney-based freelance writer across a range of topics including love, relationships, and careers. You can follow her on Instagram @meganjaneandrew.

Feature Image: Supplied.