Financially Illogical Wedding Traditions That I Still Can't Avoid

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — My fiancé, Eric, and I have been planning our wedding for roughly two years, enough time to let me examine nearly every wedding-related product on the market. While many parts of American weddings have real meaning – the rings, for example, can symbolize lasting commitment – some traditions have slipped into the category of But This Is What People Do! Despite my best efforts to fight 20-plus years of romantic comedy conditioning, I have not been able to talk myself out of including certain extras in our wedding.

Most wedding magazines I read assure me that those armloads of flowers or letterpress save-the-dates are not so much extra as essential. Apparently this is the only day I will ever get to wear a gown or buy myself peonies. If I don't do all of the traditional bridal things, I will look back and curse my past self for her ignorance.

Meg Keene, best-selling author and editor-in-chief of wedding and marriage blog A Practical Wedding, has written about the cause of this fear on her site.

"For the past year or so, we've been exploring the idea that the modern wedding industry has been set up so it basically runs on fear of regret," she explained. "Instead of selling a positive, [they are] selling a negative... All the marketing is 'if you don't do X, you will regret it and you'll regret it for the rest of your life.'"

Happily, Keene does not see much post-wedding grief about décor.

"The things that people regret are big picture stuff, stuff outside of their control," she said. She had heard from couples who wished they had eloped instead of having a big wedding or wanted their families to have behaved differently, but she's never encountered someone who wished she'd paid for professional flowers.

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