Why You Don’t Want To Have A ‘Perfect Wedding’
‘Perfect’ - it’s a word that we’ve all become too conditioned to. We’ve overused it to the point where it’s lost the gravity of its meaning. ‘Perfect’ was always a superlative - the best of the best; the highest in quality. Whereas nowadays, we use the word perfect to describe so many things that the meaning has become lost on us. So, as a little reminder; perfect means ‘an absence of any flaws’, which I think we can all agree is achievable in most areas of our lives. However, when it comes to weddings, brides and grooms increasingly expect a wedding that is absent of any flaws. And the problem comes because they expect it from themselves.
As bride and groom, you may feel under a huge amount of pressure for everything to be perfect. You may throw the best parties, or have awesome style, and so your friends and family expect big things for your wedding day. It’s a compliment, but it can make you feel like there’s some standard or expectation you have to live up to, whether you want to or not. But chances are, if you are a perfectionist, then you will absolutely want to!
So how would we define a ‘perfect wedding day’? Well, using the definition above, it would have to be one where absolutely nothing went wrong, no-one had anything negative to say about the day (I mean, if it’s flawless then how could they?), and everyone declared it was “the best wedding they had ever been to”. You can’t get better than the best.
But we’re afraid to have to point out to you that this just isn’t realistic. You can’t control the fact that something will go wrong, it’s as plain and simple as that. You can check, double-check and triple-check with your suppliers right up until the day before the wedding that everything is okay on their end. You can have a timeline that accounts for every single thing that needs to happen and have your day planned out to military precision. But that won’t stop, say, the cake designer accidentally tripping and dropping your cake when carrying it into the venue. The thought is horrifying, but freak things like that happen all of the time. And yet no-one prepares for them because they don’t fit into their vision for a perfect day. Because you have demanded a perfect wedding from yourself, even though the dropped cake wasn’t your fault, it would most likely cause you to have a total meltdown and put a downer on your whole day.
Another great example of this is the weather. How many people must literally pray for sunshine for their June wedding despite a full awareness of the unpredictable British climate? So if you’ve constructed your whole dream vision around an outdoor wedding in the spring sunshine, then how are you going to feel if it rains? You’re going to be pretty gutted that your wedding wasn’t ‘perfect’ and yet you actually never had any control over this; it was always going to be a 50 % chance that it would rain.
The point I’m making is that you can demand perfection from yourself all you want but some things are just out of your control. Yet if you’ve set your mind to having a flawless day and one of these things just happens then you’re going to be incredibly upset that you didn’t have the perfect wedding you dreamed of. It’s great to have a vision for how you want things to be, but you need to be realistic and remember that sometimes unfortunate things just happen, and that’s just life. It’s all about mindset, and it really pays to not get carried away from reality in the midst of all the planning.
Striving for absolute perfection for your wedding can really distract from the main reason why you are getting married in the first place. A wedding isn’t about ensuring that your dad doesn’t say anything embarrassing or making sure that your bridesmaids are a certain weight for your special day (although you better believe that some couples go to great lengths to make sure this happens). A wedding is a symbol of two people vowing to spend the rest of their lives together, and the reception is a celebration of that. When we really break it down to that level, wouldn’t you rather spend your time making the day the most fun it can be for you and your partner, rather than this flawless event that everyone claims to be ‘the best’? Stop worrying about what is needed to make it perfect, and start deciding what would make it a reflection of you and your partner’s commitment to each other.
If we haven’t already convinced you enough that you don’t want / need to have a perfect wedding, then let us deliver the final blow - and this one really does carry a lot of weight. Being a perfectionist undoubtedly means that we obsess over the thing we are trying to perfect, and so a perfect wedding requires us to obsess over every single detail of the wedding planning. Research is increasingly showing that the more we fixate on the wedding during our engagement, the more likely we are to develop post-wedding depression once it’s all over. The logic: making our wedding such a huge part of our lives, means that we struggle to cope without it once it’s all over. We develop all the common symptoms of depression; perpetual sadness, loss of motivation, withdrawal from social activities, and a loss of hope that it will ever get better. Perfectionism, put simply, makes us ill. And do you really want to start married life like that, for the sake of having a ‘perfect wedding’?
As people in general we need to try and be more realistic, and compassionate, in what we expect of ourselves. As a society we tend to put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to achieve things, which a lot of the time can depend on factors out of our control. If you decided to throw a dinner party for your boss and her husband, and really wanted everything to be perfect - can you hold yourself responsible if there happens to be a neighbourhood-wide power cut and the oven won’t work? No, but probably at least half the people reading this would still beat themselves up over this regardless of the fact that what made it ‘not perfect’ was entirely out of their control.
Guess what? Sometimes it’s just about being “good enough”. You might not have got that presentation at work completely spot on, but it was good enough and you should be happy with that. You might not have kept to all 5 of your new year’s resolutions, but you’ve consistently tried with one and that’s good enough. Your wedding day might not be a day that is fully absent from flaws (you’re not in control of making the best man’s speech funny) but the fact you are marrying the person you love should be good enough for you.
And it really shows the extent to which perfectionism has taken control when the words “good enough” sound a little flat. The word ‘good’, meaning “of a high standard”, has come to mean average in this 21st century world where we need the highest grades to get into University, the ideal statistics to avoid being fat-shamed or thin-shamed, and a roster of painstakingly arranged selfies to gain followers and likes. It’s pressure from all angles, and we don’t need to add to that load by insisting that our own wedding is without fault.
Let’s take back our right to do things the way we want to, without everything having to meet certain standards and expectations. Let’s start a revolution where things can be good, great or even excellent - but still leave room for a margin of error that is entirely okay. Let’s just do our best and stop worrying about whether things could be better. We’ll do it you do it, deal? After all, the only thing better than perfectly following the rules, is by making new ones. Let’s make this the year that we accept that we don’t have to be perfect, and our wedding doesn’t have to be either.
Written by Charlotte Spain
Photography | Tiree Dawson Photography