Here’s a list of things you are allowed to say NO to as a 2023 bride:
Inviting people whose names you or your fiancé don't even know.
Invitation requests before invitations are sent out… that's what they're for. When someone Asks if Gary is invited way before your guest list is finalized, you don't have to give a yes or no! If it's TBD say that.
Sharing cake on your wedding day. Is pizza your thing? Do that! We did doughnuts from Michael's Bakery in Orrville. We loved it and so did our guests.
Bouquet toss/ garter toss. The garter toss is so awkward to participate in. The only reason you should do this is if YOU two are specifically excited about it. Weddings are changing and I see this happen a lot less every year.
Accepting money for your event from someone who wants to control your choices. That's like.. bribery right?? If they want to fundamentally change your wedding day from what you are set on, you can pass on that offer. The only person walking away with regrets from your wedding day will be you so be sure to align your choices with that fact. If you have already accepted the money and they are taking way more control than you agreed upon, give it back if you're in the place to do so!
Say a BIG NO to wasting your entire night making sure everyone else is feeling “welcome” and “having fun”. Are YOU feeling welcome?? Are YOU having fun? You probably spent at least a couple grand throwing this event. AND you might even prefer to be eloping, but you chose to include your family and friends and that is so great!! But when you walk away from your wedding day, you're the one with that loan, or less in our bank account. You're the one who will talk about that day to your children. You're the one who GOT MARRIED! Be prepared for the “ we didn't feel welcome” Or “ we couldn't see you from where we were sitting” or "Why was our table so far back?” Girl it will come from the people you least expect it either way. If it wouldn't have been that, it would've been something else. So don't waste your time. Spend the night with those who are actually happy for you and not those who are there to be catered to. You'll probably notice, the people with the most complaints, never lifted a finger or even offered to.
Adding someone to your bridal party just because they had you in theirs. There should be more reasons to have them beside you than that one thing. I had the best bridal party I could've asked for and I truly believe it's because I asked them for the right reasons!! #1 Do they treat you well? (answer should be yes!) #2 Do you trust them (the answer should be yes!) #3 are they flaky? (answer should be no!) #4 do they get along with others well (answer should definitely be yes!). If your bridal party causes you more stress, something is wrong.
Adding someone to the bridal party just to have an equal # on both sides. It's not that serious, I promise.
Matching bridesmaids dresses.
A flower girl or ring bearer.
A venue or location offered by a close friend or family member that doesn't come with a contract. The location of your wedding is FUNDAMENTAL. Everything revolves around the location of your wedding. Taking every step to be sure your venue can not legally get pulled out from under you is very important. (take it from me, who had to scramble and find an available, free venue, shrink my guest list, reprint and resend invites 4 months before my wedding… :) Thankfully we found Rehm Meadows outside of Orrville! The Rehms truly saved the day.
Party favors. You have no idea how many brides end up with 75% of the thank you gifts they bought. Do not feel obligated to buy these!!!! The event your funding and hosting is well enough.
Thank you cards. If I wouldn't have had to send out three rounds of invitations due to unexpected complications I would have sent thank you cards, but by then, we had spent so much money in total on stamps and paper. So much mental energy on not calling off the entire thing and just running away together that I chose not to. I was burnt out before my wedding even happened which is sad. I picked up all of my decor, sold it as a lot and never looked back. If you end up feeling this way but still want to send thank you cards, request one of your bridesmaids to take care of this in advance!
A big wedding. I wish our guest list would've been 40 people long. Honestly. After everyone's true colors, (No shows, Backhanded compliments, Complaints, comments) The amount of people that deserved to be there is about 45% of our invited guest list. Micro weddings are becoming popular because a lot of people just can't act right. LOL. I HIGHLY suggest micro weddings. Less expensive, less overwhelming, 100% more meaningful. Just remember, the people complaining about not being invited would have complained about something else, if they were.
Kids. You don't have to host children at your event. Ya just don't.
A bridal party. I love this idea too! This would be best for smaller weddings with less things to juggle. If you like this idea but need the help of a bridal party, you could have them seated with the guests during the ceremony to meet halfway.
An 8 hour day. If that's just too much for you, Have the ceremony and a small cocktail hour (2 ish hours) to get the dances in and serve some snack food and call it a day!
A separate bachelor and bachelorette party. We got so much backlash from people for this! Assumed trust issues, over controlling, of course all of those were on me.. Hi I’m the problem 🙂. We had SO MUCH FUN! Both bridal parties had a whole weekend to mend and create friendships before the big day and Blake and I loved to be together having fun with our friends after working so hard that year. If it's not very enjoyable for you to be apart from your fiance in a foreign city or state, SAY THAT. I had a bridal party (on both sides) who were 100% supportive of this and everyone still talks about the trip to this day! We went to Apple Valley, Ohio and stayed in a big lake house.
Bachelorette themes. There's enough to plan! This doesn't have to be a thing. Let your bridal party take the reins if you don't have the energy or funds to do so.
I have learned SOOOO much after experiencing my own wedding AND being a wedding photographer. I hope this empowers you to voice what you truly want for your day and stand your ground when people try to cross boundaries. This day should be what you want it to be!
So CONGRATULATIONS! <3