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The Marketisation of Marriage

As I remarked in an earlier post, I often meet couples when they are at their most stressed. They feel overwhelmed and aren’t quite sure where to start or what they should be looking for.

Partly that’s because they’ve (probably!) never planned a wedding before but more often than not it’s because they suddenly feel the pressure of a thousand and one wedding businesses trying to sell to them.

The moment you change your relationship status to engaged you become a target. The moment you buy that first wedding magazine you become immersed in a world you’d never even dreamt existed. And from the moment you start making enquiries you realise you’re in danger of becoming part of one big ‘wedding factory’.

My background is marketing; I know how the game works and yet I too felt under pressure. Whether it was because of friends’ weddings, my own expectations or a desire to create a personal statement of my taste and style, I soon found myself getting carried away.

However, the fact that I fell pregnant just a few days after becoming engaged helped me put everything into perspective. Suddenly spending an additional few hundred pounds on a handbag for the day (you’re right, I didn’t need one!) seemed ridiculous when I focused on the fact that just a few weeks after our wedding day, we’d be having our first child and had a nursery to furnish.

If I’m honest, I think it can all be traced back to Posh ‘n’ Becks and those thrones. We all wanted that fairy tale moment…perhaps with a bit more style, but you get the picture! Suddenly every girl felt they had to get married in a stately home and honeymoon in the Maldives with the photos posted all over Facebook or a wedding blog.

Fetcham Park Surrey Wedding Steven Brooks Photography

An industry woke up to the fact that in a few short years people had gone from intimate celebrations to inviting hundreds of people and they would legitimise almost any spend for ‘the best day of their life’. What a depressing thought! Your wedding day is not the best day of your life, it is the start of the rest of your lives together and hopefully you will have many more wonderful days to celebrate.

It’s why I’m passionate about protecting our couples from all the hype around them. One of the very happiest weddings we’ve hosted had the smallest budget and one of the most fun was planned in just 5 weeks. Don’t feel under pressure to spend lots of money you haven’t got or think that you need months and years to plan the ‘perfect’ day; it should all come down to why you want to get married, not how.

Creating a fairytale wedding day does not guarantee a fairytale ending. A wedding day isn’t about showing off, it’s about celebrating a life-long commitment surrounded by the people you love – people that will pledge to support you in your marriage, not judge you by the flowers you chose.

So try to ignore the marketing messages around you; the truth is that even the venue is irrelevant, it should all be about getting married. Saying my vows was the very best part of our wedding day and yet on reflection, I’d given it virtually no thought. How sad that I’d listened to the voices around me and got caught up in all the marketing when actually, I should have been focused on marrying the man I loved and everything that meant.

So please try to remember that the truth is, whatever you spend, however pretty it all looks, it won’t make for a happier marriage. Spend what you can afford, not what you think you should and don’t start your married life in debt – you’re going to face enough pressures along the way without that being one of them!

Love, Laura

Images courtesy of navyblur and Steven Brooks Photography