Questions I CAN’T Answer!

I get asked a lot of things, and if I don’t know the answer, I usually know someone who does – Ask me if there’s someone with a blue Kombi van you could use for bridal cars, or to find the traditional form for wedding vows in Japanese, and I’m your girl.

But here are a few questions it’s pretty much a waste of time asking me:

“How much does a wedding cost?” Nope. You’re approaching the issue from the wrong end. You can have a beautiful wedding for under a thousand dollars, or over ten thousand dollars – and the choices you make will be influenced by how much money you’re willing or able to spend. The only true answer to this question is, “even with care, about 15% more than you budgeted for”.

“What’s a good wedding theme?”  [shudder] I’m not big on themed weddings. You do need to tie your wedding together as a cohesive single event, but you don’t want to get sucked into spending money on cheesy gimmicks, under the mistaken belief that you’re creating a ‘theme’.

Begin by identifying whether you’re aiming to create for a traditional, formal, or completely laid back feel – and make sure that everything, from the invites to the thankyou cards reflect that.

Too much of a good thing is a terrible thing – so whether it’s butterflies or tapa cloth, simply filling the room with a profusion of different shapes, styles and colours will look cheap and tacky, where just a few, carefully coordinated variations on the theme whisper style and imagination.

When it comes to the colour scheme, and/or motif, choose one example item, and use that to match everything else to You will run into problems if you match the flowers to the candles, then the serviettes to the flowers, then the place cards to the serviettes, but when you match each element to your one key motif, the overall look will come together, almost magically. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the 300 bargain vintage-look candles you found at the $2 shop, or the extremely expensive centrepiece for the top table, if you keep coming back to that one thing when you’re choosing the other elements, your whole look will come together, no matter how many different parts you have.

“Do you really think I should marry him/her?” Okay, this is actually an important question, but probably not one you should be asking random people you’ve just met! [You’d be surprised how often it comes up!]

Short answer: If this question is about the wedding – because, let’s be honest, it’s an incredibly stressful thing to get through – then I’d say, take a step back, and a nice deep breath, and remember that you get to go home with him/her at the end of the day. And every day after that.

There is no single predictor that will guarantee your marriage’s success. But there are a number of things which will  hasten its failure. Successful long-term relationships take hard work, careful attention, hard work, energy, creativity, stubbornness, and hard work. No amount of hard work is going to glue together a marriage that starts off broken.If your fiance is violent, cruel, unreliable, lazy, rude to your family, or unkind – then, no,  don’t tie your life to that person, no matter how nice they are the rest of the time.

“Does XYZ-tradition really matter?” This is another one of those questions that you have to answer for yourselves. Broadly speaking, the only thing you HAVE to do to be married is to state, in the appointed place, that you wish to be married, and to sign the paperwork with the proper official witnesses.

From that angle, none of the traditions matter. But many of the traditions are there because they serve some purpose, and have come to have specific meanings. Before you throw them out, make sure that you’ve thought about what you’re keeping in their place, so that you don’t end up with a ceremony stripped totally bare – unless that’s the look you’re aiming for, in which case, you should find a way to let your guests know to expect a minimalist ceremony. [Trust me, this is one of those times when it’s NOT “easier to get forgiveness than permission”!]

The tradition that most commonly comes under fire these days, is the escorting of the bride down the aisle. Some people find this to be terribly sexist and demeaning to the bride’s autonomy – “how can you give away another human being” , “why doesn’t the groom get treated like property” and so on.

While I can see that point, there’s also a case to be made for the honour that the privilege it is to be the one chosen to walk with a bride as she comes to her wedding, for the fact that it’s a lovely opportunity to acknowledge a close relationship between the bride and her escort, and so on. Two different sides of the same coin – but only you [in the context of your families] can decide which one is the one you’ll choose.

Okay, enough from me today. I’m sure there are millions more questions I don’t have answers for – not least of all – what colour DOES a smurf turn if you strangle it…

But I’ll save those for another day. Meanwhile, if you HAVE questions – feel free to ask! I’m always glad to help out where I can!

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