How important is it for people to say yours was the BEST WEDDING EVER?

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Graphic courtesy of Splendid Insights. This is one page from a market research document they did that's actually awesome.
Graphic courtesy of Splendid Insights. This is one page from a market research document they did that's actually awesome.

Y'all know I loves me some data, and this little nugget from Splendid Insights is a hot nugget. It turns out that generally speaking, almost 70% of us think having the BEST WEDDING EVER matters. Maybe it's not the top priority, but it still matters.

Wedding competition is a pretty fascinating motivator. Like, as if it wasn't enough to plan a public ceremony, AND an expensive party, AND deal with family and friends, AND make a public commitment to your partner… now it's supposed all supposed to be the BEST EVER?!

No pressure, guys.

This is something we've written about for years, begging readers to remember that their wedding is not a contest and that all weddings are awesome!

That's all fine and dandy. I feel like most of us already feel a little chagrined at how much we care about our weddings. Isn't it, like, unfeminist or something? Shouldn't I not care? I probably shouldn't be so competitive…

But you know what? It's freaking hard. It's hard when the stakes are high, and it's a very public event. It's hard when you're investing a ton of resources like money, time, and creative effort. It's hard when, in the current wedding planning climate, every single wedding decision feels like it needs to MEAN something.

It's not enough to have the perfect wedding — it needs to be the perfect UNIQUE wedding, where every detail conveys some Very Important Thing about your relationship or your time together. Where you're not just trying to have a nice day within a reasonable budget, but you're also trying to wow your friends and family (who have probably never all been in the same place together!) with the BEST WEDDING EVER.

Jesus, it's a wonder wedding planning makes everyone act crazy. The pressure.

This is when it gets really interesting to see the couples who opt out of the competition completely. Folks planning destination weddings who are just like “Whatever, give me the ‘rose petals on the beach' package, that's fine. My priority is relaxing.” Other folks who opt for “wedding factory” weddings, knowing they won't be the most unique specialist snowflake weddings ever, but knowing that they won't have to deal with decision fatigue and the overwhelming pressure to make it the BEST WEDDING EVER. Some folks want to save energy for working on the best marriage ever, and that's cool too. For those 30% or so who don't get triggered by the competitive vibe… we salute you!

What about the remaining 70% of us, though? How can we sit with both wanting to impress everyone, while also needing to stay secure?

Well, as always: I think a little perspective is healthy. As Offbeat Bride likegracekelly noted last week:

Yeah, so some couple on The Knot had artisanal barbecue at their wedding three years ago. Well, our community didn't know that and they were thrilled by the novelty of barbecue at a wedding.

Our community had never been to a book-themed wedding, seen Elvish-engraved wedding rings, etc. even if the internet has seen it dozens of times.

It is much easier to go viral if your sample size is smaller.

That last line, though! Unless you're the last of your crew to get married, chances are solid that very few of your guests know much about contemporary weddings. Even if several of your friends have gotten married recently, your wedding is probably going to be the BEST WEDDING EVER if your guests haven't been reading wedding blogs and browsing Pinterest nonstop for the past year.

Now I'll toss the question out to you guys: do you feel like it's really important for people to say yours was the BEST WEDDING EVER? How do you deal with that competitive feeling? Does it not even bother you?

Comments on How important is it for people to say yours was the BEST WEDDING EVER?

  1. I’m curious if this is also a bit of a Gen X/Millennial thing. I’m very firmly a millennial and have never felt the need for our wedding to be unique or offbeat or the best, we’ve just wanted our wedding to feel like “us”.

    I’ve also never really ascribed to the idea that your wedding should be the best day of your life – an important or memorable day yes, but there’s so many other days out there that will probably be even more fun and ” best”.

    • Interestingly, I know from reading the survey that the vast majority of respondents were Millennials… so this one doesn’t seem to be a gen x/millennial issue.

  2. It was really important to me and my husband that our wedding leave an impression. We wanted it to be unlike any wedding our guests had ever attended, we wanted it to be memorable, and we wanted people to have an awesome time. In talking with our guests both on the day and after we feel pretty confident that we achieved those three goals. But, was our wedding the BEST EVER!? Who knows?
    I feel like it’s too subjective to make a decision about this wedding or that wedding being the best because criteria would vary so much from person to person. A co-worker told me that her husband felt we had “the best” food he’d ever eaten at a wedding … but food is one aspect. A wedding we went to a couple years ago had “the best” venue I’d ever seen for a wedding, including my own, but I love quaint B&Bs on cliffs overlooking water. Someone else might hate a location like that.
    The whole concept of “The Best Wedding” seems to be to be a myth. Perhaps if the term were rephrased as “The Best Wedding for US”, us being the couple in question, it would relieve some of the anxiety and pressure. My husband and I absolutely had “The Best Wedding for US” and that’s what really mattered.

  3. We weren’t concern with being the best, as much as we wanted everyone to feel like they could be themselves, and comfortable. And for it to feel like “us” which everyone said it was very much us. Line Brink said we had the best wedding for us and that’s what matters.

    When comparing ours to others we recently attended (because even if you don’t mean to, it happens!) we found ourselves using that thought process to determine how great the couples wedding was. The more it fit the couple, the more we enjoyed ourselves. Verse attending a wedding where there were events and theme that seemed forced instead of a natural fit and flow.

  4. Aah, thank you for using my humble little pull quote 😀

    My husband and I were the first in our tiny college’s graduating class to get engaged, so when other alumni couples started planning weddings using the college as a venue as well, not going to lie, there was a pang of, “Their weddings are going to be BETTER than ours!” My husband even said that people were “stealing” our ideas.

    But here’s the thing: getting married at the college? “Stolen” idea from my parents, who got married there 32 years ago. Passing out CD favors? “Stolen” idea from a friend’s wedding. There were a bazillion ideas stolen from Pinterest, OBB, and other sites. There wasn’t a single “original” or “new” element of the wedding except for the marriage. But we weren’t trying to impress the Internet or even our friends and families (a lot of which had gone to my cousin’s Pinterest-perfect wedding the year prior), we were just seeking things that would make people say the wedding was “so us” rather than “the best wedding EVAR.” And with that, I think we succeeded.

  5. I tend to be one of the overly competitive people. I mean, everything is a competition and everyone knows that, right? However, I’m getting better at realizing that “winning” at things as subjective as fashion or tattoos or weddings means staying true to yourself and doing the best you can, not outspending or going faster or getting the most compliments. Internal validation is the victory, outside validation is icing on the cake.

    • Love this: “Internal validation is the victory, outside validation is icing on the cake.”

  6. I got married a year and a half ago. At that time, I’d been to A LOT of weddings with my now-husband. Some of them were really lavish affairs, the sort that we would not in a million years be able to compete with. And we were totally fine with that. I didn’t need or want THE BEST WEDDING EVER. What I wanted was a wedding that was “us”. A place where both our geeky and non-geeky guests could feel included and have a good time. And I think we pulled that off admirably.

    The problem when you try to compete with everyone else is that there will always, always, ALWAYS be someone with more money than you, more time, more craftiness, more connections… more. If you compare yourself to them, you’ll drive yourself nuts. So do you and have a good time, and everything else will fall into place.

  7. We are 55 days away and I am struggling with this SO HARD. So far I’ve been able to wrangle in the little one-uping demon parrot that lives on my shoulder, but it’s so stinking hard. I just have to keep telling myself, no one knows you COULD have had a string quartet…they will only know that we used that money for a banging mimosa bar that will be enjoyed by everyone for way longer than the quartet. No one needs to know that I COULD have clothed my bridesmaids in bespoke custom gowns…because those cute little wrap dresses will look just as nice but won’t bankrupt my awesome friends. So far practical me is winning…but I needed this article to remind me to cool my sparkly pintrest jets and just enjoy the day.

  8. I just want a wedding that doesn’t have the aspects that I dislike in other weddings. I want good food, because I’ve eaten terrible food at a wedding before. I don’t want to throw a bouquet or garter (burn that second tradition with FIRE) because I dislike having been forced to stand there and pretend to care about catching a bouquet when I think it’s silly. And so on. I know my wedding won’t be the best ever, because I won’t be doing ALL THE THINGS.

  9. This post comes at a great time… Our wedding is in two months, and we are very much a “no frills” couple when it comes to our wedding, and life in general. We will have food (self catered), booze (full bar), music (iPod), and little else. Yes, we will modest decor, but besides the cookie table (Pittsburgh tradition), there will be very little that would distinguish this as a wedding other than my white dress and the ceremony preceding it. Would I love to have a photo booth? Of course, but I just don’t find it practical to spend money on. Would live music or a DJ be nice instead of our iPod? Of course, but it’s not necessary. The fear is – does being practical, and setting up a simple, relaxed environment mean our guests will not enjoy themselves? I have only attended “wedding factory” weddings, and have no idea how this will all play out. I stand by our decisions, especially as we prepare to potentially move cross-country to Portland, but I also want our loved ones to enjoy themselves. Thanks for listening – I’ve been carrying around this fear for awhile and found this a good time to “unload”.

    • I hear you, Kate! It sounds like we’re having a somewhat more wedding-y wedding than what you describe, but I’m also struggling with the “will guests enjoy themselves” issue for similar reasons. We’re doing the iPod thing, no day-of coordinator, and a self-serve bar (not to mention DIY makeup for me). I’m planning ahead like the dickens, but worrying about how it will all play out on the actual day is my new hobby. I don’t need best wedding ever (it WILL be the best for me and my groom, anyway); just “pretty darn good wedding” would be nice!

      I just keep reminding myself that my guests are adults, and more than that, they’re adults who want to have a good time.

      • Don’t worry! This sounds so much like our wedding! We had an iPod for music, self-serve bar and food, had no day-of coordinator, or even wore anything that would’ve indicated it was a wedding from an outsider. It was still a great time and everyone seemed to enjoy that it was a little different and low-key. Your weddings will be awesome!

  10. I am the last of my crew to get married, and thus… I already know there’s no such thing as the Best Wedding Ever. All my friends’ wedding have been different, and all of them have been beautiful and fun and perfect and the Best Wedding Ever. As a frequent wedding guest, I know it doesn’t really matter that much what your colors are (all brides are beautiful), or what the food is like (as long as it’s good and there’s enough of it), or whether you get calla lilies or peonies, or how many mason jars you use and in what configuration, or what kind of favors if any. In my opinion, this is one of the best things about waiting to get married until my 30s.

    Your wedding is gonna be the Best Wedding Ever because everybody’s wedding is the Best Wedding Ever!

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