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Why We Choose a Big Wedding When We Don’t Want One

Do you want to have a ginormous wedding, or have you seriously considered eloping just to avoid the chaos? Did you have the kind of wedding that you and your fiancé wanted, or did you cave to somebody else’s wishes? I always find it fascinating to learn why brides and grooms have chosen the kind of wedding they’re planning.

Although the wedding day is supposed to be about the couple formally expressing their love, and making a commitment to one another, all the things you can have and do for your wedding often eclipse the main point of the day. It can be overwhelming and not that much fun for the couple if the bride or groom doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention at a large gathering.

Most of the brides who moan and groan to me about how they didn’t want to have a big wedding will blame it on their parents. I only believe that up to a certain point – I think brides and grooms get sucked into a competitive spirit when all their other friends are getting married around them.

Dr. Jane Greer, relationship expert and author of “What About Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship” has some interesting insight to share on this topic. She says lots of couples cave under parental pressure.

“Sometimes they do it because their families have a certain social obligation and standing – perhaps they have a vast array of friends and want to include all of them,” Dr. Greer explains. “The wedding becomes an event for them and their social happening, as much as it is for the actual bride and groom. If they’re comfortable paying for it, they figure, what’s the big deal? They want a big wedding and they’ll pay.”

This underscores another theory I’ve had that many couples who say they don’t want a big wedding really mean they don’t want to PAY for a big wedding. But if somebody else is picking up the entire tab, they’re okay with it. It would seem selfish to me except their parents are getting what they wanted, and nobody’s upset about the outcome. It isn’t that they don’t want to be part of a big wedding, but they’re not willing to incur the expense.

Not everybody wants a small wedding, and those choosing to throw extravagant affairs have their own reasons as well. As I said before, weddings can inspire competition. Couples whose friend-group are all getting married, too, may feel additional pressure to throw the biggest and best party in their crowd.

There’s also peer-pressure, from friends who’ve already been brides, and from single friends who just want to help, but really think you MUST do this or that, or your wedding will be incomplete. Brides and grooms who plan their own weddings without input from the peanut gallery find themselves considerably less stressed than those who have put things to a vote. And the professionals agree with me.