Advicesisters Classic Double-Take Q&A Remix: Winter Wedding Advice for Winter Wedding Woes: This Q&A was originally featured in the 1990s on the original “advice sisters” website. I have updated both “takes” for today’s readers. I hope you like it and I welcome your comments!
We are planning and paying for our own wedding. It’s going to be during the Christmas holiday. I was married before with a big, formal wedding. This time around I’d really like to be married at City Hall or have a small ceremony and reception. I don’t want to look foolish or jinx our marriage. And we’re still dealing with Covid…But it’s my fiance’s first wedding and he has a large family who would like to see him get married in a grand and formal way. I know he wants that too. I don’t want to cheat my fiance out of the “total wedding experience,” but I’d feel silly and frankly irresponsible to have a big wedding now with a gown, bridesmaids, and the wedding band that plays the “the macarena” etc. We also don’t have a ton of money. The flowers alone for a formal event could kill our budget. Is there a way to handle the wedding without disappointing my fiance?”
Alison’s Updated Take:
Here’s my winter wedding advice: The magic word is “compromise.” You have changed and you want your wedding to reflect the person you are now, and so does your fiance. It’s his first time around, I get that. But the world has changed as well. Until the pandemic is over, it’s unwise to consider a big gathering. Surely your fiance realizes this as well.
Elope! Well, I’m only half-joking. But a destination wedding with just the two of you and a few friends or family members might be a good idea. At a beach wedding for example, everyone can social distance at least a bit. Then, when the time is right, save up for that huge wedding later on. The pressure of getting married will be over and you can renew your vows at the big wedding he and his family expect.
No Real Rules Anymore:
There really are no strict rules on what the bride can or should wear despite what the old-style etiquette doyennes say. But if your fiance would love to see you in a formal white gown and you’re doing this second time around, choose slightly white, with colored accents such as ribbons, embroidery, or silk flowers. Or, wear a gown with a detachable skirt so you can remove it for the reception if you have one. Carry a bouquet of holly and pine, or mix with some flowers for more color.
What About Attendants?
There is no rule that says you have to have any attendants. Frankly, I think it would look pretty UNfestive for them to have to wear masks. However, if you are going to do a gathering, why not make up special masks for the attendants, or maybe printed ones with your names and wedding date, for everyone who attends.
When the time comes for the ceremony you can ask a friend to light a candle, recite a short poem, whatever feels right to you. How about red or maroon dresses with white faux fur shrugs and small pine wreaths instead of big floral bouquets? If you do opt for an “on the beach” wedding all of you could wear white. In fact, the bridesmaids’ tradition began that way. Girls wore the same as the bride so the groom (or other men) couldn’t drag her away unwillingly!
Walk yourself down the aisle. Add touches to the traditional ceremony you didn’t do the first time. Facetime for those who can’t attend. There is so much you can do with a Winter wedding theme!
For the reception choose a chamber music quartet playing Christmas songs. Cut your cake with a sword, or other unusual implements. If you’re goofy, wear reindeer ears. Don’t throw your bouquet. Instead, offer each unattached woman a flower.
Start a Tradition:
Start a tradition. light a tree without ornaments. Ask guests to bring an ornament to help trim your first tree as a married couple. If those who can’t attend ask “what can we give you?” ask them for ornaments. Inexpensive, and they will become priceless treasures, maybe even heirlooms for your future children.
A “theme” can also help to personalize a traditional wedding. You mentioned this will be a Christmas wedding. Decorate with small (live) pine trees or faux ones people can take home. Ornaments, fairy lights, faux wreaths…all of these are inexpensive and great for a holiday theme. Keep the tradition, but make it reflect you as a couple.
Jessica’s Updated Take (she’s not here, so I updated it for her):
I agree with Alison that at weddings, as in marriages themselves, compromise is the best policy. I tell you honestly that I’m not sure I’d want to marry any man who would insist that his bride get married in a way that makes her uncomfortable. But I understand the pressures that family can put on someone.
Again, I have to agree with Alison again that this is a different type of world we’re living in. So many people are Covid-19 averse and scared to show up outside of their homes. Why make them uncomfortable?
When it comes to a formal event, later on, you have to give a little to get a little. There are lots of semi-formal gowns for second-time brides. Wear a wreath of flowers or sparkly hair jewelry, not a hat or veil.
Sit down with your fiance and make lists of what you each feel is a “must-have, ” a “I’d like it but can live without it, ” and “I’d rather die than do this.” Negotiate. If he wants a wedding with attendants and in a formal church setting and you wanted to shake holiday bells in City Hall, how about a semi-formal wedding in a lovely old inn or small chapel?
See, it’s not so hard. Things will work themselves out as long as you communicate, that is one of the keys to a great relationship!