Wedding bells cause enough headaches without the noise of outdated or misguided rules. Here are five wedding myths that happy couples and their guests can banish from their to-do lists to save money, time or grief.
Myth No. 1
June is the best month for weddings.
That was then, this is now. The cachet of being a June bride has less-than-romantic roots: In the Middle Ages, June weddings were advisable because brides still were somewhat clean from their annual spring bath.
Today, May and October are more popular months to get married than June, according to Conde Nast's American Wedding Survey 2009. And couples often can save money getting married during less popular months.
In Florida, where a successful beach wedding depends largely on the weather, couples often play it safe and lean toward the relatively cooler and drier months in the spring and late fall.
For Florida honeymoons, the months of March, April, October and November are the most popular, according to theknot.com. Beautiful weather is also a factor for couples heading to the Florida Keys, which experience temperate, Caribbean-like weather year-round. (And best prices for a honeymoon in the Keys? June to September.)
Myth No. 2
Guests should spend on a wedding gift the same amount as the per-person cost of being entertained at the reception.
The per-plate rule is outdated and impractical, according to Mark Kingsdorf, owner of the Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants in Philadelphia and a master bridal consultant with the Association of Bridal Consultants.
Guests should spend according to their own financial situations and their personal relationship to the bride and/or groom. The closer you are, the more you may wish to spend, but don't worry about expectations.
"They're inviting you because they love you, not because they want a present from you," Kingsdorf said.
Myth No. 3
The bride must wear white, and the guests better not.
The bride can wear whatever she pleases, and many brides today have a pink or lavender underlay to their gowns for a blush tone, while others add splashes of color with bright sashes or embroidery (and still others walk down the aisle in fire-engine red).
Guests, meanwhile, may wear certain shades of white — but with caution.
The point is not to distract from the bride or her attendants, Kingsdorf said. So if the bride is wearing a white ball gown, a guest can get away with a knee-length ivory sheath, especially if she adds colorful or chunky accessories that are clearly unbridelike.
Myth No. 4
The bride and groom shouldn't see each other until she walks down the aisle.
Because of superstition, or to make a grand entrance, many couples think it's best to wait until the procession for the big reveal — but, in fact, it can be more romantic to have a "first look" with your soon-to-be spouse earlier in the day.
"They can actually take the time to connect together, by themselves," said Christy Weber, co-founder of Junebug Weddings, an online wedding magazine based in Seattle. It's also more relaxing to do the photo shoot before the ceremony rather than slip away during the cocktail hour.
Myth No. 5
Guests want party favors to take home from the reception.
"How many little silver picture frames do you have at home with a couple's picture inside? None, because you got rid of them," Kingsdorf said. The best party favors are edible ones, like chocolates, so don't waste money on candles, bottle stoppers or anything else that will turn into clutter.
A photo booth is one way to give your guests something meaningful to take with them. Another option is to make a donation to charity in lieu of party favors.