Your Wedding isn’t a Contest

Written by Katrina Otter
Image by Jacob & Pauline.
Your wedding isn’t a contest… and what to do if it becomes one.

As promised, I’m (aka Katrina Otter WeddingsResident Wedding Planner for Coco Wedding Venues) back and this month I’m tackling a rather meaty planning topic (especially in contrast to the plethora of pretty in my last tablescape / styling feature).

You see, today I’m talking about the very real and tricky topic of competitive weddings. I’m going to explain why that feeling of being in some kind of perfect wedding contest is a normal reaction (no judgements here) but also, and more importantly, what you can do to remove yourself if you find yourself in this situation.

are weddings a contest?

So firstly, why do we start to feel competitive when it comes to weddings? Well, anything that’s really personal to you, where you’re putting yourself, your likes, dislikes and choices out there for people to see can be really tough. You’re essentially opening yourself up and it takes a super strong person to really not care what other people think. When you’re told so frequently that planning your wedding is ‘all about you’, any judgements that others make are always going to feel incredibly personal.

Also, weddings are made to feel like a competition. From the moment you get engaged, you’re told to be quick, to book your venue and to confirm your suppliers in case you lose out to other couples who get in there before you. From the very outset of the planning process you can easily feel as if you’ve been thrown into a competition with hundreds and thousands of other couples. It can feel like a race where there are winners and losers and the whole success of your day relies on your ability to beat other people.

Then, if we add in the fact that it’s likely that other friends might have gotten married recently or could be planning their own weddings, everything rapidly becomes a series of one-upmanships. Have you booked your honeymoon? We have. Have you ordered your dress? I have. Have you had acceptances from everyone on your guest list? Of course we have. It might not be meant badly but those comments can add up and sting.

You might also be facing the reality that your wedding is just one of a series of others in your friendship group. A season of weddings in which the same group of people will be attending quite a few weddings, including yours, can tip you towards competitiveness. And if you’ve got a competitive streak in you, however well you might hide it, you’ll be limbering up for a wedding showdown before you know it.

In short, it’s an uncomfortable truth that when it comes to planning a wedding, feelings of jealousy, competitiveness and pride are just as prevalent as those of love, joy and happiness.

And we haven’t even touched upon the competitive feelings that social media can induce… that’s another can of worms for another day!

If you’ve read the above and you’re either nodding in agreement or bashfully admitting to yourself that you’re more competitive than you first thought, don’t worry. Don’t feel bad and certainly don’t beat yourself up. We’re all human and no human is perfect. What you really need to do, if you’re not happy about turning your wedding into a contest, is change.

Avoid the Competition

Firstly, try to put some distance between yourself and the competition. Continually seeing all those things that push your buttons every time you flick onto social media is never going to be a good idea. Unfollow or mute those people who don’t make you feel better or who make you feel a little tense whenever you see / hear from them. I can’t stress this enough because what we say on social really stays with us so make sure that your streams lift you up rather than drag you down. In fact, if you really feel that competitiveness is taking over, get off social media altogether. Put those devices away and spend more time in the real world because social media isn’t real life and comparison is the thief of joy.

Also, if you’re seeing friends who are in that recently married / about to be married group, try to spend your time talking about things other than weddings. It might be tempting to reply with gusto to a newly married friend who asks how your plans are going but you can be sure they’re likely to follow it up with stories from their own wedding that might be less than helpful. Remember that you all had lots to talk about and plenty of things in common before you entered the world of weddings so keep those conversations neutral!

Stay focused

Always make sure you’re focused on your wedding. You know you’re doing the right things but it’s like those times at school where you couldn’t help but look at someone else’s homework and then spent the rest of the day worried that your own wasn’t good enough! Put on the wedding blinkers and keep your eyes on your plans, not everyone else’s.

The best way to do that is to make sure that the wedding you’re planning is absolutely right for you. If you’re choosing things that suit you both, work with your personalities and include all the things that you love, how can you possibly be wrong? If you make your wedding all about you, it’s just impossible to compare and contrast it with others. So, avoid the temptation to copy ideas and don’t fall into the trap of thinking if you just keep adding more and more to your day, it will obviously be better than everyone else’s. Make sure that everything you include relates to you and then you’ll have your perfect day ahead.

Time out!

Finally, take time out from planning. You’re not a professional planning athlete who has to work out every day to stay ahead in the planning marathon. It’s not a race. You’re all going to win and you’re all different. SO WHAT if someone getting married a month after you has already sent out their invitations? Does it really matter if someone else has already been for their menu tasting or makeup trial? Of course it doesn’t, unless you let it. Remember that this is your wedding and you can plan it in any way that works for you. Your wedding isn’t a contest so ditch the competition and embrace the journey, whatever path you take.

More from the blog

Discover our Venues

Refine your wedding venue search by location, capacity, type, and style.

Visit Venue Finder

Be Inspired

Planning advice, real wedding edits, and venue showcases to inspire you.

View Blog

Suppliers We Love

From photographers to bridal fashion and styling, find the best wedding suppliers right here.

View Suppliers