Everyone thinks they’re too young to get married, but they don’t care! Watching the couples on My Teenage Wedding stumble their way towards the very adult world of matrimony (from touching moments to over-the-top meltdowns), it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. As entertaining and cringe-worthy as these teenage couples can be, the show is actually an excellent crash course in wedding planning. Here’s a few important things that we’ve learned from My Teenage Wedding:
1. Secure your wedding party well in advance: If your best man has agoraphobia (or another pre-existing condition that might prevent them from making it down the aisle), ask them well in advance and have a contingency plan should they not be able to attend. The last thing you want is to be scrambling for a wedding party a few days before the event.
2. Communicate and set realistic expectations: Pre-wedding conflict and meltdowns often occur due to a lack of communication and unclear expectations. If you have people helping you with the wedding — Maid of Honour, parents, relatives — make sure they know exactly what you expect from them and vice versa. Proper communication can help deter pre-wedding blowouts with the people you care about most.
3. Set a budget and stick to it: Be realistic about what you can afford for your wedding and stick to it. For example, you might have to give up on your dreams of having a limo so that you can get the wedding bands you really want, however it’s better to prioritize than start your life together in debt.
4. Don’t announce your engagement on Facebook before you tell your parents: This should go without saying. But surprisingly, it’s not just teenagers who commit this wedding faux pas. Start your wedding planning off on the right foot by telling the people closest to you about your engagement before announcing it on the internet. Failing to do so will likely lead to hurt feelings.
5. Alterations can fix almost anything: Although we don’t suggest ordering your dress eight sizes too big like teen bride-to-be Tyanna, if your dress arrives and it doesn’t fit properly you can have a seamstress alter it for you. However, be aware that these kinds of alterations can be costly so make sure you leave room in your budget just in case.
6. Be clear on the logistics: This means, if you are getting married you should actually know when you are getting married! Staying organized and on top of the planning process will make for a much smoother per-wedding ride.
7. Share the workload with your partner: Marriage is a partnership. Both parties should be equally involved in the planning process. Allowing one partner to do all the work can lead to a lot of unwanted resentment, extra stress and one partner complaining about the other on reality TV!
8. Know when to stand up for yourself and when to compromise: Weddings are complicated especially when they involve family members that each have their own ideas about the wedding. Ultimately the wedding day should be about the couple. If something makes you uncomfortable – speak up. However, at the same time sometimes you do need to be flexible in order to include the people you love. Pick your battles wisely and know when it’s OK to compromise.
9. Not everything is going to be perfect, but that’s OK: Weddings involve lots of little details so it’s natural that sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as planned. However, at the end of the day remember that you’re there for a reason: to celebrate your love. You may notice the little details, however it’s likely other people won’t. Keep this in mind and enjoy your day!
10. Plan your marriage, not just your wedding: It’s easy to put so much energy into planning the wedding that you forget to actually plan your marriage. Throughout the planning process remember to support each other and keep in mind your goals not just for that one day, but for your life together.
Simone Paget is a freelance writer and the author of Skinny Dip, a cheeky blog about love, sex, relationships and everything in between. When she’s not writing her heart out, she loves wandering around her city, large cup of coffee in hand, in search of the next great story.