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You’re not the only one!
Book now for September and October 2024 so you don’t miss out on popular spots.    DON’T MISS OUT

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Most advice for married life is given with good intentions. But, when it comes to advice for engaged couples, there are two kinds: good advice and bad advice. 

That old saying you heard 20 years ago, when you were getting married, probably needs some rethinking or updating. What worked for you, might not work for others. And some advice is just flat out wrong and uncalled for.

We’ll be giving some of the worst advice for couples getting married — and, as a bonus, we’ll give ways to improve on it!

Bad Piece of Advice #1

“In order to throw the wedding of your dreams, you should use your credit cards. Think of the rewards points you’ll earn with all that spending!”

The reasoning on this seems straight forward. Credit cards and short-term loans are a great way to get quick cash to spend on things a couple wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. And if they’re rewards points hoarders, rewards could add up fast when making wedding plans. 

But this is actually a really bad piece of advice.

It’s short-sighted and too often sets up a couple to start their marriage in a bad financial situation. Considering that the number one cause of divorce is money, going in the hole could sink a marriage before it even really sets sail.

The average cost of a wedding is around $30,000. Deciding to charge even a third of that amount is dangerous. In fact, the sky-high average is why we offer our non-traditional alternatives — which, by the way, start around just $2,500!

Only making the minimum monthly payments (interest plus 1%) on a $10,00 balance, and assuming an 18% interest rate (which is lower than average), means it would take 342 months to pay off. That’s more than 28 years! 

Say Instead:

“In order to have happy days, keep the debt collectors away.”

If you want to give the couple sound marriage advice, offer them the contact info for your financial advisor instead. Making connections with good retirement planners is hard and not everyone is taught how to deal with money when they are young — when they can actually take full advantage of compound interest. Point them in the right direction of a trusted professional and keep the “you only live once” mindset out of the conversation. 

Suggesting credit cards or pressuring them to spend big on their special day isn’t helpful, and they’ll be sorry they took your advice.

Bad Piece of Advice #2

“Don’t do it!”

Have you been to a wedding where someone shouted this? It’s happened more than once. Or have you seen it posted in the otherwise congratulatory and supportive string of responses to a social media engagement announcement?

We can’t think of a more rude thing to say to someone who is about to get married. It’s not funny…not even a little bit. Please, don’t be that person.

Jokingly saying, “Don’t do it!” “Game over, bro,” or some variation is distasteful, disrespectful and might get you disinvited from the wedding. It says more about you, and your approach to life and relationships, than anything else. This is no time to be selfish.

Your job as a friend or family member is to be supportive, not disruptive or destructive.

Say Instead:

“Go for it!”

If you feel the need to seek attention, shout out something excitedly with encouragement. Other good phrases to use might be, “What are you waiting for?!” or  “You got this.”Each of these options will get the laugh you are after, without the potential for making anyone feel uncomfortable or hurt.

Bad Piece of Advice #3

“You have to invite So-And-So to the wedding and reception.”

Ick! No. 

It is absolutely not mandatory to invite someone just because someone else insists. Telling the couple this isn’t even advice. It’s wishful thinking on your part, and it’s really none of your business who the couple chooses to invite. 

We need to normalize a couple being able to make their own decisions about who they want or don’t want at their wedding. Stop trying to dictate to them under the guise of advice. This goes for anything that starts with “You have to…”, “You must…” or “You need to…”

Say Instead:

“I’m so happy for you. The two of you should prioritize getting everything you want out of your wedding and your marriage.”

Being sincere, genuine and truly expressing best wishes in everything the couple does together is the only way to go here. This sort of statement is powerful. It lets the couple know you care and want them to be happy.

Let the engaged couple feel like royalty and you’ll forever curry favor in their court.

Bad Piece of Advice #4

“Don’t go to bed mad. Talk it out and solve it.”

This isn’t realistic. Mandating that every issue gets resolved before lights-out each night sounds like a good idea, but it isn’t always practical for a number of reasons.

Sometimes issues need to rest for a while, and people need time to settle and reflect.

Being upset or mad is healthy, and letting it sit lets each side of the relationship sort out their feelings first. You can’t put a timeline on that.

Resolving conflicts can be a very emotional experience, and forcing themselves to hurry through or gloss over that experience can make things worse. 

Besides, staying up past bedtime will mean a lack of sleep, which can lead to irritability or worse.

Say Instead:

“When it’s time to talk it out, put down the distractions and pick up where you left off at bedtime.”

Here’s an updated and modern take on, “Don’t go to bed mad.” Notice how the focus of the advice has been placed on the importance of not being distracted while talking through the issue, rather than on the timeline.

Advising couples getting married to set aside the phones and tablets and turn off the TV is much better than telling them that their marriage will go squash at the stroke of bedtime if they aren’t seeing eye-to-eye with Spouse Not-So-Charming.

Good Luck

The worst advice to couples getting married can prove to be old fashioned, selfish, rude or unrealistic. The best advice for couples getting married comes from real life experience, from the heart and from people the couple getting married can trust. 

If you know an engaged couple you’d like to help out with some insightful words, we hope you’ll think before you speak.

And if you’re feeling super helpful, you might even point them to our article about fun things to do while engaged!

McKenzi Taylor
McKenzi Taylor

McKenzi Taylor is America’s go-to elopement and micro wedding expert, often featured in small and major media outlets, such as the New York Times. With over 15 years of wedding photography experience, it was after planning her own Las Vegas elopement in 2016 that McKenzi felt her purpose shift into elopement coordination. She started Cactus Collective Weddings soon after in 2017. Since then, she’s become a WIPA board member, and has helped well over 1000 couples get hitched in style around Las Vegas, San Diego and Black Hills.