Happiness … And How the Wedding Industry is Lying to You.

Why Valuing Experience Matters


If you had JUST ONE DAY left to live would you…
A: Buy as many things as your credit card will allow?
B: Spend the day at the beach with the ones you love the most?

I know, it’s a tough one huh? *wink
More than anything, you want the wedding to be an amazing day, filled with love, laughter, happiness – an experience you’ll never forget.  So it’s easy to get caught up in planning the wedding of your dreams.  Out comes the hand-me-down stack of wedding magazines, and you spend hours surfing through countless websites and blogs for advice.  It’s a feast of products and services the wedding industry is all too happy to provide you with.

And it’s exciting!!! It’s finally your turn to get married and plan for the happiest day of you and your fiance’s life.
But is what you’re doing really going to make you happy? Is pulling out your credit card the best strategy for creating the perfect wedding day?

“Social interaction is one of the most important determinants of human happiness” Amit Kumar

This guy is a genius and has a lot to say about the relationship between spending money and acquiring happiness. In short, the question is, should you spend your money on Things or Experiences? Which will give you greater happiness? Should you buy this decoration/item etc, or create an experience with those around you?

It turns out ‘experience’ totally trumps ‘things’ when it comes to life happiness (this is good news for your wedding budget!) What you do, far outweighs what you have.

It’s not that ‘things’ don’t give happiness, but that they’re limited in their happiness potential. No matter how expensive something is, the novelty eventually wears off. Moreover ‘things’ will only ever be items you live alongside.

Contrast that with investing in experiences. Essentially, you are a product of everything that you’ve experienced up to this very moment.  Your experiences are a part of you and define who you are.  While material possessions fade over time, your life experiences continue to give and shape your future.

Let me ask a few more questions:

Do you remember the first time you kissed your now-fiancé?
Do you remember the Christmas gifts you gave each other that year?

Do you remember when you left home or when you graduated?
Do you remember the cell phone you had at the time?

Do you remember where you were at the New Years Eve celebration of 1999?
Do you remember the car you drove to the New Years Eve celebration in 1999?

Almost every “… remember when” story is coupled with experiences we‘ve had, rather than the items or things we acquired along the way. Physical things may last a long time, but its experiences that resonate with the life we live every day. So below is a list of 15 tips that steer away from “the materialism of a wedding day” and focus more on “the experience of getting married together”.


Have a sunrise breakfast together at a cafe before morning preps begin. (little romantic aye!)

  • Connect with each other during morning preps. Share cards, personalised gifts or even just text messages – build anticipation for what’s to come.
  • Think about who you want to share your morning preparations with. Your experience will change depending on who and how many people are getting ready with you.
  • You and your husband-to-be will spend over half of your wedding day apart. (Funny, but true). Have a ‘First Look’. It means you’ll spend more time together throughout the day, and with your guests after the ceremony.
  • Write vows that really mean something to you. “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind” as Rudyard Kipling once said
  • Frame your written vows at the ceremony to hang on your wall at home.
  • Create a time capsule during the ceremony. Fill it with letters and wine to be opened at future wedding anniversaries.
  • Organise dancing lessons for your guests while the bride and groom are on the photoshoot.
  • Find out how well you really know each other. Play “The Shoe Game” during the reception.
  • Create a family/relationship quiz for your guests to fill out during the reception. It will encourage them to talk to those they don’t know to find the answers they need!
  • Make your speech more than just thank-you’s and generic toasts to the bridesmaids/groomsman. There is no better time than this to share something truly meaningful about your husband/wife. It is your wedding day after all!
  • STOP what you’re doing and watch the sunset together.
  • Put some effort into your first dance. It’s an activity you can both work on together leading up to your wedding. It will keep you close and the anticipation and excitement high.
  • Release sky lanterns.
  • Have your wedding guests send you off in style with a sparkler exit.

Let me rephrase the question I began with.

If you had JUST ONE DAY to marry the person of your dreams would you…
A: Purchase the many things the wedding industry can offer you?
B: Create experiences with the ones you love the most?

Thanks for reading! If you missed it, here’s Part 1 of this series: How Your Wedding Day will Rob You, and How to Fight Back. Check out the other articles here!
Part 1: How Your Wedding Day will Rob You, And How to Fight Back.
Part 3: What Your Photographer Never Captures, And Brides almost always Regret
Part 4: 3 Ways Your Wedding Videographer Will Shape Your Memories