I want to walk down the aisle to something that will make people laugh. I’m not a serious person and I’d much prefer to walk down to the Imperial March from Star Wars and make my friends giggle than something stuffy and serious like Here Comes the Bride or Greensleeves.
I also don’t like being the center of attention. I know it’s a bit unavoidable at a wedding, but I feel like playing something funny will make me feel better about the whole thing!
The problem is, when I mentioned entering to a funny song to my mum, she immediately shot it down. She said it would be all anyone would remember of the day, and if I was worried about drawing attention, an unconventional song would draw more scrutiny than something traditional.
My boyfriend thinks the Imperial March idea is funny and he’s happy for me to walk to whatever I want, but he did agree with my mum that people will talk about it and judge it because it’s not traditional, while they probably won’t notice a traditional song.
I’m not sure what to do. I don’t like the idea of my mum’s family judging my wedding right from the entrance music but I do want to hear something that means something to me rather than something generic as I walk down the aisle.
I’m a firm believer that your wedding day should be your wedding day, filled with details that reflect your style, your hobbies, your humour, and your personality.
But I know it’s one thing to say you should do whatever makes you comfortable and another to always feel comfortable with unconventional choices.
Your guest list can’t always be filled with just the people you love most
As much as I’d like to say you should never have anyone at your wedding who’d judge you for breaking tradition and putting your own spin on things, families can be a lot more complicated than that.
You sometimes have to invite those judgemental aunts or weird cousins or great step-uncles you’ve never gotten along with; leaving them out would cause far more drama and suffering than saying a quick hi and bye on the day.
You sometimes have to have people at your wedding who just don’t get you.
Your mother likely thinks she’s doing you a kindness by pointing out her family are those people. And they might judge your choices. They might gossip about it afterwards.
But you can’t control that.
Gossips will gossip regardless
Even if you had the least controversial wedding in the world, if you wore a nondescript wedding outfit and decorated everything in a nondescript wedding theme and played nondescript music and followed every wedding tradition to a tee, these people may still find something to gossip about.
You can’t control what other people think. And some people on your guest list might well think some of your decisions are weird. Or tacky. Or too expensive. Or too cheap. Or too something else.
Because people have opinions. And people you’re not close to, people who are invited out of necessity rather than want, are likely to have opinions radically different to yours.
The question you really have to ask yourself is: how much do you care?
How much do you care what other people think?
I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way; ask yourself. Do you care what these people think of you? If they judge your wedding, will it bother you?
Bear in mind, it’s unlikely that you would even know, one way or the other. Most people have enough tact and understanding of social cues to know not to march up to the bride and tell her her taste in music is duff.
They know enough not even to use a back-handed compliment, like ‘interesting’ or ‘unusual’.
I didn’t get the impression from your letter that your family were abusive or overtly cruel; the most you are likely to hear is that the day was lovely, or – at a push, if they feel the need to acknowledge your break from tradition – so you.
They’re not going to tell you if they hated it. (And they probably won’t – even if your style is not at all to their taste, it’s a backdrop to them catching up with the rest of their judgemental family. They are going to have a lovely time, whatever they think of the music, or the decorations, or the table names, or the cummerbunds.)
And even if they do mention not liking something to another guest, that person’s not going to tell you about it unless they’re deliberately trying to cause some drama; at which point, that should be the bigger worry, not what Auntie Jeanine thought of your music choices.
Your guests won’t judge your choices the way you imagine they will
But outside of reality TV shows, guests don’t tend to sit and rate things at a wedding; people don’t tend to sit and rate things at all. They’re more focused on themselves than what other people are doing.
Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: ‘You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realised how seldom they do.’
Your guests aren’t going to be carefully analysing every choice you made for your wedding. By the end, they probably couldn’t tell you what music played at the start.
When I got married, I had a bit of a joke reading at my ceremony: my niece read the lyrics to I Would Walk 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. She made it sound like a proper reading at first, though people cottoned on by the da-da-das and started chuckling.
As we signed our marriage certificate, we played the acoustic version of that song; when I planned it all out, I thought that would make people laugh. I thought people would react right away when they heard the start of the song. But no one even noticed.
I’m not saying the details of your day aren’t important – but other people aren’t going to be scrutinising them they way you are.
People might not even get your geeky references to be able to judge them
Your mother probably thinks she’s helping by trying to sway you off the Imperial March – but I think she’s imagining something far more obvious and glaring that everyone will spot immediately, like you Macarena-ing down the aisle, or crooning out the lyrics to Barbie Girl.
If you’re not performing a full lightsabre battle with your wedding party, complete with Darth Vader helmet, a lot of your guests probably won’t spot you’re entering to a song from Star Wars.
They’ll just know it’s an acoustic song you’re walking down the aisle to. And, if they find out later, they’ll just say: it’s so you.
So what you really have to decide is: will the judgement of some snotty aunts you’re only inviting out of politeness – or, more accurately, the judgement you think they’re making – make you self-conscious as you walk down the aisle?
Will you feel confident as you stormtroop down to the Imperial March or would a different song – even if it’s not your first choice – make you walk with your head a little higher?
There’s a lot of choice between a four hundred year old song and a film soundtrack. The Vitamin String Quartet put together string versions of nerdy cult songs, like video game themes, songs from Labyrinth and Nightmare Before Christmas, and – yes – Star Wars.
Orchestra pieces from film scores – like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or anything John Williams has ever made – perfectly walk the line between tradition and personality.
Or you could ask a pianist, harpist, or string trio to put a piece you love into their style; most people will just hear a beautiful harp playing. But you and your friends will know the song is WAP.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t go with your first choice; it’s important that you and your partner love the details of your day.
But I promise you: other people won’t remember them all. They’re not going to judge – or even notice – anything as much as you will.