There’s something about a wedding that brings out people’s inner guidance counselor. The minute you announce you’re planning a wedding, you’re going to hear a lot more opinions than you’d rather have to consider. On this blog, we talk a lot about doing what you want for your wedding and not feeling beholden to tradition. The same goes for these bits of advice. If someone insists on any of these bits of “wisdom,” just smile graciously and nod, then ignore the advice completely.

“You have to take your husband’s name.”

You see, someone has to change their name when you get married, because married couples always have the same last name. So why would you keep the name of a man you didn’t choose instead of the one you chose yourself? If you don’t change your name, that means you’re not committed to the relationship. And think of the children!  But also,

“You have to keep your own name.”

Changing your name to your husband’s is a disgusting relic of the patriarchal past. It’s just erasing your identity and establishing yourself as your husband’s property. If he really loves you, he won’t want to subjugate you like that. You can’t be a feminist/modern woman/empowered individual if you take your husband’s name.

Let’s get one thing straight: regardless of the history of taking names or not taking names, this one comes down to a decision between you and your husband. It has nothing to do with feminism or property or who loves whom. We know several couples where the husband has taken the wife’s last name, and several who have created a new name for their new family. It’s your decision, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

“You can’t wear a white dress unless you ‘deserve’ to.”

You’re bound to hear this from some of your older relatives, and we suggest you laugh it off. It’s bad enough to suddenly have Grandma and Aunt Gertie develop an interest in your sex life, without having them suggest that your wedding dress is subject to arcane purity rules. They’re just colors; wear that blindingly white dress if you’d like, or make it yellow or red or violet or whatever makes you happy.

“The father of the bride should pay for everything.”

It used to be that the bride’s parents picked up the whole tab for the wedding. But now that people are getting married later in life, after they’ve had a chance to get out in the world and get established, that old chestnut makes less and less sense. If your parents are broke and you’re doing okay, definitely pick up the tab. Split it between you and your partner and ignore everyone else and you won’t have to feel beholden to take other people’s advice about what your wedding should be.

We get it; a lot of people have really strong feelings about how a wedding should go. But it’s your turn now, and you get to decide how you feel about these old chestnuts and how you’d like to proceed. Aunt Gertie and Grandma will get over it if you ignore their advice, and you’ll have the wedding you want to have.