Wedding Planning

Competitive Wedding Syndrome

by: Naomi Popple

Your cousin, who recently married, did so with such flourish and ostentation that you have thrust yourself behind the slippery psychological bars of envy, reinforced by the chains of “how can my wedding ever beat hers?” and thrown away the key.

You have subconsciously sentenced yourself to the phenomenon known as Competitive Wedding Syndrome (CWS) which, loosely defined, is the desire to outdo and/or outperform someone else by making your wedding “better” than theirs.

A number of factors can be held responsible for CWS and its increased presence amongst couples. These are unlikely to be mutually exclusive and may originate in familial rivalries, jealousy of friends and colleagues, the ubiquity of documentation on million-dollar celebrity weddings, peacock displays on social media sites, the increase in “bridezilla-esque” reality shows and of course, the age-old sugary Disney/Hollywood dream weddings and the happily-ever-afters we have learnt to expect.

The side-effects are, as most associated with envy and jealousy, emotionally and physically draining. Then, add to those feelings of inadequacy, bitterness and pride, the financial burden of a 21st century wedding  -a whopping $20,000-$30,000 on average in Canada- and you may well be in danger of damaging the relationship that brought you here in the first place. The statistics are especially alarming when one considers that the average length of marriage is decreasing whilst the average price of a wedding increases. It places a quite literal value on the words “ ‘til death do us part”, doesn’t it?

It is therefore important to remember here that labels such as “better” or “worse” are entirely subjective. Your cousin’s 25-tier Parisian cake that was decorated with live birds of paradise and golden butterflies may have elicited an “Ooo!” from onlookers, but did anyone think about the consequences of leaving hungry, un-caged birds around confectionary?

No, they did not.

So before you start to stress over how to bring the dodo back from extinction, spray it pink and trot it around during Elton’s performance, just stop and think about investing in a marriage and making your wedding a day that resonates for you, so you can have your cake, and eat it too.  Your cousin will be lucky just to get on the guest-list.


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