How to Have a Harmonious Wedding

How to Have a Harmonious Wedding

Weddings are meant to be happy, wonderful, unforgettable occasions. Of course, you want a harmonious wedding. It, almost inevitably, will bring stress in its wake, and this sometimes spills over into the big day (and even beyond).

Here are some things to look out for, to ensure that the wedding day remains unforgettable for the right reasons!


Money can be one of the sources of stress – after all, weddings do not come cheap. Agree and set a budget from day one (and stick to it).

The family

Usually, conflict is family-based. It can be between parents and the couple, but it can also be between the fiancés. Sometimes, the conflicts are the result of deep-seated issues that should have surfaced and been resolved previously. Often, the subjects are very petty.

The wedding should be a time of peace and harmony. Try reason and compromise where conflict arises (although there may come a time when you have to put your foot down!).


Features such as jealousy or desire for the limelight can be powerful motives for unpleasantness. Strong personalities who are unable or unwilling to see, let alone accept, other people’s viewpoints can create all sorts of problems.

An example may be when someone will not accept the idea of a gay wedding. It may be possible to talk them round and, if you can get them to the ceremony, they may actually enjoy it!

Be prepared to offer someone who means a lot to you a special role (eg as a reader) so that they feel valued and will then be prepared to give ground elsewhere.


You also have to achieve a balancing act. If you have a limited budget, whom do you NOT invite? Have you got enough jobs to distribute (eg usher, etc.) and will anybody feel left out? Have you done the best you can with the seating plan?


It is not just the hosts who can be affected by finances; it may also be the guests. They may need to lay out to get to the wedding, to stay overnight, organise baby-sitting, buy special clothes and purchase a present for the newly-weds.

There may be things you can offer (eg crèche or activities to entertain the children) to ease the stress for those guests.


The period of time surrounding a wedding is not the time to address resentment and grudges. Family and friends need to ensure that they have any personal issues in check that might possibly upset (or even poison) the atmosphere at the wedding. If possible, these difficulties should be aired in a different environment, in a civilised way.

Weddings are all about love and warmth.

As long as underlying tensions have been dealt with effectively, well before the big day, the couple, their families and the guests have every chance of enjoying a wonderful, inspiring and, yes, unforgettable wedding.

How to behave at a gay wedding

People are often a little unsure how to behave if it’s a single-sex wedding. I hope I can put some minds at rest with a few suggestions.

Essentially, a gay and a heterosexual wedding are the same. So why behave differently?


However, manners are something always worth emphasising, so I make no apology for basing my article around this.

Whether the wedding is heterosexual or single-sex, the following apply:

  • Make sure you actually congratulate the happy couple on the day (amazingly large numbers of attendees skip this part!).
  • Be willing to circulate among the guests. It can be dull and awkward if people stay in little cliques. You can break the ice, of course, with “How do you know X and/or Y?” and conversations – and, possibly, connections  – may flow.
  • When talking to the newly-weds, don’t go on about how prevalent divorce is these days or how appalling your own marriage is.  This is a time for rejoicing (rather than regretting).
  • Don’t tell the newly-weds that the food wasn’t up to much/the guests were dull/how ludicrous someone’s hat was/what a noisy venue it turned out to be/what an unsuitable honeymoon destination they have chosen, etc. Just be positive and up-beat; if you can’t do that, then say nothing. It is meant to be a celebration, after all.
  • If you’re giving a speech, then beware of causing offence or alienating one half of the wedding party. Be positive and sensitive (but you can still be amusing). Show respect, especially when it comes to religious or political beliefs. (See my suggestions on wedding speeches:
  • If it’s your wedding, thank people for coming, both on the day and then afterwards, preferably by sending a card (rather than an e-mail).

If you’re really uncomfortable with a same-sex wedding, you can simply politely decline to attend. Don’t risk spoiling the couple’s big day by your disapproving or embarrassed behaviour once there.

And if, as a straight person, you do attend, be tactful and don’t ask offensive questions (“Which of you will wear the dress?”, for example).

In an ideal world, all this wouldn’t need to be mentioned, but it’s surprising how insensitive people can be.

As with any wedding, go there to enjoy yourself (in a civilised fashion!), participate in the celebrations, and help make the day memorable – for the right reasons!


Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.