Saturday, November 6, 2010
Dear ESB: Should I scrap my lovely summer wedding for the sake of my sanity?
My fiance and I were engaged this spring after having been together for 4 years. I love him dearly, but his parents (as much as I really do love them, too) can be a bit controlling and critical of our choices, and have "elite" standards. Our wedding has proven to be no different. To clarify everything I am about to write: my fiance's family is very well off and mine isn't. We're students (studying on the other side of the country from where the wedding will take place) and can't afford much, and seeing as the FINs didn't like any of our initial budget-friendly wedding options, we started falling down the path towards the FINs paying for a fifty-thousand dollar wedding. We had always dreamed about having the wedding at the FINs waterfront home, which has a built in bar and amazing downstairs area perfect for dancing, but they didn't think they wanted to host 70 people there. So we reluctantly moved ahead with finding somewhere else. It started small at first: we began planning to have our wedding ceremony outdoors at a neighbour's property, and then move it to another venue for the reception. The neighbour's place is remote and has limited parking, so we would have to pay to get all of the guests transported to and from the site ($$). And this wouldn't be just any old outdoor ceremony: there would be a tent (a fancy one) with caterers and cocktails and flowers and rental chairs etc. etc. etc. ($$$).
When our reception venue fell through (kind of a blessing (-$$$$)) we asked the neighbour if he wouldn't mind hosting the entire wedding on his property, seeing as it wouldn't be too much more going on than the ceremony anyway, and he agreed. His property is really really beautiful and we loved the idea of having everyone in one place and not having to over-complicate the logistics of the day. I personally loved it because then I only needed to worry about decorating one venue instead of two or three. I should mention that in our city there is a very limited amount of wedding venues, none of which really challenge the conventional wedding reception style. I spent weeks and weeks looking for a more interesting place where we could have a great dinner and also be able to dance, only coming up with the previously mentioned venue that eventually fell through. So anyway, we were excited about keeping everything at the neighbour's. But then the FINs didn't seem so keen. They worried about it getting cold at night, the minimal lighting on the property, bugs etc. - all of which are very legitimate concerns, but I felt that we could work around them (complimentary bug spray, anyone?). His mom additionally argued that holding everything there would get expensive, which is frustrating because she just uses this argument when she doesn't like something. As an example, she was more than excited about renting out another venue that would have cost $10,000 more (the likes of which my fiance and I refused on principle).
So now the agreement is that the neighbour's place is a fall-back if we can't find an appropriate reception venue in time, which I know we won't because I have already done all the leg work. But I just want things settled. Every conversation we have with his parents is about the wedding, and his mom is relentless in searching for "the best" place instead of agreeing to go with the place that makes us the most happy. I don't want to talk about wedding venues and logistics anymore - I want to study for my finals!
Suffice it to say, our plans to have a low-stress, beautiful but inexpensive wedding have been hijacked by the FINs incredibly high standards (which I have certainly participated in as well as a blinded-by-the-bling bride). Everything is snowballing, and when we start to look at the numbers, we just know that this thing is going to be stupid-expensive. Not to mention the fact that I am worried the whole event is going to be incredibly stressful with all of my FMINs nit-picking and over-spending. I really value my close relationship with her, and I am incredibly worried that this wedding might irreversibly strain things between us. Throw in her side of the family, all of which will most definitely expect a free ride across the country to come to our wedding in the first place, and this thing is starting to look like a soulless monster to me.
Then...the epiphany. I started to think back to all of the fantastic family New Years parties my FMIN throws at her home with great food, dancing, champagne and a "disco tree" (it's her very cute tradition to throw about 10 tons of tinsel on the Christmas tree for New Years). I wanted to capture THAT for our wedding, and so I started wondering why we couldn't just incorporate our wedding into the New Years festivities. It wouldn't be a stretch: we'd keep the guest list to immediate family, a few other family members who are very close and already live in town and a few close friends. Anyone who is invited to the New Years party would have been invited to our wedding anyway, and our families already know each other (in fact, our moms get along famously). Plus it will save about THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. This idea makes me very very happy - like, I haven't felt as happy as this since I initially got engaged. And my fiance is really warming to the idea....but he needs to tell his folks about it. I can't be involved in this because they seem to think that all of my ideas need to be second-guessed no matter what (yeah...another problem), and the only way they are going to truly be on board is if they understand how much this means to their son.
It really sucks that they get to wield so much control, but money is power in this case.
I suppose what I am asking from you, ESB: do you think I am insane for wanting to scrap my lovely summer wedding for the sake of my sanity? Probably one of the biggest 'pros' is that I would be eliminating about 7 months of additional stress and drama. There are only a few small details from the summer wedding that I care about but wouldn't be able to pull off for the New Years wedding, and we would have to wait for our honeymoon in the summer. I also wouldn't be able to order the dress I wanted in time, but maybe this is my opportunity to rock an awesome white cocktail dress and killer heels instead? Any advice/suggestions/therapists you can offer would be appreciated.
The Game Changer
What does "FIN" stand for?
...Future In-Laws. I came to a rather quick conclusion that this plan of mine wasn't going to alleviate many problems, just create new ones. Who the hell tries to plan a wedding on New Years in less than two months?! It did, however, allow me to appreciate the wedding I was originally planning and look forward to it more this summer.... and the GORGEOUS dress I was planning to purchase. But please, if you can find the time, I would still love advice on navigating the in-laws/financial scenario.
ummm, and yeah....just realizing my incredibly stupid typo, too. FIL, not FIN... its mid terms and I am stressed in all directions! Sorry about that!
I still think you should do it. It is totally possible to plan a wedding in two months.
The question is, how do you get your FMIL on board? And: Are you willing to let her be in charge? (Let's face it, the woman is in charge already. The only way you can take charge is to pay for the wedding yourself.)
Start off by telling her how much you love her annual party, and how you'd always dreamed of getting married at her house. And then show her this post about the surprise wedding that Marisa and John planned in SEVEN DAYS.
I think a surprise wedding with an ginormous disco tree would be too terrific for words.
Plus you'd get to celebrate your anniversary on New Year's Eve every year. What's better than that?
(Image from Design Crush via Erin Dudley)