Thursday, March 3, 2011

Is it too late to just give up?

Dear ESB,

I am having a LOT LOT of issues, so I won't blame you if you never get through this message. In fact, I kind of hope you don't read it even though i desperately do need advice. Apologies in advance for poor grammar, I'm in a tizzy that could very possibly be hormonal.

How do you know when it's time to throw in the towel and give up on having a wedding? Like, just fucking FORGET it 100%. I'm in the midst of planning a wedding to my angel boyfriend, W, of 12 years and I'm 31 years old. I feel like I'm too old to be having this fairytale gala event, but that's what the whole thing has turned into. The wedding is in W's hometown, where we currently live. I wanted to have it here, too, so that is not the issue. My parents are paying for everything and I basically have no limits as far as budget. It's every girl's DREAM! But it's my nightmare. My adorable angel of a fiancé has always dreamed of getting married at this one particular gorgeous hotel downtown, so I went down there and booked it the minute we got engaged and he told me that was his vision. The thing is that every single time I have to go do anything that involves the wedding, like renting linens or picking out and buying invitations, i get SERIOUSLY upset and it makes me sick to my stomach. I have to take a 48 hour break from even thinking about the wedding after every little meeting with the planner. I just think it's all such a waste. I'm really grossed out by how much everything costs and it makes me sad to interact with cheesy ladies who try to badger me into buying ugly ribbons and things like that. It upsets me on a core level. I know it sounds so smug and hipsterish, but I honestly do just want to donate all the money to charity. Ok so that's issue number one.

Issue number 2 is that I feel like a jerk for inviting all my amazing, sweet, lifesavingly kind gay friends to my wedding when gay marriage isn't 100% legal. I am also pretty worried that some of the old men from W's side will make sideways remarks about my gay friends, and it would REALLY upset me if that happened. I would cry for sure, and most likely commit an assault while wearing 20 lbs of silk organza. Not cute. As of now about 15% of the guests invited to this wedding are gay men, and I'm not sure that many of W's relatives from small towns have ever even met ONE gay person before. Much less a whole room of the best dancers ever. So there's that.

Now to top it all off this girl who is also friends with the few people from my hometown who i do still talk to just got engaged last weekend and apparently has now planned her wedding to be the same day as mine. It's causing everyone to freak out and call me and I have no response for them other than "I invited you first but do whatever you want". It still hurts my feelings, though.

Is all of this a sign that I need to just go elope and get it over with?

The only thing getting me through this is the thought of my dress, which I already bought at Oscar de la Renta and i do not regret THAT purchase one bit!

How do I put an end to this madness? I'm miserable and it's manifesting in my complexion.   



Wear the dress.

Image via pretty.pretty.paper via abandunce via via via via SO MANY PEOPLE AND NARY A PHOTO CREDIT! I really respect the rules for crediting photos Chelsea has laid out here, and I always do my best to credit photogs (will now make an effort to credit stylists too!) but it's hard to resist posting a photo just because I don't know who took it... Maybe now that I'm "pro" I should hold myself to a higher standard?

**Update: The photo is Lara Stone by Mario Testino for Vogue UK May 2007**


  1. Totally. The other issues you're having can be dealt with in various ways, but what's really important here is that you're uncomfortable with a big, spendy, fairytale gala event. You can have a fabulous, beautiful elopement without all of that other business.


    Find the most fabulous photographer you can find and document the whooooole thing. Photos of it all. Go get your hair and makeup did (if that's your thing), put your man in a suit/tux/whatever, pick up flowers from a local flower shop, hit the courthouse, and then do portraits. And take lots and lots and lots of amazing photos of you in your awesome dress.

    There are lots of examples of kick-ass elopements out in blogland. Go find inspiration, talk to your man, and decide if it's right for you. Then? Holler "EFF IT" to the world, and go get married. Good luck, and congrats.

  3. This is not making you happy. In fact, you sound absolutely miserable. I vote you change everything the hell up until you are no longer dreading what should be a happy occasion.

    if its not yalls parents/siblings thats part of freaking you out, then you could always invite them to witness your elopement.
    maybe thats against the rules of eloping?

    and if either of yalls parents are hard to placate, or your guy really wants to celebrate in said hotel, have a party a few weeks later (lower key than the wedding would have been).
    since its not your wedding it should be able to turn over the gritty details to the hotel's event planners/staff = less for you to worry yourself about.

  4. If you do end up having the big affair, put a friend or groomsmen on gay bashing patrol. Anyone who makes derogatory comments gets escorted out IMMEDIATELY by said friend or groomsmen. This way you won't have the responsibility of dealing with a sticky situation on your wedding day.

  5. First of all, XANAX (maybe 2).

    Second, nap. (it clears the head)

    Third, very long talk with your guy, preferably over drinks. Because if he is dreaming of this hotel and you are dreaming of elopement, some sort of compromise is going to be needed. TALK IT OUT.

  6. I had the same repulsion to my wedding (too expensive, too ridiculous, too much anxiety), so... my fiance and I scrapped that stupid wedding altogether. And we started over.

    We changed our venue and our wedding date then cut the guest list from 150 to about 30 of our closest friends and family members. Not to sound judgmental, but all of these "friends" of yours who are teetering around not knowing whose wedding to attend?! They can be axed from the guest list. Seriously, here's your guest list: you, your sweet fiance, your parents, your gay friends. DONE.

    During the ceremony, you can make a marriage quality statement like Bowie Bride did here:

    You can also wear white knots:

    Good luck. xo.

  7. If you elope you are going to cause quite the stir which you have to be prepared for as well. If you can/want to deal with that then elope FOR SURE. But, if that would just make things worse then tell the cheesy ladies to back off, do things as frugally as you can within the constraints of the venue, don't worry about the gays (we are very supportive of anyone who gets married and accustomed to the occasional sideways remark), know that the important people will be there, wear the dress, feel fabulous and have no regrets.

  8. Options if you do end up having the big to-do:
    1. Request that your guest donate to a gay friendly charity in lieu of gifts (since you indicated money wasn't much of an issue).
    2. Put something in the program honoring your gay friends?
    3. Instead of favors, let your guest know a donation has been made in their honor to a gay friendly charity.
    4. Have a family member/friend talk with these older friends/relatives and let them know that you (as a couple) will not tolerate any negativity directed towards (or about) any of your friends, gay or not.
    5. What Molly said.

    Just thinking that the first 3 might make you not feel so bad about getting married when its not legal for your gay friends.
    And any of them would make it clear to those small-town relatives how yall feel about any sort of gay bashing/trash talking.

  9. You feel bad for how much everything costs, you feel like you want to give all the money to charity and then you buy an Oscar de la Renta dress? Nice...

  10. We invited several gay couples to our wedding. Far from feeling excluded because they couldn't get married themselves, they told us afterward that they really appreciated being invited to an important life ceremony/social event as a "real couple"... it was the first time for all of them.

    We made a statement during the ceremony about marriage equality. We were nervous about how it would be recieved. But appartenly it had the dual effect of a) informing our right-wing relatives that our celebration was a Gay-Friendly Event(tm) so they'd better not fuck with our gay guests, and b) giving the gay couples permission to slow dance the night away!

    So from a gay ally point-of-view, I say DO IT.

    But hell yes, cut the fairytale frills! If you already have your fiance's favourite hotel booked, and its a beautiful setting, you could probably go minamalist on everything else.

    Also, from one I-don't-like-frills-but-he-does bride to another: It's his wedding, too. If he really, really, really has a vision... and money isn't an object... and he's willing to do the legwork on invitations etc... and you already have a frickin' OSCAR DE LA RENTA DRESS... let the man have his gala.

  11. I like what Abernakcy said... It really isn't just YOUR day, so talk with your fiance and see if you can't compromise on some things. And are you really sure that the "old men" will comment on gay men - perhaps they have better manners than you suspect - and perhaps if they are reminded that hate talk isn't tolerated you won't have to worry about it at all.

    Although... I do have to agree - you are opposed to spending a bunch of money treating your family and friends to dinner and a party, but you are OK with spending around $10,000 on a dress? That seems a bit selfish to me....

  12. Thanks for that link to Chelsea's post, it was really interesting.

    I'd say that yes, you should stop using unsourced images. It's hard to justify doing it when you're aware that there are so many reasons not to.

  13. If he has his heart set on the hotel, that sounds like a problem for the elopement. Yeah, can you just say Eff everything else? Also, if 15% of your guests are gay, I don't think it will be a problem. The more people who know gay people, the fewer bigots there will be, so you might just be opening a few minds. If it were, like, two couples, I'd be nervous. I had some Southern conservative family at the wedding, and I was a bit nervous, but it was not a problem at all. Your guests would have to be monsters to get nasty like that at your wedding. Plus one of my gay couple friends got the card of our caterer, so when they got illegally engaged the next month, they had one to-do checked off the list! Plus, you're DEFINITELY not too old. And plus, just stick with paying for great food, drinks, & music (as opposed to light shows/doves/whatever/the fanciest of chairs). It will still be a crazy budget I'm sure, but you will also be showing your friends and family a great time. If your family has the money, you know, have a great party. And then just advocate for fair tax policies that don't destroy public employees. ;) But, I guess the real issue is talk to your fiance. See if there's something that will make you both happy. Oh, p.s., can you get a different planner who's more on your wavelength? I didn't have one, but I think it would have been awesome to have someone coordinating the day, otherwise I'd say, skip the planner too.

  14. I am in total agreement with what Rachel said above- I wanted to elope, the man does not, so we compromised. You can make it work, but only if you talk about it.

    I also highly recommend reading "Emotionally Engaged" by Allison Moir-Smith. I was having similar eff-this-wedding-crap feelings and that book really helped my pinpoint what was really bothering me and how to work through it.

  15. Yeeesh that frolic article made me feel terrible. After that scolding, I'm gonna start reverse image searching

  16. Don't begrudge the high price tag on the Oscar de la Renta, all of his gowns are made in the U.S.A. so consider it a tax free (for the rest of us) stimulus package. In fact, I don't think you should feel bad about any of the money you spend since it's going to help buy other people's groceries, pay their rent or mortgage and put their kids through school. If you have money, it's a very good time to spend it, especially in the town you're living in. Charities do great work but it's also charitable to employ your neighbors at a time when they probably really need it. Our wedding isn't fraction as pricey as yours sounds like but I'm very happy about having money to give people for their services at this time when it's tough out there for everyone, even the folks in the WIC.

    As far as the design of the wedding goes, either give the ladies you're working with specific pictures of weddings you actually like (you can even make cool mosaics for them here: and make them do it just like that or fly out a wedding planner from another part of the country and have them actually help you. Or fly your gay friends out early to do it! If you've got money to spend you should be able to get exactly what you want.

    I agree with the people above, most bigots know how to keep their mouth shut these days. They may make comments behind your back later but at the wedding they'll most likely behave.

  17. What's with the judgy-ness re: the dress? Common people... clearly this lady is at a price-point where that $10,000 dress is, like %10 of her budget. If I was spending that much on the whole wedding, I'd feel ill too. And I'd want a pretty dress to make me feel better.

    If this is your fiance's dream, then maybe he should take on more of the planning and save you the headache?

  18. Eloping in a Oscar de la Renta? Am jealous. That would be awesome.

    Problem is, your fiance may not feel the same way. You need to sit down with him and figure out what you both want and see if you can compromise. If he's got his heart set on the big fancy wedding, maybe you could elope a couple of weeks before your current wedding date, come back and have a celebration instead of a wedding at the hotel. Turning it into a celebration instead of a wedding will take a lot of the pressure off. Also if it's all for your fiance's benefit, put him in charge or hire a wedding/event planner. Then all you need to do is show up looking amazing in your beautiful dress.

    This doesn't address the ickiness you feel about spending all the money. I feel icky about that aspect too. In fact, when I think about how much I spent on my dress, I feel a little queasy. If you do end up having the wedding/celebration, maybe you could cut down aspect you don't care about (flowers, centrepieces etc) and donate what you would have spent? Also I think another poster made a really good point about contributing to the economy. Most of my wedding vendors are small, creative businesses and I feel good about spending money with them.

    Take a deep breath. Step back from the wedding planning and TALK TO YOUR FIANCE.This is a day for you both. You both need to be happy with it.

    Good luck.

  19. +1 for the Emotionally Engaged book. It's great.

    Hold up the planning. Sit down with your fiance. Go through everything, and whatever doesn't give you the warm fuzzies, toss it out. Don't try to visualize what you want for the day, that never worked for me. Instead, make small, tiny decisions that make you BOTH feel the warm fuzzies. One day you'll wake up and hopefully have a wedding that looks like both of you. If that includes eloping, then do that. But don't jump to that just because it's better than what you have now. There might be a happy middle. Small decisions. Baby steps.

    And wear whatever fucking dress you want to, seriously. Who cares how much it cost? My dress was 200 dollars. Our wedding was most definitely *not* 200 dollars, if you get what I'm saying. And my parents paid for almost everything. There's no shame in that. Whoever said it's all keeping the economy going - that. Yes.

  20. Elope.

    Have a party at the hotel.

    Get over it. It's not your LIFE, it's just a wedding.

  21. @Dawn and second Anon: I don't think people are judging based on the dress' price tag alone.

    I think the issue is that she has no qualms about buying a dress that costs more than many people's weddings and she's reluctant to spend that kind of money on feeding and entertaining her friends and family (stimulating the economy, supporting local vendors, etc).

    The dress statement just... makes her earlier statement that she's "grossed out by how much everything costs" ring a little false.

  22. About eloping... unfortunately, no. This isn't just your wedding, it is your fiance's wedding too, and this hotel has always been his dream so... you get married there. But, youn can certainly tone the whole shindig down. And if money really isn't an issue throw some money at the problem, hire someone who understants your ethos and for godsake stop looking at linens yourself and just tell them to plan the thing.

    As far as you gay friends go- we had similar moral qualms and our friends resoundlingly said they wanted us to get married and celebrate. And keep fighting for equal rights. Take some of that fancy wedding money you are saving by dialing back, donate it to a charity that fights for those rights and print it in your program (or whatever) so the drunk uncles can read it and understand in no uncertain terms that this is a gay-friendly affair, and gay abshing is unwelcome.

  23. No need to credit stylists (though it's nice). The photographer or company (j.crew, gap, etc) owns the copyright. So that's the one to worry about!

  24. Not like I know everything!:)

  25. I have a question. If you have a wedding planner, how come you are so stressed out? Cant you just tell that person what you want, what he wants, and what a reasonable budget is, and they can deal with it from there?