Friday, June 29, 2012

Mountain wedding? Or Elopement? Or?


Dear ESB,

My boyfriend and I recently moved from Detroit to very rural (like, very very rural) Wyoming to own and operate a small business. We uprooted our lives, moved crossed country, left our families, and own a business together so, yes, marriage is part of our plan.

Our issue - and the reason I come to you - neither of us care about the ring, the engagement period, the planning, the wedding. We just want to and plan to be married. I feel like we could navigate things were we interested in the traditional steps. Instead, we're in this limbo where marriage is the goal, but we can't figure out the right timing to jump into things.

Here are the scenarios we've discussed:

We're going to Vegas in a few weeks for a work trip. Let's do it there by ourselves. Very simple. Done.

Both sets of parents are coming to visit us later in the summer. Let's plan a small ceremony with them. This leaves out our grandmothers and siblings though. I can rationalize eloping, I don't feel great about inviting some family but not others.

We can rent a local ranch and invite our parents, siblings and their partners, grandmothers, and a few very close friends. The total number would be under 30 and we would pay for a long weekend of activities and lodging for everyone.

I previously come from a marketing/events background so we're capable of planning a big event, but its just so... ugh. Our family is largely drama free but I know the girls will do the "but you really need to (insert item here)!" bit when they find out that I don't have a diamond and don't want traditional dress and there's no bridal party. 

My mind honestly isn't made up yet. Tell me that we'll regret not having photos and that we'll regret rushing things. Tell me that small family drama turns into huge family drama and we should just elope in Vegas in three weeks. A part of me says this wedding isn't just about us, it's about our families and they deserve to participate so we owe them at least a ceremony.

-help

*****

If you don't want a wedding, DON'T HAVE A WEDDING.

Photo by Boo George via Celisse Müller

34 comments:

  1. Renting the local ranch sounds perfect, and I would really do everything possible to keep it under 3o people. We had just super immediate family and closest friends at our wedding (under 15 people) in the middle of nowhere in a field in France (because it's close to where we live) and had a lovely lunch after. It was understated, beautiful, and perfect. I DO regret not having a photographer though!!!

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  2. Whatever decision you make (in life and in this wedding stuff) is going to involve some sacrifice and stress. The question you really need to ask yourself is: what sacrifice and stress is more manageable to you?

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  3. I think it's elope or 30 person event. I agree with the writer-in that some family and not others would be awkward.

    I, personally, think that the 30 person ranch thing sounds great. Especially if you are now living far away from family - seems like a great opportunity to have them all see your new life and celebrate with you. Think of it as a celebration and not a "wedding." Heck, I'd do this even if you get married in Vegas.

    If you do decide to have a party, just tell people to butt out when they tell you all the things you are SUPPOSED to do. Tell them that they're lucky you didn't elope (I mean, assuming you didn't).

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  4. A few things: 1) it sounds like you dont want to plan a wedding. then dont have one on a ranch with 30 family members. believe me, flying all of your family in for a small wedding requires PLANNING. (plus, the noted drama) 2) it sounds like you want this to be easy. well, you're already going to vegas, so that would be easy. you could just hire a photographer. done. HOWEVER, 3) that doesnt really sound like your style. you live in rural wyoming? you are casual. family obviously matters to you, if you are even considering the wedding portion for them. I vote for having a surprise ceremony at your place when your parents come to visit. you can hire a photographer if you like, and do all of the things to you want to and dont have to do all of the things you DONT want to. no drama, no regrets. just something simple. and i dont think its such a big deal that you're not inviting grandparents. its YOUR wedding, it can be as small as you like. plus, you'll have pictures you can send to all of your out of town family/friends after the fact.

    let us know which one you decide!
    A

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  5. whut? have your wedding. you'll have fun.

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  6. You can't ask advice for what you want. DO WHAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPIEST.

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  7. As an eloper(?) go for it. Do it somewhere that you love (not just Vegas because it is there), wear something you love and GET an amazing photographer. That way you get to share the moments with everyone.

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  8. It's beyond me how people will say "I don't want a wedding. We don't want a wedding. There'd be no drama if we didn't. So here are our possible plans for a wedding we don't want."

    ELOPE ALREADY AND MOVE THE FUCK ON. Courthouses and Vegas exist for a damn good reason.

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  9. also, if you're both from detroit and your families may be closely located together there, couldn't you elope in vegas and then plan a surprise dinner party in detroit so you could invite the 30 family members there? no one would have to travel but you two and 30 people is small enough to be an EASY celebration dinner at a restaurant and not a wedding (insert jazz hands and diamonds).

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    1. I like your thinking anon.

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  10. Having just finished wedding horror story week, I can't believe this is even a question. Elope!

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  11. Um, maybe it's just me, but I'd prefer to never have to go to a family wedding again... so don't do it cause you think you "owe" anyone out there. They probably don't care as much as you think!

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    1. Eh, I'd be pissed if my siblings got hitched without me. Totally personal.

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    2. Agreed, maybe not pissed, but I'd be kinda sad and disappointed that I missed out and didn't get to at least see/hear them say their vows and then celebrate with my sis and her man.

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  12. There's no need to have a giant wedding if you don't want it, and certainly no need to have a giant dress etc. A ranch weekend sounds like a nice way to celebrate the coming together of two families, and if nothing else the start of your new life(style). As for the girlfriends longing for all the 'details', mine were super cool about having an alternative wedding, and I didn't here a peep about needing anything.

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    1. Also the people that I thought would be super cool about things have been the ones giving me the most headache about shit. The ones that I thought would give me shit about rings, plans etc were actually totally and completely on board.

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  13. Elope! Duh. Then have family dinner at Slow's or a toast at Sugar House when you're home for the holidays.

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    1. I miss Slow's :( The last few times we tried to go it was a 2+ hour wait. They just opened the private room next door though - so perfect for a local celebration dinner!

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  14. You don't owe your family a ceremony. What you owe them is the opportunity to celebrate with you, because they love you and are pumped about your relationship. But this can be dinner when they come visit, or some small scale ranch event laters.
    I must confess to being biased as we did the elopement and then a family/friends party. It is not the easiest doing it without family in terms of mum-based stress, but the day was amazing. And now we've partied it out, everyone is happy. And yes, get a photog for your day, because that day feels good!
    You said it yourself, you want to be married. You didn't say you want to have a 'wedding'. Do it, lady! Run for Vegas! Enjoy!

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  15. Elope! If you like Vegas, and then it would make you smile to tell the story about Elvis or whatever you do, then do Vegas. If that isn't your cup of tea - elope somewhere else. Go to the courthouse near where you live. You don't have to travel to an "elopement" spot.

    Planning a wedding would be the same pain for 4 people 30 people or 200 people if you don't like planning, don't want people involved in your choices, and judgement from family about what you are or are not doing. I would say elope and then just do a party later - therefore saving the commentary on what the "wedding" should be- but frankly if you aren't in to having a rocking party, then don't do that either. Why create work.

    And I do think that you would regret having no pictures at all - the fantastic thing is that you can prevent that. Whether it is in Vegas or in your hometown, find a photographer! Here in New York there are great photographers that specialize in engagements (Katie Jane Photo) so there may very well be one where you are. And - if all else fails, think of all the cash you will save by not having to throw a party and pay $$ for a great photographer to fly out midweek and take pics to have forever

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  16. A friend of mine eloped and it was the best decision she ever made. It was a very special day for the two of them as it was just them. She talks about it in a D*S post here

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  17. WHATEVER you do make sure "someone" takes pictures or at least one. You will regret not having any down the road.

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    1. Yes, also there's the whole "family history" thing. My guy's parents didn't have a wedding photographer way back in the early 60s, they're now both deceased and there's NOTHING from their wedding day for their grandkids or the rest of their family to look back on. I think it's kinda sad.

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  18. I think that, if you plan a wedding, you're going to be unhappy because it sounds like you guys just want to be MARRIED already. So get married. Elope, even if it isn't Vegas style. Sometime in the future, have a kick ass party to celebrate with your nearest and dearest.

    Also, my 2 cents, get a photographer for both. My mother in law didn't get a photographer for her very (very, very) small wedding 30 years ago and still regrets it. And she is not a sentimental woman.

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  19. Elope. Please elope. My wedding is tomorrow . . . err, today and I'm positively miserable. I hate my wedding, most of my family, and kind of my life. Please elope.

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  20. My fiance and I had a LONG talk about what we wanted to do in terms of getting married. We thought we were NOT the wedding type people, but in our guts we both wanted the ceremony and celebration. It seems that you think you ARE the wedding type people, but in your guts you don't want one. Go with your guts.

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  21. Guys, thanks for all the comments, especially on the ranch wedding. I think I was considering that the "best compromise" but you're right, 30 people or 100 people, it's still a wedding and still involves planning. We also realized that even if we invited the grandmas, they won't really get on a plane, so it just becomes an argument of "but why didn't you invite me?" and eff that.

    With Vegas so close, we're discussing options more than ever. One of our first customers here is the nicest guy in the world and already offered to marry us locally. Vegas or on a hilltop outside town, I think we're doing this alone!

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    1. elope ! after years of should we / shouldn't we, we decided to 'just make it official' ... it ended up being one of the most magical days of my life.

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    2. Good for you! Alone (with photographer!) Congrats and best wishes.

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    3. Hilltop, hilltop!!!! Sounds great. Best wishes.

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    4. HILLTOP!! eff Vegas.

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  22. Right before my wedding i wished i would have eloped, would have saved stress and so much money plus i found the wedding fitting into what other people wanted. But i have to say based on your letter that you will regret not having your family there and it is important to them. I would honestly talk to them and see if they would be hurt, you donthave to tell them your plans. Depending on health, money and distance you might even find out that your grandparents, siblings woulnt be able to make it and then wouldnt feel so guilty about eloping or just having a ceremony with your parents. Personally even though i wanted to elope i would vote with small celebration of 30, eep planning simple as the field weddibg un france somobe mentioned-awesome. And just tell people no, hopefully your friends and fam arent super pushy.

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  23. Have your wedding in rural Wyoming. Invite people. A giant chunk of them won't show up (like the grandmas). Figure out how to feed whoever does come and call it good.

    (This is the theory I'm operating under, replace WY with UT. So far 150 invites is looking like 30 showing up. Food, booze, and some music is all they're getting. It'll be good times.)

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