Thursday, November 1, 2012

Introvert caught in a big, white, wedding nightmare


Dear ESB,

Some background: My FH and I have always been at odds in the wedding that we wanted. I want to elope, he wants a big party. I would be totally fine with the big wedding if he were the one in the white dress (I know that I don't have to wear white, it's more of a metaphor).

Long story short, I agreed to a big wedding (with not much discussion, because it's just so important to him) in June 2013 with ~150 people. I was doing ok until our engagement party (hosted by his parents in Vermont) last week, when I got a taste of what the wedding is going to be like. Holy crap. I realized very abruptly that I don't want a big wedding. That I have been dreading the big wedding that we are planning for the last 3 months at least; having nightmares about running down the aisle in my unmentionables because I forgot to pick up my dress from the seamstress.

I'm not sleeping well (mostly due to the creative nightmares my overwrought brain is producing for my entertainment each night), and I've been sick since the engagement party, and I think it was the stress of the party that made me sick. I've also been having trouble focusing at work, because the wedding planning consumes my mind all day and all night, and because maybe if I get everything right I'll really enjoy it (crazy, I know). I also balk at the idea of spending the kind of money that we're planning to spend on a wedding that I'm not particularly excited about.

I don't want to be the center of attention. I never have. I'm happiest with a good book in front of a warm fire, or cuddling with my FH. I am not looking forward to being a bride, and I can't continue to carry around the amount of stress that this wedding is heaping onto me (or I am heaping onto myself) for the next 8 months. I want to think/talk/dream about something else! My FH is an amazing person. He's been taking on more and more of the planning to relieve my stress. But, I can't help feeling like having a big wedding is the price I have to pay for getting to marry him.

In the wake of the engagement party I suggested that we scrap the big white wedding in June, and try to pull something together to get married in Vermont on the weekend before New Year's Eve (Dec 29th or 30th) with just our immediate family and very close friends, about 20 people. He's not entirely opposed to the idea of a small Vermont wedding, because he can see how stressed I am about the big June wedding (it's not subtle), but he's worried that we will be inconveniencing the people that we do invite, disappointing that ones that we don't invite, and that it will be too stressful to pull off in such a short amount of time.

He thinks it's selfish to ask people to add us to their holiday plans, while I think that time between Christmas and New Year's is fair game. I have gotten very attached to the idea in a short amount of time because it relieves the pressure of the wedding planning that has been preying on my sanity.

*Is it asking too much of people in too short an amount of time?

*Would we be disappointing people if we scrap the big wedding (we haven't even sent out save-the-dates yet)?

*And is it selfish of me to want to abandon the big wedding when it would mean a lot to my FH to have it?

I'm asking you and your readers because I only have my own opinion as a reference (which is that if one of my close friends did this and asked me to be there I would bend over backwards to be a part of it, and be happy to do so), but I think we've established that I'm a little unusual (who doesn't want to be a bride!?), and I don't feel like I can trust my own instincts in this situation.

Help!
The Reluctant Bride

*****

Ladyfriend, you've got to work this out with your FH. *Are you* willing to pay the price (literally and figuratively) of a big fat white wedding in order to marry him?

Because it sounds to me like he's coming up with a lot of excuses for why the tiny impromptu-ish wedding won't work.

Lara Mullen by Josh Olins for Vogue UK April 2012 via c ktnon

65 comments:

  1. You don't have to "pay a price for getting to marry" someone. Ach! Where's your self-respect! You're getting married because you love each other.

    Good luck!

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    1. This.

      Perhaps you didn't mean it that way, but another way to look at it is that respecting your happiness and your needs is the price HE pays for getting to marry you, so something's gotta give.

      If he absolutely wants a big thing, perhaps another way of going about it would work for your stress issues (if he planned/organized it, for example, or if you guys did something in a location where you don't feel like the center of attention - I've seen things done in a kids museum that looked like tons of fun) but that's something you guys have to hash out.

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  2. Maybe you guys need to keep hashing it out and get to a good compromise. He wants big, summer wedding. You want to elope or have a tiny holiday wedding. What if you had a tiny summer wedding? And you only took on the planning stuff that you *wanted* to take on?

    If I had my heart set on a big wedding and my fiance did not, I'd want to adjust (like it sounds like your FH is doing) but it wouldn't be easy for me to change everything. You both need to sit down and talk about what you really, really want in a wedding--what is essential? What is the part that gives you joy to think about? What will make it feel like a *wedding* to each of you? Find ways to incorporate those things, and leave everything else out.

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  3. Just one person's opinion: I understand his concerns about your idea. It is a lot of excuses, but some seem legit. HOWEVER. If the very idea, and the early planning stages, of a "big white wedding" are causing you this much stress, emotionally and physiologically, it would be nice for him to recognize that.

    I don't think it's selfish of you to want a small wedding -- if anything, I think it's slightly selfish of him to insist on a huge thing when it's obviously too much for you.

    This line in particular stands out to me: "because maybe if I get everything right I'll really enjoy it (crazy, I know)." Is it possible you (or your FH) have lost sight of the end goal here? Even if you get everything right, SOMETHING will go wrong, guaranteed. (Our limo broke down between the pictures and the reception, so husbo and I had to catch a ride with our photographer to the reception!) However, at the end of the day, you'll be married. Truly, that's all that matters. Big wedding, small wedding, everything goes right, everything goes wrong -- whatever. Repeat that to yourself any chance you get. You WILL enjoy it, as long as you guys make each other your first priority for the day.

    That all sounds super hokey and is definitely not snarky enough for this blog. Sorry ESB :-)

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  4. Yikes. I hate the idea of you spending a shit-ton on this big wedding that you likely won't enjoy. I also don't understand why the options are either small holiday wedding or big summer wedding. Hows about a small spring wedding? I think you need to sit down with the future husband and come to a compromise that works for both of you before the idea of this summer wedding kills you. I personally agree with your fh about a wedding between xmas and new years being a bad idea. Some friends of ours are getting married then, and we aren't going to make it.

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  5. It's not selfish for you to want what you want. but it's not selfish for him to want what he wants either. If I were him and I'd been taking on most of the planning, I'd have a hard time letting go of those plans that I'd made too. It doesn't necessarily mean he's "making excuses" about your idea of a tiny winter wedding. If he's been the primary planner up to this point, he may see logistical reasons for the winter wedding to be complicated. Personally, if my bff/sister/whoever told me today that they'd be getting married in Vermont on the weekend before New Years... I'd try to make it work, but dude, it'd be tough. Most people already have their holiday plans in place and at this point in time, they don't include your wedding. I don't know where you guys and your nearest and dearest live, but if there is travel involved, the weekend after Christmas could be difficult, and it's also more expensive that most other times of the year. I know it's a foreign idea in wedding-land, but maybe the dude has been looking forward to his wedding for along time, and he has a vision of how it's supposed to be. Ask him WHY he wants these things that he wants, and see if you can come to a compromise. Weddings are one of the only times in your life when you have the opportunity to invite everyone you love to come be in the same place together. I'd be willing to bet that FH's vision is more about the people than the party, so keep that in mind. Both of you are going to have to give some things up. I agree with one of the previous commenters, maybe push it back a bit and have a smaller summer wedding? Or if you're willing to wait, have your winter wedding next year, and give your guests some time to plan for that.

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  6. Could there be some kind of middle ground between the 150+ wedding he wants and the very small (around 20 people) wedding you want? It seems like both of you only want the extremes and neither is willing to settle for a compromise. What about paring your 150-person guest list down to 100? Not all of them will come; you'll probably end up with about 75 people. That's a MUCH more manageable number. Then you can eliminate a lot of the stuff that will make you the center of attention (first dance, bouquet toss, toasts, etc.). Also, instead of doing a receiving line or going table-to-table to greet everyone (as an introvert, I know how much that will suck for you), write each couple or single guest a personalized note about how grateful you are that they could attend your wedding.

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  7. Is there any way he can just do the planning himself? And scale back on crafty, individualistic, details? I mean, if what he wants is a big party, you can pretty much buy a wedding off the shelf. At varying price levels. Seems to me if all you had to do was show up, it could work.

    But if he wants the blog-worthy wedding, and he wants you to Make It So, that seems unfair.

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  8. What if you got married in VT with your 20 people, and then had a big reception later? My step-brother-in-law is having a small destination wedding over the holidays with about 20 attending, and then a big reception in spring. A reception is just a party! And while you'd still be the newly-wed bride, you wouldn't have to wear white, walk down the aisle, or say your vows in front of everybody... just celebrate with them. Maybe cut a cake and drink champagne if you want. This approach would give people the chance to see and congratulate you (which is all they really want, so no disappointment to be had there). It also breaks up the planning into separate ceremony and party categories which is probably easier to deal with.

    P.S. I'm an introvert and had a bigger wedding than I personally wanted because my husband grew up in a small town. On the day, I was so effervescently happy that I didn't even notice being the center of attention. Actually, having all those smiling faces there was kind of amazing. I had been stressed about it, and it totally didn't matter. Not everyone is the same, of course, but maybe it won't be as horrible as you fear. Good luck!

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  9. Yikes. I think that if you're having (what sound like to me) panic attacks over this, it can't be worth it. Either your FH is going to have to compromise with you, or you'll have to get yourself hopped up on anxiety medications just to get through this. (Totally not worth it.)

    I agree with others that a middle ground can be possible. You don't have to do a receiving line; you could arrange it so that mingling with guests during cocktails (traditionally, this time would be arranged for photos) would provide the opportunity to thank them for coming.

    Lots of people don't want to be "brides", and as I think you'll find out, there are plenty of alternatives for introverted future wives like us.

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  10. I guess I'll be on my own for this one - but you sound like you are being pretty dramatic and finding every reason to get your way...

    I get that you don't want to have a HUGE wedding - but pick a more intimate setting. I think you are going to get the same effect if you put 100 people in an intimate space and 25 people in a large open space.

    So your specific questions:
    1. Yes it is asking too much for people to plan for the week between Christmas and New Years on Nov.1 - I don't think that week in between is "fair game". Travel is ridiculously expensive during that time, the weather can be a bear and it's a stressful time to be in an airport with all the holiday travelers.

    2. Who cares if people are disappointed. The person that is obviously going to be disappointed (Fiance) has less pull here than guests?

    3. Yes.

    If you really want to get married over the holiday - Elope, invite your immediate family to the wedding with the dress and then have a big party/reception after the new year. no dress, just a big fun party with no aisle walking.

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    1. I agree about the holidays. At this point, it's waaaaayyy too late to ask your friends and family to travel around Christmas/New Years.

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    2. You're not alone. This seems a dramatic response to wedding planning. Maybe OP needs general stress management tools to help assuage her upset<-- sounds bitchy. Not meant to be.

      Also: what everyone else said. . .meet in the middle! Like 50 person no fuss type of an affair.

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  11. I can relate. The wedding industry is not an introvert's friend. Try to pick out the parts of a "big wedding" that don't involve you being the center of attention and do those things. Compromise on the size of the guest list. Maybe compromise on who is invited to the ceremony vs the reception. For example, we had an immediate family only ceremony followed by a bigger (100-ish people) reception. That way I didn't feel *on stage* all day. At the reception we didn't do the garter toss as the thought of H crawling up my dress in the middle of a room full of people was...well, disgusting. However we did do the bouquet toss, cake-in-face, and first dance. To be honest I was dreading those moments beforehand but when they came to fruition I was in such a daze of bridal bliss that I didn't even notice the people surrounding us. I hope you can find a happy medium and enjoy your wedding day.

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    1. Dude, I am the most extroverted of extroverts, and the thought of participating in a garter toss makes me want to break out in hives.

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    2. I was also in a "daze of bridal bliss" the whole time, and I totally didn't expect to feel that way. Seriously, I'm an introvert and I was hardly even aware of the 175 people at my wedding because I was so focused on my new husband and how thrilled I was to be married. I get that she doesn't like to be the center of attention, but I think she's blowing this out of proportion. It seems like it might be collateral damage of the stress of wedding planning.

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    3. And yeah, we skipped the garter toss. I don't want my grandma to see him digging around under my skirts. Ew.

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    4. i didn't realize EXTROVERTS still did the garter toss.

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    5. People totally still do the garter toss. I'd say 50% of the weddings I go to have it. And yes, I'm slightly freaked out every time.

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    6. Every wedding I've been to except my own had a garter toss! Most people are weird and afraid of breaking traditions.

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  12. We scrapped our 100+ guest wedding and got married a year earlier with 25 friends and family. It was the best decision we've ever made. You go girl!

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  13. A couple friends of mine recently had a teeny-tiny last minute elopement and then followed up with an amazing reception a few months later. The reception was a total blast and, since it wasn't a "real" wedding it didn't seem as bride focused as a lot of weddings are. They didn't have to get up in front of all the people, there was no bouquet toss, etc. Guests were a little more informally dressed than you'd see at most weddings and it was a great night of dinner and dancing.

    I know some people feel like receptions without the wedding parts are just people angling for gifts, but it was a really fun time that was like a great reflection of the couple.

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    1. i really empathise with the OP and this is exactly what i want to do - elope to some fantastic destination, and have an amazing party to celebrate back home. my thoughts are spit pig roasts, wood fired oven pizzas and something relaxing where everyone can get drunk. we'd throw an intimate send-off party too with just our very closest friends. anyone wanna give me the balls to tell my parents?

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  14. *Is it asking too much of people in too short an amount of time?

    yes. two months to plan holiday travel is pretty rough.

    *Would we be disappointing people if we scrap the big wedding (we haven't even sent out save-the-dates yet)?

    possibly, but you're never going to be able to control how other people feel; all you can do is have the wedding that's right for you.

    *And is it selfish of me to want to abandon the big wedding when it would mean a lot to my FH to have it?

    no more selfish than he's being by wanting to have the big wedding - and i think one has a right to want some things for one's self.

    i was so petrified by the thought of so many eyes on me at our wedding (which was only 50 people) that, as we watched the shining on TV a few nights before we left to get hitched, i found myself fantasizing about being at the overlook hotel instead. ah, social anxiety, when the thought of being a stephen king character sounds better than being a bride! i also threw up every morning for the week leading up to the wedding, and found myself sneaking out of the reception to have moments alone. i loved many things about that day, but i wasn't a different person; i hated every minute of being on display, and it did, truth be told, make it harder for me to be fully present.

    don't let people tell you that some sort of bridal endorphin rush is going to change who you are; do try to work out some sort of compromise with your FH so that your wedding feels like the party he wants and doesn't turn you into a basket case. plan something smaller for june, maybe talk to a pro about better living through chemistry, and tell yourself that he deserves a bride who's as excited as he is - and that you deserve more than a wedding you just survive.

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    1. As usual, I agree with LMO. Don't tell yourself you'll be different for your wedding, just figure out ways to work with who you already are. And possibly invest in some Xanax.

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  15. Everyone else has pretty much said all there is to be said. But I just wanted to add as an introvert that would rather be home with my dog than anywhere else... You might be surprised about how being the center of attention isn't all that bad. I still hate my birthday and I'm still an introvert and I'd still rather not be the center of attention. But somehow... For our wedding day... It was okay. It was the good easy kinda of attention. Noone really expected much of me. And it was just fun. Also, my now husband planned the whole wedding because I couldn't handle the stress. I just fiddled around with making the invites and picking my dress and make up and all that. And that was it.

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  16. This reminds me of this post: http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/07/didnt-love-weddin/

    Do what's right for you (and your FH) lady.

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  17. yawn.

    either A. get over yourself or B. find a xanax or something.

    and a christmas/newyear week wedding is a total inconvenience. everyone has their own routine of where and when they celebrate with their own sets of 2, 3, 4 families... and have already set that in stone long before today.

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  18. I am an introvert, did not want a wedding at all, but I found myself in a white ball gown wondering what happened. Some tactics - practice acting "as if". My biggest fear was the aisle walk. Every month leading up to the wedding I would put on heals, grab a fake plant and practice walking and grinning. Mainly I made myself laugh. Second, I configured the ceremony room for the shortest aisle possible, turning the traditional rectangle on it's side, the walk was about 15 steps. Third - candles everywhere - if it was dark no one could see me. The engagement photos helped us to relax with the photographer. I spent a fortune on make-up artist, hair, etc. I could not have looked any better. In general the closer I got to the wedding date, the less stress I had. I itemized each fear, put in a plan, executed on the plan. There was nothing more I could have done. And it was a beautiful experience. People said I was the happiest bride they had ever seen. If they only knew...

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  19. I can completely relate, as this was 100% me - wanting to elope, but my now husband really wanted his (large) family and friends etc there. It ended up being around 100 people, and I really wasn't looking forward to it... until.. I dumped the whole thing in his lap. He organised the whole thing, and I bought a dress. My only instructions were that I didn't want to be centre of attention, and he Made It So.

    But that was us - I am in complete agreement with esb that you two have to talk it through. You should both be really happy about your plans, which at the moment, you're not. Finding a middle ground might be the best option, or as others have suggested, a small wedding followed by some kind of bigger bash later. But it has to work for YOU (plural).

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  20. I'm going to share this at the risk of being pilloried again on ESB:

    I'm an extrovert (although not necessarily on all things bridal) and my now husband is an introvert (think tried to give back a major award at work so he wouldn't have to accept it in front of a crowd type of introvert). I really wanted celebrate with (lots of) loved ones, but he was loath to be the center of attention. So we did one very small wedding (10 people total), and five parties in different places throughout the country (yes, ESB regulars, I'm that girl).

    Everyone is different, but it worked perfectly for us. There was no giant crowd, but we still got to see almost everyone we wanted to see (I would guess the total attendance was around 200 with one big party and four smaller ones). Because each was a smaller setting, neither of us had to be the center of attention and we got to have actual, meaningful conversations with everyone. It cost us way less than a traditional wedding/reception would have (~$5,000, mostly spent on our plane tickets), and it didn't really take much planning. If our guests were sad about not seeing us get married, they did an extremely good job of hiding it.

    Is that approach for everyone? No. But it shows if you get a little creative you can find a really happy middle ground.

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  21. I guess I am in the minority thinking I'd LOVE a reason to get out of holiday shit and find weddings that eat up my precious vacation time during summer more inconvenient.

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    1. Which just goes to show you're always inconveniencing someone so you just can't give a fuck!

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  22. what about a just immediate family wedding whenever you can do it. and turn the big wedding into just a big party so all of your friends can have fun, and hopefully you won't feel as much pressure.

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  23. Can you both sit down (separately at first) and parse out which parts of the wedding are important to you and which parts are freaking you out? Because you're going to have to compromise. You both have to share the wedding, and if you have diametrically opposed visions, something has to give.

    Are you scared of being the center of attention or of the planning? Which parts specifically? How can you remedy that? You could make the aisle walk more casual, you could mingle with guests before the ceremony to make it feel like a dinner party you're hosting, you could do away with the aisle walk altogether. For the planning, you could insist on a ton of back up (i.e. a wedding planner or a wedding venue that is all inclusive - I know those aren't indie cool, but they can take a ton of the stress off if you don't enjoy planning and details and some of them are good deals).

    Likewise, your guy has to sit down and figure out why the big wedding is important to him (giant dance party with friends, celebrating with lots of cousins) and maybe you can figure out how to bring that element to the party without being completely overwhelmed. We considered a two part party, where we had a simple ceremony and cocktail reception with our enormous guest list and then a bar hop afterwards with our closest friends. (Obviously, that route means you have to be careful that people don't feel left out, but there are ways to handle it)

    You both deserve to get what you want, but saying "big wedding" and "small wedding" is too vague to know which parts matter to each of you.

    Good luck!

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    1. what a different blog this would be if *you* were the one doling out the advice....

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    2. Um, no one would read it. Because every post would be a million words long and not nearly as funny. I like sticking to the comments.

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    3. as joe always says, no one actually wants advice. they just want permission to do the thing they're already planning to do.

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    4. @lauren that could not be more true.

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    5. I refuse to accept that because I LOVE giving advice. Although I'm not even sure I care if people take it. I just like coming up with it.

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  24. There's a pretty big difference between introversion and social anxiety.

    Just thinking maybe there are deeper issues here?

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    1. Yeah I also think people are misunderstanding what being introverted means. It doesn't necessarily mean being shy. Extroverted people can be incredibly shy.

      Introverted people can be incredibly confident. They become energised when spending time alone, and drained when spending time socially.

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    2. This is an excellent point. It doesn't matter how introverted you are - at some point in your life, you'll have to deal with being the center of attention (for work, school, special occasions, etc.). There's a big difference between not liking the spotlight and not being able to cope with it. It sounds like this girl is in the latter category, which worries me.

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  25. I don't know if you have social anxiety but I know I definitely do- and we had a big wedding. A few months before our wedding I bought a groupon for bikram yoga classes- it's a very intense workout- and I attribute my surviving our wedding to it entirely. I still did my share of freaking out but I would have been a much bigger mess without it. I still do it twice a week and it keeps the anxiety at bay. It's actually a great practice for introverts because you focus entirely on yourself and block out everyone around you. Anyways, I do love the bikram, but I think other forms of exercise would calm your nerves too, I just haven't found another form that works as well for me personally. Maybe you already have that in your life and are still feeling this way, but if not, maybe try it? Good luck!

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    1. i almost mentioned bikram in the comments and then i thought OMIGOD I'M TURNING INTO A HIPPIE

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    2. Damn it. I just got a notice in my email today for a Bikram Groupon. Now I have to get it.

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    3. @Anon the secret real reason i go is that it makes my skin look amazing.

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    4. I have the skin of a 13 year old boy (and I pick that shit)... I'm totally buying the Bikram tomorrow if it'll help my skin in the next two months. The only thing is that I've purchased month long hot yoga passes before and went like 2 times. Any tips for motivating yourself to get to the classes?

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    5. @ESB- Yes! So good for the skin! And I can wear some of the clothes I've kept from 15 years ago that almost seem back in style now. I have to stop myself all the time from suggesting bikram to people. I don't want to be the yoga pusher that people roll their eyes at, but damn. I'm much better with it.

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  26. well, you and FH both sound pretty headstrong in getting your way. if you're able to let go of the anxiety for a few minutes and imagine your future selves, maybe around the end of next summer, sitting together, basking in the magic of how well (and hard!) you worked together to get to where you are, it may take a bit of the frustration out of today's problem.

    the end goal for each of you is the same: you want a marriage. how you get there (especially coming from opposite directions) will be a test in communication and compromise (for BOTH of you). in one year, 5 years, 35 years, how you got there won't matter, but the fact that you are a rock star couple who can help each others visions come to life will really define that marriage.

    so figure out what's important and throw out the rest. and breathe. and think of how fast a day goes by, because your wedding day will go by even faster...best of luck!

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  27. I was in a similar situation... I am pretty introverted and have a small family, but my now husband wanted to invite lots of friends (and has a big family on top of that). It was important to me that I be able to enjoy our wedding day, and not feel overwhelmed by being the center of attention. We compromised by having a smaller ceremony/sit-down dinner on a Friday night (~70 people) and then a barbeque the next day with 150+ people (including his extended family). It worked for us. And it was nice that we kept it small for the ceremony, because when I got nervous immediately before walking down the aisle, I just reminded myself that everyone in the "audience" was there because they loved us. With a smaller group, it is easier to believe that's true.

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  28. Weird! I was supposed to have a July 2013 wedding with 150 people and now we're having a January 2013 wedding with 20 people. About a month ago I had a "fuck it" moment. I actually just sent ESB my first email asking about the proper etiquette how to announce our new elope-ish-ment.

    We started out like you with the FH wanting a bigger wedding than I did (he has a TON of family, and I don't) and me wanting a small one. I went against my gut feeling and agreed to a big wedding. Fast forward 6 months of stressful, anxiety ridden wedding planning (holy crap my thoughts were CONSUMED by stupid wedding shit) and our bill racking up. After MANY talks and budgeting sessions he finally came around and saw that the stress/money of ONE day wasn't worth it. We compromised and decided to have a small ceremony and a larger bbq reception later with his family. So we're running off to San Francisco in January to City Hall and then celebrating with a bbq in May at his annual family reunion. AND with the money we're saving on the wedding we're going to travel for a few months.

    So to turn this comment back around to you; you guys need to talk more. Explain to him just HOW stressed you are and lay out your points. Let him know you're willing to compromise and find out what it is he can compromise as well. What about a small ceremony and wedding "celebration" after. If you stop calling it a reception it magically takes the stress away.

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  29. Wah wah wah. Good grief, you BOTH have to compromise. And yes, it is totally ridiculous to expect folks to travel between Christmas and New Year.

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  30. I had all those crazy nightmares and was super-stressed and not sleeping in the months before my wedding too--and I was having exactly the wedding I wanted and there was very little drama about anything. You're not a professional party planner, so it makes sense that you have anxiety.

    Also, I knew a couple who was in your situation. They secretly got married, just the two of them, months before the wedding. This freed them to not give a fuck about anything wedding-related.

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  31. Like many of us commenting, I also went through my own "eff this shit moment." I am this person.

    My issues weren't related to not wanting to be the center of attention (I have no problem with that) but were more so about whether the cost and stress of planning a big wedding were worth it for me. As an update, we stuck to the original plan and had our big wedding this past June. I decided to do this because it was so important to my finace and because I was worried that I would regret it later if I did not do the whole big wedding thing. Our wedding was lovely and beautiful, most of our vendors were totally awesome (with the exception of one horrendous caterer), and everyone had a good time. Despite all of this goodness, if I had to do it over again, I think that I would go with the small, intimate thing.

    First, the cost is crazy and now that we are toying with the idea of buying a house I just keep thinking how helpful all of that money we saved and then spent on the wedding would be. The planning was so stressful. I also lost focus at work, which made me incredibly guilty, and it put a strain on our relationship which seemed weird because that is the very thing a wedding is supposed to be celebrating. And then, on the day of, even though I made sure to go to every table and greet every guest, I actually had real conversations with about 20 of them. And those were the people who I would have invited had we gone with the smaller affair.

    I say this just to say that your feelings are totally valid. I certainly do not regret my wedding day, but I still do not believe that it was necessary for me or that it was really what I wanted. You do need to compromise, but I do not think that you are being selfish. Although, I would advocate for a small spring/summer wedding, not the holiday wedding.

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  32. Compromise! I tried to do something similar to you. The idea of a huge wedding made me freak out, so I tried to throw something small together really fast. It ended up being just as stressful and I realized I needed to take a step back and give it time. You and your fiance need time to talk ALL this through, without a rush, and come up with a compromise. My fiance and I did it (70 people in parents backyard next spring) and I know you can too!

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  33. I vote a sweet elopement and then throw the party for your husband and family/friends afterwards. Ah man...wedding planning is not fun! I know some ladies start planning their weddings from the time they're little girls, and I was definitely not in that boat. I think those women definitely had a leg up on me though because I had to sort everything out. Why the bouquet? Why the wedding party? What's this about colors and themes? But I think I maybe had the wee advantage of no huge expectations and a roll-with-the-punches type of attitude. Plus I just got rid of all the "traditions" that don't make sense in the modern world, or at least my modern world.

    My husband and I had a large wedding - around 270 people! I'm not a total weenie, but I'm also not a look-at-me center-of-attention type either, and the whole walking down the aisle all-eyes-on me totally freaked me out. But a shot of whiskey, being solidly sandwiched by my parents, under a big wide open sky, and keeping my eyes locked on my husband...surprisingly I did just fine and my nerves evaporated! And let me tell you that I was maxed out on stress in the days leading up to it and started referring to myself as "crazy pants bride" which nobody corrected my term because it was obviously true - ha! I had perma wide eyes, ADD-addled thoughts and speedy half-sentences going on for awhile there. Ew. But come wedding day I was so blissed out to be around so much love.

    Is it all the overwhelming planning that's freaking you out? How do I remember everything? I don't have time for this! Or is it the LARGE amount of people that you fear you'll have to "perform" for? I think the money thing every normal person should be freaked out about. If it's all of the above then definitely elope. If it's just the planning then by all means let your husband take a lot (most?) of that burden since he wants the wedding. Delegate delegate delegate...seriously there's nothing wrong with asking people if they'd help. They can always say no, and seriously I think you'd be surprised how many people revel in lending a hand.

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  34. Reluctant, you have all the advice you need, but of course that never stopped us. I hated wedding planning and all of the general hoopla. I kept my sanity by asking if whatever I was stressed about at the moment really mattered, and if it didn't I just scrapped the whole thing. I didn't craft anything (who has time for that?) and I chose a couple vendors that did everything. Since the vendors knew what to do, I skipped the wedding planner. Simple is beautiful.

    I wasn't nervous about being the center of attention, but you can always skip the entrance, cake cutting, dance, etc. to be less on the spot. No one will miss them.

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  35. Hi! I completely understand where you are coming from. I too am the curl up with a book, hate being the center of attention, large crowds make me want to cry type of person. However, I just got married with all the 150 people hoopla, and it turned out to be an absolutely fabulous day. The planning is the worst part. I had hives everyday up till two days after our honeymoon. And not little hives, crazy cover all parts of my body eyes swell up hives. I was living on a diet of xanex and benedryl. But, it was important to the people who were important to me, so I powered through, and I'm telling you it was completely worth it. I had the BEST time and everyone seemed to have an awesome time. You just have to keep focusing on the fact that you want the people you love to be happy and have fun, and that the whole point of the wedding is to get married.

    Also, have a lot of champagne on hand. It helps with everything. Crafting, emailing vendors, dealing with your future mother in law, getting ready to walk down the aisle - champagne makes it all seem fun!

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  36. I was in a similar situation. I didn't want a big wedding. I wanted to elope in Hawaii. The FH wanted a ceremony and reception. So we compromised. Next week we're doing a small ceremony and dinner with immediate family followed by casual bbq for extended family and friends the day after. Only wedding thing we're doing is cutting our wedding pie in front of everyone and a few toasts.

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  37. The smaller wedding sounds like the way to go, compromise and make it fifty people and a simple ceremony with a nice dinner. I do think holiday weddings are rude though.. Travel is more of a pain and more expensive plus at the last minute you're asking for people to rearrange their own plans.

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  38. I'm also an extreme introvert, so I totally understand how you feel.

    We put off getting married for 3 years because we both couldn't decide if we wanted a big wedding or to just elope.

    We are both from the same hometown in Kansas, and our college friends really wanted a reason to visit the Sunflower State that we always spoke of so highly. So we eventually decided to do a wedding and really emphasize the beauty of Kansas. We rented an old limestone house and land from a family friend out in the middle of nowhere and had the ceremony on top of a hill that had a 360 view of rolling hills.

    That really helped me feel like I wasn't completely the center of attention. We also kept the ceremony less than 20 minutes long. We didn't have any toasts. We didn't have a first dance. No bouquet toss. No garter toss. The reception was just a big party. I took a few breaks from the crowd throughout the evening and lied in the field and admired the night sky.

    We also kept it pretty small. I think we had around 80 guests.

    There are still a lot of things that I would have changed. And a lot of things that I didn't get to do because I was just way too stressed out. But I had some great friends (and future husband) who helped me through it.

    Also, if you haven't already, I highly recommend reading The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. The author also has another book, Introvert and Extrovert in Love: Making it Work when Opposites Attract.

    My husband is also an extrovert. We love each other so much, but have always struggled when it comes to socializing with other people. But now that we both understand introversion better, we no longer set unrealistic expectations.

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