Monday, December 10, 2012

Wedding planning is bringing out the worst....


Hi ESB,

Please help - I need your (and your readers) help on some drama that's come up. 

A bit of background: we live ~ 6 hours away from our families, are not religious, and want a chill outdoor wedding close to where we live. My parents, specifically my mom, want us to get married where THEY live, in a church - they are very Catholic - and have the reception in a "regular" venue like a hall or somesuch. 

After many awkward, painful, and kinda passive aggressive conversations about faith, family, etc., we have reached something of a compromise with them by choosing to get married on a family friend's property near where they live. The friends have 30 acres of beautiful land located about an hour away from where my parents live, and we'll have both the (secular) ceremony and reception on the property. There are a couple of very pretty meadows, and a large empty building on the property that can be a backup in case of either crazy heat or rain. Best of all, it's FREE. My mom has made her disapproval known of all the other venues I suggested, but she suggested this property so I was sure that once we settled on that option that everything would be hunky-dory.  

NOT SO. My mom is a champion guilt-tripper and feels that outdoor weddings are a "trendy fad" and actually straight up asked me if I really and truly wanted an outdoor wedding or if i was just having one "to keep up with my hipster friends." She also is constantly reminding me of the numerous stories she claims to have heard of outdoor weddings being besieged by rain and/or heat and how everyone hated them and left super early. 

She has also said that someone as anxiety-prone as myself shouldn't have an outdoor wedding since it's way too stressful to worry about the weather during the entire process of planning. I realize that I sound like a child with all the complaints about my mom's BS (for the record, I'm 28), but despite her faults I really love my mom and have always envisioned having her be a part of the planning process. Wedding planning is bringing out the worst in me, as I'm a people pleaser with strong tendencies towards anxiety and catholic guilt (just like alec baldwin says ... it never leaves you!) 

Anyways, I'll wind this up since this is getting crazy long: basically, my confidence in what I want for my wedding day has eroded to the point where I'm basically convinced that it's going to rain and everyone will judge me and hate me for dragging them out into a soggy meadow to watch me get married. I find myself staying up late either obsessing over long-term weather forecasts or looking longingly at photos of destination weddings in Italy. I also feel sad that what I hoped would be a happy time is essentially one of the shittier periods in my life. 

Please talk some sense into me.  

Thanks!

*****

OUTDOOR WEDDINGS ARE THE BEST WEDDINGS.

And your mom is being an asshole. She straight-up called you "anxiety-prone"? Tell her she's the one who's fucking anxiety-prone and it's rubbing off on you and if she doesn't chill out and start doing some fucking yoga (or maybe take a B-complex? everyone should take a B-complex) you'll run off and get married at the fucking courthouse like a real hipster.


Lydia Carron by Takahiro Ogawa for Amica December 2012 via Fashion Gone Rogue

45 comments:

  1. don't fret. nobody will judge you or hate you. i dragged my guests from california to vermont for my outdoor wedding in the middle of hurricane irene, which washed away the exit bridge from our venue (the only exit off the property), leaving us and 100 guests stranded for three days. nobody hated anyone. have your outdoor wedding. you can't control the rain... just make sure you have enough booze in case you get stranded for three days. we did. nobody complained.

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  2. I'm 28, somewhat "anxiety-prone" (although my own mother would never say that), and my wedding was outside this past summer. You know what? IT WAS AMAZING. A beautiful garden seemed like the perfect place for our secular wedding, and I don't have a single regret about that magnificent day. Make sure you have a back up plan and choose a less rainy time of year of possible, and tell your mom to back off, although I'd probably refrain from cursing her out if you want her standing outside with you on the big day.

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  3. I got married outside in July and while I worried about the weather on and off during the beginning of the planing, I realized I couldn't control it and was able to stop. And it turned out great, and would have even if it had rained.

    Please don't worry too much, or, as I did, find something stupid you can control to worry about instead, like nail polish colors. Your mom sounds upset about you not wanting what she wants, and while she has the right to be upset for a little bit, she needs to back the eff down. Your wedding will be great and it will be what you need it to be.

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    1. yes, she is just guilt-tripping you until she gets her way. nip that in the bud now!

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  4. Yeah, ditto to all. Tell her, "I'm so happy that you're this invested and want the day to go perfectly, but this is what I want. Having a wedding outdoors is what will make it perfect for me and (guy you're marrying), and we have xyz planned out if the weather doesn't cooperate." and then tell her that since that part is taken care of, you never need to talk about it again, and move on to other things, like flowers and invitations and junk, and maybe put her in charge of some aspect like that.

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  5. agreed. outdoor weddings rock. but, if you are a bit anxiety prone, may i strongly recommend in investing in a planner? even if only day-of. They will be a HUGE asset and you can dump all your worries on him/her. Especially since you're not having it at a traditional venue, the planner can think through all the details you need to (like who will haul away all the trash). i too am anxiety prone and had an amazing outdoor wedding, but every headache i did have that day would have been eliminated if only i had a planner...

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  6. outdoor is the way to go! the fact that your mom knows the term "hipster" makes me laugh. & that she'd imply EVERY outdoor wedding is a fad or trendy is such a major generalization... tell her to think outside the box. is every tourist cornball with barefeet & lei's on the beach in hawaii a hipster? i think not. just giggle at her & move on.

    & don't worry. about 85% of my guests traveled over a thousand miles for my wedding... and it was HOT. but we had a killer time. & even last month, a couple years later, i overheard family talking at another wedding about how ours [being outdoors & "different" from these banquet halls] was the best & most laid back they've ever been to which was really the best compliment ever.

    i don't want to knock indoor weddings... but in my personal experiences all indoor ones have just blurred together.

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  7. I really feel like future-me wrote this post. Far-away family, Catholic guilt, outdoor wedding, and anxiety - the gang's all here! I'll have to keep this bookmarked for when I feel the exact same way.

    Keep your outdoor wedding. And if your mom loves you (which she does) , she'll understand that it's what you really want.

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  8. My parents had an outdoor wedding in 1977; it's hardly a "trendy fad". It will be awesome! Pick a time of year where the weather will (probably) cooperate, and make a backup plan to use the empty building in case it doesn't. Redirect mom to other undecided matters, because this is no longer up for discussion. Done.

    One caveat: some friends of mine attended an outdoor wedding where they were running power from a home for all the lights/music/etc at the evening reception and it kept blowing out the fusebox. A planner may not be a bad idea, depending on the size/elaborateness of your wedding. Some things (like tables and seating) are pretty straightforward to bring outdoors, where others (like power sources, restrooms, lighting/sound) require a lot more work. You might also consider having things like fans, stand heaters, bug spray, and sunscreen on hand as needed.

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  9. You know what you can rent in the event of rain? A big-ass tent! Especially since you're getting the venue for free (rad!), this could be a good investment to calm down your "anxiety-prone" mother.

    We had an outdoor wedding. It was awesome. We woke up the morning of to rain. By the time the ceremony rolled around - sunshine!

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  10. I also think outdoor weddings are the best kind. Plus it sounds like you have a backup indoor space, which should remedy any anxiety.

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  11. We had a destination wedding in Italy and it rained...all day...and we still had a ball, as did the 90 guests we dragged out there. You've got a back up indoor space, you're sorted. As someone else said, just make sure you've got enough alcohol to drown the Catholic guilt!

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  12. As an almost-guest to an outdoor wedding (I ended up having a stomach flu and spent the day puking in my personal commode) a few thoughts for you either way - do you have a way to make electricity happen in your barn structure? And have your meadows been leveled at all, or is the ground unleveled and has rocks and random divets to trip your guests? Otherwise, hope it's fabulous, and don't cheap out on your portapotties.

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  13. as I'm a people pleaser with strong tendencies towards anxiety and catholic guilt

    Hello there, twin! Here's the thing: you have got to stand up to your mom and set up some boundaries asap, or you're going to wind up in a teary pile on the floor. (Or worse: having that catholic ceremony you don't want)

    If I were you (and I basically am) I would just tell your mom that discussing the venue is off the table. You've made your decision, you and partner are happy about it, and it is not up for discussion.

    If she tries to bring it up in conversation (and she will) just reminder her, "We're happy with our venue decision and are moving forward with planning. Now, what was it you were excited about for centerpieces last week?"

    Under any circumstance, do. not. engage. with the venue-related guilt trip & fretting. You're wedding will be ahh-mazing, but it will be better if you can make it there in a relatively calm state of mind.

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  14. We had an outdoor wedding and it was 110 degrees... in Minnesota. Total freak weather time. Other than rushing around to make sure that our reception space was indoors, we didn't sweat it. I mean, we did sweat it, everyone did. It was 110 freaking degrees.

    Know what? 2 years later every time someone mentions our wedding people say how nice it was... and then how hot it was. The one bad thing was totally out of our control- anything that might have been nitpicked on was ignored because of the weather. We were blameless! It was great.

    I say go for it.

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  15. pretty sure the planning process is bringing out the worst in your mom, NOT you.

    also, outdoor weddings have been going on for, i don't know... DECADES. or, does your mom consider patricia nixon a modern day hipster?

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    Replies
    1. sigh, my mom shared the same wedding dress as patty <333

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  16. Your mom is totally being a jerk, but I'll speak up as someone who was all about the outdoor wedding and then got rained out...it sucked. So I typically offer the advice "make sure you like the indoor space!" Since you've already got the venue (and I am so jealous you got it for free!), I would either rent a tent or make sure you can decorate the building to your satisfaction.

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  17. I had my ceremony in a church, but the reception was outside in a garden and it was amazing. It was a million degrees and it poured rain for about 20 minutes in the middle of the dance floor, but everyone just kept on going (including me in my big sopping wet white dress) because we were having so much fun!

    We had a backup plan tent, but decided to go without it as the chance of rain was so slim (we had until about a week before to confirm the tent)
    People still tell us how the rain was their favourite part!


    As a side note, we did have a small indoor/air conditioned area for our grandparents as it does become a health issue when your 92 years old and out in the heat. I would really recommend you set up the indoor space you have available with some seating/fans/ac for any elderly people that may be attending.

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  18. Hey OP, everyone here has great advice.
    Just wanted to pipe in as a recent bride with many of the same issues-- mother fretting over outdoor wedding vs the weather, guilt, etc.

    We got hitched in September outside next to a lake on the lawn of a winery/restaurant. It rained during the day, then cleared up for the ceremony. The world did not end. Had it still been raining for the ceremony, we would have gotten married inside the restaurant. In fact, it rained for our rehearsal the day before, so we did that indoors.

    We had a back up plan. You have a back up plan. So if everything doesn't go according to plan A, follow plan B. It's not going to ruin anyone's day, least of all yours. Promise.

    Also, my mom was pretty crazy about a lot of things. I set boundaries, she continually pushed against (or trampled right over) them. Stand your ground, be gracious and polite about it, but stand your ground.

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  19. Ummm can we be "my mom's made me cry at least five times while planning my wedding" friends?
    So yeah. I want to hug you and tell you that weddings just make moms go insane.

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  20. Outdoor weddings are not hipster. Aren't they just normal? I've never been to an indoor wedding in my life although I've been to some indoor and some outdoor receptions. Jewish weddings have been held outside for longer than there has even been a weather report. (While some Jewish weddings are held inside, it's sort of a good thing to have it outside, the idea being that it brings the blessing that someday your decendents will be as numerous as the stars, which is a blessing which has been around since Abraham). So if people could plan outdoor weddings without weather forecasts, electricity, it rentable popup tents, you can absolutely plan one with those things.
    This is the time to stand up to your mom. You are creating a new family and need strong boundaries, so stad up to her, tell her it will be lovely and this is what you and your partner are doing.

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  21. If you're getting hitched in this lovely meadow for free, you're probably saving enough cash to rent a tent. So I think you're good. Hang in there, dude. Don't let the innumerable "what-ifs" drag you down and talk you out of the day you want. If your mom keeps being a turd remind her this place was her idea and if shit goes wrong, now it's her fault. Guilt flip!

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  22. Last summer I went to an outdoor wedding in the middle of a rainstorm. They had a tent. It was super fun. My cousin had her wedding in a dilapidated former Girl Scout camp in the middle of rainstorm. It was super fun. I got married outside on top of a mountain in very thick fog. Our guests had to hike through a fog-wet field in their wedding clothes to get to the ceremony. A year later, all anyone says is "the fog was so magical!"
    Your outdoor wedding will be awesome!

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  23. And on the topic of Catholic guilt... guilt is actually a sneaky way your mind tricks you into being really self-centered and thinking you're personally responsible for everything bad that ever happens in the world.
    Your wedding will not inconvenience a single soul, I promise. Your friends and family are adults--they can be trusted to decide if they want to attend your super awesome and fun outdoor wedding. If they don't want to come, they will politely decline and send you a nice gift. You can trust that anyone who RSVPs yes does indeed want to attend your wedding and freely made that choice.
    Your Catholic guilt will tell you to second-guess them and think that you know more about what they want than they do, just so you can feel bad about yourself. Don't listen! It's loving and respectful to treat people like they have the autonomy to make their own choices.
    Love, a recovering Catholic

    tl;dr feeling guilty is not noble and tragic, it's actually self-centered. fuck it.

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    1. This is very wise advice, and a good reminder.
      - another recovering Catholic

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    2. are you the Frances that commented with a link to the article about bright girls a while back?

      I sort of want you to be my therapist please.

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    3. OP here - THANK YOU. This is awesome.

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    4. Ha, that was me with the bright girls thing. I live to give!

      Glad that helps, Ms OP! We had someone read a modified version of the St. Francis prayer at our wedding as a nod to my Catholic roots/family (we removed the God parts, lol). Maybe there's something similar you could have read at the ceremony to placate your moms a little?

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  25. lol @ the genital warts bot post above.

    anyway, i had catholic guilt for my outdoor wedding because of my very catholic family. they finally all got over it once the wedding day came. so many of my family members still like to say how it was one of their favorite weddings because of how relaxed it was. i mean, a 15 minute ceremony compared to a full-on mass at a church for and hour and a half.

    yeah, don't let your mom get to you. she will see on your wedding day. just make sure you have a backup tent, so the "i told you so"s don't ever have to come.

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  26. You know what REALLY sucks? That time I got stuck as a guest inside an hour long Catholic mass in July in New Jersey with no air conditioning in 92 degree heat.

    Outdoor weddings are the bomb. Indoor weddings are the bomb. Things go wrong at both. Your mom is doing some weird shit since the reality of your wedding isn't matching up with her expectations and it's turned her into a crazy person. My mom did some similar stuff. In the end, it made for some super terrible blowouts between us that eventually made us both grow up and treat each other like adults. (Granted it was two years after the wedding, but the process starts now.)

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  27. Outdoor wedding in England. I am anxiety prone but KNEW I didn't want to get married inside come hell or high water. We rented 100 umbrellas and I was ready to get married in the rain. It rained the entire week prior.
    And then it was sunny on the day of. Who knew?!

    Outdoor weddings are not hipster at all. AT ALL. I am so not cool/trendy enough to be a hipster.

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  28. The most fun I ever had at a wedding that wasn't mine was not only outside, it was at the onset of Hurricane Irene. It was fun because it was relaxed and full of love and fun and party animals.
    It was not a remotely hipstery wedding, it was a big fucking cookout.

    My folks talked me out of an outdoor wedding (it was October. It was cold. It rained. It was a good call.) but we still dressed our reception hall up like a semi-formal barbecue.

    If you don't feel like you're going to love the wedding you are planning then say that. Moms hear that. If your mom tells you that you are being selfish then tell her that you'll be happy to go to and help plan the party she is planning, but that party is not your wedding.

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  29. agree with esb. and include the f-words.

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  30. Totally agree with ESB. Outdoor weddings are the best!!! There is a time and a place for making others happy but your wedding day needs to make you and your fiance happy above all else. You will not regret sticking to your guns on this.

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  31. Agree to all of the above. Also, half the fun of looking at your parent's wedding photos is seeing all the goofy shit they thought was cool--so who cares if getting married outdoors is trendy? It will be beautiful and fun and very you and who cares if twenty years down the road your kids are making fun of you for it?

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  32. Okay, I had a similar experience, except it was my MIL who was upset. I think she is probably making a fuss because of the lack of religious aspects. I was not willing to budge on the outdoor venue, but we worked hard on compromising and incorporating some catholic traditions into the secular ceremony. Of course, she would have much preferred a full catholic mass (and she made that clear, more than once) but I was not raised catholic and my husband has a strong aversion to it. Our wedding was about honoring all the people who played a role in our relationship, and his religious family deserved recognition.

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  33. what is all this talk of catholic guilt? i must've been born without a soul (or conscience) because i don't feel it ONE BIT

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    1. Sister Mary MargaretDecember 11, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      It's crazy, but sometimes different people have different experiences in life!!

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  34. Ah - I can relate! I have been engaged for 1 month and have already had 3 wedding nightmares. It isn't my mom though, it is my dad. He is a generous man with definitive ideas about what makes something special: Special = Fancy. My FH and I are introverted, small group, yummy food, lots-o-wine, 5 minute exchange of vows people. We have reserved a small, sweet rustic italian restaurant near our home for our ceremony and celebration dinner and I am trying to be a big girl and politely stand up to Dad and help him see that he can't throw a rehersal dinner that is fancier than our wedding and we do not want to have a party in a hotel ballroom (not that there is anything wrong with that. Thanks for letting me vent.

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  35. OP here - Thanks for the lovely comments, everyone! It's been super helpful to read everyone's suggestions and tales of rainy outdoor weddings THAT WERE STILL AWESOME. On my list of things to get: a wedding planner, a giant tent, and some boundaries.

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  36. Also, may I point out that your mom can be "involved in the wedding planning" without putting her stamp of approval on every iota of it. You get to choose some things, especially if you feel strongly about them! Have the outdoor wedding! Tell her "end of story! moving on!"

    Allison

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  37. It’s look so beautiful! I am enjoy and love it very much.and I love very much sexy and wonderful dress.
    Hope you had the greatest time living it up!!
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