Tonight some friends and I drank way, way too much in celebration of a cancelled wedding. A celebration with more sincere joy in it than any wedding I’ve yet attended.
The would-be bride in question was less than two weeks away from a marriage she knew would be a disaster from the moment the ring was offered, and yet she went through the motions, zombie-like, for well over a year. Invitations were sent, caterers interviewed and sampled, dresses critiqued, hours and hours spent with the future mother-in-law over the weddings color scheme alone (peach and French Cream BTW. The difference between French Cream and domestic cream? Got me).
The groom-to-be is/was an undeniably nice guy (well, I liked him anyway). However, it was hard to ignore these defining points:
He has been out of high school for nine years, yet still frequently wears his letterman jacket.
Attempted an extensive letter writing campaign to get himself a walk-on role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Ultimate career ambition: to own a horror movie themed wax museum/miniture golf course.
Four thousand dollars in unused dressed and lost deposits seems a small price to pay to dodge that bullet.
I myself am in no position to throw stones. I also was betrothed for the better part of a three months simply to avoid hurting somebody. I have to assume this isn’t a unique situation, and that some folks, feeling obligation, go through with it knowing it will be a train wreck.
Well, I was once invited to a co-worker’s wedding that was cancelled the night before, when the bride ended up in the psych ward. She’d been heading that way for a while, and it was VERY sad, because her fiance really loved her to pieces, but in the end it was just more than anyone should need to face.
I don’t know what her diagnosis was, but she had really become quite paranoid and out of touch with reality (she’d lost her father not long before, and I think that might have been the final straw).
What should have been the night of a very lavish and fun wedding was quite surreal, and I mean that literally; my boyfriend at the time (another former co-worker) and I ended up going to see a Dali film.
I broke up with someone I was engaged to on the night before my bridal shower (about a month before the wedding). I was getting a little worried about our relationship and when we talked about it, he said, “If it works out, it works out. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” That was all he needed to say to get the ring back.
Now that I’m happily married, I’m sooooooooo glad I didn’t chicken out and go through with the other marriage. I can’t even imagine what life would be like married to someone like that. I guess I had low expectations when I got engaged. Phew!
I’m divorced so maybe it would have better to bail, but then I wouldn’t have two wonderful kids. Even with this history I’ve always looked on those that said yes and then bailed out just before a big, complicated the wedding as pretty awful human beings, even if they find happiness elsewhere. It’s not so much the bride-groom thing, people can make and break engagements all day long * before* committments to dates and meetings get made and deposits get placed, or anytime if it’s just a justice of the peace and a dinner party with friends afterwards scenario.
It’s the whole notion gearing up for a huge wedding and putting the relatives on both sides through excruiating amounts of work and preparation and then bailing just at the last minute not because of any untoward behavior by either party, but simply because they got cold feet.
It’s just such a stringing along of everyones hopes and expectations and efforts. I just think it’s an awful, awful thing to do to other people beyond the bride and groom. I don’t think I could ever count on someone who I heard pulled stunt like this in right at the apex of a big wedding, and I would never give them a position of responsibility where I had to count on them for anything important.
Well, Astro, I am in the same boat as you (divorced kids’ father) and while I agree that I would not have them if I had bailed on the wedding, it has been an ongoing, dreadfully high price for me (and them) to pay. I’d much rather see one of my children bail than be in the miserable type of marriage I was.
I dunno, astro - unhappily ever after vs. messing up a party? Yeah, it’s a pain for the guests and family, but that’s still no reason to go into something that you know is a mistake, even if you don’t figure that out till late in the game.
I understand your logic and I’m not saying my prejudice against people that string things along to the last minute then flip is entirely fair or reasonable. It’s just my personal prejudice about people that wait until 59th minute of the 11th hour aspect that’s crazy making making. People should feel some responsibility toward others to make up their minds before huge invesments get made in the process by others.
I was at a wedding once, and we were all sitting in the aisles. The groom was in the front, the mothers were officially seated, and we waited and waited and waited… and waited. Finally, somebody came and talked to the mother of the bride. She got up and walked out. And we waited another 15 minutes or so, finally she walked back in, and music started in a couple of minutes.
We all stand up and watch the bridesmaids walk in. And the bride walks down this stair case. Here Comes the Bride is playing. She gets down to the bottom, and runs right back up.
All of us are now understanding the wait as more than just some serious dress problem. The mother runs back upstairs, and we wait another 20 minutes or so.
They finally went through with it. Apparantly she got a very SERIOUS case of cold feet. My mom talked to the MOTB, who said she had been crying about how she was wasting her life away, and didn’t want to get married.
Last I heard they are still married. I never knew them very well anyway. They were friends of my parents…
I was 4 months into a 12 month engagement to a Bi-polar trust fund baby. Anybody that says they could marry ANYONE for enough money evidently hasn’t gone through the motions.
I ended up marrying my College roomate’s longtime girlfriend. We’re all on speaking terms…I’ve known my wife for about 12 years now and it’s been bliss. I’da needed committing if I’d gone through with the first engagement.
An ex-friend of mine went through with her wedding because of the pressure from friends and family.
She even told her own mother that she didn’t think it was the right choice, but her mother had gone into debt (to the tune of $30 000) to have the ‘perfect wedding’ for her daughter and insisted that everyone gets cold feet and to just get it over and done with. It was all very much a ‘keeping up appearances’ thing.
Ex-friend left new husband after six months and ran off with another guy. In the six months of marriage, they’d managed to accumulate two new cars and a house, leaving a lot of debt for both newly non-weds to deal with above and beyond the $30,000 wedding debt.
Another friend in the same social circle called off her big wedding the week before. Everyone, especially the mother, was extremely happy she did this. Fiance had hit her for the second time, and as the mother said “I didn’t raise my daughter to be any man’s punching bag”
I was about to be married - invitations sent- rings purchased , flowers ordered, and I backed out 2 days before the wedding, on the advice of the best man. The groom and I eloped 1 week later. The best man was right. My first husband and I were married for 15 years , and he was a jerk. The best man and I have been married for 10 (definite non-jerk status)
I was never engaged to this guy, but we were on this trajectory, it seems. My best friend met his coworker the same night I met him, so we did couple-ish things with them. Their relationship was going well, and we went through the same motions. I swear we just stayed together out of inertia. People thought we worked so well together but we really were just coasting. I had no passion for him but I figured it would sort of work if we both wanted it to. No real reason to break up, so we just stayed together.
Luckily we did indeed break up. No one could believe it. We went out with our friends to tell them and when we said “we’ve got something to say” they thought we were going to announce our engagement! And our friends did get engaged a few months after that. I look back now and I freak that I was so reticent and willing to coast in a relationship that was less than I deserved. Ugh. And I am afraid two other friends of mine did this same thing. They got along, they were in their thirties, everyone else was getting married, so they did. I really don’t think they’re the best people for each other.
Another friend of mine cancelled his wedding with two weeks to spare. They had to send my gift back and everything.
I ditched out on a guy two months before my wedding. I had everything planned, and was taking the invites to the post office the next day. It’s one of the best things I ever did. (There was physical/mental abuse involved, and it didn’t resurface until the day before I left him.)
If I had gotten married, I’m sure by now I’d be dead or divorced. It was April of 1994, so it’d be almost 9 years of misery and pain that I’ve avoided. Thank Og!
The worst thing you could do in this case is marry someone with the knowledge that the marriage will not make you both happy.
The second worst thing you could to is commit to marrying someone without thinking it through and then have to break it off at the last minute after plans have been made and contracts have been signed. People who do this are not necessarily horrible, but they are in the wrong and should accept moral responsibility, IMHO.
The right thing to do is to have the guts to say either “No” or “Let me think some more about it” if someone asks you to marry them and you’re not sure it’s the right thing right now. If you do this, you are blameless.
Also, someone who commits to marrying someone who only reveals him/herself to be a bad person after the commitment is made is exempt from this schema, with the caveat that you should try to determine to the best of your ability whether the person who proposes to you is bad before you make the commitment.