The madness begins (wedding expectations)

On Tuesday night, my boyfriend proposed and I said yes–so he’s now my fiance. Which is very nice for us both. We’re very, very happy and looking forward to our lives together.

But we’re not going to have a wedding. SUPER not going to have a wedding. We are adults. I’m 28 and he’s 36. We have two housefuls of stuff. We are not religious. We have other ideas about things to spend money on. No wedding. We’re planning to, without warning anyone, get married at Town Hall and then go on a nice vacation. When we get back, we’ll give a party at my house (then to be our house), with no caterer and no gifts and no pressure for anyone to travel a long way to be there. And that’ll be that.

And things are getting silly already. His family is mostly cool–though they’re having a big family shindig in Cozumel next June and think it really would be nice if we’d get married there… sigh.

Meanwhile, my mother came on to Messenger this morning to tell me that her best friend was talking about a “destination wedding” in Key West or Hawaii or or or… . I reminded my mother that there would be no wedding, then asked her if her friend thought that we were going to pay for airline tickets, or if we were going to make everyone pay for their own. My mother abruptly signed off of Messenger and hasn’t come back on–meaning that she’s sulking hard.

Lord. We knew that we weren’t going to warn people about the date of the actual marriage… little did we know that we shouldn’t even have told them we’re engaged.

I would just keep repeating the no wedding thing, but let people do for you if they want to. Don’t be forced into anything you really don’t want to do or pay for, but attend gatherings, accept gifts, etc. as graciously as possible. The people who want to do for you are honored to do so and consider it a gift. Or just politely decline, I suppose.

I do understand the meaning you’re trying to convey, but to me, getting married without having any wedding is nearly a contradiction in terms. Whatever there is about the start of a marriage, even if it’s a sneaky trip to Town Hall, that’s a wedding.

But it could easily make things worse to say ‘it’ll be a very small and simple wedding, just the two of us at Town Hall’ instead of ‘there will be no wedding’ to your friends and family.


I’ve think that the wedding ceremony was not for the newly-marrieds, but for the audience: it says, “Yes, this change is real, it’s out front and above ground, it’s not just a passing whim, and it’s time to acknowledge it.” I think this is true for many ceremonies, actually.

But it doesn’t mean that it has to be expensive. Especially these days, affording a trip to a far-off wedding is a major barrier to a lot of people. Your plan for a nice house party sounds about right, actually. Are your people widely-scattered?

[sub]Bother. Another Hopeless Doper Crush extinguished by the harsh light of reality…[/sub]

I’m not sure exactly how I did this, but my husband and I managed to avoid those pressures with smiles on our faces. We got married a little over two years ago when I was 36 and he was 43, so we were in a somewhat similar boat. We were excited and wanted to have a big party and make everyone watch us get married. I seriously needed an excuse to wear a tiara. But we didn’t want a lot of the traditional wedding stuff and we didn’t want people feeling obligated to spend money and bring gifts.

We got the same pressure you are getting. Everyone in the family had ideas about how the wedding should be. When they offered suggestions I just said, “that’s a great idea, but you know what WE were thinking about doing…” Like you did, I also pleasantly replied to people with grand ideas that if they paid for it, their thousand dollar idea was TERRIFIC! They might have been a little irritated initially but it did get them to back off and let us do our thing.

My parents are very conservative “controlling” types who really think your children should ALWAYS be obedient no matter what their age. But in the end they were happy for us. For one thing when I explained that I wasn’t going to be a Bridezilla and micro-manage all the stupid details (“Oh my god, they brought the nut cups out at the wrong time and it ruined my wedding and my life!”) other people relaxed as well. I hope your family does the same.

We also did a thing or two to keep people happy, I admit. But it was only in areas we didn’t care about that much, and things that were inexpensive concessions. I got married in a red dress ($112) and yes, I got to wear my tiara. Our family and friends came and we had a big party and everyone was happy. I really hope things work out for you so that you don’t have family angry over stupid stuff. I never understand why people get worked up when you decide to do things the EASY way. If you’re not demanding that people pay big money for ugly clothing, bring expensive gifts, and sit through boring ceremonies shouldn’t they be happy?

I agree that there’s something nice about being open about having gotten married. That’s what the party would be for… (also because I love to give parties). I was thinking we’d display a copy of the marriage license or something. I just so don’t want people hovering around me on the day of the actual marriage. And I want to plan and execute the party by my own self. I’m good at it.

The relatives are all within four hours’ drive, except my parents, who chose to move farther away and now have a ten-hour drive. I do have friends all over the country, now, but I’ve never travelled to see their weddings and I certainly don’t expect them to travel to see mine. I am thinking of sending party invitations to family and local friends, and announcements to everyone else. I mean… just being invited to a wedding across the country sends me into a confused tailspin. I don’t want to make anyone else worry the way I’ve worried. I mean… Seinfeld was right. “Nobody wants to go to your wedding”.

One of my best girlfriends just got married at the courthouse this week…a 2nd marriage for both of them…

And it was just the couple, her dad and brother, and me.

I’m a photographer, so I couldn’t resist taking pictures, but it was the quickest easiest wedding ever. She wore a nice white suit and carried a small bouquet.

Her mother is throwing a party for them on Saturday at her house, with all their friends and family invited.

My gift to them is going to be a series of candid pictures I took that day, framed photo-booth style, with the date and “congratulations!” written on the mat.

A suitably casual and fun gift for a casual and fun wedding.

I applaud your idea of a low-key “non-wedding” like my friend had, Sattua, but just FYI you will probably get gifts anyway, even though you don’t want/need them. Which means you may have to write thank-you notes for gifts you didn’t ask for.

But hey…a party’s a party! Congratulations to both of you.

I wish you both much happiness!

WHen my boyfriend and I decided to get married, our families started iwth all the pressure and craziness.

We just went and got married. Didn’t tell anyone about it ahead of time. We didn’t exactly elope, since we didn’t go anywhere. We just had a ceremony that consisted of him, me, and the officient.

Our families were a little upset at the time, but they got over it. It’s been 12 years now, and we’re still going strong.

We went to Hawaii and did it there.

My MIL had a party for us when we got back, but she did it entirely on her own. She asked for a guest list and we gave her a small list of who we wanted to be there. We asked her to put on the invite that gifts were not expected.

I had 2 showers, one by my family at my mom’s house and one by his family at my MIL’s house. The reason for the two was distance more than anything else.

I will suggest that even if you are not asking for gifts, you do register. People will be buying you things, so at least you can get something you want/need as opposed to something you will never use or is not your taste. We also combined two separate households, so we went for items that we both wanted.

My MIL was not real happy with our decision, my mom was better with it than I expected. We splurged for a pro photographer and videographer so we could bring home good pics, etc.

I bought a Nicole Miller bridesmaid gown in Ivory instead of going all out on a dress, DH bought a new charcoal suit with an ivory shirt and a solid color gold tie. All in all, the attire cost less than $1000.

You’d think so, but that would be what you get for thinking.

Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that some people just automatically associate weddings with huge hassles and drama, and by Og there’s going to be huge hassles and drama even if they have to manufacture it their own selves. And somehow, the less hassle and drama you want associated with your wedding, the more of those people you will find among your family and friends.

When DoctorJ and got married, our families lived on opposite ends of Kentucky, about 6 hours apart. We had moved to central North Carolina, about 10 hours away. We said to hell with it and got married in New Orleans, since it was about the same distance for the families as coming to Greensboro and would make for an infinitely more interesting trip. We told everybody that if it was too expensive or they couldn’t take the time off work or didn’t like Cajun food or whatever that we understood perfectly and to please not think anything at all of staying home.

This was a problem.

We didn’t want to have attendants because we didn’t want people to feel obligated to come, much less to spend a bunch of money on clothes and throwing us parties and shit. Also, we didn’t want the drama of why we asked this one and that one but not the other one.

This was a problem.

We told people who did choose to come to wear whatever they felt like wearing, that they could wear cutoffs and flip flops with a diamond tiara for all we cared.

This was a problem.

By the time the wedding actually rolled around, I really felt that if I heard one more complaint out of anybody about anything, I was going to climb a clock tower with a rifle. Granted, we don’t own a rifle, I don’t know how to use a rifle even if I did have one, and there are to my knowledge no clock towers in Greensboro, but I wasn’t about to let piddling little details like that get in my way.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that all these people mean well. Bless their pea-picking little hearts, they’re honestly trying to help. They want your wedding to be nice for you, and unfortunately they tend to have trouble remembering that your idea of nice isn’t the same as theirs.

My first wedding, knowing my mother I sent her and my dad the invitation the wednesday before the saturday wedding. They got it first thing in the morning thursday. They were down in virginia [from rochester ny] that evening.

Mom proceeded to try to force me into a church wedding, so she was informed that the housewarming party for the division off the boat [nukes and a-gang, with a few coners] was in the new apartment, and we already had the bbq stuff and booze. so somehow she managed to arrange a wedding cake. Since she couldnt influence anything else, she and dad took us and our best man and best woman to dinner thursday night.

Second wedding, we didnt bother telling anybody - we got the license, and hit up the local justice of the peace, and sent out emails. Next visit to moms there was a wedding reception. :dubious:


Hmm. You know… I sometimes credit my extended spinsterhood (bwa ha ha ha ha… no really, I was the old maid of the family) to a subconscious feeling that I didn’t really deserve to be loved and married. When I got over that, I found my fiancee in less than six months. So am I now feeling that I don’t really deserve a wedding, or am I just being sensible and sane?

Lord… somebody might give me a bridal shower? I hadn’t thought of that. People might give us gifts? I hadn’t really thought of that, either. I mean… we’re adults. We’ve got dishes and stuff. We don’t need anything. This is starting to feel like a lot of attention.

One thing I do love is stationery, though. Writing thank-you notes would be no problem.

Um… so Christmas cards this year… should we send out one card, from both of us? Even though we won’t be married yet?

Is there any reason why you’re not marching down to the town hall today to get married? If you’re not planning a wedding, why wait? Get married right away. That will put the kibosh on any wedding plans. The worst that will happen is that someone may want to throw you a party after the fact.

His divorce was final at the beginning of June. We met at the end of June. We mostly want to give it time so that nobody feels tempted to say “rebound”. His family is still sort of getting used to the idea that his ex is now his ex, I think (they were married 14 years). Plus, marry in haste, repent at leisure.

Even though the wedding and marriage is for the couple, you can’t completely disregard family, either. Family are happy for you, and they want to show you their love and support. Decide what you and your fiance want to do, make this excruciatingly clear to both your families that it’s a fait accompli, not open for discussion, but allow them to do a little for you too (like others have said, you can request no gifts at the family party, but register to allow people to get what you would like to receive). You can pretty much expect gifts from family, no matter what you say.

Congrats. I don’t know the answer to this question.

But I will tell you that when my brother in law told us he intended to elope, we talked him out of it. We explained to him that his immediate family (mostly his mother) would be really hurt if he went through this important event and cut them out. That they wouldn’t blame him, but would blame his wife to be. That weddings are usually important to far more than just the people getting married.

He got married in a park. There were ten guests. Immediate family and one set of close friends. Which is how we got married (we were in a courthouse, not a park). Weddings don’t need to be huge boondogles - and if the pressure you are getting is for a boondogle, resist it - boondogles are not necessary to a happy marriage. But if you are creating a feeling among the people you love that you don’t care about them enough to let them participate in your wedding, I’d revisit that one - the support of your family and friends is important to a happy marriage.

My wife and I were in a similar situation (we got married in August) and I wish I had some good advice for you, but I don’t. We caved and had a wedding. Sort of. What we did was acutally worse, we had a wedding that was closed to everyone but our parents, then had a very small reception afterwards. After a year of being told that we HAD to have a wedding even though we didn’t want to, we decided that this was a compromise we could live with. We thought that this would keep everyone more or less happy, and we couldn’t have been more wrong. :smack:

People were upset that they couldn’t come to the ceremony, people were upset that the reception wasn’t more lavish, people were upset that we would expect them to come to a reception when they weren’t allowed to come to the ceremony…people were upset all over. If I had to do it over again, I would still have the ceremony. I am glad we did that. We got married barefoot on the beach and it was really beautiful. But I would have scrapped everything else.

So I guess I do have advice after all. DON’T COMPROMISE! Stick to your guns no matter what.

Good luck, and congradulations!

Congratulations and GOOD LUCK!!

I was 32 and Hubby was 34 when we got married. We had no children, and it was both of our first marriages(and hopefully last).

I also wanted to keep it VERY low key. And we also had two households of stuff. I didn’t need another toaster, or set of dishes etc., we already had two of everything!

So, enter the families. My ideas of a very small, just parents and siblings wedding was shot down immediately. So I agreed to a medium size(200 people) informal wedding.
It actually turned out rather nice. But it was a lot of work. And guess who did it all? And I mean ALL. I designed and made the invitations and sent them all out, made the flowers myself, and made about 90% of the arrangements myself. Hubby got the beer and soda…because he worked as a beer truck driver at the time. I even finished decorating the hall in my wedding dress alone, a few hours before the ceremony, and then with help from a few friends and family cleaned up the hall and put chairs away, after the wedding…also in my dress.

I even had to deal with a few nasty comments from people, especially my future step-MIL. She didn’t like our music(Peanuts theme stuff), she was upset that we didn’t have wine at the reception, so ran out to buy a box. hahah. No one drank it but her. She even insisted I have a bridal shower, and held it, after I told everyone I didn’t want one! And so on.

All in all the day ended up being very lovely, and I am glad I did it. At the time, my main reason for not wanting a big wedding like that, was that I hated being the center of attention. It wasn’t all that bad.
And as far as costs. I am super frugal to the point of absurdness, and did the whole wedding with my dress, hubby’s suit, food and drinks for 200, a hall, a cake, some family provided polka music, etc., for just over $1000. I think I should write a how to book!

I see. Sorry, but my experience says “rebound” is a good possibility. A long engagement might be a good thing. People will get tired of asking about your wedding plans if you keep saying that you have none.