We just spent Christmas vacation with his parents, and I'm not really fond of his dad. I don't think his dad and my dad would get along. Like to the point if his dad said some of the things he said around us in front of my dad, there might be yelling. (His dad is racist and sexist and I really can't stand it, but I don't think it's my place to correct him, so I at least try to ignore him or not encourage it.) I inevitably argue with my mom whenever I see her. I don't have that many close friends and even with my best friends, I'm not as close to them as they are to each other. I don't really talk to my brothers (not that there's anything bad between us). All of that leads to a not very social person, without the connections you seemed to have with everyone at your wedding. Everyone will be coming from out of state, so I want to make sure their trips are worth it.
So when I really picture our wedding, I think of having to avoid and ignore his dad, do everything I can not to fight with my mom while trying to be something I think I'm terrible at: a good party thrower and host. It makes me want to run away from all of it. (My boyfriend's the one who wants to have a wedding, not me.) It's not that the ideas we have aren't us, or me, or are things that make me feel uncomfortable, it's that I don't see any way to get the outcome (happiness, fun) I want for our wedding. It seems so simple, but in my mind I can't think of how to achieve it.
Yes, the underbelly of wedding planning. Too bad it's not all flowers, taffeta, and centerpieces!
I think one of the keys to making it through the tumult of wedding planning (and life, for that matter) is to draw a big, fat line between the things you can control and the things you can't. Once the line is drawn, you should focus only on the things that are on the Can-Control side of the line.
You can't control the relationship between your dad and your father-in-law. You can't control the type of person your mother is. You ultimately can't control whether people have fun at your wedding (you can do everything within your power to set up a fun environment, but you can't actually make them have fun).
It's very liberating to free yourself from being responsible for the things that are beyond your control. It also frees up a whole lot of energy to start thinking about the things you can control.
You might want to consider these questions:
- What can you do to strengthen the friendships you have? More frequent phone conversations can go a long way in terms of helping you reconnect.
- What can you do to make new friendships?
- What can you do to distance your problem relatives from you at the wedding? One idea is to select a B&B that is only big enough to accommodate your friends and then find alternate accommodations for family.
- What can you do ensure that you don't feel like a "party thrower and host" at your wedding, if those are roles you're not comfortable with? Although I love planning parties, I don't actually like being the center of attention. (This post talks more about not wanting to be the center of attention at your own wedding.)
- What can you do to prevent drama at your wedding? First, talk to your dad to prepare him for potential interactions with your father-in-law. Take the opportunity to express to your dad how important it is that the situation doesn't devolve into yelling or anger. Also, consider minimizing your interaction with your mom. If that won't work, make a personal resolution to let the things she says or does roll off your back. Again, you can't control your mom, but you can absolutely control your reaction to your mom.
- Are you going to be ready to let it all go once your wedding day arrives? There's a lot that you can control about the wedding planning process, but once the actual day arrives, you have to let it all go and immerse yourself in the moment.
Wishing you the very best...
(2000dollarwedding kindred spirits, please jump in and share your insight!)