Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, March 16, 2009

When Planning a Wedding Is Really, Really Hard

I love getting e-mails from 2000dollarwedding kindred spirits. Sometimes people apologize for sending random messages, but honestly, there is no need to apologize! I love dwelling in possibility--as Emily Dickinson said--and opening my inbox to see messages from new people always makes me smile.

I wanted to share a recent e-mail with all of you because you may be facing a similar struggle. I know I can certainly relate to the sentiment she expresses. Here's what she had to say:
I am spending a lot of money on my wedding.....and it makes me want to vomit every time I think about it. I truly wish I wasn't so easily influenced by what is expected of me. Many times I want to fire my florist, diy my own flowers, cancel the over-priced venue and book a spot in the park and have a potluck and say screw it to the DJ, the etiquette..I am so fearful that either way I will have regrets. I will regret not having all the lovelies and regret the whispers behind my back that will say, "Oh, poor them, they must be so broke they had to make their own flowers and have a bbq." I am 32 and still easily influenced by EVERYONE. I raise my glass to you for being quite the individual and having the balls to show it!!
It continues to break my heart every time I hear about people who are going through heart- and gut-wrenching wedding planning processes. Planning a wedding can be so, so difficult.

A wedding is at the intersection of so many different influences. Family dynamics can be hard. Sometimes families have struggles with control or parents have their own regrets that they want to rectify through their children's choices or parents have their own insecurities and want to use their child's wedding to represent themselves well.

And then we have friends whom we want to value, love, and appreciate us. Sometimes their ideas about what a wedding should be conflict with our own and we feel the tension.

And then there's the Wedding Industrial Complex--the alliance of vendors, magazines, and other cultural entities--who are out to make as much money as they can and therefore capitalize on the emotional tumult of many brides-to-be. They tell us that we need to buy x, y, and z (and then a, b, and c) in order to ensure that our once-in-a-lifetime day is perfect.

And then there's the stress of planning such an important event, while still trying to maintain our responsibilities in Real Life. One partner may be more excited about planning, which creates disequilibrium in the relationship. Additionally, the stress of a seemingly endless to-do list can lead one to stop making time for other things that help ward off stress: date nights, exercise, cleaning up around the house, _____ (insert your own strategies for coping with stress...).

So, dear Reader, my heart goes out to you. I leave you with these quotes, which I just came across in one of my old journals:

"There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot."--Plato

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."--Plato

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries of life disappear and life stands explained."--Mark Twain

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Kaitlin Wainwright said...

Thank you Sara!!! I can feel the frustration of your reader on a number of levels. And I have to say, your blog is very good at bringing me back down to planet earth, and reminding myself what i can help and what i cannot.

Nicole said...

As everyone posts, your blog is amazing. It really does bring me back down when the stress gets to much. We have all of the above in our wedding planning and more than once I have begged my partner to just go to the courthouse with me. It's difficult, and I'm at a loss, but we keep pushing through.

Have a great week.

Marina said...

I totally sympathize with this reader--the days I'm most stressed are the ones where I spend a lot of time thinking about whether I might regret some of the things I'm doing.

Oddly enough, the days I'm least stressed are the ones where I know there will be some things I regret--and that that's okay. It doesn't have to be a perfect day, it almost definitely won't be, and I'll still be married afterwards. I'm trying to make that my mantra. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog for awhile, but this is my first post. Thanks so much for this entry--I just got engaged and am planning a November wedding (for this year, NOT 2010). While I thought I would really enjoy the process of wedding planning, I'm getting overwhelmed by all the family input and expectations. I'm just glad to know I'm not alone! Your blog is an inspiration!

rachelllynn said...

i too am having a difficult time planning my cheapo tamed wedding
for example, i found a cheap venue in a state park, but they do not allow booze, very frustrating because the price of this place is significantly lower than most of my options
do you know any places that aren't annoying in the houston to huntsville (tx)region?

thanks for your blog, i show it to people occasionally saying see i'm not crazy it is possible to have an inexpensive wedding

Anonymous said...

Such a grounding reminder, Sara! Thank you! Just today, as we went to check out hotels for our out-of-town guests, my fiance said 'i can't believe how swept up in the wedding industrial complex you've gotten'! (clearly, i am the one who enjoys/ is invested more in planning the wedding. i don't know how, exactly, but he's managed to stay pretty even keel - he says it's gendered). anyway, it's good to remember that we can control some of it, and some of it we have to let go, and that lots of people have lovely weddings for less than the national budget of a small country. thank you!

the un-bride said...

I am so thrilled with the Mark Twain quote -- thank yooooouu!!!

AmyJean {Relentless Bride®} said...

I love these words! :)

Sarah said...

My daughter is getting married next April and she and I, while thousands of miles and countries apart in distance, have been having a ball planning on the internet while her sweetheart was out of town for a few weeks. So I have had a fun discovering the world of wedding blogs. That said, this is really her and her intended's day/week/month/life and I am delighted to be included in the fun but the decisions are theirs.

I've been married for 26(27?-no, 26) years and a wedding doesn't have to be just one day. If after all is said and done on the first wedding day and you decide you want something else- have another party on an anniversary and do it that way.

We had a fairly traditional Catholic church wedding and a limited budget restaurant reception when we first married. And there was LOTS of mother(s)input and lots of mom and dad friends and colleagues. Then on our tenth anniversary, we gathered in the meadow backyard of friends and had our good friend officiate and sprinkle us with cedar oil as I held wildflowers our three children had just picked and then danced over to the homemade cake with a guitar playing behind us.

We got busy on our 20th and did nothing- but I think 30 might be a great year to do something different- kids and their sweethearts and --gulp-- grandkids-- if they exist on the beach somewhere.

The point is nothing is over in that one day--every day you are married to the love of your life is reason to celebrate.

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