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

Friday, June 12, 2009

Guest Column

I'm excited to share this guest column with you! Mandyrosy shares some of the frustrations and difficulties that come from collaborating with your fiance to plan a wedding. I hear you, sister; I really do.

Let me just preface this by noting that I love my fiancé very, very very much. We share many of the same life interests and goals. We've known each other for over eight years and worked hard to establish a good, caring, strong relationship.

We've been planning our September wedding for about six months now. Well, most of the time, really, we've been not planning our wedding. We've been planning our trail run and working on our work and finding a new place to live together and moving.

But the other day I decided it was time for us to start thinking about the ceremony. (Unfortunately, in our process it is my job to create a sort of wedding lesson plan and assign regular homework projects to my Dearly Beloved.) We'd thought about virtually every other aspect of the weekend, but not the actual marrying part. Of course, I had been reading around on the blogs, getting various ideas of interesting, not-too-weird, not-too-out-there things to try. I asked DB to look into it. Then I sent him a few links. Instead of noticing the sweet, loving touches of the wedding ceremonies I was trying to point out, he noticed creative beer receptacles and elements of the party.

So I tried suggesting some of the things I had liked. We went up to look at our ceremony site and talk over some ideas. I mentioned readings as a way to incorporate family and friends (we have a wedding party of two – the Maid of Honor and the Best Man) and said maybe we could have about four. He thought that was too many and insisted that most wedding guests would really prefer it if the wedding was as short as possible because they didn't really want to be there anyway. I wasn't so stuck on the numbers, but the idea that our guests would actually be hating every moment of the wedding really bothered me. I pointed out that all the friends/family I had invited probably wanted to see us get married, since that was what we were inviting them to do. He insisted that many guests – esp. all male guests – would basically just be counting down to the reception. Finally, he noted that anything creative I wanted to do with the ceremony was really "just for me" and "wouldn't mean anything" to our guests.

I may have exploded. To me, trying to involve my family and friends in the wedding is really important. I have a large family and friends who are traveling long distances to be there, and I love them all dearly. I also want to have a ceremony that illustrates who we are and shows people how much we love each other.

Unfortunately, planning this loving ceremony has brought out the less-than-lovely side of me.

I yelled, I cried. Finally, I gunned the engine of my pickup and fishtailed as we pulled out of the parking lot, all while angrily gesticulating and explaining.

Why, I asked, did he have to shoot down all of my ideas so negatively and immediately while putting forth none of his own?

Well, he saw it as his role to "reign me in," he replied.

Whoa there, cowboy. Poor choice of words.

"Reign me in? Reign me in? What ever gave you the idea I needed to be reigned in? What outlandish idea have I ever suggested?!" This sputtered by the very angry owner of a $20 vintage wedding dress, who is getting married in a state park with minimal decorations. Who will style her own hair and makeup. Who took their own engagement photos and DIYed their recycled-paper invites. Whose friends and family members are baking the cake, arranging the locally grown flowers and making his ring. Who is planning a BBQ instead of a rehearsal dinner and encouraging guests to camp instead of reserving a swanky hotel.

I never thought I needed reigning in. Somehow, though, DB has imagined that as his role and will occasionally squat like a wet blanket over all things wedding.

Despite his wonderfulness, he has often used the phrase "It's your day" to attempt to pawn off all planning responsibilities on me. But then, just when he's insisted he doesn't care and I should do whatever I want to do, he expresses an unbending opinion about some key aspect.

We have gone round and round with, "It's your wedding." "No, it's our wedding."

There are times when wedding planning is not fun. I think every intended bride and groom has the occasional wedding spat. If you're like DB and I, this might be the first big event you've ever planned together. In our latest (unheated) conversation about it, we concluded that we're both generally solo planners, the kind who don't work well in groups.

But we're getting there. After we'd cooled off, DB confessed that he'd never thought of the ceremony beyond us saying our vows to each other, and that alone is the most important part to him.

Today I had a flash of saying those vows and slipping the ring on his finger, promising to love him forever. And I didn't see anyone's face but his.

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Roxanne said...

I totally understand!! Especially at first, my Fiance and I had very very very different ideas of what we wanted. But over time, we've oompromised some, and he's grown accustomed to the fact that bucking tradition is not a bad thing.
It's hard to deal with the opinions of our significant other, I think because everyone has such a certain image of what they want theyre wedding to be like. Great post!

Sharpiegirl said...

DH did that to me too. Men.

Anonymous said...

OMG I just cried reading that last paragraph. This is a huge step, isn't it? I'm exactly a year out (today!) and people keep telling me, "If you can survive the planning of the wedding, you can survive the marriage itself." Starting to make sense. Thank you so much for sharing. ~kat

Julie said...

I don't think I would have the courage to direct my own groom-to-be toward it, but if you can get a guy friend to slip it in there, this article might hit home.


PS I am also exactly one year out (thanks for the reminder, Kat!) and we haven't planned anything other than it will be in our back yard. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Your wedding sounds just like mine!

And your fiance sounds quite a bit like mine too... I understand where you're coming from!

Great post :)

turtlebird said...

oh my lord, are you sure you weren't writing about my darling FH???? we've worked through the worst of it (i hope!), but dude, it was rough sailing for a bit there. thanks for sharing this!!

erinbethp said...

I definitely had my moments of feeling I was doing everything on my own and I was the only one who cared. I think all those ups and downs were the most important part of our planning process though. We learned a lot about eachother and how to work together, even though we both thought we already knew it all. There were times when we considered eloping, or not getting married at all (wondering, does marriage mean anything to us?) and I think we finally figured out what it all means to us and what we mean to eachother through the planning.
So I agree it is painful at the time, but soldier on because it will be worth it!

Ms Bear Cub said...

wow, thanks for posting this, sara! And thanks for writing it, Mandyrosy!
I hear you 100%. It's so difficult to plan such a momentous occasion. There are expectations from everyone, but obviously you own expectations (and those of your FH) are the most important.
I too REALLY hate it when my fiance claims he needs to "reign me in" (but in other words). Why does he think that's his job?!?!? I've been incredibly confused as to why those who have claimed they want to "help" with the planning process think that "helping" means "nay-saying". What's wrong with being supportive and re-assuring?

Anyways, I totally understand. And you fiance will, too. I've heard this happens on the wedding day :)

turtlebird said...

oh, and sara, i just wanted to let you know that i've given you a humble little award over at www.turtlebirdblog.blogspot.com :)

thanks for being so rad!!

Brenda said...

Page out of our book! Wow, I could have written that. My fiance also resisted anything "creative" with the ceremony, and got all awkward feeling anytime we talked about it. In the end, we had our Stand Up Comedian friend write and give the ceremony, and it worked out perfectly. It was enough of the traditional mixed with personal anecdotes, and I gotta say my Hubby had tears in his eyes throughout the whole thing.

Dinabear said...

Thank you so much for posting this!

Anonymous said...

ohmigosh, thank you SO MUCH for sharing. It's so comforting to hear from people who have had conflicting styles of going about wedding planning. My partner and I have very different styles and images, and I'm so glad to hear that we aren't the only ones!!!

the Lady said...

Oh jeez. This is why they say it takes a year to plan a wedding.

mandyrosy said...

Thanks for the kind comments, everybody. I'm glad Sara was willing to share so we all know that none of us are alone in this! Planning the wedding isn't always fun, but I'm convinced it's worth it for the married part. :)

Lili said...

You know, I sometimes think men are more susceptible to wedding stereotypes than women are. I found with my man that, when we actually got down to real details, he has opinions and cares about a lot of the decisions, even though when we started planning he said that this was "my day" so I should do whatever I wanted.

When we get past the stereotypes and discuss what is truly important, things go much more smoothly!

Marina said...

With barely a month to go, I feel like my guy and I have ironed out the worst of the wedding miscommunications, but we've certainly had our moments. But looking back on it, for every ridiculous thing he said or task he flaked out on, he did something equally sweet. For instance, he doesn't like rings and doesn't want to wear one, even a wedding ring, which has definitely been a source of unresolved conflict. But when we got the wedding rings a few weeks ago, he wore his the whole weekend. Made me feel all gooey looking at it. ;)

I do also recommend premarital counseling. Our officiant required it, and I think we'd be in a much worse place without it. It's great for both getting an outside opinion on stuff, and a very experienced opinion too, and also just as encouragement for us to talk about the stuff we know are issues but haven't gotten around to really working through yet.

Stacy Marie said...

Oh my goodness, thank you so so much for this post. I am about to lose it with my fiance because the ideas he keeps coming up with for the ceremony involve ninjas and vows that go like this: "Stacy (me) is hellaz (a slang word he uses to mean 'cool'). Stacy is a ballin' girl." Seriously? At first it was funny, but I'm starting to question how serious he is about the ceremony...the most important part. I feel much less alone now, thank you again!

Sophie said...

Just like many others said, I could have written this. In our case, what happened was the opposite of what usually happens. Usually, the girl wants something big and perfect that she has dreamed of since childhood, and the guy doesn't care or wants something simple. I am the down-to-earth one who wanted a $2000-$3000 wedding, he had ideas of "grandeur". He wanted a tux, a limo, a fancy cake (I want a piece-montee of baklavas), the whole shebang. We both earn 11$ an hour! When he was a teen, he went to his pastor's wedding and, according to his mom, "said he wanted one just like that". Unfortunately for him, I am an atheist and very frugal, so there is no way it could happen. Finally (but not without, I confess, a small amount of yelling and crying), I sold him my idea of a simple civil ceremony in the reception hall of a community center. He says that as long as we have a place to celebrate with our families and friends and that there is alcohol and food, he is happy.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I completely relate.
My DF is completely resistant to proactively contributing to the planning of our wedding. Whenever I ask him to do research - even something simple like - "go through our cd's and figure out what we should put on our iPod so we have the kind of music we like playing" - he's exasperated. He gives me the "whatever you want, dear", "it's your day" it's infuriating. I am not a bridezilla, I constantly try to bring up things that will "feel like us" and he's less than enthusiastic. Honestly at moments I think to myself - "we'll if you can't muster the energy to help me plan this wedding, then why are we getting married." but I recognize that a marriage is more than planning a wedding day. I think he still needs to get on board at perhaps it don't feel tangible to him yet. But you are not alone - and I completely agree - at the end of the day - he's the one that I'm married and he's not perfect - and neither am I - but we love each other - and that's all that matters.

Kate said...

I just read this today - months after it was publish - and the morning after an argument and boohoo session. We're about 5 weeks out and what had been fun is now just stressful. He's been happy to contribute creative ideas, but not so happy about actually implementing them.

This process has showcased the difference in our personalities - I'm a planner and he's very laid back. And it's driven us to really get annoyed with one another.

I will say this...sometimes owning the feelings and allowing yourself a good cry actually help.

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