Why my wedding isn't about me, and it never was

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by Angelaelizabeth
Family Photo 2
Thanks to Matt and Jescia for uploading this adorable family photo to our Flickr pool.

I have not enjoyed the wedding process so far. Five months after the proposal, and we still haven't started planning properly.

Why have I been putting it off?

Because every time I come up with an idea, I get someone complaining how it is not suitable for them, always followed by "but it's your day you should do what YOU want."

But it is not my day, not a day about me. And it never has been.

For us, our wedding isn't a religious ceremony or tradition — there is no real significance to it. We recognize that we are choosing to do something because it is the social norm or what is expected of us. For us it is a celebration of our love, because we believe our love, like yours, is worth celebrating.

We are a social couple, and always have been. So when I had a tantrum and said that I just wanted to elope, and we had a look at what was important to us in a wedding…

…we realized that what was most important to us was our family and friends. That is why we want to have a wedding.

We want to include the people we love on a day that is "all about us." But we are choosing to include our families and friends, because that is what is important and that is why we are having a wedding.

Our wedding is not about us; it's about bringing our families together, it's about including the little things that are important to everyone — whether those things mean that much to me or not.

Although I now realise that I will need to be calm when my family tells me their opinions and lets me know what they want. At least I can think about why I'm doing this, and remember that I love them no matter how bad their ideas are.

My wedding isn't about me, and that is okay.

  1. Wow, this is a lovely perspective. I remember a wedding planner telling u that if a family member really wants x, and we don't, to let them plan it and do it for us, because it'll keep them off our backs about it, and it'll make them feel special and included and loved. But it still has an air of negativity to it. Turning it around, like you did, to say that you want what they want because whatever they want is what matters to you, is much more honorable. I hope that you are able to find some balance with this viewpoint, and not begrudge your family with the things you disagree on. Good luck!

  2. That's how I saw my wedding. It was a big party for all my family and friends and my number one priority (after successfully completing the getting married part) was for all of them to have a good time with me.

    Three years later and I regularly have people still telling me that my wedding was the most relaxed and best time that they've ever had at a wedding. So goal accomplished!

  3. I have been fighting this fight since we got engaged. It was really making me upset, my mother especially seemed to have something to say about EVERY decision that I made, forgetting that she had had a special day of her own 25 years before. Unlike you, however, I really wasn't okay with it, and really had to make the decision to stop sharing as much with her and to do what we wanted to do. Especially since she isn't paying for a whole lot of it 🙂

  4. I learned quickly that my opinions as the bride were not the most important. Sadly the wedding planning has not been fun. Our wedding will be extravagant and formal and very beautiful. Just not what I wanted. I've been told by my family over & over that my choices were "not elegant & not classy enough" who cares if it's my favorite flower & I even have it tattooed on me- my family is helping pay so they will just pick something better. It's really stressful. But I won't let it ruin our day, we're getting married!! This one day is about family, but my husband & I get to love each other for life! That's all that really matters.

  5. Love this perspective. I wish I had been able to more successfully incorporate family into our wedding, and ultimately reduce the numbers of those who attended. Trying to do everything everyone wants is not easy, but it gets easier when there are less people to please.

  6. This is the most true thing that I've seen in awhile. My mom is paying for most of the wedding, and as such, has made her opinions heavily known, said we could change it if we wanted, and then acted very offended when it turned out that we didn't like everything about what she had planned. It wouldn't be bad if she kept us in the loop, but I've gone to visit her on many occasions and learned more things about what was going to happen at my wedding, and found out that they're already paid for and she has a vision for them. It's frustrating, because I think a part of it is done out of love. Most of it just seems controlling and disrespectful to my fiancee, who actually cares what things look like.

  7. Half way through our planning, I got so stressed I said "let's just get married!" – So that's what we did!
    We eloped. Had a few very close friends to witness. Annd didn't tell anyone! – because it was for us. For us to celebrate our love and marriage together the way we wanted.
    Then we continued with our wedding plans – because it was for our family and friends! And after secretly getting married, I didn't care as much. As long as there was music and booze – I was totally easy, and let my family and friends completely take care of things the way they wanted. I just wanted to enjoy my massive party!

    • This is exactly what we did/are doing. Planning was overwhelming and started to feel contrived. We simultaneously yelled, "Lets elope!" So we're flying off to Mexico and having a party when we get back…graciously hosted by my mom…and I pretty much let her have full reign…well kind of… 😉

  8. Being impulsive probably helped me with dealing with my MIL while planning our wedding. My MIL disagreed with many of the decisions we made. Most of the time because she had never been to a wedding without a bridal party or with board game centrepieces or without favours or with an open bar (the one thing that was important to my family) or one that was casual as we wanted or one that was secular (something that was super important to us). My impulsiveness resulted in me telling her that we were doing things our way when she disagreed. Then normally my FIL had to step in and remind my MIL that every wedding is different. (We did do lots of things my in-laws wanted: we got married in their hometown, inside, not on the hottest day of the year, invited people who I had never heard of since she insisted that they were "close" family members, and sent out thank you notes in a timely fashion.) She finally came around when she saw our invitations (we shared the proofs with her): "Oh you are having a casual wedding." (Apparently other elements of the wedding, like the groom being in a suit or the buffet supper or the lack of bridal party, favours and flower centerpieces didn't make sense until she saw the invitations.)

  9. I am so impressed by your attitude and I agree with your outlook. Ideally a wedding is about the union of two families as well as the couple. Bravo to you and your fiance, you are giving your family such a beautiful gift. My favorite ceremonies I've officiated are the smaller more intimate ceremonies that include enhancements that include family and close friends, like a ring warming ceremony or handfastings where family and friends present each cord and bind the couples hands. Hang in there planning anything that includes more than 2 people is bound to have it's moments of stress. From experience I guarantee that on your wedding day you won't have any stress because at that moment all there will be left to do is be in your moment and have fun and be in love. Best Wishes and Congratulations to you and your fiance.

  10. I totally agree with the fact that family and friends are one of the most important–if not the most important- part of a wedding.
    However, in our case there were galaxies between their vision and ours. If we had let them have their way no part of the wedding would have been any way near to what we like. I always knew that I wanted to wear a black dress (and Hubby insisted on it) –naaaaa you can't do that, looks like funeral. We decided on black table cloths – naaaaa you can't do that, looks like funeral. I decided that I wanted fabric flowers – guess which color – and that I did not want to see any cut flowers anywhere near my wedding because they make me really, really sad – no flowers? then it's no wedding, and black? (guess what). Going by Harley to the civil registry office (a ride of about 5 minutes) – ohmygod way too dangerous. Wearing leather clothes at the civil registry office – oh my god you can't do that, who does that? A first dance was never an option – then it's no wedding. Hubby decided that he would not dance at all – then it's no wedding. The groom will wear normal clothes? – but then he doesn't match the bride. And so on.
    These were only the first 2 millimeters of the iceberg but I think you get the gist. So if we would have let them take over, the wedding would have been a very traumatic experience, not to mention that probably there wouldn't have been a wedding because my husband wouldn't have shown up. And since we paid for everything ourselves (except for a huge money gift in advance from my awesome dad who did absolutely not care on what we spent the money as long as it was wedding related) and our willingness to compromise is non-existent, we figured that we would show everybody what we thought an awesome party was and guess what: everybody – from my flower -loving mother to my dancing-obsessed Polish aunt + cousin and even Granny – who put the tag FUNERAL in bold and caps over everything that was related to our wedding – just loved it. Even though in advance nobody agreed with anything we had planned (except for the candy bar), they loved it as soon as they saw everything put together. I think that often it is just a problem of people not being able to fully get the vision of the bride and groom, since they obviously cannot look at the pictures which the couple has created in their minds and have preconceived notions based on their own imagination which mostly doesn't correspond to the one of the couple.
    Sure, the wedding is not only about bride and groom, but I personally strongly feel that you should at least feel comfortable at the party that is held because you are taking a major step in your life.
    I really hope that you can balance out your vision and those of your loved ones, so that you guys have an awesome celebration of love, family, life and all those wonderful things =)

    • Congrats on sticking to your vision. We also found that people couldn't see our vision because of their preconceived notions of what a wedding should be.

      I think the most important thing is that the people getting married be comfortable (that is why I vetoed a church/religious wedding). Next the wedding is about the couple and their love and their life (I only figured this out while planning our wedding – I was originally going to have a short low-key ceremony and a massive party for our guests but then I realized that our guests were there to see us get married so I put more effort than I originally planned into the ceremony – more importantly, we are not the type of people to throw massive parties so the original plan was not authentic to who we are). Then comes the family/guests, but I don't think that the ceremony or the reception should be dictated by what the family/guests expect. I do realize that this is complicated if people are paying for the wedding and they have expectations. (We were lucky that our parents gave us money without strings attached other than it was for the wedding and in my MIL's case that she be invited.) The way I see it is that you should consider the comfort of the guests and understand their expectations in that frame (e.g., the food situation and to some extent amenities' at the venue – washrooms, shelter, climate control, accessibility, location). You are inviting guests to your wedding to celebrate with you. You are honouring them by inviting them, not by having their wedding. Wearing a black dress, wearing leather to the civil registry office, having black fabric flowers and no dancing, or in my case having a secular ceremony, no wedding party, groom in a suit and board game centrepieces does not impede the guests comfort.

  11. What a great way to look at it. This web site is making me more and more relaxed about our wedding, by our I mean absolutely everyone!
    I was so stressed out when our mothers started having ideas. One claiming the cake and the food (a buffet) within half an hour of being told we were engaged, the other claimed the flowers. But I have come to the conclusion that the ceremony part is what I want to concentrate on and if they want to take the other bits off our shoulders then that just shows that they want to help.

  12. This is EXACTLY how I feel. My fiancee and I have been engaged for literally 1 week and the only reason we aren't getting married where he is currently stationed is because our families would kill us. The wedding is 100% for our families and that being the case I'm glad I read this before I went home and started planning a wedding MY way, because my version of a good idea and theirs are going to be two totally different things. Both of our parents are already having heart attacks over the decisions we have made, so now it'll be easier to let go a little bit and not stress over every little detail.

  13. I've been experiencing a similar, yet more negative aspect of this. My future MIL and FIL got married when they were 30, and her parents did not approve of her soon-to-be husband. She felt that she could make her own decisions as a 30 year old adult and everyone else could stick their opinions, so to speak, and so she didn't invite her parents to her wedding, a decision that SHE made that is now coming back to bite my fiance and myself. Because she didn't invite family to her wedding, she is now insisting we invite family on her side that we do not like, do not talk to, or have never met, just to appease her mother. It's hard to respect that she is trying to make up for what in her mind was a faux paux when it begins to tack on several unwanted guests.

  14. We are literally just getting married for my mother's family. It isn't important to us, but what is important to us (and to me, in particular) is that they recognize our relationship for the serious one that it is. Not that I'm opposed to marrying my love! I can't wait! But it makes it really tricky for us when planning the wedding, because we have very little money and would like a really casual wedding, but since the whole point is my mother's (Catholic) family, there are a lot of things it seems like we should be doing that we can't really afford to. I'm not sure how we're going to work it out.

  15. I love how positive the writer makes this perspective, and it would definitely be easier if I shared this perspective, but I truly dont. My parents starting being a pain since the first week of our engagement and acted as though they were blind sided with decisions I had very recently shared with them (including a specific location). I'm trying to make everything as low maintenance as possible, but it's kind of difficult when you have 3 wedding events (1 technical elopement because the state our family lives in has strict marriage application requirements, 1 wedding ceremony with close family and friends, and 1 big picnic with both of our very large families in attendance). Ultimately, I'm glad to share our celebration with the different groups of important people in my life, but I do wish that for once I got to think about me instead of everyone else. I've spent my entire life wanting to please others and be considerate and for once it'd be nice to to feel like I didn't have to for the event I have been looking forward to for years (I pretty much knew immediately that I wanted to marry my fiance).

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