- 5 years ago
- Wedding: June 2013
My fiance and I are having a difficult time planning our wedding. My folks are conservative and Catholic and very interested in having a large, more traditional wedidng. They are also footing the vast majority of the bill, for which we are very grateful. For the most part, they have been very gracious. The first major hurdle was that, because neither of us is religious, we’re having a secular ceremony officiated by a judge. We met with a Catholic priest out of a courtesy to my parents, but that option was just not right for us. As you can imagine, my family has substantial reservations about this decision, but they are tepidly supporting our upcoming marriage and still financially supporting the wedding. I already feel conflicted about that, but have decided to take my parents at their word that this is what they want to do.
Second, they are making demands on my fiance’s family regarding what they are expected to pay for. Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner and the drinks. My fiance’s family is not as well off as mine; they have offered to cover both of these aspects of the celebration, but want to have only beer and wine available at the bar. My parents have made it clear that they expect a full bar. (They also seem to pass judgment on my fiance’s family for not having thousands of dollars lying around to throw a huge wedding. This also makes me really uncomfortable, as my fiance’s family has only ever been welcoming and warm to me. A courtesy my folks have not extended to my fiance.) I feel ridiculous nickel-and-diming them about this (they are paying for practically everything else), so I was thinking of making up the difference between the wine-and-beer bar and full bar from our own pockets. But this also feels really cowardly and deceitful. Is there a better solution here?
Lastly, we went over the guest list the other day, and my father balked at the number of my gay friends and their plus-ones I have listed. My folks had first priority over whom they wanted to invite to the wedding (again, they are paying for it), and I carefully selected friends and work colleagues who would satisfy the number of people I was allotted. Turns out, some of my close friends are gay. My father ended up relenting when I reminded him that one of my gay friends’ partners gave my younger brother a summer job for the past three years. But now I can’t stop imagining the scoffing noises from my other family members if my childhood friend, for example, dances with her girlfriend during the reception. Which would be, you know, a completely normal and acceptable and expected thing to do, as this is a wedding. (I also have a problem with some casual racism in my family, mostly my dad and my grandmothers, and my fiance has black cousins. Do I say something to the cousins before everyone meets? To my family members?)
In sum, I want to be able to have a big wedding with my family and close friends, and I don’t want this to be a wedge between me and my parents for the rest of my life. My mother, in particular, has told the story, for years, about her best friend who eloped and killed–JUST KIILLED–her mother. What a selfish thing to do. But part of me thinks there are so many other parts of my life that my parents hate that not having a big wedding would be a drop in the bucket. I feel like walking away from this whole thing about once a week (the wedding, not the marriage), and instead just plan a smaller affair that my fiance and I can afford.
Does anyone have any similar experiences? Advice?