Post # 1
I am new to these message boards – I wasn’t quite sure where to turn and found this website and thought it might be a good anonymous way to get some sanity.
I have been with my SO for two years. We are both 24 and he is a lawyer (just graduated and starting) and I am in my last year of law school. We have lived together for one year, have a cat, and are starting to househunt (we are moving cities next spring). We have travelled extensively together and are both close with the other’s families. There is no doubt in my mind that we will get married (someday), and we are always talking very specifically about our future… with one exception – a wedding/ring.
We both think that large weddings are an enormous waste of money, and that expensive rings are ridiculous, but bashing the traditional wedding industry is pretty much the extent of our conversations.
I am a “non-traditional” girl by a lot of conventions. I am a competitive weightlifter (so is my SO), complete tomboy, never wear jewelry and usually am a non-celebratory person generally (never attended graduations, etc.). Also, my parents think weddings are ridiculous and got married at the courthouse years after having kids (and 15 years together) for the legal convenience of being married while travelling with kids. Neither of them would have a clue when their wedding actually was, and neither wear wedding/engagement rings.
BUT… I am not my mother’s daughter all the time. I have a girly side – I do my nails and keep my inconveniently waist long hair, and deep down I really want a ring and a wedding. Neither needs to be expensive or extravagant, but I definitely want them both. My very practical SO told me the other day that he planned on getting me a puppy instead of a ring, and would rather build our dream gym in our house than have a wedding. I have been waiting so patiently until we could move and get a house so I could get a dog (we both want a big dog and it can’t live in our condo) and we have sourced out and priced the gym – so it wasn’t a crazy thing to suggest. I just felt… deflated.
I know we will get married (at some point) – but how do I tell him that I really do want a wedding and a ring (in addition to the puppy!!) without sounding so…superficial. My mother tells me it is silly for me to want to have a ‘party’ (her word for a wedding) and told me just to buy myself a ring afterwards if I really want one . My father would have the identical sentiments. He is so rational he talked me out of celebrating my birthday as a child (what are you celebrating – the inevitable passage of time?). Yeah.
My parents and my SO are so utterly and completely rational and reasonable (traits I love and admire in many aspects of life), but they make me feel superficial for wanting what I do.
Any words of advice?
How do I convince a group of rationalists that a wedding isn’t superficial?
Post # 3
WHY do you suddenly want the ring and wedding? You said you don’t want to sound superficial but you never once explained why you truly want these things now. Do you feel like you will regret it? Miss out? Want to have the wedding experience? Want your family there? We would need to know that first.
Post # 4
@misswhereami: First, it’s not at all wrong for you to want to be married and to have a ring and a wedding, and you shouldn’t feel bad about wanting those things. If these things are important to you, then they should also be important to your boyfriend, because you are important to him.
I would simply tell him that, even though you still oppose outrageously expensive parties and super expensive rings, you’ve recently realized that you really do want a ring and a wedding ceremony to celebrate your love and commitment. Talk with him to see if you both are able to agree on a reasonable timetable and budget for these things, and then you both can plan accordingly.
Post # 5
@megz06: You are completely right – wanting a wedding/ring is out of character – which is the biggest reason I feel superficial wanting them. I think that it really does mean something to stand up in front of friends and family and make a promise and celebrate your relationship. While I agree that you should have a stable and solid relationship independently of others, I think that it is a beautiful and sentimental guesture to make that commitment publically. Graduations, etc. are all after the fact, when you’re already done. A wedding is something you do before you spend the rest of your life with someone. A promise to them. As for the ring – I honestly don’t have a good reason (other than the superficial). I haven’t taken out the stud earrings my SO got me for our first valentine’s day (the only jewelry I wear) and I just think a ring would be the same sort of sentiment. A representation and reminder of the commitment.
Post # 6
@misswhereami: What you just said was beautiful and that is what you tell your FI. You are right. You aren’t your mother, and if she isn’t paying for you wedding, big or small, then it doesn’t matter what she thinks. She will always think “rationally” no matter if you had a wedding or not, and she is going to love and support you no matter what (or at least she should).
What matters is what you and FI think, and I feel if you say that to him, he will come around to the idea 🙂
Post # 7
@misswhereami: I don’t think you need to convince your parents necessarily. If you’re paying for the wedding, I would simply keep your expectations fairly low (i.e. that they will attend, but not that you and mom will have the best day ever dress shopping), and plan it to the way you desire. I think your SO may need a bit of convincing, but you never know. Try not to blame your SO here (I know you’re not, but it could lead to it), because it sounds like you’re the one who changed their mind… he’s not a mind reader.
It sounds to me like you want to still be fairly practical, so I would get an idea of what kinda thing you want. Destination wedding? Small backyard BBQ? There are plenty of things you can DIY, and plenty of people have weddings on a budget. You’re not the same person as your parents, so don’t beat yourself up over it.
I personally think weddings are a waste of money.. for some people. I happen to be one of them. I do have a taste for rather expensive jewelry, though. We all like different things. There’s no right or wrong here. Of course you don’t NEED a wedding, but if you want one and can afford it, why the heck wouldn’t you have one? Most things in first world countries are superficial, realistically.
Post # 8
@misswhereami: I think you should just tell your SO what you just wrote! You think weddings are beautiful and sentimental gestures, and you want that! Honestly, I kind of feel like maybe with your parents situation, they didn’t really leave you room to have your own feelings about weddings etc. And that you’re probably feeling a little weird about their judgement, because it wasn’t something that was important to THEM. But guess what! It doesn’t have to be! Because it is important to you. And it’s important obviously to a lot of other people who get married and celebrate anniversaries etc every year.
Love is meant to be shared! It’s okay for you to feel a little traditional in this sense. And it really does make a lot of sense logistically to get married as well! Also..no offense..but your parents sound a little bit like buzzkills! Parties are AWESOME and FUN. It’s OKAY to have a little joy in your life! Why NOT spend money on a party celebrating your love and gathering all of the people you care about in one place to share it? There can be a middle ground between extravagent and absurd wedding and absolutely NOTHING.
Your parents and SO love you, and want you to be happy! I think in the end they will be supportive.
ETA: something being “superficial” shouldn’t really be a deterrent.. We could all survive wearing burlap sacks on our bodies, but we instead by different styled and priced clothes..We could live off of gruel, but we choose to have a gourmet meal every once in a while. Cut yourself some slack!
Post # 9
I agree with previous posters, tell your SO what you explained here about why those things are important. Compromise is part of the whole relationship process, so once he knows what is important to you, he should be willing to compromise on what he was expecting to give you some of what you want.
I’m the one in my relationship who thought weddings were stupid and a waste of money. My now-husband really wanted a wedding, even if it was small and simple. So, we did small and simple – about 40 people, just close friends and close family, in his parents’ back yard. We had a judge come to make it official, and we didn’t have a bridal party. He wanted a cake, so we got a cake, and we had a yummy BBQ dinner catered.
I came around because I realized that it was important to him to have that part of standing in front of your family and friends to make the committment, and having them there to celebrate with us.
We also compromised on the ring. I wanted a ring (and he was fine getting me one) but finances and practicality meant no diamond. I just didn’t want a ring that cost more than $1000, because that would be weird and make me nervous all of the time. I was leaning towards a blue sapphire, but the traditionalist in him wanted it to look like a traditional engagement ring, so we got a white sapphire.
Really, the key is just being brave enough to tell him what you want and why it is important to you. There will probably be many times in the future that you have to do that, so get some practice in it! Communication is always good. And honestly, you can still get a puppy!
Post # 10
@misswhereami: My FI didn’t (doesn’t?) really want a wedding, either. He didn’t even feel the need for the piece of paper – he holds that his word and his committment are what matter… His parents were VERY unconventional and never married.
I am an encore bride. Did it once and messed it up pretty darn quickly the first time around. I, too, struggled with understanding WHY I felt the need to be married – and then, WHY I felt the need to have a ceremony with others present.
And this is what I landed on. The people that will be with us on our day are the people who mean the most to each of us. They are the people who helped make us who we are. They are the people who have shared in our silliest and darkest moments, witnessed our greatest joys and triumphs, and who have held and comforted us in our greatest sorrows. I knew that if I took this step without those folks there to bear witness to one of the most significant days of my life, I would regret it – and I would never be able to get it back…
FI is doing all of the “pomp and circumstance” for me. I struggled mightily for many months trying to come to terms with the fact that the wedding itself just isn’t that important to him. But I chose to move forward, despite the fact that we weren’t both on the exact same page.
Fast forward a few months, and you know what I found the other day? In our browser history, I noticed that he had clicked on a Barter ad in our local Craigslist for a wedding photographer… And I knew, on some level, despite all of the protestations – this means something to him, too.
Rational tomboy or no, follow your heart in this instance…
Post # 11
Thank you guys for some very sound advice! I am going to sit down with the SO and tell him why a wedding is important to me. The support on these boards is awesome 🙂
Post # 12
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
@misswhereami: You’ve answered your own question quite eloquently. It’s okay to want some sort of ceremony and celebration to mark this big transition in your life. Talk to your partner, tell him what you’ve told us. He will listen.
Mr. LK could not have cared less about a wedding. Prior to getting engaged, he flat out told me that he didn’t see the point because, as far as he was concerned, he had already married me in his heart. A wedding was a piece of paper to him. BUT, in the very next sentence he told me that he was happy to have a wedding if it was what I really wanted and that he would love to be my husband. Obviously we did get engaged, and within 4 months of engagement he wanted to haul my butt to the courthouse and “do itright now because I just can’t wait to be married to you!” Not only did he get over his apathy, but he became genuinely excited about our upcoming marriage.
Also, I encourage you to slip over to A Practical Wedding. There are a lot of entries about wedding apathy, being an unconventional woman (and, by extension, an unconventional bride), and a lot of viewpoints that I think you may be able to identify with.
Post # 13
There’s nothing wrong with wanting some celebration to mark getting married. Weddings are pretty superficial but I wanted one because I LOVE a good party! That’s why I love weddings in general.
You just need to explain it to your SO like you did here. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a ring and a wedding. Maybe you and your close family/friends could do a DW somewhere. That way you get to travel and celebrate at the same time. I would have loved to get married in Vegas with our immediate family and best friends. Wouldn’t be nearly as expensive as our wedding at home!
I think you and your SO should decide what you two want to do for your wedding and then just inform your parents what you will be doing. They don’t really need to have any say in it or approve (unless they’re paying!).
If you’re not big on diamonds…get moissanite or another type of stone. There are many beautiful rings that aren’t ridiculously marked up.