Post # 1
A few years ago I moved away from my entire family for a change of pace. I met my fiance here and am incredibly happy living here independently from my family. He and I are both very private people.
We used to half-joke about eloping but recently he seems set on having a wedding. If we decide to do that I only want my mother, brother, and grandmother there. He only wants his father, sister, and mother plus her new husband. Both of our parents are divorced and will likely cause drama, which I don’t want to worry about or deal with on my wedding day. My mother also tends to take over everything and completely overcomplicate any plans or ideas I have. She’s already mailed me a box containing wedding scrapbook kits, magazines, etc. She’s begun planning bridal showers I don’t want for the next time I visit.
I would honestly prefer a destination elopement with maybe a small party once we return home. The main thing stopping me from being 100% on board with elopement: the fact that I’m the baby of the family and the only daughter among my siblings and immediate cousins. My mother would be heartbroken if I elope.
I’m worried the family disappointment will ruin my elopement. I’m also worried family drama and my overbearing mother will ruin even a very small wedding. I have no idea what to do and already all the worry us beginning to ruin what should be a special time. Sigh…
Post # 3
@Riesz: First of all I feel you. I wanted to elope (I think it’s super romantic) but both my FI and I are very close with our families so we decided they should be involved, then FI wanted his best friends too, so I invited mine… Then he started talking about others and I had to put my foot down and say no. Let me just say that starting a marriage with people mad at you is not the way to do it. Don’t do that to your Mom. But also understand that a small destination wedding/elopement with family will still cause a lot of the same issues a larger weddings. Whatever you choose be happy with it and don’t let others make you feel bad.
Post # 4
Would a small intimate destination be possible with those guests (sounds like 7 guests)? Where were you considering and would that exclude any of those people?
I would actually tell the parents straight up – look I am looking into an intimate wedding with our parents and a few extra people. However, I am really scared that you guys may create some drama for me. Please help me by avoiding all drama. If I feel things are getting too complicated, FI and I will consider an elopement.
Does that sound blackmailish? I don’t care – I think it needs to be laid out on the table!
The best way that I can think of to get your mom out of your hair is to not share any details with her or talk about the wedding. Perhaps she is going to ask, but you need to answer briefly and then change the subject on to her.
As for a shower – well showers can only have guests who are at the wedding. So by that rule, only your mom, grandma, FSIL, FMIL can attend! So let your mom know that etiquette rule and hopefully that will stop any shower planning.
Post # 5
We eloped. Frankly I was raised to believe that weddings are a PITA for most poeple so do everyone a favor and elope! My family had no issues with us. They even told me up front they would not be able to make it my immediate family only wedding (which is what we were planning prior to the elopement). I think dad’s attitude about weddings is really engrained in them!
Post # 6
@sienna76: I was considering that but don’t know if keeping the entire group together for 4-7 days in close quarters would be a very good option. It would have to be somewhere with enough activities and space for everyone to get out and do their own thing most of the time. My fiance suggested everyone go to a tropical resort so we don’t have to do a lot of decorating or planning and everyone gets a vacation out of it but I honestly don’t know if I want to be around my mother and everyone else for even that long. That probably sounds terrible but it’s just the truth.
I really just don’t want a big fuss in general. I don’t care about the planning, flowers, cakes, decorating, music, all the details. It just doesn’t interest me and since none of our family has offered to help cover any costs I’d rather just use our savings for a down payment on a home. I wouldn’t want a fancy party I don’t care about to set us back a year or more away from getting a home.
It’s just a difficult balancing act to keep my fiance happy, mother happy, and meet all the family’s expectations. I want the day to feel special but not overcomplicated and definitely not with any family or mother drama. I just can’t think of how to make all of it happen…
Post # 7
@sienna76: I’ve been considering just calling my mother up and informing her that I don’t want a big wedding, don’t want all the fuss and worry and headaches, and if she fights me on it just tell her we’re eloping instead. I don’t want her to get in the way of having our special day how WE want it, not how SHE wants it.
My main concern really is my fiance. He’s the eldest sibling and very traditional and feels the responsibility of upholding the family line, that sort of thing.
He said we’ll only ever have one wedding so he wants it to feel special, not necessarily big or fancy. Just a special day with the family.
I guess I’m a bit more realistic and perhaps a little more cynical than him but I don’t visualize it going down that simple. His parents have problems with each other, my parents have problems with each other, his sister is moody, my brother is odd, my mom is overbearing and opinionated, his family drinks, mine doesn’t, etc.
Post # 8
@Riesz: Well you do not HAVE to hang out with your guests as a DW for the entire duration. You just tell them the day before the wedding there is X activity and Y welcome dinner. The wedding is the next day and then you start your honeymoon that night. Just be upfront with expectations. Be prepared for not all of your 7 guests wanting to vacation where you chose however.
We eloped to Canada and the lodge took care of everything. Really, we just showed up with our outfits and shoes and that’s it. THey did the rest. H’s parents were our witnesses. We saw them for a total of 3 nights and 2 days, but then after the wedding dinner we said good bye and that was it. I really think that is the way to go personally.
If you don’t want to make them travel somewhere they don’t want to for a vacation, or feel guilty about not spending every day with them on vacation, what about just keeping it small and local?
Is everyone in the same general area? Have that small 7 guest wedding wherever is the closest (lovely park, church, etc), go to a nice restauarnt with them afterwards maybe get your own private room, then take off for your own honeymoon? That can be very special, low key, and intimate.
Post # 9
@sienna76: That sounds like a really great idea. I would love somewhere like the lodge, where I wouldn’t have to decorate or bother with planning the food, hire a dj, etc etc. I think a destination wedding could be fun if everyone has their own private time.
Realistically, my grandmother probably wouldn’t travel since she’s elderly, my brother just bought a house and is strapped on cash, and if one of FI’s parents comes the other probably won’t. It might be only my mother, one of FI’s parents, and possibly FI’s sister.
One other issue is that my immediate family lives in the USA, while my fiance’s is in Canada. Whether we decide to marry in USA, Canada, or elsewhere, someone is likely to have an issue with the extensive travel. That might narrow the guest list down even further as well.
Thanks for all the ideas! Getting all this out of my head and off my chest and reading some great advice and ideas really helps. I think for now I’ll plan on strongly considering the small wedding and if the guest list falls apart we can always go back to the elopement plan.
Post # 10
@Riesz: It is really hard to figure this out! I was there too. We changed our idea about a million times. Five different states, and three different countires – like fully researched and planned. Lordy!
So something else that we did, because we saved money on that Canadian elopement, we were able to go and fly to our wedding guests. We originally had a DW planned for Jackson Hole, WYand sent out STDs and everything. That was cancelled 4 months before the day.
After we eloped, we flew to many different states and visited our would be wedding guests. So far we’ve been to Oregon, Washingon, Indiana, California, Colorado. Our Massachusetts friends came to us for a vacation. We have left to visit Arizona (this fall) and Vermont.
You could have two celebration parties, but one wedding. Invite the close ones, and whoever cannot make it let them know you’ll be coming to them for a nice dinner or something like that.
Post # 11
@Riesz: My first wedding was very small, 35 people total. No dinner, just ceremony and cake. I never regretted it. It ended in divorce, but the actual wedding was lovely and I always felt like it would be a waste of money to spend more. This time we plan on justice of the peace-ing it. Because I just feel like there are so many other things I could do with that money, none of our family members could attend except maybe my mom and sister, and we don’t have a billion friends. I suppose after the actual ceremony we might have a small party at our house. I’m not even buying a white dress. My mother’s second wedding was in her livingroom, just the immediate family and we all went to the Olive Garden afterward. It was intimate and personal and we had a nice time.
Post # 12
How about a small wedding – maybe even a courthouse wedding in Canada, then a small party near your family a few weeks after the honeymoon? Then your Mom can plan away all she wants and you probably won’t care that much since you’ve already been through all the big stuff ;).