Hi redheadem, I totally empathise with your feeling stressed out by problems caused by family members. Please remember that how you feel on your wedding day is the MOST important thing in all of this, NOT other peoples demands and wants and wishes.
I would advise eloping, BUT BY YOURSELVES, (trust me on this one – see below) or you will look back on your wedding day and remember how you felt – stressed, unhappy and pushed around to the point where you dont feel like the bride at all. And that memory of your wedding day will stay with you forever, you cant rewind and do it again, and it may also possibly damage the relationship between you and the family members who stressed you out.
My husband and I had planned a destination wedding in the year following my own mums death, to avoid the pain of her not being there at the church she and I went to all her life. We invited a small party, which included my Mother-In-Law, sister(initially MOH) and her husband, niece(bridesmaid) and her boyfriend. However, in the run up to the wedding, a lot of power plays ensued, sisters demands and tantrums over her dress, shoes etc, and Mother-In-Law demanding attention.
They flew out (after having missed their own flight) in foul form, bitched about the extra money they had to spend re-arranging a flight (it was somehow our fault that they missed the flight, despite having a wedding to organize we were apparently expected to be the travel agent, wake up alarm clock and holiday reps too….) and they all fought and gossiped behind our backs to the point where I was throwing up with the stress (and hidden anger) of having to run around being everyones seamtress, holiday rep and host. I was the bride, but in hindsight I was a total doormat. A huge row happened and there was no turning back…
We made the decision to abandon the wedding, it was a tough decision as we felt beholden to THEM to get married as they had spent the money on flights and accomodation. But my only memory of what should have been a joyous occasion, would have been one of total stress had we gone ahead. We informed them that due to the fighting, we were left with no choice but to postpone the wedding until further notice.
Myself and my husband got married at our dream destination BY OURSELVES the following Christmas. It was 100 times better than the alternative, but my memory is that it was a bit sad, and a bit of a salvage job. Our family relationships have suffered as a result and no apology has ever been offered, just excuses. I stiil wake up 2 years later bolt upright in bed at night thinking of what I SHOULD have done, and Im still hurt, angry and depressed about the whole thing.
So PLEASE, PLEASE – the only people you need to please, is yourselves. If there is any indication or hint of family dispute, do not invite them to a destination wedding, as every little gripe will be magnified 100-fold. Do it by yourselves, for yourselves.
I truly hope you have a wonderful day and most importantly can look back and remember your own wedding with happiness.
Sorry for length of reply – and this was the shortened version! Will post in another thread.