Not Loving Your Wedding


I just got this thought provoking email, and I wanted to throw it out to you all to discuss. Because I know for a FACT there are some of you that didn’t adore your wedding (I get a lot of emails), and worse, I know you are eating yourself up with guilt about it. Unnecessary guilt, in my opinion. So lets chat.

Isn’t there anyone else who didn’t love their wedding?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m uber happy that we are married. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in my life, and I am so glad we made this commitment. But the wedding? Eh, it was a fun party. I would have been happier if it were just the two of us on a tropical beach with a justice of the peace. We could have thrown a hell of a party when we got home without all the stress. And it would have been cheaper too.

The thing is, I feel like it is shameful to feel that way. I feel like I cannot tell anyone, and that there is no way anyone else would understand. Because there is such a huge community of people who love weddings and loved their wedding, but no-one who says out loud, like I wish I could with out people looking at me like I am a monster, “The wedding was pretty fun. I’m glad it’s over and we can get on with the business of being married.”

Let me just put a few things out there: Personally, I’m mixed. I did love our wedding, and rather shockingly, it did change my life. But, the bottom line is, I like being married a lot more (and that is excellent news). Finally, planning our wedding was stressful, and expensive. In the end I think we lucked out, and came out as winners in that ratio of stress to joy, but it was close.

Secondly, I think there is a huge amount of pressure as women to feel the right thing, and to SAY that we’re feeling the right thing. Like parenting. We all know all the things were supposed to say, and we know what happens when you don’t say them. And it’s not pretty. I feel the pressure. I say things about marriage, pretty publicly, that are off script. And I get some horrible horrible emails and comments. Comments that make me burst into tears in the middle of a restaurant horrible. That’s the price you pay when you say the off-script stuff. But the truth is freeing.

So go for it ladies. Anyone willing to admit that their were things about their wedding that they didn’t like? That if they did it over, they’d go to the courthouse? Go for it. The comments are yours, you brave awesome ladies, take it away.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14865393664244155193 MsLaurie

    I have mixed feelings about our wedding. It was a great party, and seeing my grandmothers in particular so excited was fantastic. Also my now father in law didn't stop grinning all day, which was great as usually he's pretty reserved.

    But now husband and I were fighting A LOT in the lead up to the wedding, and I was having a lot of second thoughts, and as such was tired and stressed out in a way I didn't want to be at my wedding. I wish I could do-over with a happy heart knowing it would work out (a year later, it seems to have worked out okay!). Also, the money. Egads the money. We were lucky that both families pitched in for the majority, but gee, a six-month holiday could have been bought instead!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09945813943336222370 Luis

    Oh pshaw, don't let imaginary internet people make you cry! Just pretend we're all a figment of your imagination! I love that you speak your mind, it's part of the reason I love your blog. I speak my mind often, and I go way off script on a lot of things in life. I'm drawn to genuine people, people who I don't always agree with, but I respect because they are true to themselves.

    It takes courage, and I am always surprised at how upset some people get when you post something about children or marriage that is YOUR opinion, on YOUR blog. It's the way you feel, yet they feel the urge to defend THEIR life. Keep up the good work Meg!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you.

    I didn't like our wedding. And when I mean didn't like, I mean didn't like. I wanted the court house wedding but was over ruled by many, including my husband. And I got stuck planning this wedding for 100 people and I hated it, the planning, the big party, the everything. I just wanted to be married.

    I don't think you're alone. I may have a stronger reaction then most, but I think we just ultimately don't talk about it.

  • http://accordionsandlace.wordpress.com/ accordionsandlace

    Good post. There was a lot I loved about our wedding (most importantly the emotional transition stuff, and the being surrounded by people we love who had travelled from far and wide stuff), but I also hated planning it, and found the actual day equal parts joyful and stressful, so I never know how I feel about this. I wrote a post a while back wondering if it was all worth it–did all the good of that day make all the stress of that year worth it? I still don't know the answer. I kind of think it could not POSSIBLY be worth it, but then, if I think about doing it again, I still think we would have had the wedding–the people were just too important to us.

    All that to say, it's certainly more complex than this fairy tale day full of joy. And I think it's super important to vocalize these thoughts. I don't regret our wedding but I do have really conflicted feelings about it and ultimately, all that centre of attention stuff and the performativity of being a bride definitely did get to me. I was not on a cloud, I had my feet firmly planted on the ground, constantly thinking, "have I talked to that person enough? Am I allowed to have another drink? Do I have to keep dancing even though I'm kind of tired? Whenever I dance with my new husband everyone watches, and that's weird…" Etc.

    I guess I have wildly fluctuating emotions about the whole thing, and I think I can boil it down to: I am happy we did it, but I'm also happy it's done.

  • Anonymous

    ugh, ok, this isn't exaclty what's being asked–because I haven't had my wedding yet.

    But I find myself really not wanting a wedding-wedding. I'm detail-oriented. I'm creative. I'm not shy. I could plan tens of weddings and have fun doing it. I have designed others' wedding stationary and planned their showers and folded their napkins and crafted their favors. And it was all fun. But I just don't really want one.

    But I'm definitely being over-ruled by everyone–fi, parents, in-laws, friends. It's nice to know the sentiment exists, and that I may not be alone. Though I'm not sure that makes it any better (yes, please excuse the self pity).

    I guess ultimately, it would be nice if the anticipated wedding-day joy were not interpreted as some measurement of the success of your impending marriage.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09911176317513671623 Alice

    Caveat: I'm not married yet. That happens in May.

    First, Meg, we love you because you speak your mind. That's why we're here, so that we don't feel alone in our off-centre views on all these things. I'm sorry people are horrible, and I hope they all get bitten by squirrels. But you rock, and we are all grateful.

    Second, I've had two other big events that I didn't like, that I *should* have; my 21st birthday and my 30th birthday. Both big parties, and both left me with massive regrets. Not because anything really bad happened, but because, in an effort to share those occassions with as many people as possible, I ended up sharing them with no-one. I made the same mistake twice, and it has utterly shaped the way I have approached our wedding. We haven't gone to far as to elope (if we were going to do that we would have done so years ago, not 10 years in), but we are having as small a wedding as possible. At the moment the guest list stands at 75. I was originally aiming for 60, but I don't think we can get that small.

    I can't possibly say now whether I will actually enjoy the day. It will depend on so many things, including whether I'm happy with my weight, whether I actually manage to let go and delegate properly, whether we manage to avoid upsetting my parents etc etc. But I've tried to learn my lessons, and take the advice you and other wise Team Practical girls impart. And that gives me the best possible chance, I think.
    Fingers crossed. : )

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14883810777045952246 Karuna

    I appreciate this post a lot. I am in the wedding planning mode and am feeling mixed already. My Hubbs and I are having a "paper wedding " in 2 weeks for insurance and other reasons and then having a community wedding with our 50 closest in the fall. I am secretly afraid I am going to like the small night at our favorite bar with 5 of our friends saying sweet things over potato chips and good beer more than our summer camp wedding with our parents and siblings. I feel encouraged when I hear women speak candidly about ALL facets of the wedding emotions and the wedded life emotions. It makes me feel less alone out here. I am glad to hear you are having more fun being married than you did on "the big day". Because if planning and exicuting this day is the pinnicle of my womanhood I want to quit now. Thanks ladies for keeping it real and helping me stay sane.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00296286661854197887 Fatale Femme

    I'm so glad you mentioned this! Society has programmed us to focus so much on the party, and not on the marriage so it's WRONG for you not to care, for it to stress you out, for it to derail and detract from what it is you're trying to do. There are many things I would have done over, complete disappointments, family drama, and unseen difficulties in the whole process that in some ways ruined "THE WEDDING" for me.

  • Anonymous

    This is one of the best questions ever.

    Contrary to feeling ashamed to admit you didn't like your wedding, I think you've done a public service. For brides who don't really want a major event, this may give them a little more confidence to say "No".

    People are so different. Some people love large parties and some don't. I'm one of the latter. I love dinner parties and loathe cocktail parties. In fact, the only large events I have good memories of, are the ones where I found myself part of a smaller group in the midst of the big party.

    The largest wedding I ever went to was also the most fun, but it was because I sat at a table with people who were having an insane time with each other. I still think of it. Maybe that's the secret to large events?

    Also Acordians and Lace summed up my feelings perfectly – wondering if you can take a rest from dancing when you're the center of attention. There are so many "shoulds" that can crowd the "fun" right out of your mind.

    I'm sure a lot of this comes down to one's own disposition as well as the people attending. I guess if you are feeling excited during the planning, chances are you'll love your wedding. But if you are feeling anxiety over too many things, it might mean your heart isn't in it.

  • Anonymous

    Oh one more thing – some of us need very relaxed events in order to have fun.

    We know a couple who gives parties on a constant basis. The guy even entertained right after foot surgery. (I think they're nuts.)

    However, as much as I see how animated they get at parties, I've also noticed that when we invite them over for a simple quiet dinner, they always seem to be so relaxed and happy. Every time an impromptu small dinner happens with great conversation, they always seem so surprised at how much fun they had.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16749548026748923770 lingismyname

    I'm not sure yet because we haven't really had a "wedding" per se… we got married at the County Clerk's office with two good friends as witnesses and saving the "wedding" for later this year. Half of our friends don't even know we're married! hah! We want to love our wedding so we've decided to just throw a party with none of the wedding-esque things because I think that's the only way we'll be able to enjoy the day. I think it's fair that some not love their wedding because of the drawn-out planning process people usually go through, along with the many opinions that get forced onto the couple during that process. How could anyone enjoy a day when there's so much stress/pressure leading up to it?

    With the "not loving your wedding" thing, I think a good comparison could be to Christmas with the family: lots of stress planning who's going where, what date, buying presents, prepping food/the house etc and while we enjoy the end result of having everyone together, we're ultimately happy when it's over, n'est-ce pas?

  • Anonymous

    My fiance and I are both SO freaked that we will not love our wedding because we have somehow found ourselves planning a far-too fancy (expensive) party, when all we really wanted was to be barefoot in the park. Not sure how we got to where we are, except competition for venues, weather, size, price restrictions, just the fact that catering to and feeding a lot of people has some inherent cost associated.

    We are trying to take a step back, relax, find the zen and just embrace and enjoy the planning and I know we'll need to do that the day of too. And it will be amazing to share the day with those we love, however it turns out. Deep breathes and fingers crossed…

  • Beck

    Great post Meg. I believed the hype and waited all day to transcend into a 'bride', but guess what? It was still me in a big white dress stressing about whether everybody was enjoying themselves. The torrential rain didn't help, as only a brave few pitched their tents and our mini-festival vibe didn't quite come off (unless you like muddy Glastonbury). I found it difficult to relax on my 18th, 21st, and 30th birthdays too: I think I like throwing parties, but I'm not so keen on being the centre of attention. I was much happier when ditched the wedding dress and blended into the crowd on the dancefloor. So many of our friends have since said it was the best wedding they've been to, and don't get me wrong, we had a blast, but that other-worldly-angels-singing-in-the-heavens quality I'd for some reason expected (I blame the movies) didn't happen (e.g. when walking down the aisle). I never felt like a bride, but on reflection I'm not sure I ever wanted to, or if I even knew what it meant. I'm just chuffed that we all had a big party and at the end of it I was married to my best mate. Job done.

    • Rachel

      I’m just chuffed that we all had a big party and at the end of it I was married to my best mate. Job done.

      THIS!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06718231737900283009 Amber

    Part of me hated our wedding and part of me loved it. I feel like I got caught up in too much of the wedding craziness. How I got lost in the details is beyond me. I started out so worried about the party and ended up so happy about the ceremony that the party didn't really matter at all.

    If I were to do it over again, I'd cut out a lot of the crap and just have a bbq or potluck. We kind of figured this out most of the way through planning and vowed to have a vow renewal in 5 or 10 years. It's more about the community and the commitment than anything else, including all the details I slaved over.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02161595493653354044 Engineer Baker

    Oh thank goodness. As wedding planning progresses, I keep wanting to cut things out of the wedding, make it simpler, more streamlined. Invite fewer people. In the end, it'd be a hell of a lot more fun just to meet up with our closest friends and go hike up a mountain and get married when we get to the top. Instead, Catholic Mass wedding with full-on reception (but with barbecue! BARBECUE!!!). It'll be fun, but way more than I think I'd do if other people's expectations didn't get in the way.

    And at the risk of offending mothers, this reminds me of a friend who, a month after giving birth, mentioned that babies are BORING. The only reason why anyone is so excited when they smile or coo or whatever is that 99% of the time they don't do anything but eat, sleep, and make you change their diapers. It's not all sweetness and light, so don't go in with heightened expectations of angels singing. In either case.

  • Anonymous

    What a relief! Thanks Meg for commenting on this. While we're not married yet and I do look forward to being married, all the planning has me so exhausted. I do want a fun party with the family, but in the end, I would be much happier if it was just fiancee and I. I mean – I lay awake worrying if my party will be fun. I'm not worrying about table numbers or anything, but I'm worried that if I don't do the very traditional things, then people won't have fun.

    In the end, all I care about it being married with or without all these people we're inviting, but there's just so much pressure to throw this super fun and nice party. While I'm carving my own path and learning to say no, all my friends have had these big black tie weddings – and at some level I just feel like my wedding won't be up to snuff.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04558969691762187390 pink helicopter

    I didn't love my first wedding, so I was damn determined to love my second. And it was very much more me. But I got caught up in budgeting and not being 'too' crazy for my mom's taste and all that… and ended up wearing a dress I only sort of liked, and shoes I hated by the time the wedding day arrived. Obviously the outfit isn't everything, but those are examples – there are a lot of things I'd change if I did it again. I'm not going to though, so oh well! We're married now and I am much more excited about that.

  • Anonymous

    I loved my wedding just about as much as I could. Which is to say, more than I thought I would. But as others have mentioned, being the center of attention AND the host AND the bride was a bit much for my normally shy self. I think I would have been just as happy with a low key, last minute courthouse-and-cocktail-bar kinda thing too. But that's just kind of true in general for me with parties. I like small, laidback affairs, and I am an anxious host (does everyone have a drink? how's the music? oh no, so-and-so arrived an hour ago and I haven't said hello yet). That hosting anxiety is pretty much compounded at your wedding, and perhaps moreso for women, who are usually assumed to be the planners of the whole thing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13603656839270996091 buhdoop

    People can be so rude sometimes. It's like they think you're their mother instead of colleague. I love your comments and opinions. It is a bright part of my day and it gives me the strength to tell my family what is important to me on our wedding day.

    That email is spot on. So much pressure is put on your wedding day being great that it couldn't possibly live up to all the hype.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02097614708088086226 c.r.a.

    Thank you brides who didn't like your wedding for speaking up. I'm a little worried about this myself. I HATE throwing parties, I spend all my time worrying if everyone is having a good time to the extent that I'm always miserable. I'm really hoping to avoid that dynamic on our wedding day. I am super excited about getting married after all.

    I'm hoping by keeping it small (about 40 people) and focusing on the things we are excited about (the food) and remembering that once it's over I get to go on a wonderful relaxing vacation, with my new wife, I'll be able to avoid my usual party nerves. But I'm definitely reassured to hear that other women feel similarly!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10194642268693774873 MinnaBrynn

    We're not married yet, but I worry all the time that we ultimately won't like our wedding. We've made a lot of compromises from the wedding we dreamed about the day we got engaged to the wedding we're planning now. I want to believe that having our families and friends there will be worth the sacrifices we made, but honestly, I think when all is said and done, we'll still have wished we'd run away to Scotland.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12814652951588410233 Lynn and Rob

    I loved my wedding only because it was an awesome party and that's what we wanted. I do feel guilt about not *feeling* emotional enough on my wedding day, if that makes any sense. I didn't even cry. Not even for one second. I just wanted it to be over so I could on with my life.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11502258378291293510 Kathleen

    OMG Meg, please don't cry because we all love you, and I recommend your blog to the six friends I have who *just* got engaged in the last month because I think yours is one of the only ones out there that makes SENSE. and you bring out the hard questions, and you're not afraid to do that, so YAY YOU!! Keep on doing what you're doing, and know that there are SO many of us out there who are grateful that you are out there doing what you do.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12997875522614810785 Mouse

    (Not to mention the pressure for a perfect, storybook proposal.)

  • Anonymous

    I've decided it would be easier, cheaper and more enjoyable for me to have an "immediate family only" wedding at a nearby resort town with dinner afterward at a farm-to-table gourmet restaurant.

    There are beautiful ceremony sites and we'd still have a photographer. My family doesn't dance anyway.

    Then possibly throw an at home party with dancing (I-Pod) for my friends a month later. Less stressful, less expensive and fewer logistics.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14407339959089381343 J

    I enjoyed our wedding. The planning? That was kind of a mixed bag for me. There was some family/wedding party drama and I ended up crying. A lot. But worst of all, I felt lonely because so many other people didn't understand why I wasn't having the time of my life.
    The sucky thing about being a woman sometimes is that, unlike men, people act as though our emotions and reactions are open to comment. I mean how many times have you had someone tell you you should be smiling? Would they say such a thing to a dude? No way.
    Your emotions are yours and therefore not wrong, so don't let the haters get you down! Feel what you feel.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10806245889160501902 Pepper

    I love this blog. I've been a silent reader for a very long time now. My honey and I were engaged just over a month ago. There was a lot of baggage surrounding our relationship though, because we lived together prior to us getting married and my traditional and religious community made their displeasure known. We decided to get the business of getting married done seperately from the celebration and I'm loving the freedom it's afforded me. Planning a party to reflect the love and commitment you feel and pledge is no childs play – not surprised people look back at the day without complete love and nil regret.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02157035018805533577 Laura

    Your post is very big picture, and I guess my response is more small picture (oops), but it still taps into something that I think a lot of "ex-brides" (haha) secretly feel.

    Most of all I wish I had been a nicer, more relaxed person planning our wedding. There were things I snapped at my husband about that I eventually came around to and loved. That being said, for me, I was VERY laidback about it all, so I think I did the best I could.

    Detail wise, I (oh, I haven't admitted this out loud at all yet) thought (a) our bouquets and boutonnieres were pretty (well, the bouts were just okay), but they Weren't. What. I. Had. In. Mind. The day of, I let this go and was perfectly fine. But four months later I still find myself wishing I could have changed this somehow. Especially when I see other people's pictures. I mean, what about my detailed instructions and folder of photos did my florist not understand? Thank goodness I did my own centerpieces.

    (b) The dress thing … I got a great bargain on my dress, I really liked it, but I didn't think my seamstress did a great job of altering and sometimes when I look at our pictures I find myself worrying "But did it really look that nice on me?"

    But I'm lucky in that I did love our wedding, I think everyone who was there had a wonderful time, and there's nothing else I regret about it. That day, I felt that it was perfect (or at least, as good as we could get it), but at the same time I was totally ready to leave the party!

    Thanks for writing about this, Meg.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16952930687812804372 melinda

    "In the end I think we lucked out, and came out as winners in that ratio of stress to joy, but it was close." You summed it up perfectly for me, Meg. The week before the wedding, I was convinced that I would regret the big wedding as the stress had eaten all of my joy and I was literally dreading the weekend. I think that my joy was restored when I contemplated the most important pieces, being surrounded by our loved ones and beginning our marriage. I had a blast, but I'm not sentimental about the wedding or items from the day.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09729380856337425852 Kelly

    I feel better now. My wedding's less than 4 months away, and in the 5 months we've been engaged, I've only had a handful of "excited moments" when I get the briefest glimmer of wedding-planning giddiness.

    I hate big groups of people. I hate planning events. And I hate hate hate being the center of attention and knowing that everyone is going to be criticizing EVERYTHING I do or pick on their drive home (my family is that way). I wanted to elope, but I'm doing this whole "wedding" thing to please the mothers and my fiance… who of course saw the error of his ways about a week after we sent deposits to all of the vendors. :)

  • http://ridiculouslyeverafter.blogspot.com Nikki

    Providing there are no knife-fights in the parking lot during our wedding, I'm hoping the monumental knowledge of what we're really doing there will keep the day from being terrible. I'm hoping it's amazing, but won't let it be terrible.

  • TNM

    I also have mixed feeling about our recent wedding. On the one hand, there was some magic, on the other hand, there was a lot of stress, wasteful spending, arguments with family, and things that went wrong. I mean we were planning until the wee hours of the night before, I was an anxious host the day of & missed talking to some treasured guests, our pastor was kinda testy & impersonal, the d@mn guest bus CRASHED (and the driver called my guy right before he walked the aisle). Oh and I hated the planning process. Furtively calling vendors for the upteenth time from my all-male office, and whispering about details that I basically found tedious, is pretty much at the top of my list of Things I Could Have Done Without. And I try not to even think about the money, money, money…

    And looking back, those issues did take their toll. One part of the wedding orthodoxy that I disagree with is the trope that "all problems ultimately melt away on the big day and its just you & your honey & the angels singing no matter what." Problems did not melt away. They were balanced by the many warm, wonderful events of the day, but the problems were PART of the day.

    But I will say that nonetheless the day was precious to me. It still pulls at my heartstrings. But not as a perfect day. Rather, as something more like the memory of awkward first kiss, or an embarrassing conversation with a parent about how you love them, where the stress and fear and joy are all mixed up in one confusing and maybe even painful event that somehow is still dear to you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06316851849300125923 Miranda

    I am not married and am not planning a wedding, but I know plenty of people who didn't really like their wedding. Some friends were just "meh" about the whole thing and wanted it over with, and some just outright hated it (usually the people who were pressured to do the 'proper' thing).

    At any rate, how you feel is how you feel and there should be no shame in that.

  • http://happynappybride.wordpress.com/ happynappybride

    I've literally read every comment…not just glossed over them. This is amazing. I'm not married yet (in May), but I've had so many people tell me to "get excited" about the wedding.

    Well, guess what? I don't want to get excited about the wedding. I want to be excited about the marriage, thank you very much.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to have all of my friends and family together in one spot, but that's also part of the stress, lol.

    Thanks for this post!

  • http://www.themaidenmetallurgist.com The Maiden Metallurgist

    We definitely had our wedding for other people, parents, friends, family, and not for ourselves.

    I loved everything about our wedding- but I was over the moon the next day when it was all over and we could just go on with life.

    Wedding planning isn't really for everyone. I was never really into it, but I'd hired people who were, so I just let them run with it. I just showed up. Got married. And danced a jog the next morning with my husband when we realized we never have to do anything like it ever again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03209113339750185034 nina@mount pleasant wedding

    Hoorah!! I'm so happy there's so many of us out there! Long before I ever got engaged, I always wanted to elope. A friend of mine did an elopement package at a hotel in Tofino (west coast of Vancouver Island) last year. It was beautiful–just the two of them. I was completely vetoed by my fiance. (My family doesn't care either way) The fact that I got him down to 75 people is a miracle because he said his mother would insist on having a big wedding. I actually did put my foot down and said that maybe we wouldn't have a wedding then since it wasn't her wedding. I have almost no interest in all the "details" so any details he wants, he's going to have to look after. I'd even do phone calls and emails for invitations.

    So I already know that I'm not going to be "in love" with the wedding day. I think there's going to be more and more family tensions and conflict between different people's expectations (including mine and his!) that I just have no interest in dealing with. Makes me want to walk away from the planning altogether!

  • Anonymous

    I am glad that (the author of the email) named this. The spiritual elements of our wedding exceeded my expectations. However, it was a permanently difficult task throughout the wedding and the entire planning process to feel like my choices were valid. I had a hard time not feeling guilty that I hadn't included it all in my wedding, but we really needed to save our money. I am happy that we didn't go into debt, and that we were able to experience this transformative moment nonetheless, but there is this lingering complex about it. I liked our wedding; I love our marriage. I look around at other life milestones and realize that they have this raw and organic simplicity that makes them beautiful. I am still trying to process why the transition into marriage has morphed so much.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14716820192261000763 pegasus1177

    I love this website…and I love the fact that people will admit that for some a big wedding,or even a small 'wedding' wedding is not the way to go and that the whole wedding industry and social pressures regarding weddings can be very stressful and actually unnecessary. I'll say it right now, I am EXCITED to be married, to share my life with my chosen partner and further our dreams and goals together, however…to plan and coordinate a budget-chic family gathering (in a world where $10,000 is 'budget') where no one feels left out and you have to meet all sorts of unspoken expectations, especially the ones coming from the little voice inside you, and feel guilty if you don't splash out and spend spend spend on this one momentous day and then end up spending less time with the few people you actually need to be with on the day you become married, like your husband and your own family…well, let's say I'm a little less excited about all that!! :D

  • Anonymous

    I hated my wedding. We're coming up on our first anniversary, and I still lay in bed crying over it from time to time. I haven't even had a single photo printed. Thank goodness I hired those amazing photographers!

    I didn't think I was really getting sucked into the cult of expectations, but when you spend years saving for the magical destination wedding you think you want, and then the "wedding planners" you're forced to deal with take every opportunity to screw you around, and ruin what few things really matter to you? And despite their reputation for customer service and making things right, completely blow you off afterward? Mmyeah. I feel like I made a tremendous waste of money, and that's one thing I can't stand.

    It didn't help that no one, not even my mother, really seemed to give a shit about the whole thing. Despite being together for seven years, and spending most of those explaining to people that we weren't already married, it was, in fact, a very big deal to *us*.

    And I do feel guilt. "At least we had an awesome ceremony", I think, "and isn't that the part that matters?" Which, of course, it is the important thing, but if we didn't care about the party aspect, none of us would do anything more than go to the courthouse, right? And then I have the guilt from my husband, who can't fathom my disappointment (and gets downright angry over it), but he A: has never had any hint of expectations thrust upon him (I can't tell you how many people told him, "It's your job just to show up"), and B: didn't pay for any of it.

    I'd give ANYTHING to go back and change our wedding. I'd gladly take the courthouse or the back yard.

    • Susan Walker

      Thank you – I’m so glad I found this website and this particular post as I feel the exact same way & many of the circumstances are also similar in that my mum couldn’t give a shit until the day before and my husband just rolls his eyes whenever I mention my upset at hating our wedding day and wasting all that money.

      So glad I’m not alone with these feelings!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16158290821419472185 Anna Alter

    Thank you for this post! I think it only makes sense that most of us would have some disappointments on our wedding day because there is just SO much expectation and hype, try as you might to avoid it.

    I loved our wedding but it was not easy or blissful or the best day of my life. What probably felt the most strange is that having a wedding didn't really make me feel married. It was a great (though stress inducing) celebration, but the married part is still unfolding as we figure out the life we want to have. I feel married when we make dinner together and plan adventures, or when my fella brings me a cup of tea. Its living the vows, not saying them, that makes marriage more meaningful to me than the wedding was.

  • Anonymous

    After reading through more of the comments, I thought I'd also add (to that tl;dr comment above), this is from someone who enjoyed planning. Not dealing with the people we had to work with, but the actual details and what not? I could do it ten times over. I did want the whole wedding thing, and wasn't pushed into something "proper". Goodness knows, our wedding was certainly not "proper"…

  • Anonymous

    I hated my reception. But I loved my beautiful, wonderful ceremony that I cried though.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06008386302876377978 Lyssachelle

    Meg! Once again you touched a nerve…and it needed to be touched! (Ooo. That sounded dirty in kind of a gross way. Sorry….)

    This is such a hard subject because it's painful to admit that you weren't completely happy on the HAPPIEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. I still try not to think about certain parts of our wedding because I'm a little regretful of how they went down. And I think I went into it with a fairly realistic attitude, buffered by wedding zen, and yet I still think about parts of that day and get a knot in my stomach.
    But the hardest part is I don’t know that I could have avoided it! I know I could have avoided a LOT of heartache and stress in the planning process by just Calming. The. Eff. Down. But the things I didn’t love on the actual day? No way to truly anticipate them. I can shoulda, coulda, woulda all day long, but doing so makes me a little nutty and I’m already three-quarters crazy as it is. So I choose to remember the good parts and only think about the bad parts on rare occasions. Mostly when I’m being honest on APW.

    I read those comments by the brides-to-be and maybe I’m just ovulating, but I just want to scoop you guys up like baby birds and hide you from all the evil wedding cabal!!
    Please realize that no matter how much you read APW and East Side Bride and A Los Angeles Love and all those other blogs that are realistic and awesome and give you a real view of being a bride…it’s still not going to be enough. There will still be things that suck and you’re never going to be totally completely in love with your wedding. (People may say they were, but they’re dirty dirty liars.) Just listen to yourself, do what you can, don’t beat yourself up about what you can’t and have fun, dammit. And then fly, my little baby birds, fly.

    And Meg? Again, eff them. Or you could take my best friend’s advice and remind yourself that every time someone says something ugly to you, “it’s because I’m pretty.” Not feminist in any way shape or form, but damned if it doesn’t make you smile for a second.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04795863661094922831 Jo

    From day one of our engagement, I realized (with the wise assistance of my best friend/MOH) that it wasn't all going to be champagne and roses. And I decided early on that I had to be honest about that with people, because there might be other people/women out there feeling the same thing, and feeling the pressure not to feel anything but sheer bliss. It is so important that those of us who are brave speak up about the hard stuff during our engagement, wedding, and marriage, so that we clear away the stigma of not LOVING every single part of it. And isn't that really true about life in general?

    I did love our wedding, and the only mixed feelings I had were that I didn't introduce more people or spend more time with my dad. But there were tons of things about our engagement that drove me nuts (literally…), and I feel quite sure that having mixed feelings about all of it is TOTALLY NORMAL.

    K, thanks for letting us weigh in, Meg!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02180301553792942408 Cara Hall

    I am very much looking forward to my wedding in September, but there have definitely been plenty of moments when I wondered why we didn't just elope and move on. Especially when it comes to the financial conversations, which have been awful. I think there are a lot of sentiments that women feel they are not allowed to say out loud (like I don't want a husband at all, or I don't want kids, or there are times when being a parent sucks, etc.). I always appreciate the brave souls who are willing to say it out loud. It gives the rest of us permission to feel the good and the bad, and know that it's all okay.

    I can't tell you enough how much I love and appreciate this blog. It has helped me to relax and enjoy the planning process, while focusing on the really important part: the marriage.

  • Dream

    We eloped, but I empathize. I do agree that there is pressure to feel a certain way about certain milestones. Unfortunately the only time most women are honest about things happening in their lives is when prettiness is occurring and sometimes they lie about that. No one talks about having second thoughts (like Ms Laurie) or being stressed out over money or just sort of blah.

    Hubs and I got into a fight before we got married and I had a meltdown. I went on the forums at another site to unload and someone left a comment that made me feel like crap. They never had second thoughts, everything was magic and sunshine and bubbles. It pissed me off and I never went back to that site.

    Life is not like the romantic comedies we've been raised on. I think that what you feel makes sense.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07173746904946406303 peasantwench

    I read this article yesterday and it kind of talks about the same thing, albeit in terms of mommy-baby love. http://www.alphamom.com/postpartum-mom/2010/01/the_moment_i_saw_you.php (Not that I'm anywhere close to that stage in my life – I just like the author.) Her article, plus the readers comment, resonate with me the same way – that when our expectations (personal, familial, cultural) crash in to the reality, it often hurts. It's really nice to hear from other people struggle with this. The overwhelming message is that everything must be perfect – it's good for us to talk about how and when it's not.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06000938506264428990 The Esthete

    What a great post. My husband and I were married on June 13th, 2008 at our local court house with a wonderful and kind city clerk. We did it because we were already engaged and the only way I could continue to go to school was to be married (in state tuition, higher loan eligibility, etc). When I TRY to explain this to people they usually think I sound unloving or unromantic…just the opposite. It was a wonderful, quirky, and special occasion that my husband and I shared together…so intimate.

    I am now planning our "social" wedding…and my is it stressful. I know I will be happy day of, but right now I am not loving it. It if wasn't for the intense desire to have all our family and friends recognize and share our marriage with us we'd call it off already. But, my best friend has promised to sing and we found a great restaurant and searching for my dress with my mother is now one of my favorite moments in life…so it will be worth it. But it will also be real, and feel like something we have fought for and not taken for granted. I work in a store and when people see my ring they want to hear all the details…details I dont' even care about. I rest easy knowing Ananth and I are focusing on what matters- family, friends, and the love we share everyday.

  • http://www.projectmateforlife.com/ maura

    Wow. I am just about 4 months out, and thinking– okay. Time for invitations. But in the back of my head is this nagging feeling like I haven't done enough. Or I've made the wrong decisions with the venue or caterer.
    I think right now, I am afraid that everything will go wrong, and I'm not sure how to stop thinking about that or even plan to make sure things go on schedule. I worry about hurting my mother's and sister's feelings about creating some boundaries, but know that I have to 'cause they stress me the eff out. I worry about them letting me down, 'cause they do, often.
    I worry that the food will be cold, our DJ will somehow play all the wrong stuff, my heel will break or something bad will happen. And I try to remind myself, it's okay! It will still be fun, you'll be with your people! But, it's hard.

    I suppose I am afraid of not loving the day, and preparing myself for it now. Which is how I handle things. But then, I wonder, should I be doing more now, but honestly, I could care less. I want to read and talk about being a wife and what kind of marriage we want, not about flower arrangements.

    And Meg- thank you for helping us find the space to speak honestly.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00388295799913646592 “T-Bone” Lee

    Something I think is interesting is that the people commenting who didn't like their wedding wished they'd gone smaller and the people who are afraid they won't like their wedding feel that way because they feel like they are throwing too big a party.

    I have a large family and our wedding (in July) will be about 130 people…I have no fears that our wedding will be too big and I most definitely do not want a courthouse wedding…it's not "us" and I'm excited to share our day with everyone we are close to. What I am afraid of is that the day won't live up to all the anticipation. That all the fuss and money (my parents are paying for everything…which gives me even more guilt!!) won't have been worth it because of all the stress leading up to it. I also fear that people won't show up. It's the same fear every time we entertain and throw a party. That the people we truly want to be there won't show up and we'll be surrounded by the people we were obligated to invite. gah!

    The only solution I can think of is to not stress about it and to lower my expectations and the pressure to "feel" a certain way or to "act" a certain way on the day of….luckily I have a fiance that doesn't tolerate freaking out over the wedding and will firmly tell me to calm. the eff. down.

  • Nina

    Not married yet but already know I will be saying what all of you have written after my wedding is over. I have often beaten myself up for not feeling how I'm "supposed" to feel during the big events of life. I can't seem to feel the "right" emotions when I'm supposed to – they just show up unexpected whenever they feel like (when cooking, showering, walking the dog…). Like Accordions and Lace, I imagine my feet will be firmly on the ground on my wedding day, worrying about hosting and being a "bride" on display. I'm hoping the magical bride moments will instead be dispersed in small moments throughout the planning and in the aftermath.

    Thanks for the wonderful blog Meg, it keeps me sane by being utterly honest about this kind of stuff!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10750797045930049235 Claire

    I LOVED my wedding, and I don't feel badly about saying that.

    I didn't feel obligated to talk to people (we had a receiving line for that reason) and it was just the right size, about 110 people.

    Sure, I stressed about a lot of different, now-inconsequential details before the wedding, but marriage has washed most of that away.

    Now I look back at my favorite moments–mainly from the ceremony itself–because it marked the start of my marriage, which I think about every day, and which was the ONLY reason I had a wedding.

    While we were fortunate enough to have his parents largely foot the bill, but we spent quite a lot of money ourselves.

    To those brides still planning: I recommend you be true to yourself and your financee. Make the decisions YOU want, regardless of who's footing the bill. Be respectful, but let them know you are ultimately in control, and make the final decisions. If they can't agree with that, figure out how to forgo accepting their donation.

    My friend Elise was married about a month after me and I was really worried that they had no DJ–and voiced my opinion several times. It turns out it was the perfect plan: With the local bands/friends she had playing and taking control themselves here and there, they absolutely didn't need one. It was the perfect decision for them.

    You wedding is for you and your husband. You're inviting people to share in it, to help launch you into the world as a wedded couple. Your guests don't call after the wedding to tell you how you should lead your life day to day, so, ultimately, they shouldn't influence you while you're planning something so personal.

    Thanks, Meg. I love your blog and love your refreshing honesty. Keep it up.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04912915294458155814 Avie

    I actually loved our after courthouse celebration that you so wonderfully posted about here, but when I got home and continued to read the blogs, I had these tiny negative feelings about cute, adorable, completely meaningless things that I could have done better.

    This ties into your last post about not sweating the small stuff. I was regretting not having more small stuff. What?

    I remember saying good-bye to family & friends the day after the party and feeling sad that the fun was over and being left with the overwhelming feeling of fullness and happiness. So every time I wish that I had done different center pieces, I try to go back to that feeling because I know that is was the day was about and not the center pieces.

    Besides, most of those feelings of inadequacy were caused by the frou frou wedding blogs, which you have also written about at length.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11675855864720381614 MischiefbyLoki

    My husband and I were just talking about this last week. Basically it comes down to this: I didn't hate our wedding, but I didn't like it either. It certainly wasn't the happiest day of my life. It wasn't even transcendent. It was a good wedding, don't get me wrong, and there isn't much I would have changed, except this:

    I didn't want a wedding. I wanted to go off somewhere with a few family members, a short white dress, and have everyone stand around while a pastor married us. Alas, my husband thought he wanted a "real wedding" with guests and flowers and all that.

    The reason we were talking about this last week is because he apologized for making such a big fuss about it. Now, he said, he wishes he had listened to me and eloped.

    Argh.

  • Tina

    I always get to read these amazing posts in the morning, but my job gets in the way of commenting before someone(especially Lyssachelle, she always says exactly the right thing)takes the words right out of my mouth. :)

    I did want to go back to a post by one of the first anons:

    "I guess ultimately, it would be nice if the anticipated wedding-day joy were not interpreted as some measurement of the success of your impending marriage."

    I think that says a lot about why so many may often hide their true feelings. If the wedding is supposed to be the best, happiest, most wonderful day of your life, how could one possibly admit that it wasn't that great? If we are supposed to "get excited" about wedding planning when we're not or the wedding is nor should be the best day of our lives, others automatically may assume that we are not happy in our relationships or that it's unstable, or that we're not fully committed. I think this may be one more thing wrapped up in expectations of women and marriage in general.

    I LOVE reading this blog because it is so honest, and I love all the comments that follow. I am not married nor engaged, but I always crave a new post because I feel like what is brought up here can always be applied to real life. Keep up the great work, Meg!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15479891414543180138 Liz @ McFargan: A Midwestern Matrimony

    Your honesty frees me and so many others. Thank you!

    I love being married. I grew to hate planning my wedding and felt sick to my stomach much of the day before and day of. I'm not shy at all and love to entertain. However, all the negative issues brought up with the wedding and the new inlaws tainted the day for me.

    I stressed over the wedding SO MUCH up to the day of. I knew that I was doing all that work so everyone else (mostly families and friends) would appreciate the fun and freedom of the wedding. I hear from people who attended that it was the best wedding they've ever been to. So I feel really bad and have never said it out loud.

    But I still look back and wonder if we wasted all that money for so much stress. I made myself ill being so obsessed with getting all the details perfect. I did it all myself, with very little help from family and friends. I even get a little jealous when people talk about how much their moms are involved in the planning process.

    Again, I LOVE my husband and LOVE being married. But, nope, I didn't like the wedding part.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09572086822325849480 A-L, from An Honorable Estate

    I'm not married so I don't know whether or not this will be true for me. However a wedding is something I want and is important to us, so at least that will be going in my favor.

    Reading all these comments though really makes me think about the expectations going in to the wedding. Most women are raised to have these fairy tale visions of themselves, even if they don't expect it to be the happiest day of their life (though many still think that it will be). But life isn't a fairy tale and so even the greatest, most wonderful day will inevitably fall short. It's part of the reason why I am trying to maintain moderate, reasonable expectations, but I have no idea whether or not that will actually work in raising my enjoyment of my actual wedding.

    And Tina, I hear you about work getting in the way of commenting. But it sure is fun to see what everyone else wrote!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04154437214863851299 What Deliciousness

    We are four weeks and a day away from what other people rather vomitously call our 'special day'. And yes, there are many things I would do differently. Our sweet low key wedding was severely hijacked early on and we probably compromised much more than we should have.

    A lot of this compromise was a way of navigating the difficult waters of a cross cultural relationship. My partner's family are Indian so we had pressure to conform to Hindu norms. My background is Greek/Australian, so again some pretty interesting expectations.

    I could easily break up with the wedding and there is a lot that I don't love. But I do love my partner and I do love the ceremony that we have written. I'm excited about being married. And that means it's all going to be okay.

    So glad to hear that other people have mixed emotions about it all too…

  • Anonymous

    Not married yet; that's next year. But it's great to read all these and know I'm not the only one having issues with this!

    I'd be happy walking two blocks to the town hall, and then having a party. But my groom-to-be is dying to have a big to do. So we're compromising; I get a tiny ceremony with only parents and siblings, and he gets a good sized reception.

    The problem is that he can't plan things to save his life, so I have to plan the reception. And to be honest I'm really not enjoying it. I try to think of crazy things that would make it fun for me to be there, and be the center of attention – which I hate being, but every time I come up with something it gets shot down. I'm getting disheartened with all the planning.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08169407356570837365 D-Day

    I'm having a great time planning the wedding (10 weeks to go) and I don't think I'll hate it (we'll see about that), but my fiance is definitely more the type to prefer the smaller gatherings, he hates being the center of attention. Hoping we'll get to steal away for a few moments here and there if it gets too overwhelming (is it possible to hide from 80 people?). Thank goodness APW introduced us to the yichud – I'm not sure why more non-Jewish weddings don't include this tradition (actually I think it's because most have never heard of it). It's so impossibly romantic and at the same time incredibly practical.

    Thanks team practical for talking about this! However the wedding goes I know it's not an indicator of the marriage we'll have – and it's reassuring to feel less pressure to love love love every minute of it.

  • http://thesweetestoccasion.com Cyd

    I think this is a totally normal way to feel. I love weddings, I love parties and I loved our party, but I also look back with a lot of mixed emotions. There are definitely things I would do differently even though I'm not "supposed" to say that. Primary of those would be to hire a damn coordinator so I could direct my family and friends to bug a professional instead of bugging me when I all wanted to do was hang out and swig champagne. But that's just me. Bottom line – it's totally normal to feel underwhelmed. We had a fabulous time, but I think I found out that I much prefer attending weddings than being the center of attention at a wedding. Which is not to say it wasn't awesome (it was) or that we didn't have an incredible time (we did) or get to visit with a grouping of people the likes of which we'll never again experience in our lifetime (we also did that), but I think marriage is shaping up to be far more exciting and far more fulfilling, for which I'm eternally grateful.

  • MrsGray

    It is so interesting to read these comments and a big Thank You to Meg for posting about topics like this! I had my moments during the planning process for our wedding (just ask my husband!), but overall I enjoyed it. I got super excited about the flowers and invites, and didn't worry TOO much about the rest of it since we were having a pretty low key reception as it was. As for my wedding day, I really did love it, but not in a transcendent, magical, over the mood kind of way. I just loved being surrounded by all our friends and family, who really were the reason we had a wedding in the first place. Would I have done some things differently? Probably, but I was just so excited that we got married it really colored the way I looked at the rest of the day.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00757803613971281872 Kathryn

    Thank you for this post! Deep down (or not so deep down) I've always known that I want a small wedding, but there's always that nagging feeling that if we go that route, I'll feel like I missed out on the "big wedding experience" and the opportunity to have every last person in my life there with me. Knowing that there's the possibility of regret or dissatisfaction with big, elaborate weddings too, makes me feel all the better about taking the smaller, simpler route.

  • Frustrated

    I just have to say a big thank you too for posting this, Im going to email it to my fiance and have him read this, I love him and I want to marry him and I was excited to have a big wedding when we first got engaged but now after a year of engagement and another 9 months to go I HATE it. I dont even want to think about it I stress out so much, things have come up that the money is dwindling, trying to make his family(and him) happy and trying to make myself happy cause me to stress just from hearing the word wedding.

    I hate when people ask me about the wedding or how the plannings coming, especially when they tell me the same things "It's your day" "Be happy" "Do what you want to do, no one else matters" NONE of those make me feel better and in my eyes they arnt even true, its as much his day and our families as it is mine.

    I started out wanting a big wedding, then wanting to elope then wanting a informal (but not nessecarily small) wedding to a courthouse wedding with a bar hop afterwards. I still dont know what Im going to end up with.

    I dread every aspect of wedding planning the dress, the invitations, everything! I just want to be MARRIED already!

  • April

    I'm literally in tears this morning, because I can SO identify with this post today.

    There is so much about the wedding my husband and I had that we both love. Yet so much that me, personally, didn't like and I'm STILL thinking about it and it just makes me want to cry. STILL.

    We spent so much, and in my opinion, I don't feel like we got our money's worth. None of my family attended and while I knew months (heck years) before the wedding that they probably wouldn't come, getting that phone call from my mother telling me she wouldn't attend, nay COULDN'T attend for religious reasons broke my heart in half. Reading stories of other brides whose families were such an integral part of their day makes me so sad sometimes that my own couldn't get over their cult-ish beliefs to share in the joy of their daughter's wedding.

    Oh, and I hated my wedding flowers. And planning this "party" for nearly 2 years about did me in. I wish we'd had the Paris elopement we schemed and dreamed about.

    WHEW. I'm so glad I said all that. I feel much better. There's a lot of pressure to have "the best day of your life", and while it was truly a monumental, emotional and thrilling day, it wasn't THE best day and I didn't love every moment like I thought I would. Oh well. C'est la vie, right?

  • Marissa C.

    Not married yet, but it's good to see I'm not the only one wishing for a courthouse wedding while planning a party for the sake of my fiance. :-)

  • Jessica

    Also still planning my wedding but I absolutely hear you on wanting a beach, my future husband & a justice of the peace. We have already had our "paper wedding" (Love this term, btw – had never heard it before until Karuna used it below) and I'm left wondering what all of this stress is going to yield after 12 months of planning that we don't already have now… besides a credit card statement.

  • Anonymous

    Having just read all the comments I've noticed that not one person has posted on here saying that their wedding was the fairy tale they had always imagined and they loved every minute of it.
    I know I didn't enjoy the planning AT ALL and while our ceremony was beautiful I didn't enjoy our reception much.
    So if NO-ONE is living the fairy tale, then maybe we can all stop pretending that's what its meant to be like. Epecially the magazines – I got so sick of reading about women who find THE dress etc etc. IT DOESN'T REALLY HAPPEN. And the reception is a social/cultural requirement that you undertake for your family and community. Its not for the couple and I wish people would stop saying its about you because its not, its all about the guests.

  • http://surprisewedding.wordpress.com Michele

    While I can't relate to the exact sentiment, given that I DID like our wedding very much, I can completely understand how some couples winding up looking back and feeling less than in love with how it all went down.

    I hated 99.9% of the planning process – not so much because it was a wedding, but because I just plain do not like planning anything, ever. But I'm very fortunate in the regard that I'm not particularly prone to stress, so even though I hated it, I didn't let it get to me (most of the time).

    And while we're sharing unpopular opinions, I've got one: I'm really, really, REALLY glad that my husband and I decided to be relentlessly self-centered where our wedding was concerned. I think that is a major factor in the extent to which we ended up loving it, because every single aspect of it was about fulfilling something that was important to US. Not once did we sacrifice what we wanted to make someone else happy (or just shut them up).

    So yeah, it was incredibly selfish of us to tell our parents 'NO. Your siblings are NOT invited to our wedding. No extended family whatsoever is invited. We understand that you're upset, but we are not going to give in on this." But ultimately, that decision enabled us to ensure that only those people who know us best and love us most were there. It also enabled us to have a smallish, casual wedding in a private residence and spend very, very frugally, which was something that was very important to us.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Anon two up from me:
    I will say this: our wedding was BETTER than I expected. But it was also totally different than I expected, and different from everything you're lead to believe. And the honeymoon was also way way way way better than the wedding. The wedding was transformative for us, but that's a gritty thing, not a blissed out thing. And I felt more myself than I have ever been at the reception, and that's amazing. But I think somehow it was the writing of this blog that did that, not the wedding. So. There is that. There are still people I want to punch in the face (achem, just a little bit) when I think of their actions during the wedding weekend… but… what was important wasn't about them.

    And, because y'all know I have a devils advocate lurking in my soul, I will say we don't regret a bigish wedding (100 people). I will say it could have been smaller. That probably would have made it better for us, or me, but that would have made it not ok for our families, and THAT would have made it not ok for me.

    The bottom line is that a wedding isn't magic. It's a series of really fucking hard compromises about unbelievably important stuff. So something is always going to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Sometimes friendships will even be destroyed when you come face to face with the fact that you ethically disagree on some foundational level (ick). Sometimes you find out that family members are total assholes (hopefully distant family members) The wedding magazines don't talk about that stuff, and if you're blindsided by it, it's harder to let it go, move on, stay in the moment, stay in the bubble.

    Because on the day of it does actually have to be about you and your partner. Not in a self-centered bridezilla way, but in a 'what is going on is a really big deal and you can not let yourself by swayed by stressed out people acting like assholes' way.

  • Lydia

    Meg! Thank you. I am newly engaged but I will admit that I have been reading you for awhile. I thought I knew pretty much everything to expect before I got engaged. But in the one week I have been OH MY GOD the pressure is huge. So, I've been lurking for awhile but wanted to say thanks. Thank you for this post. You are doing wonders lady, don't let anyone talk you down.

  • http://eclpse.livejournal.com/ eclpse

    Family issues aside, I think a lot of the feelings during and throughout the course of the wedding have to do with the decisions you and your fiancĂŠ have made beforehand. did you want to have an outdoor wedding? Did you really want a casual sit down dinner but had to compromise and get a buffet instead? Did you spend a lot more than you wanted to spend? Did you get to include everything that was meaningful to the two of you?

    I kind of separate the wedding and the marriage in my mind. Because, as someone already mentioned, the wedding is the social and cultural mark of the marriage, not the marriage itself. It seems to me that the wedding is an event for everyone, while the marriage is just for two.

    Our marriage is already fantastic. I hope our wedding means smiles from everyone we love, a few flutes of champagne, a dance party, and hanging out 'til the wee hours with friends we haven't seen in ages. Those expectations can't be too high, right?!?!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Elissa
    My experience exactly. More honest post dialog. The hard part is public post dialog. You can't really say in a post, "Well, my aunt Gertrude called me fat (that bitch) and I cried before walking down the aisle." Not… in public…

    @eclipse
    No, that's exactly the right thing to expect. You'll get it too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17009143978954483152 Erica

    Thanks to all of you for your honest post-dialogue, it really helps to hear women speaking frankly about their weddings. I'm still 9 months out, and I have a hard enough time being able to speak honestly about how I feel about our wedding now (anywhere but here, that is). I once made a comment at brunch with my future in laws that I didn't really care about the wedding that much, and that I'd be fine with getting married in their backyard with just a few people there and apparently caused a firestorm. I learned my lesson on that one, so yes, future mother in law, I deeply care about whether your dress that you've already purchased "goes" with our color scheme that doesn't really exist but it's what we tell people is our color scheme because we're sick of people asking. God only knows I'll have to keep up this charade after the wedding, at least with some people anyway.

  • Marisa-Andrea

    @ Meg and Elissa: I think one of the reasons I really appreciate this blog (aside from the fact that I grew up with Meg and know from personal experience how awesome she is) is that it is a forum in which we can really be honest and have those conversations that are cultural taboo. The fact that we are even having this discussion is amazing, because let's be frank, I don't think any woman really feels ALLOWED to say she didn't like her wedding. You are expected to love it. It is supposed to be the best and most amazing day of your life. And if somehow it wasn't, maybe secretly we feel like failures inside or that we missed out on something important that we were supposed to GET. And didn't. I love that this blog (and others like it) serve as a place where we can be really honest.

    Overall, I enjoyed my wedding (me and Chris still talk from time to time of how much we loved it), but it had its moments and there were definitely parts of it I did NOT like. And I will admit — I have felt guilty at times for even thinking the words "If I could do it all over again, I would have…" I try not to live in that place, because I do not find it particularly productive. Yet at the same time, going down that path reminds me that I don't have to buy into what wedding hype society has tried to pump into me.

    The wedding was not the best day of my life, but I'm okay with that now.

  • Anonymous

    Meg,
    it seems a lot of us share the fact that we don't enjoy being the center of attention. Other than the family dynamics (read: drama)my only thoughts of a wedding are complete fear of being the focus.

    Do you (or any other grads) have words of advice for us? Any grounding thoughts to get us through this type of event?

    I am a major planner, I host parties all the time, and my career is in fact – event planner. I can't enjoy planning my own wedding though because I think of myself as a behind the scenes person. I don't know how I'll be able to handle all the attention that comes along with the role of "bride".

  • Jen

    I think it's so sad that people send you emails and comments that make you cry. I just wanted to say that your posts always make me smile and cheer me up and make me feel like there is hope for breaking the current "wife" mold. Thank you for being you and when stupid people upset you, remember that there is a whole huge group of us that think you're wonderful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06648909402880706542 Mandy

    Reading these comments, I've noticed a slight trend; it seems the people who didn't enjoy their weddings as much/are afraid they might not enjoy their weddings are people who tend to shy away from being the center of attention. It seems like a LOT of people out there don't like to be the focus…and yet we're all programmed to plan these weddings where exactly that happens. No wonder people end up not having a good time at their own weddings! Why aren't there more wedding planning guides that focus on what's best for the individual and the couple, rather than what's expected? I would almost guarantee that all these "must have" items on most wedding planning checklists were dreamt up by people who love being the center of attention. And don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking those people. I'm a ham. I personally can't wait to put on a big white dress and throw a bouquet and be the host of this awesome party, because I LOVE hosting awesome parties and putting on costumes. But not everyone does, so WHY is there so much pressure to do just that?

    Sometimes I really wish the entire commercialized wedding industry would collapse into a sinkhole.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    I think the center of attention question is interesting. God knows I'm not the person to handle it… I've worked on my center-of-attention-hilarious act since I could walk (apparently). I was a THEATRE major for gods sake ;) So I was never worried about that. In fact, the pre-wedding events I *was* stressed about, I calmed down by just going into 'performance' mode. Crack jokes, be delightful, easy peasy (for me). But it was a mask…

    But. I will say this. I actually didn't feel like the center of attention at our wedding (other than the ceremony, but even then the spotlight was shared with readers and officiants and community stuff). I mean, I suppose we were, but it didn't really feel like that. I was running around having a great time talking to everyone and dancing, I WASN'T in performance mode, it DIDN'T feel like a show. And looking back at the pictures, I don't think it was.

    Some of the greatest pictures are of friends from high school having a marvelous time re-uniting, clearly telling hilarious stories that have nothing to do with us. Or the pictures of my parents with the friends who introduced them who they haven't seen in years, talking and laughing and hugging. Part of that was allowing everyone to invite people they wanted to be there I suppose, part of that is that we were not grabbing for the spotlight. But I loved that. I didn't really need it to be about us, because you know, it was enough already. I wanted everyone to feel free to have a great time with each other, and not really worry about us. And they did, and that freed us to have a great time not worrying about other people.

    So yes. Even me. The biggest extrovert in the history of the world. I wasn't the center of attention at my wedding and that was a great thing. I think that moment when you look around and everyone is talking and laughing and catching up? THAT is when you know your wedding was a success.

  • http://www.thesecondhandlife.com Sara

    Me. I didn't. I did not love my wedding. (Clarification: the actual ceremony was great. All the festivities were lame-ish.)

    In my case, I think that not loving my wedding was valuable in a certain way. I'm not sure of the best way to say it, because I'm only just defining it for myself, but here goes:

    We had an idea of how we wanted things to go and how we wanted to feel on our wedding day. For the most part, that original idea was sacrificed on the altar of let's-just-not-rock-the-boat. When all was said and done, I felt sad about how things turned out, and that taught me a valuable lesson about figuring out what matters to me and sticking up for it. So, in that way, I'm glad I didn't love my wedding.

    I, for one, am so happy that I've had better days since my wedding because I'm with someone I love. That first day doesn't need to be so overwhelmingly good, because the stuff that comes after is inherently better.

  • Anonymous

    Some advice for the newly engaged or soon-to-be that aren't wild about planning: have a SHORT engagement.

    We've been engaged for 7 months now and the wedding (as it stands) isn't for another 7 months and I've HAD IT already. Out-of-control guest list, DIY details that seemed fun at first that I no longer care about, fear of having to "perform" in front of said huge guest list when all I want is our ceremony to be meaningful and intimate. Ugh.

    Have a short engagement so there's less time to obsess about everything, in which case you'll only have time to plan the things that really matter and that you care about. And then hopefully you won't hate your wedding.

  • SingColleen

    I’m so glad someone finally posted about this. I wanted to write in about this so many times, but I didn’t want to sound like I was unhappy about getting married, just with how our wedding turned out.

    Long story short, my mom freaked out about our original idea (very intimate, and at his brother’s house) so many times that we finally pitched it, had a parents-only wedding, and let my mom plan the reception of her dreams, in the town where she lives. Sometimes I wish I had stood my ground, but the arguments were getting so bad it was affecting the rest of my life, and we didn’t want to completely say “F— off” by eloping. So the parents-only idea felt like the only way we could keep the private feel we wanted for our ceremony. Frankly, he and I are both still a little bitter about it.

    Of COURSE we are happy to be married. Even though it wasn’t what we envisioned, it was still one of the most amazing days of our lives, to be sure. We enrich each others' lives in so many ways, how could that be bad? But we are both still sad that the couple of people who mean the most to us couldn’t be there, and it really surprised and hurt me that my mother could be so selfish and angry about something that meant so many positive things to me.

  • Elissa

    I think the issue here is not the loving or the hating of the wedding, but the lack of honest post dialogue. Please, name me one other event where it is normal to expect perfection. Any time when you get a large amount of people in one space, you will find that unexpected things happen. There will be both good and bad surprises, but even the good ones will go unappreciated if you can't let go of The Plan.

    Apart from the logistics of the sound system, the food, the drink, etc, we didn't really plan anything for our reception, didn't even give our DJ a song list. Are we crazy? No, we just know that it doesn't take much to make a good party.

    The ceremony was more structured, but even that had a few surprise moments. For example, I hadn't asked my Dad to walk me down the aisle (we didn't even have an aisle), but I had asked him to be there to save a park and greet me when the car pulled up. On the day, however, I felt quite overwhelmed by the emotion of the whole thing and I ended up saying to him, 'Daddy, I need you. Will you walk with me?' He did and, for both of us, that has become one of the fondest memories I have.

    Basically, I think that we owe it to ourselves to turn the pressure down. Honestly, relax! It's one day. A glorious, messy, day that will start a glorious, messy marriage.

  • Elissa

    *post wedding dialogue, is what I meant to say.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17599223416157604698 Arden

    Thank you everyone for the honest and rich discussion.

    Meg, your comment that "the bottom line is that a wedding isn't magic. It's a series of really fucking hard compromises about unbelievably important stuff" really struck a chord for me. In working through what I wanted (and some things were contradictory) with what my husband wanted,and then considering the needs and wants of our parents and guests, we made some decisions that I sometimes second guess – even though I feel incredibly blessed to have had the wedding we had. It occurs to me that it could be powerful to more explicitly ask people to write about those elements in their wedding recaps – what left a bad taste in your mouth and why? Though I am sitting here wondering if I would have the courage write about that myself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13016196445046472900 Mrs. Melberry

    I just saw this post and couldn't be happier it was written.

    Our wedding day was fun…but I am a perfectionist and our budget did not allow me to have all the things I really wanted to include, so I may have "let go" of a lot more than I really, truly wanted. If I had it to do over again, we would have went to the courthouse, took an extra long honeymoon and had an informal bbq reception when we got back.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one didn't love their wedding….I surely love my marriage more than I ever imagined I would.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, I'm coming into this late, and I confess I have read the 90 or so comments above mine! That said, I loved our ceremony but was a little disappointed by our reception. The ceremony felt special. The reception was slightly frustrating because I really wanted people to mingle (making community was one of my wedding "themes"), but no one really did. Also, there were some planning/decorating control issues btwn myself and my family, making me a little frustrated. But yeah, I loved the ceremony.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16158290821419472185 Anna Alter

    @ the center of attention thing… I have thought about this a lot. I am introverted and generally hate being the center attention, I stressed about this a lot before our wedding. But learning how to be the center of everyone's love and good wishes at our wedding was an experience worth having (it was not always easy but it was worth it). I think its especially important if you don't usually put yourself out there like that. It didn't feel at all like I imagined, it was really liberating.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13427934961755490240 Kaylen

    I'm kind of afraid I won't like my wedding. I'm a senior in college, my fiance is a second-year teacher at a Catholic school, and since we don't really have a lot of money, our parents are footing the bill. Of course we are TRULY, 110% grateful for this. I want to have so many people around me, that I love, while I get married to the man I adore.

    However. Since my parents are paying for most of it, they're pushing lots of things on us that I would never have dreamed of. 303 person guest-list, a reception at a super fancy place in town…things like that. It will be beautiful and I know I'll love it – but will I LIKE it? I'm more of a crafty, DIY person. I love the weddings that are featured regularly on oncewed.com and places like that – weddings that look homemade. Our wedding won't be like that, and I'm afraid that I will regret it.

    Also. I don't mean to sound like a snot.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06008386302876377978 Lyssachelle

    This is a question for about to be brides who have people pushing for THEIR wants in your wedding. Have you shown them what you envision? Not just talked about it, but pulled from other wedding grads and blogs and put together examples and said, "I want THIS" and told them why?

    I'm just curious, I was very blessed by having my and mine husband's parents contribute without any strings. Well, tiny stings (like, "Yes, you have to invite your aunt; I know she sucks but it will make my life easier and I'm buying your dress…") but nothing that I wouldn't have given in to anyway. But I'm asking because my man of honor was TERRIFIED of my "down home country wedding" until I really showed him examples of what I wanted and why I wanted it. Honestly, it was because he's fabulous and I'm me and he didn't trust my taste. (with reason. I'm a little tacky.)
    But maybe seeing pictures or reading a wedding grad's post on how they did stuff might help. Because if it's anything I've learned, people who love you and know you might not listen to you, but they'll listen to a stranger saying the exact same thing that you just said.

    I don't know, or maybe I'm just talking out the side of my face. It happens. Plus I'm the 100th comment, so woo hoo!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17009143978954483152 Erica

    @ Lyssachelle

    The problem I'm having isn't with people getting on board with the big picture…the fighting comes with the details. We're planning a small, casual somewhat non-traditional wedding at a cabin in the mountains and serving barbeque. Everyone's on board with it. Everyone loves the venue. But when I say things like, "I don't care if we have a champagne toast" it gets met with gasps of horror and shouts of "but you have to have SOME tradition!" Maybe that's their way of saying that they're not really on board with the big picture and don't have the guts to say it to my face (which I appreciate by the way). Maybe they just really like champagne. I don't know. But unless they're actually not on board withe the big picture I'm not sure showing them my inspirations would help too much, but it certainly wouldn't hurt either (unless I show them a really out there one!). I never really thought of it before, so maybe I'll do it the next time we're met with some resistance. Thanks for the idea!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    "Because if it's anything I've learned, people who love you and know you might not listen to you, but they'll listen to a stranger saying the exact same thing that you just said."

    Indeed. The perceived authority of the interwebs will help you here. Just imagine what you'll be able to slide by once I re-design the website? It will look so professional they won't bat an eye at your plans for a mini-dress and a reception of clowns in Vegas.

    I mean. I think.

    Clearly we need to talk about parents and budgets. I've been loath to, since you know, our parents read this website (and the comments! Hi guys! Very impressed you made it through 101 comments) so it might be tricksy. Of course are parents are LOVELY and we never said a cross word during the planning (first part not a lie, second part obviously a lie) But let me think about it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Erica
    BEST TIP I HAVE (re: my wedding graduate post). Do. Not. Give. Out. Information. If you never mention the toast, no one will think of it on the day of. I do not kid.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10405170647446068914 MrsKamorri

    I am closing in on a decade of marriage now and there are still things about our wedding that bug the snot out of me. My husband doesn't remember, or choosing to pretend that he doesn't, any of the bad. He only remembers the day I became his wife and we tied our hearts together for the rest of our lives. Our relationship has only gotten better and richer and more beautiful since then (and I thought it was pretty good then) so I try to take a leaf out of his book and just let those little things (like being later than late to our reception because of our stupid photographers) roll off my back.

    And I am eternally thankful that we got married before everything got quite so electronified. I would totally have felt the need to have a wedding website and all kinds of other stuff that I didn't have time for.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04795863661094922831 Jo

    Meg, thank you for your comment about not being the center of attention, and being happy that the people there had fun, even if it wasn't about you. Our wedding was (apparently) amazing for everyone who attended, each for their own reasons, many of which didn't have as much to do with us as with them being able to reconnect with each other. But I worried after the fact that I didn't do enough introducing of people to each other, but the fact is, everyone had people there they loved and wanted to be with, including me and the hubs. And one of the best parts of the day was me and my 15 friends dancing like mad on the dance floor, the hubs and his bro having a cigar in the parking lot with their dad, while each sides of our respective families relaxed and laughed with one another. And while there were moments where we all were celebrating the same way at the same time, the day NOT just being about us was both our goal and one of the best parts… esp. for us, since we're not the spotlight lovers OR the wallflower types.

  • Anonymous

    No wedding is 100% perfect. Bridal magazines and people have given us the impression that the wedding day should be perfect and fairytale-like. So wrong!

    I've only been married for one week and the only thing that keep coming back to my mind is where me and my husband walked down the aisle together (we did not have father of the bride given away thing), and seeing our family and close friends watching us. And of course, when we say our vows and declared as husband and wife.

    The reception was small, only about 55 people and there was no dancefloor, bouquet toss, etc. It was only about great food and good conversation. We did not want 5 hour reception, so it was only around 3.5-4 hours, which is great!

    Of course, there are always things that I wish I could change, such as taking more pictures or spend more time with my guests, etc. But the only thing that matters that me and my husband are officially married.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09645934938306197323 Biz

    I loved,loved our wedding,(having everyone we loved nearby, having all my friends see my hometown, dancing dancing dancing, everyone's generosity and hospitality, etc) but if i could do it over again we would do it at our church in atlanta with just our parents and any close friends who could make it on short notice. it would have been spontaneous and then all gone to our fav thai place to celebrate.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12543665034793352447 Kristen Nichols

    Great post. Honest and eloquent. Whenever you have really high expectations, you are bound to be disappointed. I loved my wedding, it was small, non-traditional (no dancing, we had a photo reception with polaroids and 4×5 cameras and everyone still raves about it being the most fun.) but now that i'm a wedding professional, there are things I would change and do over. I think that's a natural part of growing and evolving. I do believe that the pressure to achieve perfection is intense, not just with weddings, but with everything in life. Whenever I look back on something that stressed me at the time, the biggest regret I have is that I let it stress me in the first place and I didn't just enjoy living in the moment and appreciate the uniqueness of my little journey, no matter how imperfect it was at the time.

  • Annette

    I wish more bloggers would post these type of questions, I feel so bad for brides, they see all these wedding photos and think this is what it is like. In the last year of our planning, my husband was laid off and we didnt even pay for most of what we had. I was so stressed and my wedding planner (who I should have fired was HORRIBLE), right during all this she decided to move to Georgia so basically I was left on my own. I had a wedding party who did nothing and complained about every penny they had to spend, I even planned my own wedding shower and paid for their entire ensemble, including hair/make-up and hotel stay. The day of the wedding, they were great but they forgot my VEIL and my gloves. When I showed up, I had to wear my blusher, at the end it wasn't a big deal but it was. The planner was 3 hours late and couldnt get to my ceremony spot if that wasn't bad enough, I had to put my mom with my in-laws in our limos and split the pary so a lot of the photos (NYC traffic) only have us and we missed a lot of shots. The party was great, I let everything go by then but I wished I had done more and had more help. I am still paying for the wedding, I look back and say it was AMAZING but I would never do it again.

    If I can give one tip to any bride, is DO WHAT IS RIGHT BY YOU AND YOUR VISION, dont fold and dont crumble, have no regrets and no apologies. Make sure you organize everything a month (keep receipts/contracts) and hire a DOC, a good one with great references. Dont leave it up to a friend or relative. Let them celebrate as guests with you. AND for heaven's sake dont plan a $50,000 when you can only afford 5 grand, 2 years later andd I am still paying for mine and I wish I brought a house instead.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17949914197114000898 African-American Brides

    I've got one. So, a lot of you ladies are saying your wedding was just one big party. You could be like me and have a wedding that wasn't enough of a party (or not enough of a party for my liking!). The food was great, but we had a jazz band and people didn't know whether to dance or what. lol. Also, earlier in the day during the ceremony Hubby and I couldn't get our unity candle to light (short wick). But, hey- six years later we have plenty of unity. And dancing, too!

    Erica

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @onelovephoto
    But Heather… it might be… BETTER? I mean, you guys have been married for 10 awesome years and do what you love together. I think that's a lot more to celebrate than *just* getting married. Besides: SO much less pressure, SO much surer of what you want and so you are.

    (Can you tell I'm looking forward to anniversary parties?)

  • One Love Photo

    We did the opposite and eloped and I regret it a little. I feel like I missed my chance to have all the things I see and love every weekend in the summer. Beautiful flowers, a pretty dress, great photographs, the heart felt vows,lovely readings, songs of love, the laughter, the crafts, the crazy toasts the dancing.. we skipped it all and I kinda regret it. But at the time it was what worked for us. So, now I want to plan an awesome anniversary bash (but it still won't be the same).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09044881260357221500 Victoria Hoke Lane

    I don't have time to finish reading all the comments (so fascinating and revealing) but suffice it to say that by the sheer volume of interest created, you have opened a Pandora's box. Currently involved in marrying off my third daughter (three to go), having had my family do much of my son's wedding (one to go), and being involved in the biz as a calligrapher, I have to say that there is entirely too much pressure on most brides to have the picture perfect wedding with all the requisite emotions to accompany it.

    But why is anyone surprised?? I am speaking as an older, seasoned woman whose life is all about beauty and who appreciates eye candy on many levels. HOWEVER, life is about so much more than these things (and I get that many of these post-ers understand that). Our culture is so driven by the superficial and by that I mean the external as opposed to the internal that it is no wonder these young women feel pressured and question what the ultimate purpose of it all is.

    I also think the ambiguity is connected to our reality show lifestyle. So much of what should be personal and intimate is plastered all over our TV, movie and computer screens and it has the effect of cheapening the really important things of life. I realize what I am saying may appear contradictory, but what ought to be hidden is frequently not and it is all expected to appear beautiful, natural, blissfully happy, etc. ABSURD and very disingenuous…as we all know that it is possible for people to appear as having entirely different emotions than they are actually experiencing.

    Anyway, it is a great discussion..thanks for initiating it. And all you lovely ladies (and men) who are speaking out, be encouraged that your voices DO need to be heard!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08364125462335887553 Fenn

    Ok, I'm a wedding photographer (and people photographer), but I'm just going to go ahead and tell you I don't enjoy weddings…because between my favorite part (the portrait time with the happy couple) and everything else there is just a lot of worry, tears, and frustration. I've seen anxiety attacks, crying fits, physically ill brides, actual fights at the reception. It is honestly, a little ridiculous.

    A lot of my friends have ideas for how they want their weddings to be, and some of them have been able to plan it and make it happen. Many of them have been forced into something they didn't actually want. Somehow, at the end of it, they say, "It doesn't matter that I didn't have my wedding, because it was fun anyway." I have to tell you, I don't buy it.

    Even when sitting around with friends, talking weddings (hazard of the job, always reading blogs, looking at magazines, talking about what I'm about to cover or what I've just covered), some of my friends have said things, "I want to wear red." In a completely, fictional, dream way, and the responses have been, "OH NO YOU CAN'T!"

    I don't understand this.

    I wish to all of you that you would just look the naysayers in the face and say, "This is MY wedding and I want to do it MY way." Because I would much rather photograph an entirely relaxed and happy day, and I think you deserve it.

  • Marisa-Andrea

    Me and my husband were talking about this blog post last night and I realized that I had less issues with my wedding (in general I enjoyed it) and more issues with the lead up. Simply put, I hated planning the darn thing. Just thinking about the planning process I went through makes me cringe. I hated planning for a lot of similar reasons that people did not enjoy the actual wedding. The center of attention thing bugged me — I got tired of people telling me it was MY day, I hated the idea of the wedding being all about ME instead of about US. I hated that you had to try on 10 million dresses just to find one. I hated looking through invitation books to find the "right" invitation. I hated the pressure I got from family members and friends about what to include in our wedding. And I felt a lot of GUILT and weirdness during the entire process because all of my married friends LOVED planning their weddings, they'd never had so much fun, it was stressful but so a blast at the same time, etc (while I just wanted to crawl into a cave and never talk about my wedding ever). I will confess that I WAS worried about not liking the actual wedding since the planning was such an awful process for me. I know it's not quite the subject of this post, but I thought I'd share anyway…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Marisa-Andrea
    Agreed. I loved our wedding, but the planning? I think I'd rather gouge out my own eye than do that again. And (as I think we've discussed) it's SHOCKING how much planning a simple wedding takes. It's harder in some ways than a complicated wedding, because you're doing everything yourself. And I was shocked to realize that people were not ready and willing to help us out. I mean, god bless them, so many people did help us out in the end, but it wasn't as easy as you'd think. Everyone's become so used the the 'professional wedding' that when you're trying to do the ACTUALLY traditional 'community wedding' people feel… put upon, I think.

  • Anonymous

    Best subject ever.

    What worries me when people talk about the difficulties of planning a wedding as if it's a rite of passage, is the idea that this is desirable. It perpretrates the idea that it's a growth experience.

    Is it really a good idea to bring this level of stress into our lives and the lives of our families and friends?

    I am thinking of my sister who married in 1984. Her experience planning her wedding has horrible. The groom's mother demanded that they get married in her church, despite the fact that our family wasn't the same religion. And it's not as if the groom's family was contributing financially.

    My poor sister had to side step so many family minefields. The financial pressures were overwhelming. There were a lot of tears.

    In the end, her mother-in-law didn't even show up at the wedding because she was too nervous and insecure about what other people would think of her.

    The wedding was at our parent's home. Our family did a lot of DIY and a lot of running around and it was tiring.

    Just before the service, the minister asked my sister if the vow to "obey" was okay. He said he knew her sister (me) would never agree to it, but wanted to ask her. She felt pressured to agree to it and very much regretted it later.

    Weddings are supposed to unite two families, but sometimes they cause irreparable damage.

    And the planning process often means spending a year of your life with an awful lot of unhappiness which is self-inflicted.

    Maybe there is something wrong with the way we do weddings? I'm not providing answers; I'm just questioning the "traditional" wedding.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08961394308781644374 Agirlhitched

    Meg, by the overwhelming response to this post, among others, clearly you are doing something very very important. There seems to be an enormous cultural black hole, and you are filling the void in an incredibly positive way. So the haters? Ignore the f*ckers. Seriously.

    I loved our wedding. Sure the planning was hard work, but even that I enjoyed. Honestly? I think that was partly down to you, and the advice that you gave, and the questions that you so intelligently address, and the debate that you so articulately moderate in this space. Keep doing what you're doing, and maybe (hopefully) fewer of us will find ourselves in the unfortunate position of not-loving our weddings.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14606823877612277116 Erin

    I loved our wedding. It was a great day. But, looking back (it was only two weeks ago) it wasn't the best day of my life. It wasn't this fantastic thing you see in the movies. And though it was wonderful, part of me says "well, was it really worth all that work?" and I realize that we didn't need to have a wedding at all. It's a very, very disconcerting feeling.

  • Lily

    Hi Meg and others – long time reader, first time poster… and wife of almost 3 weeks here! This post really struck a chord with me.

    I hated planning our wedding. It was tedious; I was sick of organising details and of well-meaining people asking how things were 'coming along' … as though it was the only thing happening in my life. I was also really frustrated (a) that no-one ever asked my then fiance the same questions… and (b) that no-one ever stops to talk to brides/grooms-to-be about MARRIAGE! It's always about the dress, or the flowers, or some such…

    But, on the day.. I loved it. My husband and I loved every second and had a wonderful, joyous day, surrounded by our amazing families and friends. By the end of the night, my cheeks hurt from smiling. And that's a good thing.

    But I'm so glad it's over. It was wonderful, but I definitely did not love wedding planning and am glad we can now get on with planning and settling into our married life together.

    In a weird way, the wedding just seemed like a rite of passage we had to complete in order to get to the blissful marriage bubble we're in now.

    Love your blog Meg. Really.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10693080137196812405 Eco Yogini

    i thought a long engagement would be great for planning..

    instead a two year engagement has resulted in me wanting to just NOT get married. kinda like- what the heck are we gonna talk about afterwards???

    some things were good that we had extra time though- like informing the in-laws about our name change- having them FREAK OUT and hopefully they will have a year to adjust.

    what this post has made me realize was that our "plan" to have a jazz band because we don't like dancing and we felt other people would want "something" should just be cut.

    i want a rock band-guitar hero set up. and i want to play, drink, sing and roast hot dogs in the firepit outside with my new husband and close friends.

    if the older relatives aren't happy with that- they can go to bed and sleep.

    THANK YOU

    (also- Meg, your comment to A Lost Angeles Wedding about your *gut gut gut* feeling was the tipping point… I totally didn't expect you to say that and it was what I needed to "read").

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone read "All Dressed In White: The Irresistable Rise Of The American Wedding" by Carol Wallace?

    It's basically a history lesson on weddings.

    The author tells how in the 1800's and into the 1900's, most brides were married at home with the family baking the cake and arranging the flowers. The dress was a "best dress" enhanced with lace or flowers that would be worn again.

    Getting married at home meant the guest list was limited to family members and only very close friends due to space limitations.

    The honeymoon was a time when the couple would travel around to greet their more distant relatives as a married couple.

    Gradually, some people started getting married in churches and that meant more people could be invited. With more guests, the family needed professional help and the wedding itself became more elaborate and theatrical to fill up the larger space.

    Prior to this, the only weddings involving lots of guests, lavish food and dancing were given by the wealthy (think Astors and Vanderbilts).

    Department stores began to market to brides and even teach the etiquette of formal invitations and other matters. The ways of the rich were trickling down to the middle class.

    This was the beginning of the "professionalism" of putting on a wedding. It wasn't until the 1950's that it was firmly established though.

    The home weddings were very individualistic. Weddings became more "cookie cutter" once the professionals became involved because everyone used the same professionals in any given town.

    It seems like the old way of getting married at home among family and only very close friends might suit a lot of us.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06251608952567104209 Stephanie

    Great post and discussion! I've been married a little over a year now and my husband and I still laugh about how, if we could do it over, we'd cut out half of our guests (who we felt we were 'obligated' to invite) and just have a small 40 person wedding. We did love our wedding and we had fun planning but, I think we were just appreciative of being surrounded by our closest friends and family.

    See, my husband's dad unexpectedly died the day before our wedding. He had gone into the hospital that week and we weren't sure if he would be able to come to the ceremony so we asked our pastor to marry us at the hospital in his room with only our parents present. If we hadn't done that, I know I would've regretted everything about our wedding. However, our friends and family encouraged to still hold the planned ceremony and reception in honor of his father… I'm glad we did, he would've been upset if we hadn't! And, I think he would've had a wonderful time…

    So… hopefully we can all find even the smallest moment or photo that makes us happy about our day, and just seriously forget the rest!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09044881260357221500 Victoria Hoke Lane

    A very sweet exhortation, Stephanie.

  • Anonymous

    This is an awesome post.

    I had never read this blog until now, but bookmarking it is now a no-brainer as I have never seen so many thoughtful, reasoned (not to mention grammatically accurate!) responses to a question posed.

    My thoughts? Again, I am one of the "not yet wed" – I get married in September. But after reading every single one of these comments, what stands out the most is how disproportionate expectation is to reality: the budgets, the family spats, trying to fit meaning into the "cookie cutter" scenarios weddings invariably present, etc.

    Several posters pointed out, rightly, that the media surrounding weddings is pervasive and desperate to perpetuate this hydra of a myth. I believe a balance can be struck, with the caveat of being willing to piss several, sometimes important, people off.

    I've chosen a farm for my wedding setting, as nature calms both my fiance and I, and my Catholic mother still makes snide remarks. My dress is one-shoulder and less poufy than my best friend would like. We're serving food I would actually cook and eat myself, despite my father's concern that "we" should "wow the guests with something more fancy". I'm making (or Etsy-ing) a number of the design elements, even though my planner (I'm an out-of-state bride, so she's my one concession to the traditional) is shaking in her boots. All this in an effort to make "the day" (whatever that means) feel more "us" and less stereotyped. Reclaiming your identity in spite of what is "proper" or "expected" is the undercurrent here, and I am so glad more and more people are admitting to and becoming sensitive to that.

    Many women will be disappointed with their weddings, by sheer force of numbers and reasons above (in my post and all the others) well-counted. However, that being said, the gentle truth remains: an event cannot sap your power and manipulate you emotions unless you let it. Thus I have also made within myself what I feel is an essential admission: This is not the biggest, most special, perfect or important day of my life, and that day probably will not be staged or pre-planned in any way, shape or form. It's my wedding, my fiance's wedding, a wedding. Nothing more. Period.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Eco Yogini
    Dude. NEVER substitute something for Dancing (because as David said this weekend, "Um, there is no substitute for dancing.") Parties don't have to have dancing. MOST parties don't have dancing. A generation ago most weddings didn't have dancing. So just do what you want, have another kind of party, no awkward substitutes. A dinner party? A cocktail party? A garden party? The list goes on and on.

  • Anonymous

    Anon (above Meg),

    Thank you for my new phrase . . . "this hydra of a myth".

    ;-)

    Meg,

    How about hula hoops? Would hula hoops replace dancing? I'd like to try!!!

    ;-)

  • Beth

    I'm another of those not yet married pre-anxious commenters on this one. My brother once described my personality perfectly when in some random moment he said something to the affects of "I think you really like being the center of attention, but once you're there you have no idea what to do with it", so yeah, totally socially awkward. I've grown a little less awkward and I'm much more comfortable with all the people in my life so I'm hoping that the social awkward side of me stays at bay for that day, but she still has me absolutely paranoid about all sorts of things even this early in the planning process… I just hope I can push her aside enough to keep her out of my head questioning and nitpicking every little thing once the day arrives.

  • Anonymous

    i actually loved our wedding but for reasons that i did not anticipate. one other commenter said that she spent so much time planning for a great party and ended up loving the ceremony. this was my exact experience. my favorite part of the day was the ceremony: standing up in front of all of our friends and family, saying vows we wrote and stand behind. despite being in front of 100+ people, it felt like just us and the officiant.

    that being said, i actually thought i was going to hate the wedding. all of it. because i thought the planning process was ridiculously stressful. and i felt like a pariah saying that i hated it. a fellow grad student almost died when she asked me: "OMG. you are engaged too. isn't it so much fun planning the wedding?". to which i actually spit out my coffee and replied "what planet are you from?". she contained her giddiness for the remainder of the semester.

    thanks for the honesty. it is greatly appreciated.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05175103815157859474 ‘burgh bride

    Frustrated on January 7th said exactly what I feel/think/stress about my upcoming wedding all the time: when people say "its your day" or "do what you want, b/c no one else matters" is the WORST advice anyone can give to a bride! I mean, for me, the best part of planning this whole shebang is taking time to thoughtfully include my family. I *know* it is frustrating combining opinions and ideas and I *know* that I will have to make decisions that go against the grain, but not once, not ever will I make a decision that reflects ONLY my wants and ONLY my needs! I don't want to do it for my wedding and I certainly don't want to do it in my marriage! I think that it is EXACTLY that type of attitude- a self-serving, who-the-eff-cares about what everyone else thinks mentality that may contribute to divorce and our current culture/quality of life.
    I think we, as women, and as a result of the wedding industry fall victim to expectations that are humanly impossible and that is an ongoing struggle that I empathize with, and am incredibly relieved to see expressed here on this blog. As I have been meaning to say since I started reading this blog, THANK YOU! Thanks to everyone who feels, and shares, and is openly honest about this crazy, mixed-up thing we call weddings, b/c honestly, you sure saved mine!

  • Anonymous

    What a great post! I'm actually a wedding photographer and financially I thrive off of the overpriced madness that is the American Wedding Dream, but I'm ready to see people get their priorities in check and get creative. Decide what is important to you and don't let your family or friends convince you otherwise.

  • Anonymous

    What a great post! I'm actually a wedding photographer and financially I thrive off of the overpriced madness that is the American Wedding Dream, but I'm ready to see people get their priorities in check and get creative. Decide what is important to you and don't let your family or friends convince you otherwise.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00379596904318935981 Liz

    i felt unattractive.

    but when someone asks about your wedding, who wants to hear you self-absorbedly say, "i didn't feel pretty"?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14949200525056187940 jessica rita

    @ Meg

    I'm at the beginning of my planning, with 11 (ugh) more months to go, but I already find myself losing sleep over things I'd normally ignore. (Linens! Chairs! What crap will I offer my wedding party as a gift!)

    It seems my personality was supposed to magically shift into this perfectionist princess-in-waiting once my fiance handed me a diamond ring. Sadly, this moment has yet to arrive. Until it does, I'll be here, priding myself on quickly becoming the bane of my caterer's existence.

    I know I'll be happy to marry my fiance, but I've been certain since we met that we'll both be happier once we're married and "settled down."

    Your honesty is refreshing and I think these comments prove that there are plenty of us feel the same way. Hopefully reading APW will keep my head on straight (er than usual) through this whole ordeal.

    @ Kaylen

    I'm in your same boat, kind of. As I'm an only child, and the oldest of my generation on both sides of a huge Italian-Catholic family, my parents are apparently obligated to pay for this wedding. And since they're paying, and both my family and my fiance's family are, well, huge- the guest list has ballooned to somewhere near 325. While they helped us find a location big enough for our "party," we're lucky (so far) that they're allowing the two of us to make all the biggest decisions.

    I'd much rather have a DIY wedding like the one you're dreaming of, but I know there's only so much crafting I can do before then, and for that many people, I don't know where I'd find the time. I'm hoping, just as I'm sure you are, that "our big day" ends up reflecting the both of us, and if we make it out alive, I'll be satisfied.

    Like someone else said, the fact that there's a vacation at the end of this whole ordeal makes the idea seem a little sweeter. Just a little.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16975674553422157221 Elizabeth

    Our wedding was gorgeous, beautiful, stunning and full of great details. It was magazine worthy and we got a million compliments on how magical it was. BUT, more than once during the evening I looked around and thought…I'm really not having fun. And you know the real kicker? I'm a professional wedding planner.

    We wanted a very small wedding with just our favorite people. We asked our parents for their short list and my mother-in-law started with a list of 450 and add to it daily. It was a great lesson…although hard learned…about the need for boundaries. She refused to listen to our wishes, even when we showed up on her doorstep with the list and a red pen to begin cutting people. Trying to be respectful of the "adult" and of their family dynamics, I was not nearly as assertive as I should have been and chose to let my husband deal directly with her – not realizing he was not going to be assertive with her either. Rather than risk upsetting or offending her, I ended up completely upset and utterly offended during the whole process – as did my sweet, supportive parents – which naturally upset and embarrassed my fiance although he never realized exactly how pissed we had gotten until after it was all over. My whole family was so completely taken aback by how she just bulldozed everyone that instead of sitting down and having a "come to jesus" meeting with her and redirecting the whole wedding, we just dealt with the small issues with her as they arose daily and tried to remain polite. We should have dealt with the larger issue at hand which was her lack of boundaries and refusal to listen and respect that this was our wedding (that my family was paying for), not hers! I wish I had handled it then because It would be an issue that would continue to arise thru the first three years of our marriage until I finally refused to be pushed any more and told my husband that by trying to appease her he was disrespecting that the two of us were a family now and we had to come first. Additionally, I had to stand up and be direct with her myself instead of expecting him to "deal with her".

    10 years, a lot of experience and gained wisdom later, I always tell my clients: bottom line is that you have to listen to what your heart tells you and then stick to your guns. If you want intimate, don't invite 500 people to please the parents! Otherwise you'll be standing at your wedding thinking "who ARE these people? " If you want casual, don't let anyone push you into formal because "that's how you weddings are supposed to be". Don't let it turn into a fiasco. Don't overextend your finances. Don't go into it trying to impress people. They will be impressed if the wedding is full of love and speaks of the couple – no matter how simple or opulent. Conversely, don't go to the JOP because someone "just wants it to be easy" when you were hoping for a celebration with family and friends. Don't deny yourself something like a dress that makes you feel special or a pretty bouquet because it's your second wedding or you feel like you don't deserve "the fuss". Everyone does it differently and these days, there is no one "right" way. Make it special in whatever way YOU choose. Honor yourself. You'll be so glad you did.

  • Anonymous

    I for one loved my wedding (ended up at exactly 100), but would have been just as happy to have eloped with a few close friends and family because I have learned that at the end of the day ***THE MOST IMPORTANT THING*** is that you are married! It doesn't really matter all the details or how you got there, but that you are. I personally feel that American culture has put so much emphasis on the wedding (as an event) that we have failed the emphasize the importance of what the party begins…. a marriage, and THAT is the most important thing. For all you reading this that want seomthing different than traditional….GO FOR IT!! You should love your Wedding Day as it is your marriage that it is beginning…so do what makes you (as a couple) happy!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Elizabeth
    A-freaking-men. When people tell me they are being bulldozed (or worse blackmailed by parents, "if you don't do such and such I won't come.") I always think about the importance of bounderies. You're starting your own family now, as an adult, and it's time to very kindly learn how to say, "Thank you so much for your input, we really value it, but we're going to do something a little different." And then stick to your guns. If nothing else, you'll set a precedent for your new family.

    That's not to say compromise isn't important, but most of use are better at compromise than to sticking up for ourselves, as brand new, fully grown adults.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454278674225963467 AnnC

    I loved our wedding, and I must say I loved planning it (even though there were times that were a bit harder than others of course…).
    But still, I sometimes feel guilty about…
    - not having enjoyed the ceremony so much. Well, it's not really that I didn't enjoy it. But I was really stressed during the church ceremony, and that's easily seen on the pics (not smiling a lot, very "serious"). I was listening intently to the catholic priest, and thinking "why did I think I wanted a church wedding when I'm not a catholic ?". Well, the husband is and wanted one so it doesn't really matter, but I felt like instead of pulling me closer to the church, the wedding had me take some distance with the dogma.
    Maybe that was also because I knew my atheist parents, jewish grand father, protestant grand mother and atheist other grand parents were listening, and kept thinking "what are they thinking about it ?" Felt like a traitor. Felt a bit better when everyone including them told me what a beautiful ceremony it was, and then fully enjoyed the rest of the day and the reception.
    - not having planned out all the little details I wanted. Our centerpieces were too small for our big tables. Love them still but wish I had put something under the vases like moss or slate to fill it out visually.
    - not having enjoyed our portrait session. I hate posing or being photographed and that was not exception, I was glad when it was over. And happily I'm glad we did it because I love the pics and the stress doesn't show (the love does). Maybe we should have done it after the ceremony because I xas more relaxed…
    - not being grateful enough for having had my dress made. It was great but there was a dress I would have bought if my aunt hadn't made that proposition (and my mother jumped on the wagon almost before asking me if I was ok), and I sometimes regret I didn't buy it and gently told my mother to f*ck off (because I now still need to do it… have to learn to say "no"). I must say that feeling is mainly due to the fact that I had to put on the spaghetti straps so my dress wouldn't slip and that I didn't like those straps. I had planned on another strap solution (kind of removable halter) and they didn't do it…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18182268757502634911 sera

    I blogged for six months while planning my freaking wedding. I panicked to my friends and family. I co-wrecked the relationship I had with my best friend. I made promises on my blog that I would post details of it. And now, four months later, I have posted one picture. A picture I don't even really like, but it shows the dress pretty well – and I altered it myself so all of my readers were asking me about it. I haven't even looked at some of the pictures I got from family and friends. I haven't ordered any from my photographer.
    And although I almost posted about how I was over my regrets, it's really dependent on how I feel from day to day. Today, having stumbled on this post, I'm feeling particularly regretful.
    Our ceremony was perhaps the best thing ever, but the reception? eh.
    1)I didn't even see some of the people that came.
    2)Our food was okay. everyone tells me it was great, but I'm a foodie.
    3)I took requests so that people would dance, and they didn't really. I kept staring at the gaping dance floor, while dancing mind you, as people I know to have danced in the past just sat there, or stood there next to the floor. Maybe I should have hired a dj.
    4)no one could figure out how to use the camera on the tripod for the photo booth.
    5)people didn't read the invitation and came too early. some of my family were at my venue before I was.
    6)I did not feel that beautiful.
    7)We had it on a Sunday night, so almost all of our guests left before we did. my aunt actually went home and changed clothes and came back so that she could do some of the packing up of vases and stuff.
    8)we didn't have transportation to the hotel.
    9)we picked the wrong hotel.

    I don't wish I could do it over again, but I do wish I'd done it differently. Small. Only friends. But, my family members would have been hurt so, there you go.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09940070149112243046 Karen

    I would have had a receiving line. There were people there I NEVER saw.

    I would have hired a better photographer. Although I did the research, asked all the right questions, he still did it all wrong. He faked us out on his examples of work. But I didn't know all that until afterwards.

    I would have had less people even though we only had 100.

    I would have eaten dinner during the reception.

    I would have hired a videographer.

    I would have spent more time with my dad . . . who has now passed on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08640505569216562748 radhi

    i could not have read your post at a better time! i won't be married until winter, but i'm already feeling so much pressure to have a wedding i don't want with gads of people i don't know. it was nice to read this and the comments and just exhale.

  • Anonymous

    I hate my wedding. I'm not married yet (October), and I ask my future hubs daily if we can go to the courthouse and get married. My wedding stresses me out. It has caused tension between my fiance and I, various family members and friends. Is it worth it? I hope so. I feel really bad because there is a lot of money, time, and resources being put into this wedding. It's not my wedding because I don't really want it. I want to be married, I don't want my wedding. All of my friends are getting married and I feel sooo guilty that I don't want a wedding.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12432832543158028300 Brigitta Ryan {duo}

    This post just changed my life. For months I have been trying to convince myself that it was ok to have things wrong with my wedding by trying to convince myself that they were meant to be.

    eg talking to myself "B it's ok that the music was terrible, because you didn't know how long it would take to put together, you couldn't prevent that, plus you're not very good at music anyways, so it's kind of fitting the music at your wedding wasn't good".

    Blah.

    Now i feel like its ok to say to myself "the music was crap, it actually ended up being in a car park, your mum didn't talk to you AND it didnt happen for a reason, it just happened and you don't like it"

    And a final note: Even though I didn't like it I had the most fun of my life, once i got a glass of champagne into me and realised I had 4 hours of the night left and just let all the stress fly away.

  • http://openid.aol.com/LexisReid LexisReid

    I'm getting married in September to my college sweetheart. We are eloping on our 7th anniversary, and I couldn't be happier about it. The thought of accomodating the wants/needs/desires of one person other than ourselves on that special day really gives me the hives, so it will be just us, and hopefully a blissfully fun, but simple day, filled with anything that our hearts desire. Even so, I feel guilty even having an extravegant weekend away… what with lux hotels and officiants and photos, we'll be blowing at least $1,500, which frankly strikes me as a lot for something we could do for $30 at the courthouse…

    Now, on the converse, my fiance (and family) wanted a reception/party, so my parents are both planning it, and paying for it. So far, the only things they have asked me about were the colors and the cake. I'm perfectly happy to be uninvolved, and look at it as something totally unrelated to our 'wedding'. I'm nervous that no one will come, that it won't be that fun, that everyone is going to stress me out. I get giddy with excitement at the idea of hosting a brunch the next day at my parents house, which gets me thinking that we should have just had a brunch reception.

    We are keeping our guestlist 'small' which is 150 people??? that is about 100 family members, and about 50 friends (including some plus ones). There is a lot of pressure because we were a college couple. We know the same people, were in the same campus orgs… people love us as a couple, and everyone assumes we will have some large reunion bash wedding as some of the other college couples have had. I hate the idea of being imposed upon, but I also hate thinking of all the people who we'd really like to see, but just can't afford to invite. i'm glad that the reception is a seperate event, but I really wish it wasn't happening, so that I wouldn't have to think about these things.

    And my dad is refusing to accept that we are eloping, so I can't even tell him when and where we are getting married because he has made it very clear that he will show up.

    I don't even know that this post is coherent, and it's an oldish thread now, so no one will read it, but thank you for posting this blog. I feel so conflicted and frustrated about all of this process, while simultaneously giddy about marrying my best friend and partner in crime.

    What a conundrum.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04353923267542448434 BronxTerp

    I so agree…Soon to be bride in July and I am sick of the wedding planning, of people giving their 2cents, of feeling like I am planning it all (and I am-my fiance is supportive at times)…but this is not what I envision my wedding planning to be like…I wish I could just go to an island with parents/sibling and celebrate with a huge BBQ…but fiance wants the church and i know that's really important but if i had my way so NOT doing that…so I compromise and he compromises and in the end it will be the wedding that works the best for us…I wish it could just be DRAMA FREE!! thanks for giving me a space to share my thought

  • Texasdove

    My wedding was the most stressful unenjoyable day EVER!
    I wanted a JP marriage, and a long HoneyMoon, my in-laws wanted a wedding. So me and MY family did everything! Because of the stress put on me, I woke up unable to move my neck. I spent the morning at the chiropractor. When I returned home my mother was outside in the heat of the day setting up tables, while my in-laws where taking a freaking nap. I cried the entire day, my face is super puffy in all the pictures, and worst after the whole thing me and my new husband where broke. We ended up spending the weekend at a Hotel, thats it for the fabulous HoneyMoon.
    I wish I could go back and try to not be stressed, and just enjoy the day. Unfortunately you can’t go back, you can’t get a do-over. My advice, stick to what YOU want to do for YOUR wedding. Screw the In-Laws!

  • Rachel A

    Thank you for posting this. I can’t bring myself to voice this to anyone accept my husband, who of course does his best to understand, but never could. I was not the girl who had her wedding planned by age 7. All my barbie dolls were secret agents and the Ken doll usually ended up dead at the end of the adventure. So it was to my surprise that I found myself engaged, quite a bit younger than my parents anticipated, and forced to pull of this thing called a wedding for $2000. My parents invited all the guests (totaling about 150) and I was expected to feed, house and entertain all of these people on that budget. This was all made worse by the fact that I am a people pleaser and had this idea of a very small outside affair followed by brunch or lunch with a rather dreamy, vintage theme. A garden would’ve been the ideal. Instead I have an outdoor ceremony on my college’s grounds followed by a sandwich platters from walmart at our local Baptist’s Student Building. My worst fear was that my wedding would be cheap and that people would critisize. To top it all off, I’m heavier than I’ve ever been and every….single….wedding photo makes me cringe. I badly want to lose that weight and do it all over again on our first anniversary (my way). Would that be stupid?

  • AM

    This website is hilarious! I have always always wanted to elope, but unfortunately let myself be bulldozed into a wedding. I never dreamt about a stupid wedding dress, I have never wanted to be the center of attention, I have never wanted to get all dolled up and parade aorund like a prize cow at a cattle parade. THAT’S JUST NOT ME! But did anybody hear my protests and cries for help? NO! Everyone ignored me – my fiance, my mother, my brothers…….I felt pressurised to do the right thing and so i went ahead with it and turned into the ulitmate bride-zilla as I apporached the day with trepidation.

    The wedding planning was a nightmare. A month before I had to start taking calming meds because I turend into a raging insomniac. I could not embrace the wedding and everyone kept telling me not to spoil it for everyone and not to spoil the joy for myself. WTF?!?!?! Here I was being a martyr for everyone and I was not even allowed ot be honest?

    My mother who had promised months before that everyone will help out (because we didnt have a lot of money and needed help) proceeded to be a complete witch the week before the wedding. She told me not to ask my brothers for any help, and she also ignored me the whole week until eventually the day before the wedding she screamed at me and said she wasn’t helping anymore and that she would be spending the evening before the wedding with HER family. I was devastated and traumatised…..And on the wedding day I had to put on the fakest smile ever even though I was so sad. Oh yes, my hair stylist also could not make it at the last minute I had to go somewhere else, and i don’t think she knew much about wedding hair. (I didnt have a bridesmaid or family members to help me out or give advice about the hair either) Of course it probably didnt help that I kept on telling her that I dont want to look like a bride (hahahaha). She forgot to put on hair spray, so in every photo outside I have a different hairstyle due to the wind blowing :-D

    Now to add insult to injury: months after the event, my mother still backstabbed us and told everyone how we had used them. WTF?!?!?! Here I had invited all the relatives FOR HER (I didnt even want the f-ing wedding so it wouldnt have bothered me if they werent there), and I had also paid her flight ot come ot the wedding, and she did not even pay a cent towards the wedding as we paid everything ourselves. And here she tells everyone how we used her?

    My husband had a great time…….but it did damage our relationship to some degree for a while. I resented him because I didnt feel like doing all the wedding shit for everybody else, and he resented me afterwards ebcause I didnt like my wedding and I don’t want to look at the photos ever again in my whole life. And now when people ask about the wedding I can’t even tell the truth about how I really feel?!?! WTF?!?! So all in all, I had to be a complete fraud throughout the whole process. It sucks! I wish I had eloped. To everyone else out there: if you dont really want a wedding, I recommend you elope. Don’t do it just because everyone else wants it.

    Thank you for this post and thank you for the vent!
    PS I really love my husband and I am lucky to be with him :-) Please dont see my comment as being disloyal towards him…….I am happy that I am married to him! I just wish we could have quiestly gotten married without all the stress and family drama and expectations and frills and fuss. Just a stress-free romantic elopement and a subtle transition from being engaged to being married. I do take responsibilty for agreeing to the whole thing, but I was put under enormous pressure to do so. NEVER AGAIN will I do something just because everyone expects it. I think I was also traumatised by the fact that I did not even want a wedding and that this was apparently a socially unacceptable mind-set to have. I was also guilt-ridden that I had invited people who had come all the way by plane and I didnt even want a wedding so I felt guilty and like a fraud that they were there.

    I have learnt to say NO! And my husband has learnt to listen to me as well :-) (after all, as I keep telling him, when a woman says she doesnt want a wedding, she would not lie about a matter like that!).

    Good luck to all of you!

  • Moriah

    I just got done journaling about my wedding resentment and wanted to find some more people out there who get it. The folks attending my wedding left saying “Best wedding EVER” I literally had people writing me for weeks after saying “It was the best weekend of my life, thank you for including us, it was absolutely wonderful” So I feel like I am even more so not supposed to say anything in the contrary, because I recognize it was absolutely and amazing weekend. But it was the most stressful weekend of my life.
    I know in part it’s because I did a ton of decorating (which was beautiful, but took a lot of time and energy) and in part because my husband assumed I had it under control and was not as helpful as he could of been.
    But my memory of my weekend is basically one stressful blur. I am in two of my friends bridal parties this year and attending three other weddings. When I watched a friend of mine getting ready, which involved nothing but sitting in a townhouse and sipping champagne while girls checked their phones, I had hard time not sobbing and leaving the room, because about 2 hours before my wedding, I was decorating the dessert table.
    My advice to upcoming brides: cut out as many details as possible. Because for all the details I put into my wedding, the biggest and most frequent compliment I get about the day was how spot on our ceremony was- our pastor (a good friend) geared it just for us- it was the most personal ceremony that could be created. And people knew it- and they felt closer to us because it was so open. But I could have been wearing jeans and it could have been in a garage. It still would have been just as beautful.

  • Leigh

    I’m so please to have found this site, everything is so gushy and idealistic when it comes to weddings, I to just wanted a small affair me and my partner of 10 years.
    Not only was it extremely stressful, my partner didn’t lift a dam finger, I found out just how horrible my monster in law’s were and how awkward my own parents were, all from the people who you would have expected to support you!!
    Some suppliers were absolutely terrible and as soon as the wedding over didn’t want to know.
    There was so much wrong with my wedding that as soon as I got home I threw everything in boxes and banished it to the attic I can not even look at the photos.
    I was married in August 2012 and now Jan 2013 not being able to talk to partner still cant let go of what a horrible experience it had been, but comforting to know I am not alone.

  • Dani

    What a relief it is to find this post. I know I’m coming to this a little late, but still have felt a great deal of gratitude for the original poster to put herself out there. Somebody had to pave the trail for the rest of us to feel comfortable talking about such an awkward topic. I’m sure she wasn’t the first — and certainly won’t be the last — but it still takes guts to step up to the plate and be honest. Thank you.

    That said, I was married a little over 5 months ago and have been dealing with some super uncomfortable internal questions. As the other posters stated, I, too, am so excited to be married to my guy. I cried happy tears here and there throughout the wedding planning (like researching vows or songs) but not on the big day. At all. Not once. Which really irks me because I am a super emotional person and cry over so many happy things. And I know that about myself and kinda like that I am like that. So I was so sure that I would lose it up at the altar. Not so, it turned out. In fact, the whole day seemed to feel like one big dream sequence to me. Perhaps I was so beyond emotion?

    But there are other things as well. (I’ve decided that I will not use the word hate in describing my wedding. I just don’t want to take it to that level if I can help it.) I didn’t like my makeup (it seemed my trial went very differently), my hair was not bad, my photographs were ok (again, didn’t like the way my makeup was done, so I really don’t like some of the more up close shots of me), the DJ was meh (I mean, how do you *really* scout out the perfect DJ?!), the food was meh (again, different from the original tasting), as well as a bunch of other little things. Now I’m finding that I’m not telling anyone that my photos are ready because I don’t want to go through them with anyone else. Ultimately, I’m feeling that I don’t want to show these photos to my close friends and family in fear that they will just go, “Oh, they were ok” and will end up validating my feelings. I mean, they won’t actually say those words but I know I’d be looking for non-genuine reactions. It was also a destination wedding of sorts and I had (and still have) such issues with the idea of asking people to drive all the way or pay for plane tickets and hotel rooms, etc. I definitely feel that I would do a lot of things differently, from dress to venue (I picked the reception room to be able to hold the maximum amount of guests on our list, but it looked waaaaay to big and empty once we had our official number — which was approx 80 people less). But I wouldn’t change marrying my guy.

    Alright, well I have to say that it felt really good to get that off my chest. I know we are all dealing with different levels of feelings in regards to our wedding, but no matter what, it feels good to let things out in an understanding space. Thank you ladies!!

  • wouldprefer to beanon

    I absolutely cannot stand my wedding. It is this summer, and I feel like I have compromised so much- i really don’t recognize the wedding anymore. It is now my mom’s wedding and my future MIL’s weekend. I fell out of the equation months ago. I wonder why they even bother to include me in conversations. I get asked questions- I get told that I am greedy, demanding, over-the-top, unappreciative as a response. (many of the things i want are cheaper then what actually gets decided on because they wait too long to make any kind of decision) Then, they go on and do whatever it is that they want to do. If there is going to be a splurge, it is on their terms. I think it’s comical that I actually began the process thinking it was my wedding. Who the hell was I kidding?

  • LoveMarriage HateWedding

    I love my husband. He is absolutly the most wonderful man and I could not ask for anyone better to spend the rest of my life with. That said, I hated my wedding day. First, we went into debt to pay for it (DON’T EVER DO THAT EVER EVER EVER), for what we spend on the wedding me and my new husband could have gone on a wonderful 2 week honeymoon to some tropical island somewhere and enjoyed ourselves. Secondly, I don’t even really remember the wedding, it just flew by. I spend a lot of money on something I cannot even rememeber. Finally, we realized after going to the courthouse to get our marriage license, we could have just come here and got it over with and started our wonderful lives together. In the end that is all that matters. You won’t remember what food was served, what color the flowers were, the designer dress you wore, or who sat by whom. Not one bit of it matters. The day is about you and your husband’s new life together. That is all. No one and I do mean no one else opinion matter. My mother in law told me that we could not elope because she had to see her baby boy get married. Why? Weather we went to the courthouse or at some country club, he would still be married and she would still see him. He doesn’t just disappear after he is married. We should have just said yes when the lady ask us at the courthouse if we wanted to go ahead and get married. It would have saved us the stress and the debt we have now..

  • Kassie

    Thank you for this post. I am in the wedding planning stages as I have been engaged for a little over a month now. My initial plan was to have a small backyard wedding but due to my family size, the guest list quickly rose to 150 people. With the rise in the guest list came the rise in cost which is the number one thing we wanted to keep under control (I cant imagine spending over 10K for one day). This brought me to deicide that maybe a destination wedding is the best option for my fiance and I. Although a good idea in theory this has created a lot of tension between my family and I.
    I am at the point where I dont know what I want anymore and would like to give up on the planning process all together. All I really want is to marry my fiance and spend the rest of my life with him.

  • http://esnissa1977.pixnet.net/blog/post/170106899 Sally

    fantastic post, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector don’t realize this.
    You should continue your writing. I am confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  • Sara

    Cosmically stumbling across this post was like a therapy session! I am three weeks from my wedding and have found myself planning what I never wanted. From the start I wanted to fly off to a beach, elope, and use the money my parents were offering to make a down payment for a house. My fiance was concerned that if we did that his family would be upset over not being there. Come to find out, his family was going to be upset over something (everything) despite what route we took! My family has also contributed to some of the hurdles I’ve found myself leaping over! However, most of those hurdles have been self-created through my need to please everyone around me and avoid conflict!

    Society fosters this sense of everything that a wedding and wedding planning should be. Discovering this post and all of you and your brilliance and your struggles with this planning process makes me feel like less of a freak and more a part of a community that I now know exists! Constantly answering the questions “OH my gosh aren’t you just so excited?? It’s almost here is everything done? How many days?” and feeling the need to give the appropriate answers is so painful. In my head I’m screaming “I’m ready to be done with it. I’m ready for the advice to stop. And I have so many other important things occurring in my life right now, that no I do not know how many days I have left.”

    The internal conflict that all of this has caused has created a unique level of stress in my life. It has caused me to question our relationship in the regard of if getting married is so stressful what am I doing? However, at the end of each and every day leading up to “the day” I am reminded of the immense love that I have for my future husband. I remember that we are celebrating what we have been, what we are, and what we are going to be in the future. A friend reminded me that this celebration does not have to wait until the big day, nor does it end after that day; that celebration starts today, now with the little moments that made us realize we wanted to get married in the first place.

    Much love and positive thoughts to all of the brides out there feeling less than a princess and more of a frazzled ball of crazy! Celebrate each day what you are doing all of this for.

  • Juliet

    My husband and I got married in July 2013. I am struggling hugely with the shame of my regrets over our wedding day. He says it was his perfect day, but I have so many disappointments. The photos, the dress, not having any time to have meaningful conversations with ANYone. The cake. My flowers.

    I realise that all these things should be trivial, and I feel ashamed to feel so deeply hurt by them. After waiting 6 yrs for him to propose, this was supposed to be the day I dreamed of. It just didn’t live up to my expectations, and I know that it probably never could have, but it has deeply affected to me.

    I write this after another tearful, sad exchange with my new Husband. My inability to deal with my regrets are causing tangible problems between us. I was also v.ill due to an allergic reaction to malaria drugs on my honeymoon. 2013 – not so great.

    I am at a loss and feel so shallow and ashamed for feeling this way.

  • lilknottygirl

    my parents hijacked my wedding. they’re very religious and were very upset that i was living with my boyfriend without being married. they nagged and browbeat me into agreeing to get engaged before i wanted to and then nagged and browbeat me into getting married before i had any time to plan or save money. i should’ve stood my ground, but my entire life with them has been like this, and my fiance wanted to get married asap so he didn’t really back me up and i didn’t have the wherewithal to take on everyone. i was so stressed and upset that i completely stopped caring how the event went and didn’t even try to make it special, i just wanted it over with so my parents would leave me alone. i’m happily married, but i have almost no positive memories of my “wedding”.

  • Catherine Davis

    Thank you so so much for writing this. I have read through a number of the comments and really identify. We are currently planning our wedding and it’s not till 2015 and I already feel a bit stressed. I would much rather elope to a sunny beach somewhere and it just be OH and I but unfortunately my OH wants the wedding as he wants to celebrate our love with family and friends which I understand. I struggle with anxiety and am a people pleaser…not a good combination! I am panicked with thoughts of what if people don’t have a good time, what if they think we have cheaped out on some things etc. I keep telling myself that it doesn’t matter what others think but the people pleaser part of me struggles with this. Plus I am heavier than I’d like and worry about finding the dress and looking good etc. I just feel like all I do is worry atm. Plus I hate spending so much money on one day. Oh how I would love to elope. But there is no way my fiance would agree now as we have started putting deposits down etc so I just have to go along with it and hope that I do enjoy it in the end!

    • Catherine Davis

      all I really want is just to marry the man I love…why does it have to be so stressful?

      • Gemma Davis

        Just wanted to say thanks for writing your comment- I have been feeling EXACTLY the same and it’s such a relief to know I’m not the only one!

  • MarieA

    I am so relieved after finding this site. I’m getting married in three weeks. Tonight is my third sleepless night and I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep until the wedding is over and I’m far away from here.

    Our parents are wonderfully supportive and would have gone along with whatever we wanted. My fiance and I, after many discussions and a lot of research, decided we wanted a nice wedding and reception that included our dearest friends and our extended family. We just didn’t expect it to cost so much. We thought we got a decent deal on our venue and vendors, for what they are. But we didn’t think to budget for all of the million other things we apparently need that add up…we forgot about wedding programs, and thank you cards, bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts, gifts for our parents, sparklers for our exit, welcome bags for out of town guests, we didn’t really even budget for the rehearsal dinner because we had no idea that it’s basically a mini version of the reception. It all adds up…and it’s a LOT. I don’t actually even have regrets- we wouldn’t have done it differently. We truly want our family and friends there. We truly want it in a nice place. I guess I’m really mad at the industry. It’s impossible to have a moderately nice wedding for a small or even moderate price tag. So I guess we’re getting the wedding we wanted, but my first problem is the guilt I feel for how much money we spent, and the second is the fact that I actually do NOT enjoy planning it and that makes me feel guilty too, like I have to suppress my feelings every time I think something like “stupid to do list, burn!” “stupid details, burn! who cares if I end up with the flowers on my cake or not! would anyone really notice if I didn’t have programs for the ceremony?” I just want to focus on the details that make me and our parents happy. And that’s why I tried to do, but man is it easy to get lost in one’s own wedding.

    Also, the people who say the wedding is your day, are lying. Unless you eloped and it is literally your day. This day is ours, and our parents, and our family’s and friends’. That’s fine, but I hate when people tell me it’s my day. I’m not doing this all for me; no one is doing this all for me. Except maybe my fiance, who has agreed to and is happy with the plans but probably would also have agreed if I suggested getting married in the alley behind our apartment.

  • Mina

    It’s surprising how therapeutic it is to see this post. It’s nice to not feel alone. My wedding was about a month ago, and I’m pretty sure I have PTSD.

    My wedding didn’t go as planned because I wasn’t able to be in control of the situations that needed guidance, and the people I depended on to do small tasks failed. It was a destination wedding for the most part. My family and new family exhibited embarrassing and rude behavior towards me and others. My family drama inhibited a sibling from coming. When I met my Dad for the first time in my dress, instead of telling me I looked beautiful, he said ” O, nice” then asked where my sister was. This was the sister I reluctantly chose as my maid of honor. He couldn’t even budge the favoritism on my wedding day. The one bridesmaid who openly dissed my dress didn’t even have the decency to tell me I at least looked nice. My husbands sister was a bridesmaid not by my choice, and she was a drunken fool who ARGUED with ME a few hours before the ceremony. These were a few of several rude gestures from the above family and many others.

    The string quartet that I spent days and weeks researching ended up being HIGHLY unprofessional and did not even look through their music. They played poorly, which was embarrassing considering how easily sight-readable the music was. My dress looked horrible in photos… it was one of those dresses that was bought in an exhausted “Nothing fits my boobs” moment, and from the hand of the designer. Beautiful in principal but not on me. It was also a compromise… I tried to do something more conservative to please my family, and all it did was hide my figure. The photos turned out to be a poor representation of the photographers previous work. In addition to that, I had bags galore, thanks to no sleep and nonstop crying for a week. I did not feel beautiful, and now my photos prove it to be true. I am good with make up but opted to have someone else do it, which was another mistake. It just looked strange–too much blush, eye makeup made my almond shaped eyes look a different shape, etc. The decor, theme, flowers, and colors ended up being beautiful but did not show up as such on camera. The time of day and weather ruined lighting. OH I was also an hour late because of a lack of rental cars.

    So, this is a small and scattered report of the horrors and disappointments I experienced at my wedding.
    My advice to anyone planning a wedding– don’t do a destination unless you have a massive budget and cars for everyone. I had a pretty decent budget and it still wasn’t enough. Don’t depend on anyone but yourself, and if your family rushes you into a time frame (like mine) tell them to shut up. Also, if your family tries to make you change what you want on your wedding day, tell them to deal. If you’re a performer or anyone great with planning, and you view the process as a production, then don’t let other people get in the way of your view. Lastly, if you’re family is as rotten as mine, then elope.

    My advice to other ladies in the same boat… if you didn’t have a honeymoon, go someplace really cool! Save for it and have an adventure! We couldn’t take a honeymoon with our schedules, and had moved to a new big city 5 months prior to the wedding. So, we are going to Iceland in the summer! We are hiring a photographer there to do a “Love Shoot” to make up for the photos which display how exhausted we were. IF you honeymooned… have an anniversary party! Invite close friends, family ( if they aren’t like mine) and find a new theme! I love my husband with all of my heart, and would have only gone through the hell which was that day (week, well year, really) for him, and him alone. SO, I’m determined to find a way to get past this, and make some happy memories during this first year of marriage. Happy planning, and ladies, DON’T BUDGE and DO YOU!

  • Ali

    Seriously. This makes me feel better. My wedding is about 5 months out and I broke down in tears trying to find invitations today. It wasn’t a lack of fantastic typography at all. It was my wedding! Luckily, the stationer knows one of my friends and offered chocolate to console me…

    My fiancee and I got engaged last year and have slowly been working through the process. As we both have big extended families, we joked around about everyone coming. Until they said they would. We would have preferred to elope (we both have anxiety issues), but I made the HUGE mistake of letting my parents’ opinions and their take on ‘their turn’ to host get in the way. Yes, they are covering the bill. I will not argue that part of it, but anything I argued about cutting back has been met with resistance! Their friends are being added every week, driving up the catering costs and plummeting my stationary budget (one thing I actually wanted to splurge on).

    We’ve booked a great venue, a great caterer, great XYZ…and we just want to run. In my mind, there would be nothing worse than a day popping anxiety pills to delete everything about OUR WEDDING DAY (!!!). I know I am a strong woman, but holy crap this thing has been a beast to deal with!!!

  • Paula

    I hated my wedding! Even before the day I was already hating it. I payed for it all, including the groom clothes everything and still wasn’t my wedding dream. Untill today I hated. And I can pass over it. Special now that I am a wedding planner. I hated my wedding because nothing was how I wanted..Nothing..My dress was not the one I wanted. I couldn’t have what I wanted because of money so I chose one I could use it after…Even that everyone love the dress I didn’t. I ask my husband to cancel several times He didn’t care. That is what hurt the most He doesn’t care… He had what he wanted all…of it I didn’t..but he doesn’t care… Untill today I ask him to fix the problem untill today after 10 years he still doesn’t care… I just realise how much I hated my wedding when I had to plan my sister in low wedding. My husband accept to be the bride godfather in one second…for us he didn’t accept the church wedding even do ut was what I really wanted. It took 2 years to convince him to baptize our child for his sister it took him one second… I hated my wedding…I still do…so I don’t have one single photo of the day anywhere near me…Our soon never saw his mother as a bride…