Ask Team Practical: Regretting Wedding Choices Mid-Planning


Ask Team Practical: Regretting Wedding Choices Mid Planning | A Practical Wedding

When Jon proposed to me, I had a dream. (Okay, I had the dream when I was 12.) I dreamt that I would marry this wonderful, temperamental, totally-for-me guy on my Uncle Harry’s farm in the early fall. Oh, there would be cider and pumpkins and my uncle’s great big white farmhouse as the backdrop to my day. The dreaming was so lovely.

Then my dad and grandmom threatened to not come to my wedding because it was at my uncle’s. Jon started to balk at the amount of work we’d have to do. I started to have guilt about spending a lot of money on my day when I have two kids and should be focused on their futures. I’ve never been married before, but I started to think I couldn’t have the things that brides who “got it right” could have. So I made a deal with the devil (my lovable dad) and agreed that if I got married in a small ceremony and reception—like forty people small—he would not only pay for it but also would take me and my family to Disney World as a “family-moon.”

I crumbled like week-old cake. Disney World with my two- and four-year-old AND my whole family? Disney World with the love of my life who has never been there? Oh, man, sign me up!

So we’ve spent a few months planning the ceremony at a small outside courtyard and a lunch reception at our favorite Irish eatery. So where does the regret come in?

I have a family that outnumbers some graduating classes (it sure beats mine!).  As I read these lovely stories about other peoples’ weddings and try everyday to convince myself that it only matters that Jon and I are getting married, I sink deeper and deeper into regret. I think of having a party later in the summer for our extended family, but then why not just have a big wedding? And how can I pick my top forty people when I always longed to spend my wedding day with my top 140?

~Kimberly

First, let’s discuss this part of your letter.  “I’ve never been married before, but I started to think I couldn’t have the things that brides who ‘got it right’ could have.”  While I have my suspicions about what you mean by that, I definitely don’t like it. You can have whatever you can afford and can make happen due to whatever circumstances that you have in life. That’s it, end of story, thank you and good night. And who are these ladies who “got it right”? They’d probably disagree with you and give you a laundry list of things that they could do over. So start thinking of yourself as someone who’s getting it right. Because you are. Having kids you love when you get married sure isn’t getting it wrong, and if you need visual proof you can see pictures of weddings with kids, from blended and non-blended families over here. So if I even catch you whispering that to yourself again, you are so grounded!

Now. Not loving your wedding. APW ladies know a little bit about that. But not loving the wedding you’re planning? That’s similar, and possibly a better, situation to be in because you can try to adjust your thinking now. The problem isn’t your wedding, it’s the mind-set that you have to love every single thing about it in the first place. Planning for perfection is setting yourself up for heartbreak. And this includes going into planning thinking about the perfect wedding you could have had. There is nothing wrong with mourning previously open doors that are slammed in your face. The problem comes in when that mourning starts to affect your happiness about the chosen alternative.

Kimberly, your previously imagined wedding sounds lovely. But that’s not your wedding. Your wedding is the wedding you chose to have due to family concerns, fiancé requests and an opportunity to do something wonderful for your family. (A FAMILY-moon?!? I loves it.) So let’s talk about how to deal with that.

One thing you can do is think about the wedding you could have had, but think about it realistically. Imagine the fights you and your partner would have had as you both worked to achieve this wedding he wasn’t fond of. Think about how exhausted you would have been trying to juggle the plans, as well as pay for it. Pumpkins are lovely, but they also come with dirt and bugs and fertilizer and, oh look, you forgot Aunt Judy is allergic to apples and, dear LORD, did the kids get into the barn and what is that SMELL?!? Think about the reality of the farm wedding and you might not view it through wedding-colored glasses that give it vintage processing and a sun flare.

Your other option is to focus on the good parts of the wedding you are having. Outdoor weddings are gorgeous and small weddings are great and often enviable. Catering issues? BAH! You know your food will be tasty. Your children are not only going to have a great time at your wedding, but they get to be included on a family-moon that they won’t forget. Also, the money you’re saving will be a gift you can’t yet see, but will be greatly appreciated in the future. Focus on the lovely and beautiful aspects that you know will be at this wedding. And know there are many more to come that you can’t even imagine yet. (A toast in Chinese, anyone?)

As for a party later on, why not? A big wedding vs. a small one and a party later can vary wildly in price, just for the fact that the party doesn’t have the “wedding” prefix attached. Also, with a party you can avoid having those conversations about your choice of venue, food, tableware, etc. that you would have to weather when dealing with a reception. As far as the guest list, you’ll have to whittle down just like any other bride; slowly but surely and with a few tears. Just picture Team Practical behind you, rubbing your back and handing you scotch.

On a final note, you might want to have a talk with your dad and grandmother about this business of not coming to your wedding based on the location. As we said before, there are very few reasons close family or friends should boycott a wedding and they usually involve criminal activity, severe emotional stress, or being on fire. To deny you their presence in an effort to make you pick a side may be okay now, but this isn’t something you want to encourage them to continue. You don’t need that kind of manipulation your life.

******

What do you think, Team Practical? How can we help Kimberly move past her dream wedding? I know you guys have had to make some hard choices during wedding planning that have made you mourn “what could have been,” so let us know how you dealt with it in the comments!

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh). We’re not kidding. It brings us joy. What, you don’t want to bring your editors JOY?!

Photo by One Love Photo, from one of the best weddings with kids in the Universe

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  • http://whenhoyametsaxa.blogspot.com/ Kathleen

    I’m not sure I agree with this advice. Your wedding hasn’t happened yet (though you don’t mention how soon it is), which may mean it’s not too late to change things. Maybe not drastically, but enough that you can focused on how excited you are for your wedding day, not about how bad you’ll feel about X. Could you invite everyone to the wedding, and then have a small luncheon just for immediate family afterward? Could you chip in some money to add a few more important people to the guest list? It’s true that no wedding is perfect, and that you may not love the wedding you end up with – though you may also not have loved the wedding you dreamed about, of course – but if you’re regretting it before it even happens, you don’t HAVE to just sit back and watch a wedding you don’t want come barreling toward you. You’ll probably still be mourning the wedding that might have been – everyone does, to some extent (I looked at my wedding pictures last night and realized this anew) – but if you can figure out a couple of things, that are in your control, that would ease your regret, pick those things to change and do it!

    • meg

      This *may* totally be true. That said, the reasons she gave for not having the dream wedding we actually pretty well thought through reasons, which may mean the dream wedding is, in fact, a dream. And she sounds very happy with what they did pick… which sounds like reality.

      I, for one, regretted all my wedding choices halfway through and wanted to give everything up and get married at home. David was the one who reminded me that we’d made all the choices we’d made for a reason, so no second guessing (first guessing had been painful enough). And damn if he wasn’t right.

      So I think Alyssa is on to something. If the question had been, “I hate everything, this is all wrong for me” we would have told her to throw in the towel and change it. But it was more like dreams don’t line up with reality… and that’s just fact, I think.

      • Libby

        One issue here, Meg. She specifically says at the end that she has dreamed of having 140 people at her wedding, not 40. And you were the person who wrote that you’d rather have every person you love at your wedding and serve them hot dogs than have only 30 and serve them steak tartar (I’m paraphrasing, naturally). She’s limited by her promise to her father to having 40 people, but this isn’t an issue of money or giving up on a wedding that’s too fancy for her budget. She’s giving up on 100 people that she very much cares for and wants at her wedding. And THAT is an issue worth reconsidering as she decides whether to move forward with the smaller wedding or change direction.

        • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.com/ Sheryl

          It doesn’t seem like 40 people is a “budget” choice so much as it’s what her father was willing to pay for, though. (Pay for in the sense of, he’d pay for a 40 person wedding, but even if the budget is the same he wouldn’t pay for an 80 or 140 person wedding).

          I think the idea is don’t do a small wedding just because that’s what the budget dictates, but sometimes there reasons to have a small wedding that have nothing to do with dollar signs.

        • meg

          Right, but I’m not talking about numbers. Trust me, I gave up a TON of things I wanted for my wedding, starting with a wedding in a CHURCH for goodness sake, and ending with an all night dance party. Super emotional, important, core stuff. It was hard, in a way I never have and never will blog about. My point is that reality matters, and part of wedding planning is mourning the life you might have had, and embracing the one you’ve got.

          That said, obviously, if you’re unhappy in a real core sense, you can and should change course. We’re just not selling you the fantasy idea that reality looks like your dreams all the time. It doesn’t, and that’s a painful thing… but also a wonderful thing, if you allow yourself to grieve and face up to what you’ve got.

      • Rachel

        I completely agree. I second guess everything but it is the biggest pain in the butt ever.

        • Claire

          Me too. Which is why one of our first rules for planning our wedding was “one and done”. Refusing to second guess our well-thought out decisions cut out the stress that comes with my tendency to re-evaluate decisions, obsessively trying to make sure we made the perfect choice.

          • Emily

            As someone with 8 days to go and a lot of decisions to make, I am adopting this slogan NOW. Thanks!

    • Angela

      I’m with Kathleen. Kimberly, I think you really have to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Or actually, “What do we want?” Maybe the farmhouse wedding is not what’s best for you guys, but it seems like you got a little steamrolled by your dad’s offer and were too quick to adopt someone else’s plan for your wedding. (Which…hello?! Seems like your dad sort of bribed you to get what he wanted here.) If weddings are about learning to stand up for yourself and your partner and occasionally tell your parents to settle down, this seems like a good time to start.

  • Elle Marie

    “Just picture Team Practical behind you, rubbing your back and handing you scotch.”

    Favorite. Quote. Ever.

    (Seriously, I have been getting through the early stages of planning drama by just asking myself “What would Team Practical do?”. Can we have t-shirts made? Or bracelets? Or better yet – doubles-size glasses engraved/printed?)

    • http://singingpilgrimdancing.blogspot.com Pamela

      I like the idea of those inexpensive rubber bracelets. That’d actually be doable. :)

  • http://singingpilgrimdancing.blogspot.com Pamela

    I don’t think this is bad advice, but since the wedding hasn’t happened yet I want to advocate for thinking of the possibility of door number three (whatever that might be)… For example, maybe your uncle’s farm is off limits, but what about someone else’s farm? Or is there another venue that if you’re creative might be available to you that is big enough for the crowd you want?

    You are looking at this as Uncle Harry’s farm OR the 40 person wedding. Maybe you could brainstorm a compromise… maybe some great solution to make say, an 80 guest wedding cost as much as the currently envisioned 40 person wedding? You’d have to take the idea to your dad, explain you aren’t happy, and hope he’ll still offer the family moon if you either keep the price the same, or maybe make up the difference?

    But if you end up doing the big party later, you might be in the same boat as me. I’m marrying an Indian man, and the hope was non-official wedding in US, then official wedding in India, but it’s looking like we might have to do official wedding in India then at least a year and maybe several years later a vow renewal in the US… basically, we’re not sure we can afford to have a wedding where my family and friends can be there at all. I’m having a hugely hard time with that… but I’m trusting it will all work out, and in the meantime trying to figure out the least expensive solution for a US wedding so that if we can swing it we can. Be flexible, creative, and try not to die from stress. That’s never good.

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      You’re not alone! The boy and I had our “official” (legal) wedding nearly a year ago — we eloped without any family or guests there for immigration reasons. Our “real” (social) wedding will be this summer, 17 months later. There’s no expiration date on giving people a chance to celebrate with you :)

    • Ana Maria

      I agree that you can choose “door three” and find a way to be happy with your wedding by making it your own. I’m in the same boat (sort of) because when we got engaged I told my aunt I wanted to get married at her big old farm house but then realizing costs and legal visa issues of getting my boy to the States, we decided to get married in Ecuador where we are living – now she’s threatening to not come because she might not “have enough money” to travel here. All the family knows thats bs, but what’s a family without drama!

      I’ve realized that making your family happy is important, but making sure you and your fiance are happy is also a valid reason to change things up at the last minute! (Why don’t you elope at Disney World with the fam and kids and then have a big celebratory bash when you get back??)

      • http://ktmade.blogspot.com Katie

        Oooh, I really like that disney world eloping idea! And then having a bash later – what a brilliant 3rd door option. It would sort of be like the best of both worlds. Without the farm, which I completely understand is a disappointment. I was dead-set on a farm wedding, but I didn’t have a farm or know anything with one, so that meant renting one, and man, are they shockingly expensive?! In the midst of wedding planning myself, I’m definitely dealing with some disappointments – the date, the budget – but I’m trying to work through them and see the positive side. That said, I’d have to agree that if you’re feeling incredibly sad about it and have time to make some adjustments, then maybe that’s a good plan. Of course our weddings won’t be perfect, but we should at least LIKE them! It’s a delicate balance of doing what makes you (and your fiance) feel good and honoring your family’s needs and desires (but they might need a talking to in this case).

  • Abby C.

    What about a mid-day reception for 140 people? Serve appetizers and punch, and maybe no booze, and that would make the large numbers of guests affordable. That way you could be with the people you love AND not go bankrupt.

    Hang in there. I know alot about having a wedding you don’t love, and mine’s TOMORROW. Alot of things I would change, but, you know what? It’s ok. It’s going to be ok. I’m going to go home today, get a big hug and cuddle from my fiance before I pack my overnight bag and head home to my parents’ house to crash for the night, and it’s going to be ok. That’s my mantra. Get your fiance to show you some love and understanding during your disappointment and it will go a long way towards making you feel better. :)

    • http://theparanoidlibra.wordpress.com Paranoid Libra

      Oh Abby, I hope it turns out better tomorrow than what you think it will be.

    • meg

      It is going to be ok. It might just be better than ok. Because it’s not about loving the party, it’s about marrying someone you love with people you love around you… YAYYY!

  • Ceebee

    I think you could have the outdoor wedding, and bring elements you like about the barn like the hay, the pitchforks, the cider and the rooster meteorology thing if you want and instead of big reception food, have a tea party with snacks, hot chocolate and s’mores. How’s that? b.y.o.b. Everybody would be having an extended-family-and-friends-campfire and you get family-moon too.
    Not sure if I make any sense. Then you won’t regret, he won’t sweat, they won’t be left out.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Oooh, s’mores. That was part of my dream wedding reception. But our own reception/venue/etc ended up being perfect for us. But I still get excited about the idea of s’mores at a wedding reception. Maybe someday I will attend one that has them- YUM. :)

      • Ceebee

        And mine is a clear day rooftop picnic, with state fair games like Toss the Ring and Pin the Veil. And chinese takeout.

        All that came out of his head thinking that they would be “So Me!” (and indeed are) when I was at the point of not having any wedding thoughts (and didn’t want one).
        But now I see that a wedding a a celebration to the hilt of your happiness to have found one another, and the community built from the coming together of 2 branches of 2 families and all the birds of the air that our friends are.

        I lost the love of my life at a time that we thought would be the best times of our lives. I have so much love left in me to give out, and having dealt with illness when all that love is growing makes me realize that love never ends.
        So now I come here to share it out with all you girls.

        Smores…I have a great recipe for them that would silent all kids big and small :D

  • http://midwestlantern.blogspot.com/ Midwest Melissa

    A few thoughts:

    It might be easier to give kids a meaningful role in a small wedding.

    People make the chosen road work for them, and once they are there, it is hard to imagine a different road having worked so well. We are more adaptable than we think.

    The small wedding might create a nice excuse to visit a lot of loved ones in the year after the wedding and have more personal interactions.

    It’s really up to you what you take from this APW advice, whether that’s “Accept the small” or “Go Girl! Live the dream! You deserve the big thing you are craving!” or “Devise a Door Number Three.” Either way could be good, but don’t underestimate how draining family drama is on top of regular wedding planning stress (I speak from experience on that one)!

    Just to complicate things, is it possible to thank you dad and say you’d like to add another third to the budget out of your own money and invite 15 more people?

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      This was so true for us!

      “…once they are there, it is hard to imagine a different road having worked so well.”

      Our wedding was not what I had imagined as my dream wedding (based only on my preferences/dreams/ideas), but it was the wedding that was just right for us. Especially afterwards I could see how all the pieces came together into something way more unique and specific to us that what I had previously imagined based on my own preferences. (And our friends and family could see it too and commented on it afterwards. Whereas before the fact, I heard a more questioning of unconventional choices. But afterwards, it was clear that that “road” worked for us.)

  • http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com LPC

    The only way I can give up a vision is to take one full go at it, and then lose with honor. Give your dream one more shot. What the hell.

  • http://writingmore.blogspot.com Kayleigh

    Perfectly done Alyssa!

    It’s hard when it feels like the wedding is your one and only chance to get it all exactly right, but it really is just one day and you have so many more opportunities to celebrate in the future. You have to have the wedding that’s right for your budget and your energy-investment level. When I first got engaged I had my heart set on a barn wedding, but after we saw how much it would cost and exactly how much work we’d have to put in before the wedding, when we really wanted to be spending time with friends and family who had never been to our town before, we decided to scale back and go with a more convenient venue.

    Before the wedding sometimes I would feel real mourning for the wedding that wasn’t. When some friends of ours booked our dream barn and had their wedding there two weeks before ours, I was feeling a lot of regret. But 3 months after our wedding I’m so happy we made all the choices we did. We didn’t go into debt, we didn’t have the extra strain of all the decorating and setting up before the wedding, and we were able to hang out with people that week and have a whole week’s worth of memories instead of just one night.

    Your wedding doesn’t have to be everything for you. You still have your whole life ahead of you for big parties. July 4th, for example, is an excellent excuse to blow out all the stops, and it’s not loaded with all the minefields weddings are.

    • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

      “It’s hard when it feels like the wedding is your one and only chance to get it all exactly right, but it really is just one day and you have so many more opportunities to celebrate in the future.”

      AMEN. I sometimes get overwhelmed by my options and get sad that I can only pick one color scheme and one pretty pair of shoes, but you know what? This won’t be the last party I ever throw. Maybe I’ll throw myself a birthday party someday using that gorgeous blush pink and gold color scheme my fiancé laughed at. There will be peonies everywhere, even though I can’t have them for my September wedding, and only Champagne to drink, which isn’t realistic for a crowd of 150. None of my future-in-laws’ family friends I’ve never met will be invited, and I’ll dance to un-bleeped Ke$ha with my friends until my feet bleed in my gorgeous but not at all bridal spiked stilettos.

      • http://akc09.livejournal.com Annie in LA

        Hee, I love the idea of using birthday parties as ways to channel your “weddings that might have been” ideas. Much more reasonable scale!

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

      And then a year or two after your wedding, when you get invited to the kind of (fancy) wedding you wished you could have had, but didn’t due to timing, budget and life factors, you can just enjoy it for what it is and be glad it’s not your tab.

  • http://www.armyamy.wordpress.com Army Amy*

    I like Alyssa’s advice because it could apply to any bride (or groom). When you say yes to one choice (small wedding, for instance), you are saying no to the another choice (big wedding). Neither choice is better, they’re just different. You need to come to terms with that. No wedding has it all, and that’s ok.*

  • Sara C.

    I completely agree with the above post! I am in the middle of planning my wedding as well. With 6 months to go I find myself conflicted as well – we went with a beautiful venue, but one that didn’t hold as much meaning for us simply to save on money and stress.

    But here’s thing – our compromise made sense because it allowed us to have everyone we needed/wanted on our wedding day. A less expensive venue = more money for catering & chairs.

    The only thing that worries me in your post is that you might end up missing the people at your wedding – which is a much different case than pumpkins, etc. So think hard about it, have a scotch or beer, and really write your guest list. Not out of a family sense of obligation – but out of a “who-do-I-want-to-celebrate-this-union-and-I-will-miss-and-regret-if-they-are-not-there-way?” If that number is significantly larger than 40, I would consider changes.

    Good luck – and the family-moon sounds fabulous. You’re children are lucky to have a mom such as you :-)

    • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

      Can I ‘exactly’ this about a thousand times? To me, on the day of our wedding, the MOST important thing was the people around us- not the venue or the dress or the crafty details we worked so hard to make. If I could go back and change one thing, it would be to cut elsewhere in our budget so we could invite the few more people I really wish could have been there. We did a pretty good job on our guest list, but I so wish we had cut it a little less stringently.

      As Sara C., though, we chose a venue we didn’t love as much as some of the other places we looked at, but worked perfectly fine and allowed us to do other things with that money that were way more important.

      • http://singingpilgrimdancing.blogspot.com Pamela

        Yes, yes, yes, YES!!!

        Thank you for articulating this. I feel so often like if you say ‘I don’t know if I can afford the wedding I want’ everyone jumps to ‘cut guests’. If you say you don’t want to, they roll their eyes and basically say ‘then I can’t help you until you get realistic’.

        If you say you’ll cut guests, you get ‘awwws’ and ‘oh, it’ll be so meaningful!’ But to me, I’d rather cut the wedding than the guests anyday of the week. Thank you so much for articulating it, I’ve never found the words to explain to people who don’t understand. People matter a lot. Flowers matter a teeny tiny little. I <3 you.

  • Allison

    I totally understand the dream wedding vs. real-life wedding. My dream wedding was also going to take place in the fall. I would traipse down an outdoor aisle covered in golden leaves, with warm afternoon sunshine filtering through the tree branches overhead. We would be in the garden of a beautiful old historic house. I would carry a bouquet of yellow and red flowers, and wear a red satin jacket over my dress. It would be the most beautiful autumn Kentucky wedding anyone ever saw, and all my family and friends would be there.

    Then…woops, we realized that an autumn wedding will mean less money available, and no chance to take even a mini-honeymoon due to my sweetie’s work schedule. So now we’re looking at May. May in Kentucky = thunderstorm and tornado season. We’ll definitely have to have an indoor backup plan that is more than provisional. The historic house won’t hold my jillion cousins plus our friends. I’ll probably still wear red somehow, but things will be brighter and lighter. It will probably need to be a lunch reception instead of a dinner-and-dancing thing.

    My mom already doesn’t like having the wedding in May rather than October, for her own reasons. But we want a honeymoon, and less financial stress, so it looks like we’re leaning toward May and all that brings.

    I’m taking a deep breath and saying “We’ll still be married. And that is what matters.” Then I resume having little freak-outs, but with the knowledge that it will all work out.

    • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

      Hah. I 100% understand. We made the choice to get married in Arkansas in AUGUST, instead of our preferred fall or spring, so that several very important people could be there and we could afford to take the time for a 5-day trip afterward (which we would not have been able to do in April or October.) But oh my god, Arkansas in August is pretty awful, and it completely shut down the idea of an outdoor wedding, which was one of the most important things to us at the beginning. Ah, well. You know what? I wouldn’t go back and change it for the world. We made our indoor wedding as outdoorsy as possible (lots of wildflowers!) and drove an air conditioned car the few blocks to our ceremony instead of walking, because it was so hot.

      In the end, you WILL be married, and that IS what matters.

      • Jess

        I too had ALWAYS dreamed of a fall wedding. October in my little corner of New Jersey makes me feel alive. I grew up on a (tiny) mountain – I imagined we could have the wedding in the valley, looking up at the hills which would be drenched in color.

        But then, when we got down to planning, I realized that I needed to have my Belgian (host-) family there (was an exchange student at the age of 16, been in close contact with this family ever since). I couldn’t just ask them to drop everything in the middle of the fall (school, work, life?) to come over. But almost all of Europe takes the entire month of August off, meaning that if we had the wedding in August – they could all be there, and they could spend meaningful time with my family. So? August it was. We had 9 people make it all the way from Europe! 6 Belgians, two friends currently living in Holland, and another exchange student from France.

        The hills weren’t drenched in color – actually, they were “drenched” in an August thunderstorm that started RIGHT after we finished the vows. But it didn’t matter because everyone we loved was there. Totally worth it.

      • Allison

        Oh, August in the South is brutal. I applaud you for doing what you need to do, though, and am sure it will turn out lovely.

    • Emily

      I will also jump on the dreamed-of-fall-wedding-but-not-getting-it boat! I still envision the “perfect” wedding as the first week in October, outdoors in my home region, maybe at one of the gorgeous vineyards. But when we set the date, we realized that would mean either planning a wedding in two months or being engaged for over two years, neither of which were what we wanted for our lives. So January, indoors, and six month engagement it is!

      …but still. We are SO going wine tasting there next fall.

  • Anon

    I know that everyone has to choose the wedding that is right for them and make their own unique decisions, but I just wanted to chime in that I am planning a small wedding much like the one you described and I am over the moon in love with it. In fact, for us it is also a choice between a farm wedding on his grandparents’ land and a small family wedding. We are choosing the smaller wedding in New Orleans (basically, including the family-moon idea in the wedding itself) because the logistics and planning for the farm wedding just became too much stress for me. Lights and generators and tents and portable toilets and sound systems and trying to come up with an alternative plan if it rains and worrying that our older guests couldn’t walk across the fields to reach the ceremony and reception areas and realizing that there would be nowhere nearby for guests to stay the night and my future mother-in-law dissaproval at the more rustic elements of the plan (hay bale seating, anyone?) and having visions of setting up DIY decorations at the last minute and not having time to do my hair or make-up . . . Agggh! It all just made me want to elope, but I knew it was important to us to have our closest family and friends there. So, we basically decided to elope with our guests. We’ll be getting married in New Orleans with about 40 of our closest family and friends, in a non-wedding (just a nice simple ceremony on the porch of our hotel and then everyone going to a restaurant for dinner). I am conciously choosing not to really plan anything too much – and I am SO HAPPY that this is the path we’ve taken. It has been hard to cut my guest list down to a fraction of what it was (and even harder to realize that some of our closest friends and family won’t be making the trip), but I can breathe again without the pressure of planning a larger wedding and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. So, personally, I absolutely think you made the right choice. Small intimate weddings allow you to have all the benefits of eloping or a courthouse wedding, but with your mom and dad and brother and best friends by your side. You are freed from worrying about the ridiculous WIC details, becuase you have already set the tone that this isn’t a huge production, it’s a marriage. Like I said, everone is different, and if the trade off isn’t worth it to you, you should definitely look at your options for making your wedding exactly what you want it to be. But please don’t forget the many many reasons that brides like me (and you) choose small intimate simple weddings in the first place – because they rock!

    • Claire

      Your wedding sounds lovely! And I’m only slightly biased by the fact that I’m from New Orleans. In fact, my original “dream wedding” (after straight up elopement) was a lot like the New Orleans non-wedding you just described. Logistics, cost and family considerations caused us to plan a Minneapolis wedding instead. And after the fact, I have no regrets and know it was the right choice for us.

      Best wishes for your wedding!

  • http://stephenandrachelle.com Rachelle

    When we decided to have a Sunday afternoon wedding instead of a Saturday night one, it was really hard for me at times (even though I knew it was a good choice for us) because all I saw/attended were big Saturday night weddings. I’m a visual person, so what I did was stop looking at big fancy evening weddings and started searching out light-filled afternoon weddings. It filled my mental space with images that looked like the wedding we were having. I also daydreamed about what our day would look like – I imagined myself standing at the altar of our venue in my dress. I looked at pictures on the venue website. I pulled out my decorations and stared at them. It really helped me let go of all the other weddings and focus on the wedding that WE were actually having. I can’t say enough how I think doing these visualizations and constantly imagining myself on my wedding day being happy and having a good time helped ease me into that feeling on the day itself.

    I also wonder if this is a “the grass is greener” situation. It’s easy to think that if only you had done things differently, everything would be perfect but as Alyssa states in the post, it wouldn’t be objectively perfect no matter what you do.

    • meg

      This is super good advice. I also had to give up my dream of a Saturday night wedding for a Sunday morning wedding, and it was HARD. In the end, our wedding was so awesome I wouldn’t change a thing, but in the meantime it was HARD. New visual inspiration (and a husband who wouldn’t let me change plans, and kept reminding me that there is no one perfect, there are many good-enoughs, and we’d picked one of those) really help.

      And in the end, it kind of was perfect… though a million other things could have been perfect too, what we had was ours.

      • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

        “there is no one perfect, there are many good-enoughs.”

        I’m gonna need a giant poster-sized print of this, please. Thanks.

        • carrie

          During wedding planning, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” was my mantra!!

  • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

    I think no matter what choices or sacrifices you end up making about your wedding, it’s good to let yourself be disappointed for a night or so, and then get on board with your choice. I know several people who had to make compromises (usually with family or finances) and didn’t have their “dream” wedding, but I think it helps if you at least go into it without the “what if” baggage. Enjoy the day as much as possible, and know that the marriage is the most important element of the day.

    That said, I don’t think you can let yourself get pushed around. If nothing in your wedding planning is making you happy, that’s a problem. Take a step back and refocus.

  • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

    I don’t know. I’m all for mourning the loss of your dream wedding and moving forward and if it were just about the barn I would mourn the barn and move on, BUT.

    But I don’t think this is about just the barn. To me this sounds like one) the loss of a huge slew of community who you want to be at your wedding. And two) it feels a little like your dad strong armed you into a wedding you weren’t completely comfortable with but you felt like you couldn’t say no to (because only bad, bad people say no to taking their kids to Disneyworld.)

    I think if having your 140 person community there is important, you should see if you can come up with ideas to make that work. Maybe it would work if you got married in a public park. Maybe if you decided to do a morning wedding, or if you only served appetizers or had a dessert reception, or what have you. Or maybe there’s just no way to make 140 people work out period. But I know how important having your community can be. And I think for your own sake you need to give it another shot before completely ruling it out.

    I may be reading too much into this, but I worry that part of the whole guest list issue stems from your dad having issues with some of your big extended family (including your uncle) and this whole small wedding ploy is a way for him to get his way and you not invite people he doesn’t want there. Again, like I said, maybe that’s not the case, but that’s what I sort of read between the lines, and it makes me concerned. But maybe I’m totally off base.

    • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

      The other thing I’d recommend is if there’s an APW wedding planner in your area, contacting them, pay for an hour consultation, and break this down with budgets and get their advice as to whether it’s possible with your budget to have a 140 person wedding in your area and what that might entail. Because I think with the information we have we don’t know if this is a dream that could actually be realized or pipe dream, and I think a wedding planner (a sane one mind you) could really help you out in figuring that out.

      • Alyssa

        It starts to head into dangerous territory when we read into a reader’s question too much. There’s more that likely several reasons the current wedding is small, a few of which may be what you’ve outlined (I wondered that too), but we can’t know that. She seems okay with her father’s offer, so therefore we’re okay with it too.
        When answering this, I initially tried to think of ways to help her get the wedding she wanted, but that’s not what she’s asking. And it’s silly of me to assume she hasn’t already thought of ways to make the dream and the reality intersect, any of us would do that. So what we tried to answer is how to get to the point where you can say, “Right. I wanted that, but I got this and I’m okay with that.”
        And your wedding planner idea is a really good one, for anyone! Finding out if the what-if was even possible can definitely help move past it is it’s not.

        • http://ktmade.blogspot Katie

          I responded above with a more fix-it approach, but I totally hear what you’re saying here, Alyssa. I’m pretty early on in the planning, and I can see myself getting to a point where I don’t like what’s happening and I want to go back and change everything. It’s good to remember the dilemma, which is how can I be happy with what is? Not how can I change it?

        • meg

          This, right here.

    • http://midwestlantern.blogspot.com/ Midwest Melissa

      Hmm, interesting perspective.

  • http://www.3ormorebears.blogspot.com Tonia

    I just wanted to say that I regretted a lot of choices mid-planning…and more after the fact. But ya know what, I’m married and I still cry when I see the pictures, even with all the things I would have changed. The things I had no control over, like the smiles and the cheers and our dearest ones wiping their wet eyes and the way the sky looked…..those things mattered. If I could have chosen those things, I would have picked the exact ones that were. Just a little encouragement.

  • carrie

    Does anyone really have no doubts about their wedding choices or not look at the perceived greener grass elsewhere? I think it’s definitely a normal part of the process, but I also agree with the other commenters that this might be about more than the location of the wedding, but with the size. I won’t repeat here, just wish you good luck. Just know that the right thing is getting married and bringing together a new baby family. As long as you do that, you’re golden.

  • Becca

    I missed the earlier discussions about not loving your wedding, but seeing them now I wonder if anyone has words of advice.

    I got married this September. The planning process was pretty low-stress, because there were so many things I didn’t really care about, so I did what my (now) husband wanted or his mom wanted, or delegated, or let the vendors do their thing without much input from me. That still left a ton of stuff for me to do, but it was stuff I liked, because I like planning things, and it actually keeps me sane. That’s right, wedding planning made me LESS crazy.

    Anyway, fast forward to the wedding itself. Some big things go wrong (crappy weather moves the ceremony inside, venue is infested with stink bugs – uch), and some small things (the setup in the tent is weird, the flower arrangements are ugly), but I roll with it. The day is lovely, low key, certainly imperfect, but really just what I wanted. Then, at the very end of the night, we are having a little “after party” and I trip over my dress, hurt my hand, and have to go to the ER to get stitches. Much sobbing ensues. Husband takes good care of me, everyone thinks this is a mildly hilarious romantic comedy plot (going to the ER in a wedding dress!), and life goes on.

    Since then, I have had a really hard time looking at my wedding in a positive light at all. I spent many sleepless nights composing a list of the top 10 things that went wrong, what I would recommend to future brides (do not get married outside! wear a shorter dress! don’t injure yourself!), and just being really really unhappy over this idea that I failed and my wedding was a disaster. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so low stress beforehand, maybe I should have planned more, or thought things out more, instead of going with the flow. I don’t think I can attribute all of this to the hand injury either, although it’s certainly part of it.

    Anyway, I’m blathering. But did anyone else feel similarly? What do I do about this? Just ride it out and assume that eventually I’ll get over it?

    • http://midwestlantern.blogspot.com/ Midwest Melissa

      September like just happened, so I think it’s OK that you’re still in the thick of analyzing. I bet if you talked to people who were there, they’d say they had a good time and were happy to be there and that it was beautiful. It seems like annoying advice to say “Focus on the positives!” so I’ll just say “Give yourself time.” You didn’t fail, and your wedding was not a disaster — you got married to the one you love. Success! It’s a much greater semi-failure to have been that planning-crazed psycho that you clearly were not. Since perfection is not an option for any of us, it seems like you went in a good direction.

    • Chris Bergstrom

      Becca, I feel for you, because I feel somewhat like you. I got married in September too, and looking back I regret my wedding – not because of the marriage, thank goodness, but because of the way we planned it. And yet, it’s already getting better. I’m already starting to remember why we did things the way we did, the pressures we were under, and the fact that the goal was to get married, and the goal is accomplished.

      I think some of us just process emotional events really slowly – I’m one of those people, maybe you are too? – and need a lot of time to sift through the bad stuff and get settled on the good memories. Does that make any sense?

      • Alyssa

        I’m seconding this. You can’t change what happened and there doesn’t seem like there’s a lesson that needs to be learned because there’s not a damn thing that happened that being more vigilant during planning could have fixed. There’s no way more spreadsheets or talking to vendors could have changed the weather or bug infestations…unless you have psychic abilities you could have used to know it would rain or that you would fall. And if you do, I have a few questions about 2012 I’d like answered….
        Give yourself some time. And read more on the other ladies not loving your wedding. It’s okay you didn’t love it. You will, eventually, and even then only parts of it. Long as you love your marriage, you’re golden.

    • MK

      Becca,

      I had issues about not loving my wedding, because it was at a different time of year than I wanted and it was on Halloween, blech. I also had issues because my outdoor photos were rained out. I think a lot of my issues were due to the photo thing and my honeymoon which was screwed up by a tropical storm.

      I never heard any complaints about my wedding from my guests, it was just me, I’ve pretty much come to terms with it overtime. I did think for a long time that I should have planned this or that better. I can’t change things now. I focus on the really good stuff and not the little crap. Oh by the way, I pretty much like my pictures now, it took getting the professional album done nine months later, also the fact that one of my wedding attendees is now deceased. I remember she had such joy when I showed her the pictures. She mentioned that she had had such a good time. It was her last event with the extended family.

      By the way I’m pretty certain I know you, if so, I was one of your wedding guests. Your wedding was fun. You guys really rolled with everything. The speeches were great, I never knew your Best Men was so eloquent and I’ve known him for three years or so.

      You certainly have a story for your grandchildren.

      • Becca

        Hahaha, I wondered if you would see this! I didn’t think I could tell the story without getting into some identifying details. [On my pretend top 10 list of regrets is not having someone videotape the speeches...but I need to let that go.]

        Anyway, it is very reassuring to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way. I think it will get better in time, and also that Chris above is right, I do process emotional things slowly.

        Thanks, ladies!

        • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

          We both loved one of the best men’s speeches so much we made him write it out properly after the wedding. The same as a video? No. Captured the comic gold? Yes!

    • Marina

      In the months after I got married, every once in a while I’d ask my husband what he’d change about the wedding, and every single time he said, “Nothing.” He said there’s lots of stuff he’d do differently if we were doing it over again, but that our wedding was about who we were at exactly that moment in time. Our wedding was about who we were at that point in time and in our relationship, and changing anything would mean that wasn’t true. I married a smart guy. ;)

      I don’t think you eventually just get over feeling bad about your wedding. BUT what has helped me is that in the two years since I’ve gotten married, I get to hear how other people experienced my wedding. People will tell me what they remember, what they thought was fun or moving, and I always go, “Oh yeah, that did happen–I forgot about that part.” And NOBODY remembers the ugly chairs, or that we didn’t have cake, or the parts that were totally disorganized. So it’s kind of like a bit of revisionist history is happening–the things no one remembers seem fuzzier, and the awesome parts people do remember are the things that stand out more.

      I’d suggest thinking about the people and the love at your wedding. Every time you find yourself thinking about the stink bugs or the flowers, instead think about a time at the wedding when someone smiled at you, or gave you a teary hug, or said something hilarious. Because the stink bugs aren’t important. The love is important.

    • http://singingpilgrimdancing.blogspot.com Pamela

      I have a friend who got married in 2006 who ended up hating her wedding and now whenever anyone brings up weddings she gets stressed and unhappy. She and her husband keeping talking about having a vow renewal as a do-ever ‘when they can afford it’ (and they’re squeaking by and have a child now, so it’ll probably be a while) and I think for them, that’s a good idea. It’s been five years and at this point I don’t think she’ll come to peace with the wedding unless she does it over.

      I’d take some years to reflect, but know that if you still look back with this much angst, it’s okay to do a vow renewal.

      On the flip side, one of my best friends talked about having a do-over for the first year or so after her wedding, but now three years later she smiles when she thinks of her wedding and says “It was pretty, wasn’t it?” (And it was. Both were actually, it’s just some things went wrong at both. But they were still both lovely.)

      So take time, try to heal… but if you’re still freaking out in a few years, consider a vow renewal a balm for your mental health. :)

  • http://lingismyname.blogspot.com Ling

    Oh man. When I read Kimberly’s letter, it totally struck a chord in me. My husband & I started off our talks of a wedding planning this fabulously laid-back cottage retreat back home (we live on the other side of the continent from home) with friends & family & then I started to spiral into panic when my mom started calling me nearly every day to tell me I need to do this & that for my wedding & then the wedding plan changed to a small one in my parents teeny-tiny backyard with a quick ceremony & a self-catered dinner & then you know what happened? None of that.

    My husband & I said F-it & we called up our two very best friends who just happened to live close enough to be there last minute & we got married at the county clerks office with Ben (our officiant) and his story-book-telling voice. My mom’s feelings were hurt for sure & it’s not the wedding I dreamed of, but you know what? The wedding I dreamed of wouldn’t have appeased my mom anyway & it would’ve been a strain on my relationship with my husband had I insisted on everything that I wanted & it would’ve looked great in photos but I just know that I would’ve killed my soul trying to get “what I wanted”. In the end, we got married with our two best friends as witnesses, we flew back home for our 1st anniversary to host a 20-person dinner for our dearest friends, my parents hosted a lunch for family, and then over our 2nd anniversary when we travelled to Taiwan, my parents hosted a dinner for my family there.

    In a way, I ultimately DID get what I really wanted, which was to not let anyone have the opportunity to manipulate MY plans to get what THEY wanted. And my husband didn’t care: he just wanted to be married & be my husband. With how things worked out, everyone I cared about got to be a part of celebrating our marriage to the extent that I was comfortable with (I really did not feel right about having my dad’s sisters, whom I’ve been estranged from most of my life, hanging out for a cottage weekend with my friends yet my parents would’ve insisted they be invited).

    When we decided to do what we did, we also decided that instead of blowing our money on one wedding, that we would vow to spend our money traveling to see our friends & family & go on trips with friends because spending time with them one-on-one is much more meaningful to us than rounding everyone up for one hurrah.

    So to Kimberly, I say that if she can have a small wedding AND a FAMILY-moon at her father’s expense, she should fight to get that because that sounds epic. It sucks that she can’t include EVERYone, but you know what? They will be happy if she has a separate thing with them because they have to be. They have no other choice! If it’s the end of the world to them that they didn’t get invited to the “main” event, then I’d just say I’m really surprised anyone could care about not being invited to the main “wedding” THAT much. I use quotations because I think any event in celebration of a marriage is a wedding, even if the rest of the WIC wouldn’t deem it so.

  • Chelsea

    I’m not trying to diminish your anguish, but I think a lot of people spend the first couple of months of wedding planning coming to terms with the fact that the “simple wedding in so-and-so’s backyard” that they always pictured isn’t simple at all and might not even be possible. At least, that’s how I spent that time.

    I think Alyssa’s advice is 100% right – you have to consider your dreams in light of the reality of the situation, and decide what to do based on your priorities. The wedding I had ended up being a very different animal than the wedding I’d envisioned (the first time my mom suggested I have my reception in the church hall I cried, but guess where I ended up doing it?), but I don’t regret a single thing because when I look back at the choices I made, I know they were right for reasons that I never would have considered when dreaming about my perfect wedding. After all, wedding dreams usually don’t factor in where people are going to pee.

    And, finally, who says you can’t take cider and pumpkins to your favorite Irish eatery?

    • http://midwestlantern.blogspot.com/ Midwest Melissa

      “After all, wedding dreams usually don’t factor in where people are going to pee.”

      New tag line for APW? Nicely done, Chelsea.

    • http://ktmade.blogspot.com katie

      Oh my gosh, we ditched a gorgeous lodge with campsites for exactly this reason! The first thing my mom asked when I told her about it was where is everyone going to pee? And once we started thinking about all these people peeing in porta potties for the weekend and having to rent them, turns out it wasn’t as idyllic as it had seemed.

    • Alyssa

      GOD YES. We had to scrap our idea for a wedding at the family farm because of the bathroom issue. I’d burst into tears every time my fiance mentioned a port-a-potty (“We’ll put bows on it, sugar! It’ll be pretty!” *sigh*) and it got to the point where my mother and aunt were scheming on how to rent RV’s so there’d be nicer bathrooms. It was then that I had to step back and weigh the stresso me and everyone else of making this dream farm wedding happen vs. just changing our plans. It’s still a little sad if I dwell on it, but my wedding was wonderful because it was mine!

      • streamnerd

        omg, you guys are making me self conscious about my wedding port-a-potties now. What is wrong with port-a-potties? We are having our reception at my in-laws rural land and port-a-potties will be necessary but I really don’t mind at all.
        I know they are not the classiest but I also associate port-a-potties with fun times like music festivals. Our reception is a combo backyard BBQ and bluegrass music so I don’t think port-a-potties will be that out of place.
        I agree that you should think about the realistic aspects of your wedding vision but if you are someone who really loves farms/rural life and all that goes along with them then there is nothing bad about having port-a-potties at your wedding. I also got my wedding dress chopped to tea-length so it won’t drag in the mud if it is rainy.
        Just figured someone should speak up pro-port-a-potty.

        • Chelsea

          Don’t worry, we’re not anti port-a-pottie! We’re just saying that when you have this vision of your dream wedding, you usually don’t factor in the logistics, and when your wedding is suddenly a real life event those logistics can make you change your plans in ways you never would have considered before. And we’re not just talking bathrooms, but the need to heat/cool an outdoor space, prep room for caterers, grandparents that can’t walk a hundred yards over uneven ground, etc – all these things just aren’t a part of fantasies the way they are real life.

          All that to say, if port-a-potties fit into your vision, awesome! I’ve been to some great weddings with port-a-potties.

    • Emily

      Haha, so true. We were seriously considering my parents’ huge backyard, and it would have been amazing…but that just didn’t work out. I am pretty sure the wedding we are going to have is going to be less what we expected, but still great, though.

    • meg

      Mmmmm… this is so true.

      Which isn’t to say if you’re miserable with what you have planned you shouldn’t change it, just the reality is both a pain in the ass, and an amazing gift. And second guessing is totally normal.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

      Strongbow = Irish Cider!

      (Okay, not the same, of course, but you could mentally frame it that way?)

  • Lizzie

    One more voice chiming in to say that I’d reconsider if I were you. For me, having a wedding was kinda an all-or-nothing type of thing. I would have been happy with (and in fact begged for on several occasions) an elopement, but once I’d committed to a wedding, it had to be a 170 person affair or else it just felt wrong to me. I have seen and heard of lovely small weddings, and I spent plenty of time feeling indulgent and unreasonable that I wasn’t having one, but I loved every minute of my big wedding and it felt completely right for us. So if the root of this is that a small wedding doesn’t feel right to you, I would try to find a way to make a big one work, which may well involve giving up on the farmhouse and pumpkins.

    And to reinforce Alyssa’s response to your comment about not being a bride who “got it right”, not only are you grounded if you ever repeat that, but I would urge your Bridal Brigade to make you endure the strain of up to 10 bridal showers to get across the idea that you deserve to be a bride and have a wedding as much as anyone else.

    • meg

      But I will say… there is a way that the wedding reality has planned for us often feels right, because it’s ours, even if it’s NOT what we had dreamed up. I mean, right?

      • Lizzie

        Oh man – when you put it that way, I start going all Unbearable-Lightness-of-Being on myself and I wonder if my wedding was meaningful at all and how I would ever be able to tell since I only get to do it once…

        No, in all seriousness, you’re right – our wedding was suffused with enough love and happiness to fill in all the cracks in the event that I might otherwise have noticed and made the whole thing feel shiny and whole and just right the way it was. Any number of variables could have changed and that still would have been the case. But the one variable I would not want to chance messing with would have been the size of our guest list, because all those people mixed together was where all the love was coming from and reflecting off and amplifying and compounding at our wedding.

  • Sarah

    Maybe it would be easier if you didn’t think of 40 as a rigid number for the ceremony, but as a maximum. Maybe you could just have a very few people (only your very closest family and friends) for the ceremony, go on the family-moon, then have a big party for absolutely everyone later in the year? I’m suggesting this because it might be easier to draw a line at, say, 10 or 20 people than at 40. It depends completely on your family set up and who you are closest to, but it might work. I was a bridesmaid at a wedding attended by 16 people (including bride and groom) a few years ago, and it was so lovely to be in such an intimate group (plus, the food was awesome because the budget could go a lot further!). Also, at my wedding this year I felt like I spent most of my time with a very small group (my mum, sister, and bridesmaids) and might have neglected some of the other guests a bit (my one regret), so maybe if we had done it the way I’m suggesting I would have hung out more with the other guests.

    • Becca

      I don’t regret the size of my wedding at all (~100), but it was really a bummer in retrospect how little time I got to spend with most of the guests. I think a smaller wedding would be fantastic for that reason (among others): no guilt about neglecting people.

  • Leigh Ann

    Kimberly, can I just say that I got mostly everything I wanted out of my wedding (which was three weeks ago): The late-night dance party, the photobooth, the open bar, every family member and friend who could travel in attendance, a beautiful dress, a good DJ … and really, the whole thing was so exhausting and I got to spend so little time with my guests that I had a hard time relaxing and having fun. I was constantly wondering who I was ignoring or hadn’t spoken to enough. I have definitely had more fun at other people’s weddings.

    My point being, even if you get everything you think you want, what you actually experience on the day might not line up with what you truly want to feel. And I don’t know if there’s any way to know in advance.

  • Jamie

    I wrote about it a bit in my wedding grad post, but I gave up almost EVERYTHING I initially wanted in a wedding (other than the right partner:). Mid-way through planning, I hated the venue, the size of the guest list, the dress, the flowers, and on and on and on. I cried so much through our engagement that my partner seriously began to question my sanity and whether or not we should even have a wedding.

    You know what, though? 13 months after getting married, I don’t care about those things. I didn’t care about most of them on my actual wedding day. There is real loss in giving up our dreams and our ideal weddings, and it’s ok to feel sad about that loss. However, giving up what you though was your ideal wedding doesn’t mean you won’t end up with a wedding you love and the wedding you need. I had a lovely wedding that was right for us at the time, even if wasn’t the one of my dreams. Even better than that, though, I have a lovely marriage to show for it.

    I do have one regret – caving in to family pressure about certain things. It doesn’t ruin the memory of my wedding at all, but I wish I had been stronger in standing up for myself during the planning. It would have made my engagement much less stressful.

  • AshleyMM

    Reading this today totally hit home, as I just returned from my own farm wedding. My partner (now wife!) and I got married at my grandparents’ farm, and invited everyone we wanted to (over 240 invites). We worked our fingers to the bone for 6 months, planning everything that people with a set venue don’t have to worry about as much–lights, sound, making level ground, burn bans, etc. We also had the great opportunity to have many of our closest family and friends stay with us at the farm for several days, which was absolutely wonderful, but a nightmare to plan and negotiate.

    On the day of our wedding, what had been a beautiful, warm and cloudless week turned into something from one of those movies you try to avoid because just TOO MUCH is going wrong and it seems unrealistic. The temperature dropped 30 degrees, Austin got its first major rainstorm in well over a year, and we got gale-force winds. We had spent the past several weeks very concerned about there not being enough wine, or the music not being danceable enough, or the flowers not being as local as we wanted due to drought. Instead, at the last minute we moved the ceremony, it was too windy to turn on the outdoor heaters, and we couldn’t put the custom wine glasses with the adorable labels or the beautiful, rustic flowers out at all because they just kept crashing to the ground. We ended up having everyone huddling together on the porch, without dancing or games, without even tables for most people to eat on! It wasn’t anything like what we had imagined or planned for.

    And it was PERFECT.

    All of this is to say that even if you go with what you think is your dream wedding, it’s not going to be exactly as you imagined. It sounds like you thought a lot about how you decided to have your wedding, and the best way to honor your family in doing so. It’s easy–maybe unavoidable–in the planning process to start to question everything, to think about all the things that you might regret. I recommend that you let yourself get as excited as you can about all the things that you know you’ll love about this intimate wedding and family-moon, because if there’s one thing that I learned from my wedding and all the weddings I’ve read about here on APW, it’s that your wedding day will surprise you.

  • Kimberly

    Thanks, everyone! Your advice is really awesome. I actually cried when reading it all. It was an overwhelming and beautiful feeling to have all these people rally around you. I have an update on my situation for you.

    When I wrote to Team Practical, I was pretty depressed. Some of you hit on true points: my father was trying to get rid of people he doesn’t want to see (unless he could spend a lot of money to impress them), AND I was having baby out-of-wedlock issues, too. I was lost in some muck and mire at work as well, so it was all steamrolled into one big, fat, ugly booger of an emotional tizzy. If we hadn’t already put deposits down on venues, I was prepared to march into my dad’s house and tell him that as his firstborn daughter, he HAD to pay for my dream wedding and suck it up.

    Then we lost the house we had been living in for just three months. We had been renting from a (now ex) friend, who had promised that he would sell it to us after the wedding amid many other promises and assurances. Then he got a (low) offer and took it. We found out that we had 30 days to move and had nowhere to go. We have to be out on Monday, the day after my birthday, and we only just found out yesterday that my grandparents will take us in for a bit while we look for a new home.

    Everything changed with that news. What is one day when you are forced to find a home for you and your children? Our wedding day is a big day, but it isn’t the most important day in our lives. Who really cares about pumpkins 10 years later? After the house drama, I am just so grateful to be able to take my kids to Disney World. It’s like a big prize for them after the horrible stress of this year. And we deserve to go as a family and have this great memory together.

    Although I have spent the past 27 days freaking out, I have spent some time thinking about the wedding. I am beginning to look forward to the details I can incorporate now without the stress of accommodating loads of people. My Aunt Anne and Uncle Harry are going to let us have a big family picnic after the wedding for all our extended friends and family, so we will be able to celebrate with the people we love–it just won’t be in a traditional sense. And as someone who has never done anything traditionally, I think the people who love me would expect nothing less. And though we still have painful decisions to make (like telling my closest cousin that her new fiance isn’t invited because we have only met him once), I know that we will do this together. As Jon told me shortly after we found out about the house as I sobbed in bed one night, “It doesn’t matter where we are as long as we are together. We’re a family.” It’s so true. Isn’t that what weddings are all about anyway?

    So, thank you, everyone. Your advice has rung true. Our wedding day isn’t going to be my dream day, but it will be a day of love and celebration surrounding our family. I am really ready to put all my love and energy into creating a beautiful, intimate wedding.

    • Kimberly

      PS:

      I just wanted to say thanks for the comments about not delving into my perfect wedding in relation to having kids before marriage. I think this is one area where the WIC really beats me to death. As someone who has never been married but has a child from a previous relationship, I get a lot of side eyes and judgy-judgy nasty-pants-ness. It’s hard to turn it off in your head, just like everything else about the WIC (and society, right?).

      I don’t have an answer for it, really. It’s like a double-indemnity: not only did I have a kid before marriage, I had TWO and from DIFFERENT FATHERS. People can be mean. Media doesn’t represent me or my family. And as someone whose parents divorced at a very young age, I know how hard it is to grow up in two worlds. But NOTHING has been as hard as planning a wedding and having to explain over and over that no, Jon and Noah don’t look alike because Noah is someone else’s son, and no, I’m not divorced and doing this again. Well, that and talking to my fiance about my name. But that’s another question for another day. :)

      • Alyssa

        Oh, honey, I’m so sorry this is all happening, but glad it is looking up a bit! Sending even MORE hugs your way.

        And giving you grief about your children? This is APW. That is NOT how we do. :-)
        Especially with my family’s “checkered” past regarding marriage and kids, I learned a LONG time ago that when dealing with marriage and kids the love is the important part, not which order it comes in…

    • meg

      Girlfriend,
      This is a post right here, whenever you’re ready. Love. I hope everyone is lifting you up the best you can, helping you to make it through this rough patch. And you’re right. A wedding day, while important, is sort of a blip on the radar screen of family life in another way. The only thing that really matters is marrying the person you love with your family around you. And you’ve CLEARLY sorted that most important bit out yourself. We’re supporting you from afar! <3 <3 <3

  • http://www.suncentered.com Jen

    YES Disneymoon!! I dream of having one, myself. WDW is my favorite. If you can get a free dining deal, I highly recommend it!

  • http://katerees711.blogspot.com kate

    There’s no ring on it and I’m already worrying about not being able to have every person I want there. We’re looking at 30 people simply for my mom’s side of the family stopped at cousins, 43 with second cousins. omg. If anyone told us our big part would be capped at 40 it’d be impossible. This isn’t about me though…

    I read through to the second or third comment, I think considering door number three might be the best option. GOOD LUCK!

    I just read where you stand now. I’m happy to hear about the picnic for your extended family. Losing this house reminded your family what was most important each other. Sounds like you’re getting a bit of a few worlds. I hope you find a new home soon!