Q: My fiancé and I know exactly what we want our wedding to be. Elopement-esque. We say this because it’s not a full-on elopement—we’re not running off and getting married without telling anyone. We instead have decided on a very small wedding in Tahoe with only immediate family. Seventeen people in total. The only reason we decided on this was so we didn’t upset my side of the family.
My fiancé has been married before and has done the big, $50 a plate dinner wedding. I’ve never been married, and I’m not a fan of a huge wedding. We both just wanted to elope at a courthouse, but my family wouldn’t forgive us for that. We have expressed to both sides of our family that we aren’t having a reception until later on in the New Year and that after the ceremony we would like to spend the day with just the two of us. We also let everyone know that they don’t need to come up the night before and they could just show up to the ceremony. Everyone has now decided that they are coming up the night before and that we should all spend the entire weekend together. My Grandpa is insisting that we all have dinner the night before and that he will pay for it. My parents and my in-laws are insisting we get together for a celebration after the ceremony as well. We have both told them as nice as possible that we would like to spend the day together doing things we haven’t done yet while in Tahoe. Everyone has told us they understand and that it’s fine, but yet they still continue to insist that we do everything together and are trying to plan things to do. This is becoming a big issue for me and my fiancé. My fiancé is starting to feel like his opinion does not matter and that this isn’t going to be the wedding we both want. He is afraid of resenting the entire thing and us both being unhappy with how it went. We don’t know what to do anymore. No one seems to be listening to us or considering what we want. This has turned into what they want to do, not us. Please help!!!
A: Dear Daphinie,
Well, this is why elopements sound like such an awesome idea, isn’t it? Excluding family completely means you get to skip on all their opinions and demands. Involving family means all sorts of wonderful things, sure, but it also means you’re stuck hearing about what they want, and weighing it against what you want. Deciding when to cave and when to stand your ground is basically a constant tension of wedding planning. There’s not always a right or wrong answer. Sometimes it’s a gut thing, or a matter of deciding whether holding fast to what you want is worth whatever levels of stress it’ll involve. Other times, it’s all about trying to decide if your family’s wishes are reasonable.
In this instance, I think they are.
Yeah, you feel like you’re making a huge concession by letting them come to what you’d hoped to keep private. But the whole reason they want to be there is to be with you. You’re asking the folks who love you most to come out, witness a huge, amazing thing happening in your life, and then just leave you alone. That’s pretty tough!
You can certainly put limits on the togetherness time. Maybe you don’t spend the entire weekend with your family; maybe you bow out of Grandpa’s dinner the night before, or escape not too long after the ceremony. But consider giving these loved ones a bit of your time to celebrate with them.
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