Q: My husband and I got married in the fall of last year, but unfortunately I have nothing but bad memories of the planning process and the wedding itself. I let family pressures from both sides get to me, and the arguments we had over the wedding almost destroyed our relationship. To mark the recovery of our marriage and to make up for the miserable experience I had planning and attending our wedding, I would like to have an anniversary party in fall 2016. Is this okay? I don’t want any presents or anything, just a little cake and punch reception for a couple dozen people in a small local tearoom. It’s what I wanted our actual wedding reception to be, in fact, rather than the full-on dinner and dancing extravaganza that I was pushed into having (and hated). I’m worried that people will think we’re full of ourselves or after more presents or something, and I’m also worried that my husband’s family will push to make it into a big event with dinner and everything again (their argument was that no one would come to the wedding, especially from out of town, without a full meal, open bar, and dancing). So, can I have this little party, and if so, how can I keep it from being turned into another extravaganza?
A: Dear Anonymous,
These are the same jerks that ruined your plans in the first round. You really want to start that up all over again?
Not loving your wedding sucks, it really does. And I can completely understand the wish to replace bad old memories with good new ones. But this may be the year to do that as a couple, just the two of you, without the worry of family and guests and pushy arguments. And maybe take some time to look back over that disaster of a wedding if it’s not too, too painful. After a solid year, hopefully retrospect has made some of those “ouch” moments less terrible, more funny. And if you try, I bet you can dig around and find some good things about the day to remember together, too.
Revisit the party idea maybe on your fifth or tenth anniversary. As a guest, I don’t know that I’d jump to, “Yeesh, another gift?” but I’d probably feel a little like, “What? Didn’t we just celebrate your fuzzy romantic relationship with a big lavish party?” Besides, in a few years, you’ll have a bit more experience handling family pushing their ideas on your relationship, and if they do have vocal opinions about your anniversary party (they may not, those things aren’t as fraught as weddings), you’ll be more practiced at standing firm.
Instead of an actual re-do, celebrate what you’ve got, whatever good came from all that mess (which, it sounds like, is the two of you, in a good place). Hunker down, out of the fray, and enjoy this relationship that’s too awesome to be marred by one bad wedding. Maybe include everyone else in a few years (if you feel up to it).
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