Rachel: WedMD

So, there’s cold and flu season and there’s engagement season, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they occur at the same time. I’m quickly learning that wedding planning can make even the most practical people sick. Since Eric and I began wedding planning, I’ve definitely found myself feeling a bit sniffly and feverish, but I think I was just experiencing common pre-nuptial ailments. Here are some of the ones Eric and I have come down with thus far.

Diagnosis: Inarticulitis.

Symptoms: Strong dislike for something, which is made apparent not through words (ever), but through an unmistakable facial expression wherein the afflicted looks as though he has just simultaneously smelled something awful and seen a homeless puppy foraging for food in a trash can. When you ask what’s wrong, he will always answer, “Nothing. It’s just…nothing. I don’t know…no, it’s nothing.” And then make the starving-puppy-stink-face again.

A case study: 

I suspected Eric had inarticulitis even at the earliest stages of our wedding planning. I had told him before we were engaged that I didn’t have any interest in a traditional wedding, nor did I have the funds to pay for said traditional wedding, so I just wanted to go to city hall with close family and friends. He said that he was totally on board with that, but…well, there was always some kind of a “but” during these conversations. He told me repeatedly that he didn’t care about the details of our wedding, that I was free to do whatever I wanted…and yet, time and again, I’d casually mention my thoughts on something (usually something practical in favor of something WIC-sanctioned) and he’d make the face, somehow managing to look both devastated and disgusted at the same time. But when I’d ask him to tell me what was on his mind, he couldn’t tell me what he wanted or why he wanted it…he wouldn’t even admit to having an opinion.

Eric and I both have suffered from bouts of inarticulitis throughout our wedding conversations, mainly because our culture makes weddings the pinnacle of our social, romantic, and adult lives…and then openly mocks anyone who has a strong opinion on said wedding or who goes to battle over the details. It can be really hard to own that you care.

I knew for certain he was suffering from inarticulitis the day I suggested we have pie instead of cake if a cake was going to cost more than the $500 we had budgeted for it. That day, instead of the face I got a loud, snippy, “Well, jeez, Rachel, I’m not sure by the end of this weekend if people are even going to know we had a wedding.” I was so taken aback by his strong feelings (and slightly outrageous assertion) that I actually laughed; I mean, it’s hard to deny you care about your wedding when you’re losing your shit over pastries. The fever had broken! (Until the topic of whether or not to have a DJ came up, anyway.)


Diagnosis: Irritable Budget Syndrome.

A case study:

Sticking to a budget when you’re planning a wedding doesn’t just magically happen, so some level of IBS seems normal. But my Irritable Budget Syndrome escalated when it became clear that we couldn’t plan the wedding Eric was now sort of admitting he really wanted at the (totally wonderful and really quite affordable so I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED) venue we’d already booked in northern Michigan without us contributing a lot more than we’d agreed to to make it happen…and even then, we were going to have to be pretty aggressive with both saving and sticking to our budget. Plus I was also staring down the barrel of hot glue gun as I realized how much decorating we’d be doing ourselves, something we have neither the time nor the talent for. The whole thing was quite literally making me feel sick.

I knew there were some “traditional” wedding things that were really important to him, and by most standards, he didn’t want anything that lavish. So I decided to suck it up and find ways to save extra money for our wedding. I mean, yeah, every time I looked at our budget spreadsheet, I felt nauseous. And yes, my excitement over the wedding was nonexistent because all I could see was that spreadsheet, as well as my own looming bills. And sure, I was about to save more than I had ever been able to save in my life and spend it on something that wasn’t even that important to me. But I kept telling myself that it was important to him and I’d get over it eventually. And honestly, I was too embarrassed by the problem—how much we were going to spend, how little money I could comfortably contribute to our wedding—to talk to anyone about it. So I would just ignore it…until the next IBS flare-up would hit and my resentment would start seeping out of me.


Diagnosis: Acute Venue Reflux.

Symptoms: Daydreaming about canceling your fancy wedding plans and running off to city hall when planning gets tough. In serious cases, saying, “FUCK THIS, LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF!” And then actually doing it.

A case study: After one particularly, uh, explosive IBS incident, it became apparent how incredibly not fine I was with our budget. When I couldn’t hide this fact any more, Eric told me once again that we could just go to city hall. And for the first time…I actually considered taking him up on that offer. The next day, a friend happened to send me a link to a historic courthouse in Austin. It had enough of a bureaucratic vibe that we could skip out on most of the wedding pageantry if we wanted to (and I did), but it was beautiful, intimate, and flexible enough that we wouldn’t feel like pledging our love to each other was as mundane an act as renewing our drivers’ licenses. There were tons of cool restaurants in the area where we could have a kick-ass brunch party (um, my dream wedding reception!) and still have some kind of DJ or band for entertainment (which Eric really feels is necessary and isn’t budging on). It wasn’t close to either of our hometowns, where I think we both initially wanted to be married, but it was really close to the city where we’d decided to buy our house. We’d still need to do quite a bit of planning, but the thought of said planning actually sounded fun and exciting to both of us for the first time since we’d gotten engaged

Long-term Treatment for Your Pre-nuptial Ailments

All of these conditions can be super uncomfortable, and it’s easy to turn a common problem into a terminal illness in your head. Catching them early and not being too embarrassed to talk to someone about them really is the best cure.

But in our case, essentially starting over was the perfect prescription. So one year from now, we’re running off to the courthouse…where we also will have a cake and a DJ (and mimosas and French toast!), and where, in front of quite a few family members and friends, we will be married.

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  • As someone who did it, I can only say brunch party receptions are the best. You can have a mix of foods (cakes, a salad buffet, quiche, high-tea, little sandwiches, ice cream, scones, muffins), people will mingle. You will get lovely daylight, and you can still hit the bars with your closest friends when it’s all over.

    We originally were meant to do the “let’s rush to city hall with your brother and my best-friend” thing on a Monday morning, except when we informed our families they decided to come along as well. (the city hall and religious ceremony were held on different days, months even). So we went there with our very closest and headed to our favorite café for breakfast later.

    Good advice Rachel, and I like your medical style :) Talking about things and feelings is key!

    • We did a courthouse wedding with breakfast reception. It was a good combo of needs and wants, and most importantly, it was within our budget.

    • mari

      Your layout of the brunch reception then bar crawl (in my wedding fancies) is EXACTLY what we’re trying to plan! Glad to see it worked out well for you! :)

  • Elizabeth

    It sounds like you are set with your venue (congratulations!), so I have just two words for other Austin-area brides in a similar situation: Chapel Dulcinea.

    We are getting married there and having a dinner at a restaurant afterwards, but now I’m wishing we were just going for cake/champagne/nibbles in their pavilion afterwards.

  • Erin

    We had pie for our wedding reception (both as a money-saver and because neither of us are that big on cake), and it’s the thing we got the most compliments on! In fact, for several hundred less than that $500 cake, we had 21 Amish-made pies in 5 different varieties, 5 types of homemade truffles my girlfriends were dying to make for us, 4 flavors of amazing mini cupcakes for those who really wanted the cake experience, and a hot chocolate bar.

    • Samantha

      We are going sans cake too for pies, cheesecakes, brownies, etc. – dessert bar action. So many more delicious choices!

      • I want an ice cream sundae bar. Cake is overrated (also expensive, but really I just like ice cream more than I like cake).

        • Teresa

          An ice cream sundae bar came standard with our brunch package and IT WAS SO AWESOME! It was the only food I really ate that day and everyone loved it!

    • KW

      I know someone who had a bunch of cheesecakes for his reception. Granted it was a 2nd reception in his hometown since the wedding was held where he and his wife lived at the time, but apparently everyone who attended thought the cheesecakes were a grand idea.

    • Suzzie

      Both my husband and I don’t like cake. We did the whole cake tasting thing then went “so how will this taste after being in freezer several days and covered in fondant?” The answer to that wrinkled both of our noses in a look of disgust. So we went with french pastries. It was about a third of the price and they still made them all look super pretty (and they were baked the morning of the wedding and tasted absolutely delish!).

      My little sister who got married a month after me had an ice cream sundae bar with hot cider as their beverage (winter wedding, ice cream and cider, but it worked).

  • Teresa

    Seriously, I feel you. I was all “Let’s Elope!” and my now husband was all “I think it’s really important to have all of our family and friends there!” I figured that it would be easier for me to have a wedding than for him to not have a wedding. Once he realize how much weddings actually cost and that neither of us really have family with the backyard that he had invisioned in his head for kegs and BBQ, as well as a house large enough to be our “Plan B,” he was a little frustrated, but still undeterred. It was really difficult for me to not feel resentful that we were spending ALL OF OUR MONEY and saving almost everything we were making in order to make our wedding happen. I only had one resentment-fueled meltdown and my husband was as gracious as he could be about it, but felt like it was always swimming in the back of my head. We went more traditional than I wanted, but as practical as I could make it, while still feeling like a wedding that our families would recognize as a wedding. In the end, I am SO grateful that we had a wedding with everyone there. We had a moment after we gave up trying to eat (seriously, the food was so good and I just couldn’t sit down and eat!) where we stood at the edge of the dancefloor and just looked around at everyone we loved gathered in one room, talking and laughing and eating together. For that moment alone, it was worth all of the annoyance and resentment. It sounds like you have made peace with your choices as a couple, which is, I think, half the battle.

    • “I figured that it would be easier for me to have a wedding than for him to not have a wedding.” Oh man, this is a great line because thinking “I figured it would be easier for me to have X than for him [or her] to not have X” is probably really helpful in trying to work some of these things out. I think we eventually realized that it would be easier for him to not have some things than for me to have them; I was really, really struggling to make peace with our budget, whereas he can make peace with not having, like, All The Things. (Except cake and a DJ haha.)

      It sounds like you guys found that sweet spot where you’re both glad you trusted the other on something…I hope it works out similarly for us but I feel quite positive about it!

      • It’s just generally all around good advice on coming to compromises, even outside of planning a wedding. You can’t make every decision that way, but a lot of compromise can come from that principle.

  • In mourning all of the weddings I couldn’t have because I had the one we did (which I loved and was perfect for us) the brunch reception may have been the hardest to let go of. For YEARS I wanted a brunch reception! So I’m always so happy for anyone who does have one. And for anyone in general who manages to have the wedding they want rather than the wedding they feel they ought to have. So congrats on both fronts!

  • Oh, how I can relate! Three months into wedding planning for our November nuptials, I have a pretty serious case of Irritable Budget Syndrome — especially when we really sat down to start mapping everything out. And the numbers were skyrocketing. And I started feeling incredibly sick to my stomach and actually had to place a moratorium on all things budget-related for a day or so. Eek!

  • Courthouse brunch party for the win! I’ve gotten that “starving-puppy-stink-face” from Matt when I’ve suggested elopement, too.

    And, in addition to bringing humor to these common wedding ailments, I think you hit a really good point about not turning common problems into terminal illnesses! I tend to let that happen – whoops. It’s so easy to suppress talking about something that’s uncomfortable when that is usually the best cure.

  • Sam A

    Mimosas and french toast?!
    Sounds FAB!! Can’t wait to hear more…

  • Heeee puns! I love this. Clever as hell and spot on. Great personal storytelling within a larger practical post.

  • Anon, as seems the trend

    There’s still a large part of me that truly regrets that my wedding won’t be some casual weekend affair at my cottage, but the boy is convinced it’s too far and too rugged for his elder family members. And well, it’s a little crushing… But the venue we did get is amazing and everything I could have hoped for, even if it was outside of our budget.

    I suppose I’ll work out something.

  • Hi, Rachel! Your first official intern post could not have come at a better time. I was just pondering my inability to explain what we want and then feeling quite frustrated when my well-meaning mom suggests something that she thinks is simpler, easier, or more logical (Oh, hai, Inarticulitis!). It’s not like I should be surprised that planning–even a small ceremony–is making me crazy because this comes up so frequently on APW. Still, I am so thankful for your timely post and am breathing a huge sigh of relief that to feel loads of solidarity with other like-minded, wedding-afflicted women.

  • Fantastic post Rachel! I’m not going to be sad to read your voice in oh-so-many places throughout this year!

    I have to confess that I am a little oddly sad that you won’t be in Michigan for your wedding weekend but honestly, most importantly, this seems much more you. It might actually be easier for many people to get to Austin than northwestern Mich and you won’t have to worry about snowstorms (for the most part.)

    I must also confess that I struggle with inarticulitis regularly in wedding planning and house designing and life. I physically feel that face that Eric makes. Can’t you just be in my head.

    • I know, I am a bit sad about MI as well…I was excited we could contribute to the MI economy and bring some attention to the gorgeous (and underrated!) venues there! (And I’ll really, really miss the snow!) We were thinking maybe we could use some of the money we’re saving and honeymoon at the Homestead, but we’ll just have to see — I’m so focused on tightening our budget, I can’t even think of a honeymoon right now!

      • Just a lurker

        Just a lurker de-lurking to say that the Homestead is my favorite place on earth. And Glen Arbor and North Bar and Leelenau… But mostly the Homestead.

      • mimi

        I was wondering what the northern MI venue was going to be. We are getting married on my fiance’s family’s property just outside of Gaylord this August. Your plans sound amazing though!

  • Our biggest wedding blow-up was over cake. This was after our dream wedding venue all but cancelled on US because we (shocker and NOT UP FOR DISCUSSION) are not serving alcohol at our reception. My image of a wedding was slowly being overtaken by the weddings our friends had this past year, and it was starting to show, to the point where A was getting shut out of wedding planning, something I never intended.

    Fortunately, we managed to reach an agreement, and now, save for a few MINOR changes, we’re okay. Cupcakes for the win!

    • Wait what?! That’s such a bizarre policy re: cancelling because no alcohol. Do other places do that? Do you mind explaining their logic behind that decision? Presumably they get all the proceeds from the bar and weren’t pleased about losing money?

      • I’d imagine that’s the reasoning: they make big-time $$$$$ on everyone getting sloshed at your wedding, presumably on your dime, and that isn’t going to fly with us, either. Crazy. We’re having signature cocktails (on the house!), then cash bar for everything else.

        • Copper

          That’d be my suspicion too. If it’s the sort of venue where they require you to use their caterer and their bar service, then opting out of them for any reason is verboten.

          • d.eva.

            To clarify because I chose some really really poor words up there. I should have said that our original venue ended up not working out, rather than using the phrase “all but cancelled” because it was our choice to cancel with the venue, they were doing their best to work within our budget and to make things work for both us and them.. It was hard for us to hold our wedding with our own time restraints there. We were and stil are plannign an out of town wedding and needed the venue for longer than they were able to provide it to us without us having to pay more than was initially agreed upon in our original meeting. I think a lot of brainstorming happened, a lot of things were discused but not truly agreed upon, and yes, our lack of desire to serve alcohol did play a part in how long we could rent the venue for. They did their best to accommodate us within our time restraints but ultimately we all realized that our initial requests and the initial agreement was not going to work how any of us originally thought and we were able to cancel with the venue with no hard feelings. I really do regret my initial posting, which was made hastily and without thinking of my choice of words and how it would sound. I don’t want to misrepresent the original venue because they were awesome to work with. However, we had and still have a very limited budget to work within and they did their best to work with us within our constraints. We asked for a lot with a small budget and after all the excitement died down we realized we were asking for more than the venue could reasonably provide us within our budget. That’s really what it boils down to.

            I am trying to be detailed and am nervous typing any of this out because 1: I dont’ want to get flamed for my seriously poor choice of words and 2: I dont’ want to misrepresent the original venue in any way, because they were pretty easy to work with in all of our discussions and emailed exchanges.

            I really should think before I comment and am probably overthinking this response. And possibly not comment before coffee. With that, I am going to press submit and hope for the best.

          • Since you didn’t state the name of the venue, and since you didn’t state where you are getting married, I wouldn’t worry about it! =)

          • Rose

            Whoooops I did not mean to report you! Sorry! And yes you caught me lurking on the comments weeks after the story was published.

  • Rachel

    My guy had a similar bout of Inarticulitis. We also finally realized that for him, it didn’t feel like a wedding if it didn’t have some of the stereotypical, traditional, and WIC elements. While I wanted a slightly irreverent (but still pretty darn traditional) unique celebration.
    We did our best to meet in the middle, but it often wasn’t easy. Especially since we both originally thought we were on the same page.

  • Class of 1980

    “We’d still need to do quite a bit of planning, but the thought of said planning actually sounded fun and exciting to both of us for the first time since we’d gotten engaged.”

    That’s when you know you’re on to something. Congratulations. ;)

  • Kris

    This is a great article, definitely hit close to home.
    It’s so amazing to see, not only in the post but also in the comments, how many of us out there want small non-traditional weddings and have partners who want more traditional weddings. It can be hard to reconcile spending so much for something that is so transient, but marriage is about two people coming together within their community so it makes sense that we wedding would reflect that as well.
    I’m really looking forward to more articles Rachel!

  • sarahmrose

    I have a weakness for puns, but I especially enjoyed that Irritable Budget Syndrome worked out to “IBS.” I laughed when I read it in my head even though I don’t know whether that particular one was intended. That’s how I often feel about my budgets, anyway.

    Also, you just reminded me that brunch food is my favorite food in the world! Why are we having a dinner reception?! Maybe I will just give my guests breakfast-for-dinner. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

    All in all, such a lovely first post, Rachel. Made me laugh out loud several times. I love it when we talk through the heavy stuff, but it’s great to laugh at it all once in a while too.

    • Thank you so much for the compliments! And IBS was totally intentional. :) Anyway, I just wanted to say that at one point, brunch-for-dinner was one of the many compromises we considered, both because it was less expensive but mainly because WAFFLE BAR AND OMELET BAR!!!

      • Laura

        Rachel, I laughed so hard at Irritable Budget Syndrome! Loved your post. Also, the brunch idea totally blew my mind. I never thought of it before, and it sounds like the Best. Idea. Ever.

  • What shocked me in my planning process – and something I’m definitely seeing alluded to here – was the expectations of the men involved in weddings. There’s this big stereotype that WIC has gotten into women’s brains and we’re all wedding crazy, when in my experience the biggest, most WICy expectations are coming from the husband to be. To make things worse it also comes without any understanding of the money involved or the planning involved … and with a strong expectation that girls are natural wedding planners and a disinterest in actually taking the reigns.

    With all these stereotypes about weddings making women go crazy, and about our crazy expectations for them it drives me nuts that a lot of the driving force isn’t even coming from our side of the court.

    • Ha, should have read this before I posted my comment below!

    • This is the most true thing I’ve read about weddings in a LONG time. Especially the notion that men tend to get all the expectations WITHOUT the idea of how much it costs. You really hit the nail on the head — all of this was a huge surprise to me (well, both of us really) as we began this process.

      • meg

        Pretty much the worst is when someone (partner, grandmother, parent) suggests something they really want, and you ask them “Well, how much do you think that would cost?’ and they say, “Ummmm… $500????” and you say, “No, $5,000.” And they look all panicked/ disbelieving. And in your head you’re like, “And you wonder why I’m stressed.”

    • Copper

      Yep. Mr Copperbeard is currently suffering Inarticulitis surrounding walking down the aisle. I want us to do so together, I have vetoed my dad walking me down. He has the EXACT reaction Rachel described when this topic comes up. I suspect that though he is otherwise not superstitious, the idea of not being up at the altar waiting for me just goes against his notions about what a wedding is. Will he ever manage to say so? Unknown.

    • My husband insisted on a cake cutting. I still don’t know why it was so important to him and I did not get him a mini-cake just for us to cut (as he’d suggested) but instead we just cut one of our sweet rolls and did it. The pictures are pretty cute, but it was I guess the one tradition he couldn’t live without.

    • Marie

      This is a wonderful way to put it. I’ve noticed the same thing with my guy: he has some INCREDIBLY traditional ideas and balks at anything outside WIC norms. I’m not sure if that stems from his traditional background, or perhaps it’s because he honestly hasn’t really thought things through and just assumes “this is how weddings are.”

      We have a method for working through the WIC-ness together. Once I introduce an offbeat idea (paper flowers! fabric flowers!), he has a knee-jerk reaction to justify the traditional version. We usually cover the basics of each side, then we both think on it for a couple days. When we talk about it again, and half the time he agrees with my idea. If he still doesn’t like it, we discuss more and see who it’s more important to. That decides which way we’ll go, regardless of WIC or tradition.

      We used this method for most of the super-traditional elements. Walk down the aisle, garter and bouquet toss, cake vs. cupcakes, etc. It works well for us, because it gives him to really consider a non-WIC option. I’m not saying it’s easy or painless, but it gives us time to consider the other person (and calm down!).

      • tess

        I feel much in the same boat. I think guys are sometimes surprised to discover they have expectations about these things – when they do realize what they actually want it can be late in the process and feel like a bit of a surprise. Somehow we went from talking about a party in a public park with food trucks to booking a pretty traditional venue for a full sit-down fancypants dinner. Which I am sure will still be awesome. But it can be hard because the person without the traditional expectations can often be the person who just cares less about particulars, and so ends up compromising more. I like your method of making sure both sides are heard out and decisions are made thoughtfully.

      • Elissa

        I’m having some similar issues, and one technique I’ve found to deal with it is Pinterest. I find examples of the things I’m suggesting (eg- mad-libs), and then he can see them, have it made real, be reassured that this is something that actually happens and actually works, and then (hopefully) come around to it (“that looks kinda fun”). This is, of course, in combination with proper conversations about whatever it is.

        This approach also works for less visual things – in fact I applied it during our pre-engagement period, with APW pre-engagement and anxiety articles :p

    • Breck

      This, totally. I actually think it’s much harder for guys/the groom in a lot of ways. There is still such a ridiculous expectation in WIC-land that dudes aren’t/shouldn’t be interested in the wedding (and the planning of it) that there are very few places that encourage thoughtful examination of wedding traditions for them. Without sites like APW, I’d probably also still think that I had to have a plated dinner/cake-cutting/Saturday night dinner reception/ALLTHETHINGS*.

      I’ve sent my BF a few APW articles (and a couple of Rachel’s, too!), to try and give him a glimpse into my perspective on weddings (and finances and marriage and life), and that seemed to help him understand where I was coming from. Once we’re engaged (currently pre engaged and I go back and forth between apathy and rage about it), I’m going to start passing on some of the Wordless Weddings so he can see that weddings are beautiful and full of love even if we don’t get married in a hotel ballroom.

      *Not that there’s anything wrong with those things or that we don’t want them. Just… not necessary for lovely wedding.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Exactly! to everyone’s comments thus far about WIC pressure coming from the groom (also the mothers).

      My husband actually said, “You can’t get married in a classy place like Christ Church [my home church, been a member for years, free] and then have the reception in a gymnasium.” And my mother said, “I don’t think your directions for a simple chuppah really fit with the formal wedding you’re planning.”

      My solution was to explain the work involved and then say the person who wants the complicated detail has to do the work (of crafting, or finding the vedor, etc.)

    • YES. When I let slip how much my dress (didn’t) cost to my fiance, I expected him to be pleased about how reasonable and, well, practical I was being. He was all, arms flapping, “but it’s the BIGGEST DAY EVER!!! YOU HAVE TO WEAR THE FANCIEST DRESS IN THE WORLD!”

      Other things he has been decidedly WIC about – we MUST have a DJ (he doesn’t even dance! I do, and I was planning to put together a kickass playlist); open bar is the only way; everyone should wear suits and the bridesmaids should match. When I mentioned writing our own vows, his mouth fell open in shock.

    • Not Sarah

      AGREED! My boyfriend has disagreed me with me on all of the following ideas I have about weddings:
      1) No paper invitations. I don’t care one bit about them, they’re expensive, and isn’t online RSVPs like Go so much better???
      2) I don’t want to wear a white dress. My mom wore a pink dress to her wedding, so why do I need to wear a white dress? (He told me I must wear a white dress, no discussion. But why can’t I wear MY MOM’S wedding dress? It fits me.) And if I buy a new dress? It’s not going to cost any more than $150, which is my normal budget for a dress.
      3) My dad is not walking me down the aisle. I would be okay with both of my parents walking me down the aisle, but not just my dad. I am not my dad’s property.
      4) I refuse to ever change my last name. (He says the whole point of getting married is to have the same last name. Well then he can change to mine. That’s not happening either :P)
      5) I don’t want a fancy engagement ring. I don’t see myself wearing expensive jewellery – it’s just not my thing. In fact, I already have a wedding band type ring that fits on my left hand ring finger, so I don’t really need to even buy a wedding ring…

      I also don’t see any reason to spend more than $5-10,000 on a wedding and I would be perfectly happy to get married at the curling rink or in my parents’ backyard. (One of my guy friends thought the curling rink idea was a joke until I elaborated on it…)

      • ElisabethJoanne

        I was somewhat ambivalent about changing my name. My husband didn’t want me to. I told this to some fundamentalist evangelicals, who were all husband-is-the-head, you-must-change-your-name, and they had no response. Shocked their world.

        • Not Sarah

          My mom’s response is always “But what about the children???” Thankfully this is over the phone so I can roll my eyes without her seeing.

      • My husband was INAPPROPRIATELY opinionated about my dress. I capitalize it because it was probably the biggest thing we fought about again and again. My little tyrant tried everything to get me to do what he wanted (white, traditional and long -ps no boobs showing). He even declared if I didn’t care if he thought I looked good…

        I finally found the strength to say (scream) that he’d better (expletive) think I looked (expletive) beautiful on our (expletive) wedding day, even if I was wearing a garbage bag. This statement combined with I’m sure the bridezilla eyes and spittle flying from my mouth was what it took to get him to back off. And once he did, I was able to ON MY OWN decide to get a ceremony dress that fit his bill to compliment my party dress that was all me. When a man thinks he has a say so in your wedding dress, I can’t help but wonder what underlying bigger issue is at play. But since we’d already had too many fights about him thinking he could tell me what to wear, I took a firm stand about it and I’m glad. Whatever underlying issue he might have, he knows now not to bring it to his wife anymore. :)

        • ElisabethJoanne

          I lived in really strict dress codes until I was almost 22, and consequently get really anxious about anyone telling me what to put on my body. I’d flip out, too, if a man, even my now-husband, were trying to lay down rules.

        • “I finally found the strength to say (scream) that he’d better (expletive) think I looked (expletive) beautiful on our (expletive) wedding day” HAHA…I love this comment. I was cheering for you in my head by the end of it.

  • Does anyone else notice a trend of the men (or your partner if you are not in a hetero relationship) being more, perhaps, sentimental about many aspects of the wedding? Because my man has shown a lot of sentimental feelings that have surprised me (the big one is his very strong desire to have a traditional proposal with the diamond solitaire, since we’re not officially engaged yet I foresee other potentials down the line). At one point I was talking about wedding-y things and he said something pretty similar to what Rachel’s man said: “Well, jeez, Rachel, I’m not sure by the end of this weekend if people are even going to know we had a wedding.” (Except my name isn’t Rachel but, you know, you get what I mean).

    The other thing that I am mildly concerned about in terms of WedMD is the Liz Lemon syndrome. I need to be careful about not letting my “GRARRR SOCIETY GRARRR” syndrome get in the way of things–just because society/WIC says it is a THING doesn’t mean that it is wrong (IT IS OKAY TO WANT TO BE A PRINCESS FOR A DAY etc.). If Liz Lemon can let go so can I. And so can we all (so say we all).

    • Laura

      So say we all!

    • Moe

      Oh yes, they care. At least my husband does care about wedding things!. (We married already but are planning a wedding). He said he didn’t really care as long as we could afford it.

      But he cares about the music played at the ceremony.

      He cares very much about his suit and tie. When he tried the full ensemble on for me he looked at himself in the mirror and said “it will look really nice when I have my hair done.”

      I was surprised and very relieved that he didn’t want to do any parent dances at the reception.

    • Funny you mention the ring, because my husband had VERY specific ideas of what my ring should look like, which is difficult to manage when I pointed out vintage turquoise cocktails rings and he was thinking solitare diamond. Totally caught me off guard. Our enagement/elopment came pretty much out of nowhere, so I didn’t expect him to have these strict visions of what’s a “proper” engagement ring. We met in the middle with a non-traditional stone (sapphire) in a very traditional cut (emerald), bought from eBay.

    • Laura C

      I’m so lucky that from day one we both knew that he cared more about weddings than I did. As in, my parents had 7 people at their wedding and many of their friends I grew up around weren’t married at all, so I’d never assumed it was a must to be married, let alone have a wedding. He saw both as a must. (Which got frustrating at the point where I was like “look, I’m all in on this relationship, and because I know you care a lot about getting married, it makes me feel like you’re not.” But that’s another issue.)

      He’d had his groomsmen in mind for years, like 7-8 of them. I’m still trying to decide what to do about that. He cares deeply about an open bar (ok, so do I) and dancing. I could go for a boozy brunch as happily. He wants his mom to walk him down the aisle; I’m ambivalent about having my parents do so (I’m arguing it’s a nice gender flip if his do and mine don’t, but we’ll see, maybe my parents will want to do it). So we started out our wedding planning with the knowledge that I was already compromising by having a weddingy wedding, let alone the ginormous guest list he wants.

      But! We are also on the same page about a lot of stuff: he was relieved I didn’t want a big expensive (or any) engagement ring or an elaborate proposal. He’s fine with me not wearing white. Neither of us care about flowers. We only want to do favors if something occurs to us that is personal.

      Definitely, though, he is way more sentimental about it than I am.

  • Yay Rachel!! This is a great post. :)

  • Moe

    Due to a string of very unfortunate circumstances beyond anyone’s control my cake-baker may have to cancel baking for my wedding because her house is going into foreclosure.

    I’m now exploring the option of pie, something my guy wanted anyways. You’ve given me hope that pie can be wonderful!


    • Cleo

      I, for one, love pie and would be thrilled (as a guest) to see that pie was on the menu.

      Random suggestion if you feel yourself mourning the loss of wedding cake — have someone grab a cupcake or slice of cake from a local bakery on your wedding day and eat it with your spouse after the ceremony or the reception. Or, if you’re having a daytime/afternoon wedding, go out to a bakery afterwards and grab some cake with your new spouse and/or your family/besties. Maybe grab it to go and bring a bottle of champagne :)

      • Moe

        Breaking wedding planning news…

        Pie is an affordable option. A local diner known for good pie has basic fruit pies for about $8 each.

        Wal-Mart bakeries of all places made a fantastic cake for my wedding shower. A small 8-inch round, plain is $7. (I would top it with a few fresh flowers)

        I’m waiting to get quotes back on cupcakes. But what I’m really excited about it the possibilty of have a churro cart. Churros!

        • Churros AND pie? I’m coming to your wedding.

  • My husband TOTALLY had Diagnosis: Inarticulitis. I’m not sure why everyone seems to love the idea of a brunch reception but didn’t do it? We just called it “breakfast for dinner” and had brunch at 7:00 pm. It was both my husband and I’s favorite thing from childhood and no one complained about eating bacon that late at night. We also went easiest dessert of all and got donuts and sweet rolls. So don’t miss out on brunch just because you want an evening wedding. Just call it breakfast for dinner like we did and carry on. Hollandaise for everyone!

    • Yum! We thought about doing that, but went with a dessert reception instead. I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner (or lunch) though!

  • Laura

    Gasp! Brian also refuses to budge on having a band!! His exact wording was “I am adamant.” Jaw-dropping! So much for him not caring about weddings! I’m proud that I had the presence of mind to capitalize on his moment of non-inarticulitis and ask the follow-up, “is there anything else you are adamant about?”

    And yes, with each additional adamant requirement, I just keep hearing a cash register opening and shutting as the dollar signs rack up. Cue IBS.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      It’s so hard when your partner is adamant about only a few things, but those few things are budget-busters. You really want to make it happen (after all, he hasn’t asked for much), but it can be really hard on a practical level.

      • My husband too tried to insist on live music – until I explained that the entire wedding budget wouldn’t even cover it. He quickly adjusted his ideas of what he “had” to have.

        • I was the one who insisted on a live band, and we got one for $400 for the evening (about 4 hours of music!). They e-mailed me for a list of songs we loved ahead of time and we sort of chatted back and forth about what type of stuff we thought they should play. They were awesome!! Played in the backyard just on the grass, with a carpet under the drum set, and kept people dancing until they quit. Live music doesn’t have to be expensive! Check out local (young) cover bands or put up posters near the local university or something… :-)

  • You really captured the “ailments” of wedding planning so honestly and with so much humor. I love it!

    Can’t wait to see how the courthouse-mimosa-wedding-with-cake-and-DJ turns out :)

  • I think I had the same exact flu you did! We planned for a “laid back” wedding which ended up being kind of large/lots of work/making me SO SICK and then finally gave into our Acute Venue Reflux and said fuck it.

    I’m excited for you to do the courthouse thing followed by fun & food (we did SF City Hall, Pizza & went to a bar)

    Once you get over the main sickness it gets so much easier. There will still be some sniffles or allergies along the way, but knowing you’re doing the right wedding for you and your partner makes it so much more tolerable.


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  • E

    Great post. Love your voice and excited to read more from you. It’s funny – one of the only times my husband put his foot down during wedding planning was regarding the cake. I suggested doing cupcakes or pies as a less expensive alternative, but he was adamant about having a big fancy cake. It was important to him, so we found the money for it. Who knew men were so into cake?

  • I want so, so many more posts/open threads about how surprised we are at our partner’s opinions about weddings. BECAUSE I WAS NOT PREPARED.

    Also, this is great. I’ve got a recurring case of IBS that my fiance and my mother are not trying to alleviate. And they keep offering up all this money to bring something they want to life and I’m just like “but you/we have to retiiiiiire someday!”

    • This was me, without a doubt. I wanted to elope to Jamaica and just enjoy that time, the two of us.

      Then he completely says NO and that we have to have something here in Western New York. I’m kind of excited about things for the wedding are turning out, but I’d still much rather elope to beautiful Jamaica. I never thought I’d be the one to request eloping and he’d be the one who needed something at home. :/

  • Rachel, this blog was fantastic and made me SO happy to see that I’m not alone in how I feel about wedding planning. I was never a one to sit and picture the perfect wedding, in fact, when I proposed, I thought we’d elope from the beginning. NO. But as someone pointed out, it was SO much easier to give him what he wants. I’ll get over it.

    Back to number crunching :(

  • FutureMrsLizZebra

    Totally asking future hubby about having breakfast for dinner!
    Totally have IBS, like, every damn day.
    Totally suffer from AVR, as well. Originally wanted a picnic type thing at a park, but parks around us don’t allow alcohol (boo!). So, switch to something rustic/barn-y/historic. None of them are cheap! IBS – AVR cycle abounds!
    Luckily, future hubby and I seem to be on the same page… but now I have the urge to really ask him if he’s just going along for the ride or if he has concrete ideas of “musts” that he’s not brought up yet.

  • Devin

    I read this post and immediately sent it on to my fiance. His response that it wasn’t as funny as I made it seem to which I replied “only because you are suffering from a case of inarticulitis.” I don’t have a large family or a large circle of friends that I’m close to and I would consider myself a private person. My perfect wedding would be a courthouse ceremony and a back yard kegger to celebrate. However, in our beginning attempts at wedding planning I’ve learned that he is very heavily entrenched in the WIC idea of a wedding and is having problems moving past what you “should” do. After reading the comments, I’m so glad I’m not the only one with this problem!

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  • Heather

    This whole post was really funny to me because my fiance and I are exactly like this. At first he was like “I don’t care” and then in talks it came out that he was MUCH more traditional than I was, and I’ve just decided that if its more important to him he gets to have it. It makes things easier.

  • Megan

    My husband and I planned on running away to Reno and getting married on our own but once family found out they all invited themselves. It was funny to see my husband get all involved with my dress and the tuxes once we realize we weren’t getting married in jeans and tshirts. I didn’t want a dress at all but he begged. He was bummed I wouldn’t do a veil but with as hot as it ended up being it worked out. It was a perfect semi formal but totally white trash affair at a chapel in Reno nestled between a liquor store and a tattoo parlor. The only thing we were both adamant on? The Mario Brothers wedding cake that ended up costing more than my dress. But SO worth it.

  • Enthyme

    I loved your post, Rachel, because I’m feeling exactly the same way as you. I’ve never dreamed about throwing a party for five hundred people and as an accountant, the cost of it all just makes me want to stay single forever.

    However, my fiance is dreaming of a wedding with exactly all the things I don’t want. Now I can put a name to the face he’s been making! We’ve argued over these and a few times, things almost came to calling the wedding off. I chose to give in and save like mad to have the wedding he would like, but I feel so resentful over it especially since it’ll be eating into my renovation budget. I guess it’s a matter of give and take. I’ll be hoping that someone sends me news of a dream venue as well before the next round of IBS kicks in!


    I think the concept of breakfast for dinner just saved a bit of my sanity. I can be in a ballgown, have waffles, have cake, a glass of champagne and kiss the best-looking man in the room? That is so full of WIN I can hardly stand it.

    Not to mention, it seriously calms the IBS. No steak! Everyone gets waffles!

  • Emily

    So what’s an even-tempered response to “Well, jeez, Rachel, I’m not sure by the end of this weekend if people are even going to know we had a wedding.”?

    If your partner (or parents, or whoever) is just worried it won’t feel like a wedding, but it not technically AGAINST the idea, what do you say to assure them it’ll be okay?

  • Laura C

    This is so spot on and funny!

    I had a major bout of inarticulitis over the weekend. My future mother-in-law was pushing us to consider a venue that’s about three times the cost of any other venue we’re considering, and I kept sort of trying to be logical about why I didn’t think that was a good idea even though it wouldn’t bankrupt anyone involved, and finally I just started saying “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”

    In retrospect, I realized that we had had a conversation where she looked at the list of venues I most wanted to look at and asked if I was specifically interested in a nonprofit, and I’d said it would be nice but wasn’t a requirement, I just didn’t want a hotel or banquet hall. And this was not a hotel or banquet hall, it was a museum, so she was on some level observing the pattern she’d observed in what I was interested in. But seriously, close to $20,000 for the venue! I think the reason I didn’t give a good response to that the first time she suggested it was I was trying not to swallow my tongue in shock.

  • So true! Best diseases ever -)

  • Holly

    This is wonderful….I’m so happy for you both!!