Thursday, January 5, 2012

Opinions Wanted: Wedding Regret Roulette

I will try to keep my impending-marriage-related posts to a minimum, but before too much time passes, I wanted to take an informal poll of sorts.

I consider myself a fairly no-frills and even a bit non-feminine person.  I was never the little or teenage girl who dreamed about her wedding day.  Even though I am comfortable with computers and computer languages, I have yet to own a Kindle or tablet and touched an iPad for the first time at the store just a few days ago.  I never really wore makeup until I started working in a professional setting, and for many years, my legs were blindingly white because I never wore dresses, skirts, or even shorts.  Over the years, I've gotten a bit "better," but most of that came from boredom/ennui.  In fact, I'm pretty darn surprised this is now even a concern to me at all.

People keep asking me a zillion questions... as expected.  And given that we definitely want to tie le knot by the end of the year (!), I feel that I need to make some decisions soon.  As of now, we're shooting for November.  The specific "date" kind of depends on whether or not I want to actually have a wedding.

Some of my reasons for not necessarily being on board with a wedding include:

- fear of family awkwardness, feeling that I'm forcing people to attend, inter-racial/-religious strangeness

- fear of $$$ and desire to have a nice honeymoon (<-- I've never been out of the country)

- fear of people looking at me (bridal attention) because I grew up with the notion that I am fugly (any way to say that without sounding sad? because I'm completely open and careless about that)

- my general inattention to detail

- my general dislike for being the center of attention (see above)

Some have told me, "I'm going to fly down to see you sign papers at the city hall?"  One (male friend) even said, "If only I could get away with that...."  Others have told me that I should do what I want and not worry about anyone else since we would be footing the bill.  And yet others have said that I can do what I want, but will I regret it???  Unfortunately, I don't have any foresight as to whether or not I'd regret just doing the city hall thing with anyone who feels like attending.  So I wouldn't get nice sheets from Bed Bath and Beyond or any of that stuff, but that's what saved $ could buy. 

I feel like such a darn hypocrite, because a couple of times, I've had people tell me they were "just" doing a civil ceremony, and I probably sounded disappointed.  Even if they were planning on "doing something later," it just wasn't the same... which is why I think it's now or never.

He has told me that he doesn't care if we have a wedding or not, no matter how much I try to get "the truth" from him.  As a first-born (non-spiritual/"bad" Jewish) son, I'm surprised his family has not provided input, though we will be "testing the waters" with them soon.  Emphasis on "soon," because I know these things can take a long time to plan.

If we do go through with an actual wedding, it will be quite small.  I know this because let's just say that a guest list has already been written.  I have a friend who can take some decent photos.  And I'd want my best friends to carry our chuppah.  Other than that, I don't know.  (I should note that we've agreed that engagement/whtie wedding dress photography is more of a priority, which we plan to splurge on a bit.)

Soo.... ladies (and gentlemen)... does anyone have any opinions, stories, or other votes on this?

I'll update again once when the whatever the event that makes me being "Mrs. Ukrainian" (hah!) official has progressed.


  1. Julie - I totally understand your position! I was kind of in the same situation when we got engaged - I never ever dreamt of my wedding when I was young...and even though my parents had a wedding, my mom often told me that she hated the attention and went through with it just because her family wanted the whole shebang.

    As for you, I'd say to DO WHAT YOU WANT! I know, doesn't sound helpful, but hear me out...make a list of what is important to you, and talk to your fiance, family and close friends...what is "you"???

    What we ended up doing is this: planned a smallish wedding (85 people) and made our list of priorities early - our highest ticket items: photography and food. After that, made sure we covered all our bases but never went overboard on anything. I DIYed a lot of stuff and honestly really enjoyed the process.

    We also had a November wedding and I highly recommend it! :D

  2. My first wedding was the big fairy tale country club extravaganza. I am opposite of you, very much into design, fashion, details, decorating. I loved it, but spent way too much money on something that was over so fast. After my husbands unexpected death, I told myself never again.

    Then I met my current husband. We got engaged, he's a first born, never married before... Not into the attention, big ordeal... So 10 months later, we hopped on a plane to Maui and got married under a gazebo by the beach with 25 of our closest friends and family. Best decision ever. It felt way more intimate, I was more "in the moment" and everyone had an amazing time/vacation. We took all of our guests to a 5 star sit down dinner after the ceremony and then started our life together.

    You just really have to do what feels right to both of you. There is lots of wedding industry, family and friend pressure. The ritual part is very important to many and they feel the need to share their opinions about what you should and shouldn't do. Just be your authentic selves of it won't feel right.

  3. I don't see myself as girly, but I've always wanted a wedding. I never really fantasized about it, but I knew there would be a big celebration. I love big Mexican weddings with mariachis and tons of cousins, some you might not really know. I have a huge family, so the only way to have a small wedding would be to elope or have it in NY.

    I think whatever you do, I hope it's what you and your fiancé want.

  4. I'm definitely not much of a girly girl either (I still don't wear makeup :) ) - but I was excited for our wedding, largely because it was a great excuse to bring together all the people that we love (and a handful that we don't). Brent and I designed the ceremony, so it was really personal and relatively non-traditional (though it was a Jewish ceremony), and the party, while pretty big (250+ people) was also rather low key. We did it as "green" as we could, with local food, a public radio DJ, recycled paper invitations, and a dress that I bought on ebay for $23.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, we were able to make it what we wanted without having to give in too much to the "have to's." So, if you want to have a wedding, then go for it - and make it your own. And if you don't, then commemorate getting married in a way that feels right to you. Because the marriage is the important part, right?

  5. First off: Congrats! I must've been on winter-sleepy-mode and missed your engagment! But, belated CONGRATS!

    I felt the same as you and just wanted a civil ceremony (I too felt the strain of family weirdness, and an undesire to be a bride), but Jerry really wanted a wedding, so we did something small (50 guests) and we had it on a yacht (rental).

    I must say: We had some MAJOR glitches in our wedding -- ie, the boat never left the dock as it was supposed to, and instead of the boat picking us and all of our guests up at a designed location, we ended up having to walk 2 blocks to the OTHER side of the intercoastal to board it, and during the ceremony itself, a passing boat's horn completely blocked out most of our vows -- but, most of our friends and family say that ours was one of the best weddings they'd ever attended, and I think most of those glitches make for great stories, and to me, our wedding -- and all of its small problems -- was very memorable and unique.

    Anyway, my point being: Your wedding is kinda a story of the two of you, so how you choose to compose that story sets the tone for your marriage (in some ways, definitely not all). No wedding is perfect; and your marriage itself is what matters most, but just choose something that's the best expression of the both of you.

    Maybe for you: A small, intimate, but meaningful setting and ceremony. Make it memorable, but definitely don't make it something that's not "yours."

  6. I just found your blog and really enjoy it!

    I also just so happen to have gone through the very SAME wedding planning issues last year...

    If it helps, here's how we resolved it: Hubby and I sat down and listed the top 3 things that were "not negotiable" in our wedding. We both wanted a very small beach wedding (#1). He wanted good food (#2) and good photos (#3). My #2 was a gorgeous bouquet and #3 was "no drama."

    We wound up with a 12-person wedding (family only) in an early morning ceremony on the beach. We served cupcakes after the ceremony (to tide everyone over during photos) and took everyone out for a gorgeous brunch. Inexpensive. Intimate. Beautiful. And NO DRAMA.

    Did we get push-back because people who are close to us wanted to be invited? Sure. But we set the rule early "parents and siblings only." Whenever anyone would push back, we fell back on The Rule. And it all worked out just fine.

    Good luck with yours, whatever you decide!

  7. Congrats my dear. All I can tell you is do what makes you happy and don't look back:D Hugs.

  8. Your wedding is about YOU and your FIANCE and no one else. It's not about your family or your friends. It's YOUR day. It's quite simple, really. Do what will make you guys happy and screw everyone else. Don't make decisions based on what others expect or want because what kind of life is that? How could you start a honest marriage with someone when you made your wedding day about pleasing OTHER people?

  9. Okay. I'm coming at this from a different viewpoint - that as a parent. With an Japanese upbringing (Ooooo. Two strikes!).

    First off, parents tend to be funny. We love to brag about the accomplishments of our children. To not be able to brag would take away a lot of our ability to build status with our friends .

    Secondly, based on what I read here and in Madison's blog, I know that you come from a pretty tight knit family who follows a lot of the Asian traditions of love of family and respect of elders. I don't know too much about the Ukrainian, but I can't believe that you would choose someone where that wasn't at least part of his base character as well.

    My advice? Seek out the advice of the Parents. Respect their wishes. But retain control! Remember - you both have to live with whatever guilt they are going to heap on you. LOL!!!

    Good luck and congratulations again.

  10. Make the decisions based on what you and your finance want, after all it is all about you two! Making decisions to make others happy will likely lead to regret. I am so similar to you in what you describe, and my wedding really was for other people. I certainly enjoyed it but given a do-over I would have done it far different.

    It really is all about the marriage and not so much about the wedding. If the money saved can set you on the right foot forward for your lives together that is the way to go.

    Best of luck with the decisions!

  11. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding, and all the best to you!

    My brother and sister-in-law had a non-traditional wedding, and one of the most unique ones I have ever been a part of. They got married on the deck of a cabin in northern MN and were married by a friend who essentially was one of those "ordained ministers" thanks to some certification he received on the internet. This initially didn't sit well with the folks and especially my grandma. We were brought up in a Lutheran church, so this was definitely not the expectation.

    But it ended up being a beautiful occasion. The minister did a wonderful job, and to my shock, my parents and my grandma loved him!

    That story doesn't really have much of a point, but I just thought I would share. Do what you want and what will make you the most happy!

    Congratulations, and all the best!

  12. If you don't want a big wedding, then don't do it because you will regret an event you didn't want FAR more than doing something civil or small. We had a very small ceremony with just our immediate family and when we talk about it everyone says they wishes they could have done it the same way. You won't regret it at all, just do it the way you want to do it. Besides, you can always do a civil ceremony and then host a simple backyard BBQ a few months later so that friends can come and celebrate. Good luck with your decision!

  13. Congrats! I hope everything works out for the best.

    Thanks for the visit and your comment on my blog.

    God bless you and have a gr8 week :-)

  14. Do whatever YOU want. Either way, there will be something you would have done differently in the end. Just don't skimp on pictures or a videographer! And in my opinion, don't skimp on the dress either.

  15. Hi Julie! I agree with so many of the comments already posted. Let me first say that the "marriage" is infinitely more important than the "wedding." My wife and I have been married for 25 years now and the wedding was nothing more than a great party with people who we cared about and who cared about us. We spent $2000 total for our wedding (25 years ago - including only $100 for the dress!), so it wasn't a huge investment. The commitment to marriage is what really counts. It is your decision and people who love you should understand and respect it.

  16. Hi, just found your blog. My significant other and I skipped the wedding, went to the JOP, and had a nice honeymoon. We didn't inform most people until after we got back. Sure there was plenty of backlash, but everyone had gotten over it. We've been married 12 years and I have never felt regret for skipping the pomp and circumstance. Congratulations and good luck.