Dear Breakup Girl,
My boyfriend and I have been dating for 7.5 years now, and he recently proposed to me. We love each other very much, and want to be together forever. However, we are having a great deal of trouble planning our wedding. We both want to get married sooner rather than later, and we both would like to have certain people and pastor present.
That’s where it gets tricky. The pastor who we want to marry us is moving away [in a month and a half]. Unfortunately, he will be unable to return before next August, or September. Gordon and I would both like to be married well before then. We were hoping to get married in February. So, because none of our plans were working for February, we briefly discussed changing the date to December (this December). Everything has fallen into place beautifully, except for one detail. I had mentioned to Gordon’s sister that the wedding was “so far” being planned for February. So she bought plane tickets for the February date. Now that we have moved the date, she is very unhappy with us. They live about a seven-hour drive away, so it’s not too bad (for Canada). Her husband is a retail manager, and work is very busy before Christmas. It is very unlikely that he will be able to get time off in early December. However, she (Gordon’s sister) is able to come, and yet seems unwilling to take the time off work.
So. Now we are stuck, because December works for both of us, and it is when we would like to get married. Gordon really would like to have his family there, which I respect, and I also would like for them to be there. However, they have suggested that we move our date for a time more convenient for them. Unfortunately, Gordon’s mother agrees with his sister, and believes that it is more important for us to accomodate Gordon’s sister than it is for her to make time, and be there on our schedule.
Gordon is now wanting change the date back to February, because that is when they can come, even though none of the other things we wanted are available then. I am very confused, and both of us are facing some very difficult decisions. He will have to choose between his family, and us (February or December). I know that it isn’t right for us to be forced to change a day based solely on other people’s wishes. I also know that he won’t be happy unless his family is there. So I have to give up some of the things which are important to me to accommodate them. This really disturbs me. My decision will be whether to go on, and marry him when it is good for them to be here, or to call it off, and give up the man I love.
What I believe we need is some advice from an impartial third person. We are really stuck, because if we get married in December (like we want) his family will be upset, and his sister will not come at all. If we move it to February (which really doesn’t work for me at all) we are not doing it for us, we are doing to make them happy. I believe that it should be OUR day, not theirs. So, hopefully, it will all work out, but I really don’t know what to do. Thanks.
Here’s some advice from Sassy Miz M., a close friend of BG’s who can speak from experience on this matter. She’s also a relative of Belleruth, BG.com’s official impartial third person, so it’s legit.
Sassy Miz M. says: “Oy!” [Told you she was legit.] “Conventional wisdom does hold that if you don’t say, at some point, ‘Geez, we really should elope,’ you are far too passive or drugged to be Engaged.
So if dashing off to Vegas and being married by an Elvis impersonator doesn’t do it for you, you might consider having you pastor do a private ceremony for just the two of you, then letting the relatives have a big reception for you in February. My friend Kathleen, a law clerk, got married in her judge’s chambers, because she really wanted the judge to do the ceremony, and with a brother in the Army stationed in the Persian Gulf and parents spread across the country, timing was an issue. In the end it was just the two of them and the judge, and she and her hubby have no regrets.
It not your fault that your new relations are too quick with the credit cards (telling someone the wedding will ‘probably’ be in February means they should ‘probably’ wait for a ‘firm’ ‘commitment’ before buying a plane ticket) but jeez, given that it happened, and given that your bro-in-law definitely can’t come in December (which may be another reason your sis-in-law won’t come, in addition to her pissiness about having to eat a $150 change fee on the tix), I would think really hard about your commitment to this December date. Gordon wants to be married in February. All your inlaws want the wedding to be in February. And you’ve gotta deal with them at Thanksgiving and other holidays for the rest of your life. You should think hard about whether you want to alienate everyone this way. Saying ‘I have to give up what I want for them’ –um, any concessions you make will be for Gordon, not for them. Not because you love his family, but because they ARE his family. When you say, ‘He will have to choose between his family, and us (February or December),’ I really don’t think you’re being fair. Frankly, you’re the one creating this dichotomy.
I understand that everyone has wedding fantasies. After 7.5 years together, you might have ’em more strongly than most brides. And brides can be VERY RIGID PEOPLE; I realized this when I had a sh*tfit at the BBQ the night before my wedding because the BROWNIES WERE NOT PROPERLY SET OUT.
But here’s my advice: if you really want the big fairy-tale wedding, and have your heart set on a particular location and officiant, you should consider rescheduling for August when the pastor is back and your setting of choice is available. I would respectfully submit that you could use the simmer-down time to gain some perspective (it’s about the marriage, not the party, after all), and to defuse tensions among all concerned. And you could very graciously offer to pay for the change fee on the sis-in-law’s tix. It’s important to make the gesture that you really want his family to be there. And welcome to the land of compromise, which is so totally what a successful marriage is about. Hope that helps.”
Sassy Miz M and BG
This advice was originally published November 16, 1998.