An (Un)open Letter to Overbearing Family Members on the Subject of our Nuptials

It seems appropriate that exactly one month after we got engaged (yesterday—where did the time go?), folks started lodging their complaints about our wedding.

Chief among them:

  1. We have set our wedding date too close to my second cousin’s birthday (the wedding is two days after it, for anyone who can count).
  2. Shopping for my wedding dress is apparently seen as a family-only event and that after the purchase, “if others want to see the dress before the wedding, that is an option.”

You can go ahead and assume that these complaints have come from my family members and not D’s. D’s family is way too laid back and concerned about our feelings to raise their worries. You can also go ahead and assume that I’m feeling the pressure; losing sleep; am annoyed and trying my best to communicate in an effective and mature manner in spite of recent events that is making this extremely challenging.

You may also assume that I’ve considered eloping so that we don’t have to deal with any of this, but that I want to wear the dress (that I love, that I had the pleasure of trying on with loved ones that include D’s mother) and celebrate with my friends and my eager-to-share-family.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve read all the wedding etiquette rules about dealing with overbearing/unhappy family members. I am generally of the opinion that these books are for people who have no idea what they’re doing. Me? I’ll be 28 when we get married. I’ve had plenty of time to daydream about possibilities and had developed a pretty clear vision of the things I wanted and needed out of this day before D even proposed. Furthermore, D and I had discussed a few of the particulars of our wedding before we got engaged. It’s his wedding too, you know, and the man has ideas.

The only thing I can think to do for the time being is to stop offering information about our ideas/planning. I want my family to feel included in the process (everyone’s so far away; it’s difficult to communicate with everyone), but didn’t expect to feel so stressed out by their reactions. I’ll ask for help when I need it, but otherwise, I do believe we can do this by ourselves.*

I’m sure we’ll all survive in the end and that people will just be happy for us. I guess I’m just surprised by the notion that things ought to be done a certain way (e.g. shopping for the dress) or that we’d put our own scheduling needs behind other peoples’. (Believe me, there are very good reasons behind our date.)

I’m also quite confident that these issues will rear their ugly head in two weeks when I make a short trip home to look at reception spots and see my parents for the first time since their separation.**

*This is maybe totally naive. Feel free to offer suggestions.

**Multiple married friends have suggested that I sit Mom down after a couple glasses of wine and have the hard conversations. I think this is a fine idea, though I am cautious not to replicate the blowouts of my adolescence. We’re older now; my hormones have leveled out and I’m more aware of her feelings.
UPDATE 9/3/2009: I had a come-to-Jesus conference call with my mom last night, got a full night’s sleep, and have taken a full step away from the ledge this morning. I haven’t quite gotten my way in regard to the dress, but I’ve made a deal I can live with.


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