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Ceremony and AHR agony... What should i do?


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#1 catandcleo

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    Posted 11 July 2008 - 12:20 PM

    Hi guys. Please bear with me as it is a long story, but I am hoping someone on here will have some input that will help.

    FI and I are having a terrible time with his friends and family, and I am getting to the point where I just can’t take anymore. I don’t even want to be around them – which doesn’t really bode well for future relations!

    So, long before there was ever an engagement ring on my finger, we have always talked about when we get married we were going to go away and get married on the beach and then come home and have a big celebration. It is what we BOTH want. We have never been shy about telling people this either. And it has never been a money issue – just a matter of what would suit us most and make us the happiest.

    Well, as soon as we were engaged, everyone started asking about the wedding. And again we would tell them what we had planned, even though we didn’t know where or when – but we knew HOW we wanted to get married. But once we had set a date and booked the trip all hell broke loose. We invited only my best friend (and her boyfriend) and his best friend (and his wife.) – the people we were closest to and would enjoy spending our wedding and vacation with.

    My friends and family have been so supportive – even my MOM has not complained. She just wants us to do what will make us happy, and she is, in turn, happy for us. (She only demands lots of photos and video of the ceremony!) Not once has anyone on my side complained about being hurt that they weren’t invited or mentioned feeling upset or left out.

    His family and friends, on the other hand… It has been one thing after another. His brothers have invited themselves. His friends are telling anyone who will listen how upset they are not to be included. These are all the same people that we have gone to all of their weddings in the past few years and had to sit through the torture of long BORING stuffy church ceremonies – which REALLY aren’t our thing, and the whole time we have smiled and been happy for them. Because even though those events weren’t the way we would do our own wedding, it was their choice and it was THEIR special day – and if they were happy, we were happy for them.

    But now that it is time for OUR special day, they are all trying to make it about THEM – and I am angry and upset and disappointed. The lead up to your wedding is supposed to be full of excitement and happiness. These are supposed to be the people who love us and support us, but I don’t feel like any of these people are truly happy for us. And I have gotten to the point where I am absolutely miserable. If we could cancel everything and just get married at the courthouse in jeans, we probably would. But everything is all booked and paid for – and now we are not even looking forward to it. His friends and family are ruining our wedding, and it is still 3 months away!

    We have tried to be diplomatic this whole time, because in reality, these people ARE friends and family, and we don’t want to upset anyone. But I am reaching my breaking point. We are adults (30’s and 40’s) and should all be acting like it. Instead, I feel like I have been time-warped back to high school!

    So we were talking about it again the other night, trying to make some plans for the AHR, and FI stated that he isn’t sure we should bother with it at all. He figures if all of these people are so upset about the wedding, then they won’t want to come to the AHR. Plus he doesn’t want them to think we just want the gifts, even though we didn’t want them at the wedding. (We don’t need anything, and haven’t registered anywhere. We own our own home and have everything we could possibly need – I think if people know us well, they should realize we are not in it for the gifts!)

    But I got to thinking about it, and I am starting to think I don’t want to have an AHR either. In my opinion, an AHR is all about the guests. It is a party for THEM really, to allow them to be a part of your celebration. So, why should we waste our time and money planning a party for people who have not been at all supportive of us in this time? (His friends and family all live close by. Mine are scattered throughout the US.) Why should we pay gobs of money for a bunch of jerks to come and eat and drink and be merry on our nickel – when they can’t even be bothered to be happy for us?

    Am I wrong for being so bitter towards them all? They have all basically said the only way they are going to be happy for us is if we change our plans and invite everyone to the wedding. But then WE won’t be happy! So who should get to be happy – the bride and groom or everyone else? Are we just being selfish??

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to handle this? I am literally at my wits end…

    #2 Davematthews16

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      Posted 11 July 2008 - 12:43 PM

      Girl, you sound just like me 2 months ago. In fact the most stressful part of this whole wedding planning thing was the 1st week after we announced the engagement. OMG I had people left and right just assuming they were invited. One of my sisters friends heard the word MEXICO and was like "oh yeah, I'll definetely need a vacation, see you there." I was completely floored at the audacity of some people. My best advice is nip it in the butt early and make it clear in a nice way that it means a lot to you to have your wedding on the beach no matter what. People will always have a "better" idea about your location, or about how your wedding should be. Don't let any of that get in your way. Remember, you only get to do this once and you will regret it if you settle for anything less. They can do whatever they want on their own wedding day and need to stay out of yours. Especially when you are having an AHR when you return where they can all be present. Try not to stress, and like I said just stick to your guns about whatever plans you want.

      #3 Davematthews16

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        Posted 11 July 2008 - 12:46 PM

        So in the end we are having 20 people including ourselves at our wedding. We told people it meant a lot to us to have a semi-private small wedding and that we would party it up at the AHR :)

        #4 adias.angel

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          Posted 11 July 2008 - 04:09 PM



          While I don't have a ton of advice but a hug always help.

          It would seem to me that you would want your side of the family at an AHR since they have been supportive... Its hard not to punish everyone when you are so upset at some.

          #5 DanielleNDerek

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            Posted 11 July 2008 - 04:17 PM

            I know your upset with these people but the reason why they aren't happy with your plans is because they feel so close to you and your fi that they are upset they aren't included. I have to admit that if my sis decided to get married and didn't even me or my family to the wedding I'd be PISSED, probably not talk to her for a really long time.

            I think you guys would of better off just doing it the way you wanted and not telling the people who weren't invited until after you got back.
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            #6 melglnh2o

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              Posted 11 July 2008 - 04:29 PM

              Is there a reason why you didn't want to invite your family to the wedding? Not even your parents? I know everyone is different but I would be very upset if someone in my family didn't invite me to their wedding so I can see where they are coming from. But I wouldn't be as upset if it was a friend getting married and I wasn't invited because they were having a small and intimate wedding. I still think you should have the AHR though. There are many ways that you can do it without spending a lot of money. You can share your wedding video or pictures and then maybe they will feel then like they were a part of it. Weddings are special lifetime moments that people want to share in.

              #7 catandcleo

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                Posted 11 July 2008 - 05:30 PM

                thanks everyone for your replies.

                it's a very weird situation with his family. it's not so much that they (the brothers) are hurt or even that they are that close - they just can't stand to NOT be included in something. They're like my cat - they don't want to miss out on anything, regardless of what it is! If we are having people over for dinner or <god forbid!> a party for friends, if they find out, they expect to be invited. Regardless if they know or even LIKE the other people attending.

                His parents aren't that upset - in fact his mom doesn't WANT to go to Mexico, because she is afraid she will get killed! (She really is wonderful, but a little dramatic!) My parents aren't upset. My two sisters aren't upset. They all know us well enough to know that what we want is what suits us.

                It was never a matter of us wanting to specifically EXCLUDE people. We just wanted something that will be special and relaxing and casual and meaningful to US. We chose to invite the 2 couples we did because they are the ones we are closest to (both families know this!) and the ones we would actually enjoy spending our vacation with, because it will be fun and relaxing and not stressful. And let me tell you - having to spend a week of our vacation with his brothers is neither of our ideas of relaxing or special! After a few hours for holiday dinners we are both more than ready to escape to our peaceful home!

                But i do see the point that someone made about not cancelling the AHR because there are some people who would genuinely like to be a part of it without trying to make us feel guilty. I guess it is something FI and i are going to have to have a serious discussion about.

                Thanks again everyone who took the time to read my novella and respond. I appreciate your input!

                #8 LadyP

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                  Posted 11 July 2008 - 05:36 PM

                  I say make everyone feel bad. tell them you cancelled it and that it was because you and /fh felt pressured to having something that you didnt want to have and then go ahead with the orginal plans but be quiet about it. Dont even have the 'aHR because they sound lliike they will complain no matter what so elope and send them a cd of teh ceremony

                  #9 ashrose

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                    Posted 11 July 2008 - 06:11 PM

                    I go back and forth on the AHR idea.

                    For us, we are doing a DW because the average wedding in Seattle is like 30k and everyone is local. So we are inviting everyone, knowing that most won't make the trip -- so I can't really relate on the not inviting a ton of people... but...

                    Instead of thinking of the AHR as a typical recption -- have you considered having an "open house" type event where people can come and give their congrats to you as a couple? You could theme it or make it a potluck... or just a cheese/crackers/grapes type of function.

                    I can understand why people are hurt -- marriage is a life changing experience for you guys as a couple... but to your community, they are now relating to you as a "married item" -- so it is a change for them as well.

                    Don't change your plans because of them though -- it sounds like you've been very upfront about it and eventually they will either come around to the idea or find something else to be upset about (I find that people have short term memory and eventually find something more sensational to gripe about).

                    #10 Cattie

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                      Posted 11 July 2008 - 06:17 PM

                      oh Cat, I so know how you feel. Right now I'm going through hell with my FMIL I'm about to scream. I spent an hour and a half yesterday crying in my bedroom, another 20 mins before yelling at my FI, and another 30 mins in texts to my MOH to regain my sanity.

                      The only thing I can think of is just putting your foot down and not caring who you piss off. Thats what I'm about to do. We're having an AHR to keep his family happy. Not my choice, now his mother wants to dictate where we're having it.

                      I've come to the conclusion that keeping everyone happy is only going to make me miserable and not want to get married in the long run so I've decided to say f**k them! This is OUR wedding, not yours. You should be happy we're not running away and coming back to say "hi, we're married"




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