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Small beach weddings... and expectations

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#1 jemmccar

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    Posted 10 April 2010 - 11:07 AM

    So my fiance and I are very "quiet" people.. we don't like being the center of attention or having people make a big fuss over us. We decided to get married in Negril, Jamaica this summer. It is just going to be us, our parents, and grandparents (we both come from very small families). We are not having attendants or colors- truly no frills. And this is exactly how we want it to be.

    We did not send out formal invitations, because we know that some family and friends are having money troubles. Anyone can come, but we don't want anyone to feel bad that they can't. Since we did not send out formal invitations and are saving money by not having a traditional wedding, we did not register for gifts. We have notified friends and family of our plans, and said that anyone can come if they would like, but that we will be having an at-home cookout/reception after the wedding also. Most have been happy with that, but still give us grief about how disappointed they are that they can't come to the wedding.

    Some friends and family have made hurtful comments. "Why do you have to run off and get married in another country?" "Why aren't you having attendants?" "Why can't you just have a "normal" wedding here?" "Why don't you want anyone else at your wedding?"
    Since we aren't having a "normal" wedding and definitely aren't expecting gifts, we also not doing many of the normal wedding events- like engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, showers, etc. THAT has hurt/offended people also.

    I didn't realize people would be so hurt or offended. We just wanted to be married on a beach- that's all. And we planned it with good intentions.. not wanting anyone to feel obligated, not putting anyone in an uncomfortable position. We have tried to be as low-key and under the radar as possible... is that wrong? I've found it very difficult to make people feel welcome and loved while also not making them feel obligated/guilty/otherwise negative. Perhaps I went about it the wrong way? For the sake of not offending anyone, should I send out formal invitations, even though the wedding is in July? I REALLY wouldn't expect anyone else to go, but maybe receiving a formal invitation would make them feel better?
    Argh... you really shouldn't try to please everyone, because it ends up feeling like you didn't please anyone.

    Just wanted to vent/share my thoughts. If anyone has had a similar situation or has advice for how to handle these things, please share!

    #2 Mere

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      Posted 10 April 2010 - 11:15 AM

      We are doing the same thing except we didn't invite anyone to go. This has always been my dream since I as 16 years old-after attending my brother's wedding. My family has been ok with it from the beginning. FIL's hasn't. They have finally decided to accept it knowing that if they don't it will cause problems between us all and we get along so great. I know some of them are hurt, but thankfully they have accepted that it is about us and what we want to do. I am allowing FMIL to be in charge of the AHR and she seems very happy with this. I am so glad that it is working out now...SO FAR-lol.

      In my opinion-a huge local wedding seemed to be more about impressing and satisfying everyone else and not about the bride and groom-this is what I didn't want.

      I hope that your family and friends begin to realize that it isn't about them-it is about you and your fiance-it is your day-your way. I wish you the best of luck! :)

      #3 wendyjd

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        Posted 10 April 2010 - 11:49 AM

        We had similar experience, but I stood my ground. My mother would love for me to get married in her back yard but its not my dream. FI and I had the "big wedding" for our former spouses and do NOT want to do it again. After explaining it to my mom (and being forceful that this is what we want), she has accepted it. All my immediate family (except my brother who refuses to fly) will be there. We may have a few close friends as well.

        I think all DW brides get this to some extent. Its not the norm therefore people tend to reject the idea. If this is what you want, don't worry about everyone else. They would have complained about your home ceremony as well. Be happy your immediate family will be there and enjoy yourself. Its your wedding and what you want, have a WONDERFUL time.

        #4 CanadianLindsey

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          Posted 10 April 2010 - 12:32 PM

          DW always seem to be met with some sort of resistance by guests or non guests for every bride and groom, as I am learning personally too. I just keep telling myself that all of these tough decisions on who to invite, explaining why we are doing this, etc, will all be worth it when my FI and I are standing on the sunny beach, waves crashing, surrounded by friends and family that cared enough to come. Happy and married!

          #5 mlabbe

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            Posted 10 April 2010 - 01:46 PM

            Oh, I'm sorry to hear that! I wouldn't feel too bad about it though, after all you are having a AHR and are letting people know that they can come if they want to. I would assume that your friends should know you and know that this is what you want and makes you happy - they should be rooting for your happiness and stop being so selfish. Just my opinion! The wedding is about you, not them. And to me it does sound like you are having a real wedding - just one without the added fluff.

            In our case the tension came from inviting people who in turn couldn't afford it - it was more a "I dare you get married in Mexico, it's so expensive". Like you said, you can't please everyone! So just ignore their comments and stick to what will make the two of you happy. In the end, that's all that matters.

            Good luck!

            PS. My sister-in-law told people that she was having a "just very close, immediate family" wedding as her reason to not invite everyone, and people let her be. I think when you exclude everyone instead of just some people, it makes it easier for people to understand and not take it personally.

            #6 Tropical Imaging

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              Posted 10 April 2010 - 04:29 PM

              15 years ago, hubby and I had a small wedding. My mom and dad both said that although we didn't want tons of people there or wanted gifts etc, there were a lot of people in our lives that still wanted to acknowledge the wedding. Sometimes it's because they're family or it's because your family has done so much for them and they would like to make you feel special as well.

              We ended up sending invitations to the small amount of people coming to the wedding and just sending an announcement to others (my mom's idea) We also registered at a few places and were astounded by the number of people who got us things (I mean it was staggering for us). The announcement was very low key and people knew we didn't want a big fuss, but strangely (to me at least) many still wanted to give a gift or do something for us (even though every one in my and hubby's family said it wasn't necessary).

              Whether you realize it or not, you are special to people and your parents are also special to people, they may want to do something for you and are "distressed" that they don't have an occasion to do something. I would register at least (not because you expect things but to make it easier on those who truly want to do something for you). And maybe consider sending an announcement after the fact. (I remember somewhere in the etiquette books that an invitation implied a gift, an announcement did not require a gift it was just sharing the good news.)

              Enjoy your day, I loved my small wedding...it meant the world to me!


              #7 mjm

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                Posted 11 April 2010 - 05:19 PM

                Put your and H2B needs first. Have the day that you planned not what others expect you to do. They are free to do as they wish on their wedding day! I bet you know of brides who had the expected day and felt bad about it afterwards.

                It is amazing that hurtful comments and other peoples expectations are so wrapped up in planning a wedding, and that it is some how acceptable for others to comment upon and cause upset and stress however well intentioned their actions. Then gleefully skip away not knowing how they have upset the bride. Breath-relax and remember what you both want from the day.

                PS hope you have a fabulous day!

                #8 hoyt75

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                  Posted 19 April 2010 - 01:26 PM

                  You do what you want and ignore everything else! You can't make everyone happy, so don't even waste your time trying, and no matter what, someone will find something to complain about.

                  We got a lot of hurtful comments about running away too, but we stood our ground. It came mostly from the people that we least expected it from too. I'm sorry that you have to go through it, but I think most dw brides go through some form of criticism or guilt trip.

                  Wendy - my mil wanted us to get married in their backyard too! How aweful...

                  #9 Thomasjsgirl

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                    Posted 19 April 2010 - 01:46 PM

                    I agree! Amazingly enough, many of these same people who criticize you for not inviting them, would probably still criticize you if you HAD invited them (too much money, too far, not safe, etc. etc.)! You just can't please everybody all of the time and you can't live your life for others either. Would these same people change their plans for YOU?? Do what's in your heart and the rest will fall into place. Good luck and have a wonderful wedding :)
                    Lucy & Tom - Married 24.11.08
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                    #10 Vikki

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                      Posted 27 April 2010 - 11:18 PM

                      I am painfully shy and the thought of a traditional wedding with a wedding party made me so anxious that I didn't want to think about it, much less have it. We decided to have a reception for the people that felt they were being left out of the wedding and that ended up being a perfect solution.

                      Whatever you end up doing it's your day and you and your FI should be concerned about making it special for you-not friends and family.

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