As it turns out, weddings are stressful

For those of you who missed the update, my boyfriend proposed at the start of August. It was a complete surprise, but a very pleasant one. It only occurred to me some hours later that actually, after an engagement comes a wedding. It hadn’t even crossed my mind.

Some girls have dreams of their big day, and have been planning it since they were tiny; I am not one of those girls. I have actually very little idea about weddings. I’ve only been to a handful myself.

I was quite pleased with my new engagement, in my usual understated way… until the bombardment began. Firstly, our families wanted to know details. There were none. That was a little deflating for everybody involved. Secondly, it turns out that EVERYONE has an opinion and feels it necessary to voice it. Not just family. Friends too. Acquaintances. The next door neighbour. Not that this is necessarily bad, but people were asking me things about things I didn’t even realise I was meant to be thinking about. I didn’t know there were so many things to consider. I didn’t know such things were as pressing as they seemed to be, either.

It was all very stressful.

The other thing that I found stressful, is that whilst I’m really good at organising and planning (I’ve also organised events and festivals in the past, and consider it one of my talents), with this I didn’t know where to begin. Normally I’d just logically look at the situation, and the options, but logic doesn’t work. I suppose because our wedding isn’t about logic, it’s about what we want, not about how to please the highest number of people in the best possible way with as little compromise as possible.

I would have thought wanting a simple wedding would be easy, too. But it seems that the simplest (read ‘least hassle’) weddings are probably the ones you throw ridiculous amounts of money at, and we’re not doing that. It’s also not simple if one of you is from the UK and the other is from Australia. Ideally I would like to get married in the UK but immigration restrictions make it more complicated, lengthen the amount of time we’d need, plus it’s not going to be super easy organising things with only a laptop from the other side of the world. It also turns out that whilst we both want something simple, we have different ideas of what simple means to us. I’d ruled out a lot of stuff I deemed unnecessary. I’ve never been a bridesmaid (I’m sure I haven’t missed out) and I can’t really see the point. I thought I was happy to not have a dress, and not have flowers, and not have many guests, and not have many people at the ceremony, and not do much afterwards…but I found that by the time I’d cut all of that out, it didn’t feel like it was going to be much fun anymore.

So then I dipped my toe back into the pool of possibilities, but my boyfriend seems surprised by this, and I feel totally confused about the whole thing.

I want a simple wedding. I want to keep it as sustainable as possible. I don’t want unnecessary expense or extravagance – it’s jut not my style. But I don’t want to get married in a registry office with just my mum, dad, brother and sister as witnesses/guests either. I like the idea of it being fun. Because my boyfriend seems so surprised by that, I feel bad for wanting more than that. If I believe in this voluntary simplicity lifestyle, am I contradicting myself? None of that stuff is necessary of course. I feel totally conflicted between what I believe, what I need and what I want. I just think it would be nice to mark the occasion in a way that’s a little less than mundane. Arghh!

I’m starting to understand why people remain engaged for years.

PS I promise that I won’t be clogging up the blog with endless wedding-related posts. But as I’ve spent the last week traumatised by the whole experience and it has dominated my thoughts a little, I thought I’d air it all. Now I’m going to put it to the back of my mind and focus on all the more pressing things that I need to get done, until its had time to properly sink in.

5 Responses to As it turns out, weddings are stressful

  1. Hi
    I am not sure if this will help you any, but as an oldie I have been to lots of weddings and even been bridesmaid three times (you know what they say!) But I really have only been to one wedding that made me want to get married. (I did ask Tim years ago but he said he wasn’t ready – he was worried about the “and worse” bit!)
    I actually did the “celebrant’s role” except for the official paperwork (they actually said they wish they hadn’t done that but had got legally married at a registry office at some other point.
    It was at the painted fish. The bride work a smart white dress you could wear anywhere that she got at an op shop for $10. The groom wore such boring clothes I can’t remember. All the guests were given Timorese scarves for good luck to wear while it all happened.
    To start with there were the speeches. First the parent/s talked about each person has a youngster and teenager, then a good friend from adulthood talked about what they loved about them as an adult. Then someone who knew them as they got together talked about that. So five speeches in all, but by the end the guests felt really bonded as people were laughing at the jokes they understood. There was a bit of “put your hand up if you were there too. It gave us all a point of connection.
    So I felt like we had the journey up until the final “marriage” before it happened rather than the other way around. It felt really natural to do it that way (plus everyone was sober) They did not have vows (except for the official bits) but simply read a piece they had written to each other. The other person had not heard it before so it felt really real. Not a dry eye in the house!
    The wedding was at the painted fish and for catering they used the pizza oven. So again lots of sharing and mixing as people made their own pizzas. It was very relaxed
    The other thing I liked was that rather than presents they asked people to DO something for the wedding. So we were asked to do venue, light and mann the oven and officiate. Someone else came and helped with decorations, someone did flowers, someone made lots of tea lights, a few people brought salads, someone took polaroid photos and made a display. Basically they made a list of things that needed doing and sent it out with the invites, people nominated what they would like to do and then after the RSVP date they told people what job they had. People I spoke to said they just felt so much more involved and creative. Someone who did not have a job organised an envelope with greetings that they would send to the couple on their first wedding anniversary . . . . . .
    Anyway I know that this might not be your style, but if I was getting married I would copy lots of the ideas. The order of the wedding speeches (really part of the actual wedding ceremony) and the “help us instead of giving a gift” especially
    But really -you need to do what is right for you. Maybe make a list now – of what you want and don’t want and you and your fiancé can add to it when something comes up. Don’t fall into the wedding hype trap – you are not that sort of person.
    And WA or England – can you do a ceremony in both??
    sorry this is so long . . . . . .

    • Thanks for your comments and don’t worry, I didn’t take it as a recommendation! (Although I agree it sounds fun…) I think we’re going to wait for the dust to settle before we think about it any more… We are thinking about doing something in the UK and WA – but that makes twice the stress!

  2. Congratulations! I had a simple wedding – and I had to put up with people telling me I ‘had’ to have this or that or ‘couldn’t’ do something or other. What worked for us was to plan a really great day for us and a few others during which a couple of people got married. I’m sure you will ‘tread your own path’! Good luck!

    • Thanks : ) I find it really interesting how many assumptions people make about what we will and won’t do, or want. I guess with most things people keep their opinions and assumptions private but when a wedding is involved it all comes out!

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