Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Wedding planning stress/hell(102 Posts)
Long term lurker, delurking and hoping for some help, support or advice. I am newly engaged to my DP since Aug and planning on getting married Aug 14 in Ireland where I am from. We have worked out a plan to pay for the wedding with us both saving 250 per month, my dad giving us 3k and his parents the same. That's 12k with a loan of 5K if we need. I may get more money together as some more hours at work have come my way. Hence budget is 17 k. I know this is quite a bit, but we have a home, and we both want a great day. The guest list is 120 people ( it started at 170).
Every time we talk about the wedding we argue. Tonight he said the cost scares the shit out of him, and says everyone thinks 120 is very big. It's small by Irish standards for me and my family/peers. Yet all our friends here in the UK do a big intake of breath when we mention it. Some people seem to think weddings per head are cheap, like 30 quid?, ours is 70/ head for 5 course meal, half bottle of wine, prosecco,canapés, evening food and exclusive use of a manor house and grounds. I genuinely can't find cheaper that isn't a hotel he has said is horrid. And the costs have been bargained down to this rate. It's really competitive.
The arguments stem from me doing the lions share of the work on this and feeling it's turning into my wedding, not ours. He voices concerns but it never feels constructive. I worry he will turn up on the day and be like what's this? I want him to be involved but he says he hates talking about it because it makes him anxious we will argue. We always do. He shuts down and goes quite and I shout.
He is a wonderful man, and he does most of the housework and is super domesticated and progressive. Loving and affectionate. So please don't have an Image of some oaf. The thing is with our home we decided every detail together constantly and I thought wedding planning would be the same. Feels like it's turned into something really negative now. Feeling like it's my problem and I need to get over it. Any advice great fully received.
Sometimes the enormity of planning a wedding can be daunting for one partner, particularly with the type of budget that you mention but I'm not judging that. Can you ask him to plan the honeymoon or arrange for the suits for his men, just something that he can take responsibility for and feel part of the planning?
Some men don't like to be involved with the details of planning so you can do that part with your girls and family.
Maybe he just needs to feel like it's his day as well and suggesting some things he can take care of will help him feel part of it rather than him feeling (maybe) that it's getting to big for him?
Planning should be a happy time, I'm sorry it's causing arguments.
Oh, by the way, he might feel it's too much as it's almost a year away. I'm sure come next year, he will pick up the pace and get excited as you are.
Thanks whatsnext, it's just my girls are in Ireland (bridesmaids) and my mum died a year and a half ago, it's emotional for me. I want to task him with stuff, and I know part of it is the time frame as you said, but he is resistant. I just want to book the venue this side of Christmas and the only time we can go to see the venues is in a fortnight. flights booked. We have selected a few but he's not massively bothered and it's a flight away. We need to be fairly sure as we won't be back in Ireland this year. . . I realise I sound like bridezilla.
You need to split jobs, you do venue negotiation, he does transport, one does photographer, the other flowers etc etc.
Vow never to pay full price and negotiate at least 15% off everything. Keep a spreadsheet of all costs and savings. Talk about your non negotiables and what you can get rid of or compromise/save on. Car boot/eBay/ rebudget to cover not getting a loan
By the way, £70 a head sounds fine to me. Lots of people like to boast that their wedding cost 50p but they think nothing about getting a new car every three years or spending £££s on holidays. I like weddings and I had a lovely big one which was fantastic but it was nice to know id negotiated hard and not spent money needlessly. Your dp may not feel the same about weddings but will probably be happier being in control of certain bits.
If he does most of the housework and is nice to you in all things other than wedding planning I would forget the wedding, marry him in a registry office and spend ten grand on the holiday of a lifetime.
Otherwise you're setting yourselves up for a year of stress for a day that almost certainly be amazing enough to compensate.
Are you talking about next August? Is stuff already paid for?
I think you might be wise to just take a step back. It's your DF's day too, and you're in danger of turning it into 'your' day rather than yours & DF's day. Remember that it is only one day too and when the music finishes that's your 17k gone. Sorry if I sound negative, I don't mean to put a downer on it but if he's not on board with the idea of a grand do with a mass of family he's quite possibly never met then why do it?
Ask him what would be his ideal day and work out a compromise?
There'll hopefully be a way to get what you both want.
Every time we talk about the wedding we argue. Tonight he said the cost scares the shit out of him
Such a telling statement. OP, it may be wise for you to listen, and discuss everything with your OH. Its lovely to have a nice big wedding..but this should be a beautiful time for you, it shouldnt be stressful. Its just not worth it. What matters is the 2 of you and your married life together..not a huge wedding thats going to cause stress and arguments. Its about both of you, not just you. & I agree with Hopasholic.
Why not go somewhere nice maybe for a meal, just the 2 of you? Sit down, ask your OH what his ideal day would be. & work out a compromise. Youve said he is a lovely man, and it sounds like you can talk to each other. So...talk.
This is what we did. We talked about what we liked about weddings and what we didn't. For example neither of us are dancers so we didn't have a first dance now did we cut a cake.
We also talked about what we did really want. Dress for me. A garden. Great lighting relaxed for everyone.
The result was a day both of us loved and yes it still cost a bit but there is no regrets on either side.
Why don't you take a step back, and start with a clean slate. Start talking about each other's ideal day and try to reach a happy medium.
Thanks for all your comments. I have tried to say things like what would your perfect day be like?and start a fresh. . . It ends I'm rows. I really don't think he wants a registry office/holiday/intimate meal. I really don't. He was married before in a registry office with no one present and I know he wants a party with all our friends experiencing irish hospitality etc. we are planning a humanist ceremony under an oak tree and that is really us.
No money has been spent so it's still ok to change things, I am ok with that. But he is very reluctant to talk about this. In fairness I loose my rag, get upset about it and that's what's making him shut down. I need to be calm. Work is super stressful and it's hard missing my mum in all this.
I am a massive haggler and already have gotten money off things, we drive a 12 year old car and we are not extravagant people. It's just this is pretty standard in my peer group and it's what I thought we both wanted. It's a lot of money but our parents are helping and we will prober by get cash gifts esp from my relatives to pay straight off the loan, if we need one.
I think he is picking up his friends expectations about it, they had cheap weddings ( but have massive houses and posh cars ) it's all about priorities and what's important to us. I thought we felt the same.
I needed to reply to this. It is not for anyone to judge your budget. BUT your post is very telling. You are organising a wedding that is expected of you. What is normal there.. but it does not sound like this is what your df wants or expected. You are ignoring his needs in favour of match in other irish wedding's. This sounds harsh but I know what this is like. I have been working somthing crazy to pay for out wedding but the wedding we planned was like the weddings we were used to.. three course meals. .speeches etc. Because its what people expect. My df is very nervous and he wanted none of that m I started railroading him. It descended into me doing all the work. . him kicking up a fuss over things but not suggesting alternatives etc. It sarted tearing us apart.
If you carry on this way their won't be a wedding. .and ifthere is you won be starting on good terms. You mention a5k loan.. does your DF really want to take a loan or is it a 'we might just have to!' case closed? Wedding planning spirals out of control quickly. It's very. .very easy to loose sight of the important bits.
It got to breaking point here and we just couldn't Continue. We cancelled. Lost thousands. .it was very difficult. I realised it was a case of loose money or him. We were both scared of spending so much money but wanting a great day.
We elope in a couple of months time. Just us. It took us 6 months to reconnect and relax and repair the damagethat was done and really take stock of wwhat's important. No..I never imagined doing it this way but all the extras were for everyone else. . all that matters is a strong relationship and our vows.. and we need no one and nothing else for that.
I think you need to really sit down and listen to each other. Write lists of what bits are most important and build a day that you are both happy with. Don't ruin such an important day with stress and resentment or nerves.
I agree with PPs. If you told your DF that some decision he was making scared the shit out of you how would you want him to react?
There's a lot of guilt tied up in spending for some people.
He could also be nervous about the wedding itself. I think you need a good chat - not about delegating tasks but about marriage, what the wedding means to you both, etc.
I had a legal ceremony and lunch with 20 people and another bigger party with 120 the next day. TBH I would have been happy with just the legal ceremony slightly tweaked in hindsight. It cost less than £500. And my car's 10 years old ;)
Just wanted to add - if he's been married before maybe those demons are raising their heads?
Also just to say you don't sound like a bridezilla. Weddings and their planning are often stressful.
Yes, it IS all about priorities. What's more important to you - an expensive party or a marriage? You appear to want the big circus wedding and he doesn't. If you're having big rows at this stage you may end up without a groom, unless you're prepared to actually listen to him without your Bridezilla ears on.
Ask him if there is anything he would like to organise, DH did music. He was happy with music, he didn't care about colour schemes or flowers or invites, but he did care about music.
I gave him 2 choices of everything I liked and he picked his favourite so we did make the choices together sort of.
Totally agree with beepoff's second post.
Couple of direct responses: 120 isn't a huge wedding. I've been to three this year (my own plus two friends) and all were that as a minimum... I'm Scottish, the friends both London girls.
I do think £70 a head sounds a lot. I don't know what expectations are in your circle but we had a buffet not a formal sit down meal; again, so did both my friends. We all still had beautiful tables etc but not the cost of waiting staff etc so I reckon you could save there. But...
You say you feel like it's turning into your wedding not what you both want. Yet you've already made some major decisions that mean it is already your day: the location for a start. I don't mean that as a criticism and I'm sure your DP wouldn't have agreed if he wasn't happy but I do think that means you ought to be doing most of the organising. You're the local, he's not therefore you're in a much better position to organise, negotiate etc. You mentioned your girls - can they help? Our reception was in the village where my family live so my sister was able to get us a good deal on the hall because she's on the gala committee, that sort of thing. Our total cost was £7000.
As others have already posted, the most important thing is you and your DP getting married, not the party you're throwing for others. People want to be part of your day because they love you, not for 1/2 bottle of fizz per head.
Why do you NEED a five-course meal? Couldn't you have three courses?
It is sounding from your postings very much about what YOU want or what you think OTHER people are expecting and your DP isn't really being heard. It IS turning into YOUR wedding day, as you say it feels in your original post.
its ONE day. ONE day.
You want to spend £17 K on ONE DAY...
listen to what he is telling you. Listen and don't talk. Then find a compromise. This is good training for marriage.
I've been in your position and this is how I played it.
1. Keep discussions about wedding to a fixed time (e.g. 90 minutes on a Wesnesday evening)
2. Keep discussion action/decision focused- no vague objections permitted only concrete proposals for yes/decision. So "the money scared me" has to be followed with an "I want to do X Y or Z instead"
3. On your visits to Ireland have a plan of what you need to see and decide. Be decisive.
4. The tooth sucking friends need to get short shrift and a refocus on Your-Wedding.
I don't know your financial position but I baulked twice reading your OP. First was at the 17 thousand budget and then again at the 5 thousand loan.
Unless at least one of you is very well-paid and secure at work that amount seems like madness to me, and your DH may well be of the same opinion. OK, you have a home (all paid off) but how long would it take you to save that amount? All for one day!
You aren't being bridezilla or even wrong, necessarily but I can see your STBDH's point.
I will never understand large amounts spent on wedding so I'm with your fiancée.
DH and I planned most of our wedding together but I did take the lead, we agreed on the budget first though. A proper renegotiation needs to take place. Listen to him when he says he does not want to spend that amount of money.
I say balls to peer pressure.
" feeling it's turning into my wedding, not ours."
Which, be honest, it is. He may be fully on board with the idea of getting married... I'm not seeing doubts on his part. But the ceremonial/party aspect is your dream and the friction is almost certainly being caused because you want him to be enthusiastic about vol-au-vents and table decorations a year ahead of schedule when he isn't. (Few straight men are) If you know what you want how about telling him that you'll plan the whole thing, bring it in under budget, and he just has to show up on the day in a suit? Gush about wedding planning with your girlfriends instead?
If people have £17k to spend on one day - a day which passes in a complete whirl - then it's obviously their business to spend that money on one day. However, if you are borrowing here and there, taking cash gifts in order to pay for it, then I think that's a bit off. I also think men (sorry for the gross generalisation and stereotyping) find it all a bit of a faff in the early stages and frankly boring. They get keener nearer the day. I think you have to either just get on with it and present him with a fait a compli, and shut up about in the process, thus avoiding rows, OR you tell him frankly that you don't want a row, but if he doesn't want to be involved in the process he can't complain and does he have any alternative suggestions which he would be happier about?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.