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Wedding planning stress/hell

(102 Posts)
ammature Fri 04-Oct-13 00:03:56

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.

BadLad Fri 04-Oct-13 09:21:06

Reg, I agree completely that the cost is the couple's business and theirs alone.

But if the cost "scares the shit out of" one of them, a fait accompli is a bad idea.

Ladame Fri 04-Oct-13 09:24:00

I agree with Lemonstartree Seventeen thousand pounds on one day? If it's stressful now, it will get worse. Imagine in a year's time, after all the stress and arguments, if something doesn't go to plan? It's too much investment IMO. I had a friend (don't we all) who spent an enormous amount on her day and didn't enjoy it because one or two details weren't perfect. I don't ever understand why the wedding is so important. It's the marriage which should take precedence and your relationship is already suffering. Listen to him now, otherwise resentment (on your part) and stress and being backed into a corner (on his part) might mean that there won't be a wedding. Sorry to sound harsh.

IamGluezilla Fri 04-Oct-13 09:25:11

I genuinely can't find cheaper that isn't a hotel he has said is horrid.

Sounds like he wants what has been planned just in denial about what that involves.

IamGluezilla Fri 04-Oct-13 09:27:20

I genuinely can't find cheaper that isn't a hotel he has said is horrid.

Sounds like he wants what has been planned just in denial about what that involves.

nobutreally Fri 04-Oct-13 09:39:28

Oh, OP - wedding planning is, sadly, not always the exciting romatic thing we want it to be - you have my sympathy.

But, I agree with others - you need to take a breath, get some perspective and listen to your DP. He's a good bloke, and he's telling you this isn't working for him. The most important thing is that the day works for you two. Not your families or friends. Go for a long walk to the top of a hill. And then close your eyes, keep absolutely schtum, and get him to describe your wedding day to you. I bet it'll sound amazing. Then you do the same. Start again from there.

All of that said ... ime, brides often do end up doing a lot of the planning - my dh is the most domesticated bloke you could ever meet - and his mum is a florist, and when we got married I was holding down a high pressured, long hours job, and his was much more student-y. He did loads of organising when we got married, but lots of things were of no interest to him. So I did those, and he took the lead on things he was interested in. Like sorting out the Etype Jag, and the Frog eye Sprite which are a vital part of any wedding....!

I'm not going to get into budget - you've had lots of good advice there - but do be sure that whatever you are paying is something you both want, or I you can be sure it'll cause tensions further down the line.

LtEveDallas Fri 04-Oct-13 09:42:53

I think £70 a head is HUGE, and I'm not sure why anyone needs a 5 course meal.

I think if you can do it without resorting to loans, then that is the way ahead. My whole day cost less than the 5K you may 'add' to your budget - and that was with 102 guests.

With your comment about "pretty standard in my peer group" I can't help but think you are doing this in a 'keeping up with the Joneses' way. It doesn't matter what your peers do or did, it's about marrying your DP, spending the rest of your life together, being happy. The wedding is secondary, and could be done much cheaper.

If you drive a 12 year old car, maybe your fiancee would rather spend a 5K loan on a better/more reliable/newer car than a one day party?

FunnyRunner Fri 04-Oct-13 09:43:49

Sympathy OP. Weddings are a big deal in Ireland and the work always seems to fall on the bride.

DH was the one who wanted a traditional white wedding - I would happily have absconded overseas. But I ended up having to organise it and the costs were huge. We were in a position that we could both afford it but I remember being hugely stressed trying to plan everything. It helped that DH was grateful that I was doing most of the grunt work and was also happy to pay for anything I wanted (within reason)!

Maybe you need to agree to have a few weeks without ANY wedding talk, just to clear the air. At the end of it all, our wedding was a brilliant day which will stay with me forever (I was surprised how brill it was as I'm not a 'wedding person') but it IS a huge event to plan. It is stressful. You need to have a few weeks wedding free then tell your DF you have to agree on some key things - crucially the budget, the date and the venue. Everything else is negotiable.

For the record though, I would definitely not take out a loan. How horrible to be paying it back when the wedding is over. But I am quite old fashioned about living within my means.

bigknickersforthepicker Fri 04-Oct-13 09:50:19

there is NOTHING worse than paying something off 18 months on that your not still enjoying.. at-least you'd still be driving a car for example. My boss said they are still paying theirs off 5 years later and her tone said it all.

try to see sense.

£70 a head is way too much (Ireland has also felt great pressures from the credit crunch) and no-one needs a five course meal.

You both want a great day; this is patently not the way to go about it.
I would think that if you looked at the guest list again it could be slashed further; who exactly are these 120 invited guests?. Do you or he actually see more than a tenth of these people regularly?.

This is madness and out of control; no wonder your DP is getting cold feet about the whole juggernaut now because this is what this wedding day (and it is just one day after all) fast becoming.

None of this squares either with your planned humanist ceremony under an oak tree does it?.

EvenBetter Fri 04-Oct-13 10:14:44

£70 per head isn't tooooo bad, but no one needs a five course meal. Two courses and then some cake would do fine. Even if people has the appetite to eat five courses, most wouldn't be too keen on the sheer amount of time it would take slumped at a table, to consume it all.
Or even better, a buffet. We had a buffer with a choice of three meals, and loads of sides. They provided plates, cutlery, tablecloths etc. and chips at 11pm for about £20 a head (in Ireland)

Just have a clear conversation,-as everyone has suggested, he's scared of the costs but doesn't want cheaper options?! Time to put on his big boy pants and make some decisions!
It's popular on mumsnet to have competitive tales of how shit your wedding was because obviously it means your marriage is so much stronger if you wore jeans, only did it for legal reasons and ate a Burger King afterwards hmm
Lots of people don't know how much wedding things cost, the average wedding now costs £21,000. That's not 'princesses' with swans and fireworks, just a normal wedding with guests, so I don't think your budget is that bad.

Grumblelion Fri 04-Oct-13 10:15:23

One of the most important things in a marriage is you both being able to compromise on occasion - and yet it does sound a bit like your DP is just being asked to go along with a wedding that doesn't quite suit him because that's what you (and I have no doubt other family members!) want.

The cost of the wedding clearly worries him a lot and maybe if that could be addressed he might feel a bit happier about contributing to other aspects of the day. How about a smaller ceremony and sit down meal for family & close friends and then a big party for extended family & friends that evening? That will make a massive difference to your budget straight away. I appreciate that it might not be the usual approach in Ireland but it's your and his day so you do what's right for the two of you and sod "the usual way". Also as others have said, ask him if there's any aspects he would like to take charge of - my DH dealt with suits for him & BM/Dad's and sorted out the music playlist for the evening. I waved bridesmaids dresses/flower stuff under his nose as a courtesy in case he hated anything but didn't really expect him to engage with stuff like that otherwise.

Having said that, if you're asking him for alternatives that he'd be happier with, he needs to pull his weight with finding them, not just decide he doesn't like things the way they are. If he has concerns, he needs to be specific about them and be prepared to offer practical solutions - ask him "ok, you don't want that, fine. What would you prefer?"

itried Fri 04-Oct-13 10:16:39

Is that £70 a head or £70 plus VAT?

queenbitchapparently Fri 04-Oct-13 10:37:33

I am with your other half on this one. 17k is a massive amount to spend on one day.
We are getting married next year and it is costing us 3-5 grand and I baulk at paying that much if I am honest.
But that is including 3 course meal arrival drinks and exclusive hire of a beautiful manor house.
My sister blew her OH's inheritance on her wedding, I was clutching my hand in the background thinking that's a deposit on a house.
The dress, fair do's spend what you like on that but wow 17 grand.
Ask yourself is getting married about being married or about the wedding.
Though I do want a nice day for us and the people coming, I want no stress and hassle more.
I want to wake up the morning of the wedding with mu OH and be smiling and happy.
Not freaking out because the table napkins are the wrong colour iyswim.
Is one day worth the stress you are already suffering from and strain it is putting on you both.
My advice scale it back ireland is in the middle of a massive recession you should be able to get amazing deals.
When you mention weddings everything become at least 20% more expensive.
I know it is easy to get caught up in it all.
We were looking at wedding cars at a fair the other day and I nearly hired 2 cars at over a grand until I hit myself about the head. A grand for a 15minute trip! !!
Any way good luck and try to not let wedding perfectionism get to you.

queenbitchapparently Fri 04-Oct-13 10:45:04

21 grand is only the norm because people are competitive about weddings and people let wedding trappings come at rip off prices and still pay it
That is a ridiculously high amount to pay for one "perfect day"
900 pound for a photographer who takes the same type of pictures at 100 other weddings over the year and you have to feed them. No way!

momb Fri 04-Oct-13 11:13:23

OP. You are on to a loser talking about weddings generally on MN because there are two firm camps: the 'it's far too much money you are clearly mad' camp and the 'how dare they invite me to a wedding and it not be for the whole day and not including everything that may be required for my comfort' camp.
I would challenge anyone, wedding or otherwise, to find canapes and welcome drinks, a sit down meal with wine, champers for the toasts plus a buffet for the evening for £70. It's a great deal. If there is a family expectation that you invite family members and they are putting money in to the wedding then their wishes count too.
So that's 8.4K.
For that you get a great venue and enough food and drink for the comfort of your guests. I'm not sure where the additional 8.6K is coming from:
1K ceremony (that's based an humanist celebrant in our area)
500 rings
500 dress (you can get a really lovely dress for 500 or indeed much less)
bridesmaids?
500 suits
200 cake
200 room dressing (table centres etc)?
Linens and stuff can add up if it isn't included in your venue cost.
500 DJ

Of course there's more I haven't counted, but honestly the £6 each gatefold invitations are not necessary. thousands on floristry is not necessary. If you get the comfort of your guests right (and it sounds like you are) then everyone will have a great day and that is what matters.

You know that you need to have the conversation with your fiance about what it is that scares him. You may well argue, but better now than later. I honestly think that you can bring in this wedding without the loan. Getting it down to 12K or thereabouts is amazing value for a wedding whcih your Irish family will expect and you can both remember fondly (ie without debt hanging over you). That challenge may well be one he's prepared to engage in with you. Good luck

LtEveDallas Fri 04-Oct-13 11:21:17

Why not have the ceremony later in the day, thereby negating the need for 2 lots of food? If you were married at, say 1600, you could have a sit down meal at 1800, that prob wouldn't be finished until 2000, maybe later if 5 courses.

If you then need to feed guests later (although I can't really see it) you could do bacon butties at midnight!

Or why not go for a buffet or BBQ option - that fits better with your humanist / simple / under a tree ceremony.

KhunZhoop Fri 04-Oct-13 11:46:47

Ask yourself why you're getting angry with him when you try to discuss it, this is probably why he's refusing to discuss it with you - he's afraid you're going to flare up everytime.

PatriciaHolm Fri 04-Oct-13 12:10:49

It sounds like he feels swept away by it all. You have what sound like fairly concrete plans, and he's feeling as if it's all just too much, too expensive, too much planning, too many people; but has never really given any thought to his wedding day so has no real suggestions to make. Essentially he wants to get married to you but he's got no real idea of the planning required for any sort of wedding that involves a number of guests. He probably thought you could just ring up a book a nice party and that would be the end of the planning. The concept of booking things a year in advance and spending 17k is completely alien.

You need to pick a quiet, peaceful time to revisit the idea from scratch. Maybe book a nice dinner out and suggest talking about the plans from the ground up again. You won't get into an argument there, and hopefully you can convince him you won't get wound up and shout. You also need to be prepared for him to say that he isn't prepared to spend £17k on it; just because your friends have doesn't mean you have to, and going into debt for it sounds insane.

happyyonisleepyyoni Fri 04-Oct-13 12:48:34

Very briefly, your DP needs to come up with an alternative suggestion if he is not happy with yours.

It's very easy to sit on the sidelines and pick holes, a lot harder to actually do the work.

If he can't be bothered but isn't happy with what you have researched then what does that say?

Mrsjaffacake Fri 04-Oct-13 13:38:51

Can you afford a lavish wedding??!

MimiSunshine Fri 04-Oct-13 14:29:49

To me it sounds like you both agreed the kind of wedding you wanted (location, style, ceremony etc) but now the costs have been added up he's panicking.
And to be honest I'm not surprised you bed up shouting, I'd get really hacked off if things were shot down with no alternative suggestion provided.

So, speak to him, tell you'd like to talk about the wedding on Saturday afternoon. Give him notice on the conversation and say you promise not to shout if he can promise to organise his thoughts before then. Then don't talk about it all until then.

When you sit down start off with "do you still want to get married?" Then progress through:
In Ireland or elsewhere?
With the people we've got on the guest list or cut down?
Is the money you've agreed you are comfortably able to save each month still the case (and agree not to disguss budget within anyone else)?

Work through a list of things you would both like, you've already done this but pretend you haven't and then like another poster said, divvy up the list of things to book and organise.
He sounds like he needs ownership of things to feel its worth the money otherwise it's just £17k to spend all at once.

My OH can be a bit like this, I suggested a holiday that was all paid for upfront and quite a bit of money, he was a bit aghast but then I asked him how much did our last holiday cost (could vaguely remember but wanted him to remember) and how much did we take each in spending money.
It came to the same amount and suddenly he was quote keen on the idea

bigknickersforthepicker Fri 04-Oct-13 14:37:39

why don't you get married the following year for extra saving time than take out a loan??

Also just a note to the previous poster who said you'd be hard pushed to find the same for less than £70. I was offered the same for £57.99 PH at a beautiful well-to-do venue.

ThePinkOcelot Fri 04-Oct-13 15:00:43

I think his friends have the right idea tbh. Nice big houses and flash cars! These things last longer than 1 day!
You can still have a lovely day at a fraction of that cost. Think about it, what is more important, the wedding or the marriage?!

my god, as long as I live I will never understand how loving someone and hoping to spend the rest of your lives together translates into "borrowing and scrimping to spend seventeen thousand pounds on one day"

will now leave thread as I have nothing useful to add to sensible advice of previous posters. good luck with your marriage (the bit that lasts) smile

ammature Fri 04-Oct-13 16:56:38

Hi again, thanks for the comments.

Its good to hear peoples opinions but just to make it really clear,in general, we make decisions together and talk things through. So I am very sure I am not projecting "my wedding' preconceptions on him.Yes there are some norms, such as asking my aunts and uncles,but he wants to ask his, it just happens I have more.

Also, a buffet wouldn't be cheaper in this instance, I was talking about the 5 course thing in relation to the package which we both think is actually really good. We could have a 3 course meal and less booze with massive venue hire for double the price. This is the only non-hotel that I can find which doesn't charge venue hire. I have spend so long trawling that I am very sure of this. The only cheaper option is less people or a hotel which he definitely wants even less then me. by Irish standards this is an alternative wedding.

He definitely wants an Irish wedding as we think it will be fun for the brits, and hence we want the wine to be free flowing , good food and music as people have travelled to join us. This we also agree on.

I asked him this morning is it the money thats the worry if so we can work on that. Or the numbers and he said no, he wants the people there we have selected and he wants the shin dig etc its just the tensions that come up that are the problem when we talk about it.

To summarise the problem is me, us arguing, not the cost or format of the day. My problem is I feel he shuts down (defence mechanism), its left to me to plan, and I am worried its becoming more me then him. There have been moments of real sharing when we talked about the food and were making up fun menus or dancing last night to try out music but when we try to formally talk i think he changes subject.

My decision is this. I bought a card to write and say I am really sorry for being so tense. and some chocolate for him. I am going to go home and be lovely to him, try to erase the bits where I have felt hurt ( he ignored me all night) and forget everything until we go to Ireland in a fortnight and stay at the venue and try the food. Make that a bit of a romantic get away and also enjoy seeing my family to show them the ring etc... Hopefully he will see I am more relaxed and want to get more excited about things.

Finally the marriage is my priority. I certainly am not risking loosing my partner, I do love and listen to him, if i didn't i wouldn't be here asking for advice. I want his wedding day to be amazing for him. and for both of us. I don't want a big circus wedding by any means, i want a familial romantic and loving wedding and I am not implying that spending x amount gets you that.

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