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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.

ammature Sat 05-Oct-13 17:41:25

Thank you this is exactly what we need to do and what we will do.

Bajas Sat 05-Oct-13 17:06:06

OP I had a wedding similar to yours in Ireland last year and I don't think your budget is excessive for an Irish wedding at all.

My dh is a bit like your dp in terms of panicking about big spends like wedding, deposit for house etc. When we argued about things of that nature, I ended up in floods of tears and he ended up walking off. The walking off made me furious and the tears made him feel like a bastard.

Our solution? We went out on a walk or to a coffee shop or anywhere public to discuss it so I couldn't get hysterical and he couldn't storm off. We found this worked really well in terms of being organised and getting things marked off the list (always had a hard backed notebook with us to help us keep focused and organised)

It worked so well we have continued to do it with anything 'big' since- discussing having children, the fact we haven't been able to get pregnant in over a year, work on the rental property we own. It has made us able to discuss things logically and by trying to take some of the overwhelming emotions out of the equation for a while to decide a plan of what happens next.

Maybe worth trying?

ammature Sat 05-Oct-13 16:34:19

I guess I am putting my family first to a certain extent but then they have been through a lot. There are alot of family complexities that makes it very difficult for my sibling such as kids etc and I don't think my dad would be great for traveling with his issues. Beside OH wants it in Ireland to and his folks are really excited about it. We see his family at least weekly and mine like twice in a year. His parents were extremely involved to the point of over bearing in the house stuff so I'm happy to have this on my turf. What's not to love about an Irish party anyways!?

diddl Sat 05-Oct-13 13:51:04

No, but you are putting your own family first-which might rankle a little-although I can see why.

Sad that your siblings couldn't afford to travel-but then how lucky that others can!

Sorry to hear about your mum-perhaps there's stuff that siblings who live nearby the venue can do to help?

Perhaps you need to take a breath, write down what needs doing & who can do what?

I don't remember it being that hard tbh, although I did live in the town that we married in, I was studying full time & HTB working full time elsewhere so we were only together at weekends.

There was stuff he wasn't bothered about-flowers, cake, so I did that without him & he did suits without me for example.

But compared to some, perhaps ours was pretty basic-we didn't stress over stuff like table decorations, wedding favours, colour schemed-that sort of attention to detail just isn't us.

So the hardest thing was booking & church & reception together!

ammature Sat 05-Oct-13 13:34:15

Actually your right the problem is more with my defensiveness about it all, then about money. I think you might feel a bit hurt if people implied your marriage was less valid then theirs or you would be rubbish parents because you wanted the wedding you were planning and it cost a certain amount. Since I'm already stressed about it hearing this isn't the nicest thing... It's actually really tough. I am in my 20's and I wish my mum was here. She died a year and a half ago and it's shit, so it's really compounding the sense I am doing it alone.

Actually my OH saw this thread, left it open on the iPad and said it's not about the cost as he felt I deserve to have a great dress and the cost of the venue makes sense it's about the fact I am over reacting, as I feel he isn't helping, he shuts down. So there you go, I am the problem! Something to work on...actually I am really good at compromising, he is the one who has issues around that and sharing (only child) ... He said the shitting himself bit was just about spending big money on anything and said he felt the same paying the deposit for the house etc.

I want to get married in Ireland for a number of reason but also my father is disabled and I wouldn't want to put him out, my siblings wouldn't be able to afford to travel etc and as my OH is an only child his family have been asked they are all really excited about the idea as are our UK friends. Anyways the location is not the issue whatsoever.

EllieQ Sat 05-Oct-13 12:27:54

I wonder if the cultural differences are causing more of a problem that you realise? I'm assuming that you are Irish and he isn't, from what you've said. You're planning the type of wedding that is the 'norm' to you and your family/ friends, but it is a large wedding by British standards. The wedding is in your home country, and I would guess the majority of the guests are from 'your' side. His family and friends have the extra 'hassle' of travelling to Ireland, and perhaps there are some people who won't be able to go because of this? Despite how much he loves you and wants to marry you, this could be upsetting him.

In your OP, you said he was worried about the cost, but have since said this isn't the case. Do you think that's true, or is he just saying that to avoid another argument?

To be honest, you've come across as very defensive when people have made comments about the wedding and the cost based on the information in your OP (him being worried about the cost, the fact you'd be happy to get a £5k loan out to pay for it) - if you're like that when talking about the wedding plans, I'm not surprised you're having arguments about it! It does come across as you wanting everything your way and not being willing to compromise, or compromising very begrudgingly.

diddl Sat 05-Oct-13 12:15:37

If you don't live in Ireland anymore-are you still close to people there?

Will guests not from there be willing to pay to travel & stay over?

I'm not surprised that he's panicking about spending money that you haven't got yet though!

Kundry Sat 05-Oct-13 12:06:19

Ah so it's really about you learning how to argue with each other!

Unfortunately this I cannot help you with as DH and I have been together for 2 1/2 years and our honeymoon period is ending - and we haven't the foggiest idea how to solve conflicts. It's crap isn't it?

One thing that has worked for us is writing things down in an e-mail two days later when the emotion has calmed and the person can say what exactly was upsetting them - invariably it wasn't what the other person thought at all. Would this help?

ammature Sat 05-Oct-13 11:59:54

Thanks momb didn't know there was a wedding board!

ammature Sat 05-Oct-13 11:59:11

Exactly don't mind if I do, people say they spent 30-40 quid but then there are all the extras. He has not replied to a single email I have sent... I thought that would take the emotion out of thIngs as you have suggested, and it's stuff like that which has lead to me feeling resentful.

We've done the spread sheets and as he likes computer stuff he created all the excel stuff but it's so complex I can't use/understand it so I have my own one. The issue is really way more to do we communication and we're now bickering over everything. Seems like a weird patch.

SpottedDickandCustard Sat 05-Oct-13 11:21:31

Is it really worth persuing something that is causing such problems and arguments between you? And the wedding is still a year away so you are looking at another year full of arguments and stress.

Surely it is better to sit down with your DP and agree on a day and a way of planning it that you are both comfortable with.

DontmindifIdo Sat 05-Oct-13 11:04:27

oh and OP - while it's a lot of money to spend, it does sound like you've been realistic about what you can afford. As you are going to be arranging a wedding from another country, I think a lot of the ways you could do a similar 'quality' wedding for less money will be a lot harder - it's harder to do a DIY wedding from a distance, using a hotel who can sort out details for you makes sense.

momb Sat 05-Oct-13 10:31:00

Sorry I offended you. I was just trying to help with the budget as you had said he was worried about it. So glad to read that you've talked it through and are both feeling better about the whole thing.
It is a lot to plan (I'm planning mine at the moment too) and is a stressful time. Why not pop down to the wedding board? We share more frivolous planning stuff in there and it's nice to see what everyone else is planning ;-)

DontmindifIdo Sat 05-Oct-13 10:18:45

oh and I found having a clear running budget helped when I asked him on little things like which invites to get, I could say "A is £X each, £XX in total, B is £Y each, £YY in total, our budget is £XX, do you think it's worth going over/do you prefer the cheaper ones and save some money?"

I always refered back to the budget when discussing anything to take the panic out of it, so he had the context for the costs, that it was ok, we weren't going over budget until he took over organising the photographer and booked on £1k more expensive than I'd budgetted, and then on the day put £2k behind the bar we'd not budgetted for, I question why I bothered

DontmindifIdo Sat 05-Oct-13 10:12:54

I do think a lot of people don't understand what a wedding costs - he might hear "we paid £30 a head" and thinks he can get the whole wedding for £30 a head, without thinking that for a lot of couples, it's £30 a head for hte meal, plus venue hire of £2k, plus drinks on top of htat, plus canapes, plus evening buffet. 5 years ago I paid £35 per head just for the main meal, then £15 per head for the evening food, plus wine on top of that. Realistically, you can't expect people to go to Ireland and not have them there for the whole day, so you can't make it cheaper with having people like cousins you don't see regularly to the evening do, it's all or nothing. Also agree if you've asked people to go all that way, you do need to put on a 'day' for them.

I found with my DH, he found the whole planning thing so stressful because he felt like it was spiraling out of control, but it was more that he'd just thought in terms of "hotel hire, food and drink" not thought about flowers and invites and DJs and hairdressing and all the other things that have to be arranged, so he didn't feel he had it straight in his head and just panicked. I put together a spread sheet with my budget (and the total at the bottom) plus another column of acutal costs once booked so he could see the differences (things like cake cost more, I found I'd budgeted off a servey on what the average couple spent, but that was squewed by the numbers getting family to make cakes for free/cost of ingredients only). I e-mailed that to him regularly with clear questions like "this photographer for £X or this one for £Y" and links to their websites so he could be involved without having to go out and research from scratch. Also the e-mailing worked for us because he could take his time to think without me being sat next to him expecting him to have an opinion that minute.

Take the emotion out of it, write him an email, put it clearly in figures - this venue you want (add website link) will cost £70 per head, state what's included. Then put in the other hotels he's rejected (at least 2 others) put what the costs would be to go with them, what's is and not included (if you can then price that up to see what that would cost, don't let him think you're comparing a £70 per head meal and a £30 per head if the second is just for the main meal and not including evening buffet or room hire).

Below put a list of other items and rough budgets - photographer, flowers, wedding favours, invites (printing and postage), orders of service, suits, wedding & bridesmaid dresses/shoes/bags, wedding hair & makeup, cake, DJ/band etc

Put on it if he has any preference or would like to take over organising any of those things/trying to find a cheaper deal than your budget. If he's not prepared to do the work, then he's leaving it to you, but you agree the budget per item and you agree that if you are going over budget on anything you will speak to him about it first before booking anything.

ApocalypseThen Sat 05-Oct-13 10:00:12

What we did was split jobs. He did cars and music, I did other stuff. He sorted his family and friends, I did mine. We didn't bother making sure our guests lists were the same - he had a bigger family, we asked people the same degree out (so immediate families plus kids, aunties and uncles, first cousins both sides). Saves hassle.

But I wouldn't stress about him not being interested in stuff - find what likes and let him at it.

ammature Sat 05-Oct-13 09:48:59

Thanks apocalypse, your right, people have expectations, and I know everyone says it's "our day" but on our day I don't want to feel like every single person, who is there, who has traveled ( everyone will be travelling a bit) is either hungry, bored, or feeling like they gave us a generous gift and are getting shit food. It's reality. Plus this is what we want for ourselves, we are relatively generous people I think. Irish weddings seems different to those I the uk I've been to, which is why we want to have it in Ireland.

Yes I prob get a bit defensive with him, when for example the guest list was 140 I took 20 of my people off and he was still complaining... What do you say then? I've reduced it to the agreed number. What's the issue? It's stuff like that and NOT colour schemes ... Seriously. I don't have one! My family are growing wild flowers, it told the bridesmaid to choose what they feel amazing in, I hate chair covers... It's things like, Please can you call your friend to ask his son (your godson) to be pageboy and double check so I can ensure we have enough. Rooms at the actual venue, and stuff like where else should we see while in Ireland. It is not questions about trivial crap. I recognize he has shown higher levels of interest then most men, but this level of shutting down is frankly cold. Not like him.

The reason I am being defensive to posters about the cost is because I am being criticized heavily for OUR choice, while it's being implied that I am more interested in my wedding then my marriage, that I won't be able to deal with the stress of children and frankly that's really hurtful. if I didn't care I wouldn't be here asking for advice about dealing with the conflict, not how to reduce the cost.

Finally yes he said was was worried about the cost yesterday, but has said that's not what's upset him, it's the arguments. Which I am trying to deal with. For the record I think he is just anxious about everything right now, going through a rough patch as last night he was really upset about something else. If he's worried about the cost he needs to put forward ideas or suggestions because you can't just say I'm worried and then ignore it. Finally the house was more him then me, he bought it, he choose colours etc we did lots together which was very binding like stripping wallpaper for says and days but I certainly didn't push my ideas on and have him go along with things.

ApocalypseThen Sat 05-Oct-13 08:59:15

OP, I'm Irish too, just had a wedding oddly like yours (same number of people, same price per head). Don't let those who are competitive about not spending or who think that because you had a normal wedding, you don't care about your marriage. You won't hear anyone say that at home.

Me and the old ball and chain had a blast at our wedding and so did the family and friends. It's a once off, it's worth it.

But I never saw/heard of a buffet. Just don't, even if you found a place that does that, guests won't like it. It's really not worth the savings, and guests have expectations. Most will give pretty shocking gifts based on the norm so give them what they want.

Grumblelion Sat 05-Oct-13 08:11:54

Just come back to this. That's great if your other half had clarified that cost isn't an issue - however in your original post you clearly stated it was a problem for him so not sure why you're getting so upset when people suggested scaling things back a bit. Based on your OP, that was sensible advice. Of course it's entirely up to the two of you how much to budget for your wedding and you don't have to justify it but I'm just wondering if you get as defensive with him when you try to discuss things? And I wouldn't totally blame you as it doen't sound like he's being super helpful with offering alternatives to your hard work.

BUT I would wholeheartedly agree with Kundry above that you may need to manage your expectations of how interested he will be about the finer details. I have never met a man who gave a shit about the colour of chair covers, shades of bridesmaid dress etc. The main thing for them is to marry you & have a bloody good party after. Yes, it is frustrating when you want to include them but that's just the way it is. I would ask him what the most important parts of the day are for him and whether he's happy for you to just get on with the bits he's not interested in. However, also (gently!) point out that organising a big party from another country is a lot of work and you need his help - let him pick what he wants to get involved/take the lead in

Driz Sat 05-Oct-13 01:46:09

Although he does have a point about the cost, surely there are better ways to spend 17K?

Driz Sat 05-Oct-13 01:44:45

He doesn't sound keen. I don't blame him, weddings are BORING. It doesn't mean he doesn't want to get married to you, but he just isn't interested in the boring minutiae of wedding planning. If you want the big wedding, then enjoy it, but don't expect everyone to be so enthused, it isn't a measure of his love for you!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 05-Oct-13 01:38:44

Sorry, put house instead of home.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 05-Oct-13 01:33:21

I don't care how much anyone spends on their wedding day that's up to them. I wonder if after the hard work and planning involved in setting up home his instinct is to worry

How much
What's next

Of course he loves you and perhaps in a fortnight he'll fly over with you and agree it's a fabulous venue and the the ideas you put forward are amazing.

To be fair unless alternative arrangements are also on the table it is sounding like a done deal. He is getting twitchy and he's voiced his opinion. He has realised you have your heart set on how that day will go.

I am not trying to trap you. Looking back at the decisions taken regarding the house did he really have a say? Step by step sounds an almighty long deliberation. Debating takes energy and in the nicest possible way some partners have more staying power when it comes to weighing up "choices".

Sometimes when we say Oh well go on if you don't like it, you pick something! we don't mean you choose and I'll say yes. Your fiance might be making a token effort at digging his heels in but allow him that chance.

Friday is a great idea btw - people who can't get time off will at least be glad to be invited and okay numbers go down or if they can't afford it in any case, the day of the week will be a face-saving excuse.

Kundry Fri 04-Oct-13 23:51:15

SO if it really isn't cost, is it the wedding planning? Because generally men are not that interested.

DH and I agreed what we wanted from a wedding and costs (both for items eg venue, rough figure for flowers, cost per head for meal) but the only thing he did by himself was write his speech.

We picked the music, readings, venue, food and wine together. But bridesmaids outfits, flowers, decor, photographer, invites etc etc he couldn't really work up an interest in. I think he just smiled benignly while I wittered on.

It sounds like you both want the same sort of wedding which is great. Unfortunately there probably isn't much mileage in feeling aggrieved he isn't pulling his weight - he is pulling average man weight.

Can you give him things to do which he might be interested in like the humanist ceremony?

If he really is concerned about cost, agreeing costs of individual bits at a time may be easier to cope with than 'the whole wedding' which risks a row as it is so overwhelming. If it helps I found it easier to just not have stuff than try to do it on the cheap eg did my own hair and makeup after practising watching youtube videos, scrapped favours, stayed at venue overnight so didn't need a car - one night stay was cheaper than the limo etc. We didn't want to compromise on the bits we thought were important such as food quality and venue.

beepoff Fri 04-Oct-13 23:19:51

What else have you got going on in your lives apart from the wedding planning at the moment? Or is it starting to take over?

Can I suggest you take a break after the trip, a total ban on wedding talk for a fortnight? Then reintroduce a "wedding night" conversation once a week until a month or two before the wedding. All other nights no wedding talk unless urgent.

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