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to send letters before arranging my wedding?

(52 Posts)
ladamanera Wed 06-Jul-16 15:38:25

Background: I suffer from clinical paranoia which I have been managing quite well. So well, that most people other than doctors and family don't know I have it. But it means I think most people are repulsed by me, and have severe social anxiety and panic attacks for which I take medication.

I would love to be socially confident and used to hold huge parties in order to try to face my fears head on, and have always pushed myself to be popular- but while I think the parties and networking etc increased my popularity, unfortunately it did not fix my brain and they took a big emotional toll. I often got carried away with the planning and then found the event almost unbearable until my favourite time, about 3am when nearly everyone had gone home and I was drunk enough to relax with those who were left.

Anyway, My fiancee didn't want to propose to me because he thought the wedding would be too much stress for me but i said it would be OK.
He proposed a year after the birth of our first child. Since the engagement (no engagement party, it was just too scary) we have had another baby. We want to get married and we want to do a naming ceremony for the little ones. I think its important to mark important events with my family and friends (I do, somewhere in me, know I have friends).

A combination of two pregnancies, busy work schedules mean I have only really seen a few of my friends since we got engaged. I would love a wedding with those lovely people as bridal party but also with the interesting and fun people I have known in my life as guests - but I have no idea whether they want to be friends with me or not.
My paranoia has gone into overdrive this maternity leave and I have found myself inordinately hurt by some people's absences (which I took to be contempt of me or disinterest in my child) and Facebook etc shows me events I too havent been invited to.

I can't ask people in real life because I am too embarrassed so I wondered if I could ask Mumsnet?
SO I'd like to invite some people to my wedding who didn't invite me to theirs. I understand why I wasn't invited was because we haven't seen each other for ages and weddings have limited numbers, but I remember them fondly. Will they look down on me for this? Id also like to invite people I haven't seen for years - but is that going to make me look desperate for friends?
If I invite the list I would like to invite, it makes a difference to the budget and the venue type dramatically. So before I commit to a venue, because I dont know if people like me enough to come to my wedding, is there some way I can find out?
Can I send letters saying "hello, we are getting married and I think you are amazing and would love you to be there. Its on [date]. However I know we haven't caught up in years and I understand if you may have other priorities - please let me know?"

My worry is that, as people dont know I have this paranoia condition, people will roll their eyes at the letter, feel awkward, say "of course we will come" and then just not turn up or cancel last minute because they don't really give a sh*t, which will ruin my day and make the whole thing so tragic and awful - I imagine 100 wine glasses in some forlorn pyramid and only three embarrassed guests in the corner of a huge hall or something.

What should I do? I do not want a small wedding with only our 10 best friends and my enormous family. I want one that reflects the journey on which we've been with all the fantastic people I admired and love.

Please be kind.

Gazelda Wed 06-Jul-16 15:48:40

If I were an old friend, and didn't know your diagnosis, I'd honestly be a bit taken aback by a letter. But I fully understand why you are thinking of sending it.
How about a 'save the date' card? I think that generally they are a bit naff, but in your situation they may be a good solution. It gives the impression that you want them to share your day, but also gives them an opportunity to let you know if they're likely to be available or not. It might prompt some long lost pals to get in touch, regardless of whether they are available on your wedding date.
While not perfect, it'll give you an idea on numbers so you can start planning your venue etc.

MollyTwo Wed 06-Jul-16 15:51:47

I was going to suggest the save the date card too. Maybe with a sort of rsvp so you will have an idea of numbers attending to work with. Sending a letter or even explaining your issues wouldn't be a good idea, I think it would make people very uncomfortable or feel awkward.

TeaBelle Wed 06-Jul-16 15:52:31

I would happily respond to a letter in a positive way if I received one. But no idea how you could give a date without booking a venue - many have popular dates booked years in advance

eurochick Wed 06-Jul-16 15:56:57

I think a save the date card with a message would be lovely. I'd skip the amazing bit and just say something like "I know it has been years since we have caught up but I remember our times at uni/school/whatever so fondly I'd love it if you could be there to celebrate my wedding to X with me'.

OlennasWimple Wed 06-Jul-16 16:02:10

I've attended weddings of people who I didn't invite to mine. Not everyone who came to mine invited me to theirs. Don't worry about that aspect.

Also don't worry about friends you haven't been in touch with: I think everyone accepts that there are times in your adult life when you drift apart because of family, work or other pressures. It doesn't mean they wouldn't make the effort to come to your wedding.

Could you look for a venue that is pretty flexible on numbers to give yourself wriggle room? Or have a small service followed by a bigger party (not necessarily on the same day, if that might take the pressure off)?

I agree "save the date" cards could be good, but they don't generally ask for responses which us what you are after. So I would send out invitations really early instead. If you don't have all the info yet, set up a website where you can update as things become clearer

BugPlaster Wed 06-Jul-16 16:03:51

I get where you are coming from, without having the condition myself. I invited people I hadn't seen much and people I saw often: a mixture of both came. I still worry a bit that people think the mixture of guests was odd but your post reminds me that I did what I wanted and surely that is what matters? So many times I find myself doing things out of obligation but I don't really think anything bad can come of you asking people you genuinely want at your big day (other than your own thinking about it, I don't mean to play that down). I mean anyone who is invited should feel flattered.
I also believe if you are prepared to write a letter that will open up communication about something you live with and deserve to have understanding about. I'd say do it and welcome the warmth I hope it brings.

happypoobum Wed 06-Jul-16 16:21:39

Agree your best bet is a form of save the date, but with an RSVP on it. That way you can downscale as necessary. Maybe book a venue with a small deposit or one where you can accommodate fewer people without it looking odd?

By the way I think you sound lovely. I hope you have a fantastic day.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Wed 06-Jul-16 16:28:27

You sound like a lovely person but I wonder if you're taking on too much by planning an enormous wedding and a huge number of guests.

You want to be able to enjoy the day without the huge pressure of catching up with friends you haven't seen in years and feeling that you have to greet and chat to them all. You mention in your OP that you didn't enjoy the big parties you hosted in the past and preferred it when it was quiet at the end!

Think about what you would honestly enjoy more rather than how you want others to perceive you.

As far as sending out letters to potential guests, I think that's fine and quite a sweet thing to do. Be prepared that not all your guests will be able to come and don't take that as a personal rejection though.

ParadiseCity Wed 06-Jul-16 16:36:06

I think it would be worth rekindling friendships one stage at a time. Get in touch with people, say you have let things slide but would love to catch up and invite them round for dinner. One friend (or small group of friends) at a time. Then you will be able to gauge things more easily.

ladamanera Wed 06-Jul-16 16:39:38

Thank you everyone for being so sensitive, I have been worrying about this for a really long time. I think a save the date card with RSVP (unusual but not half as awkward as my letter might be) is a good idea I didn't think of that. This condition affects so much of the wedding- people do those little "our story" things - but so much of my fiance and my story is to do with how close we got when I had a breakdown and was hospitalised years ago (again, hardly anyone knows) but we don't know how to refer to that in any speech or history without sounding cloying or making people feel like they are on some confessional TV show/awkward. I guess it doesn't have to mention anything. It's a difficult tussle though when you are being private through shame not through a wish for privacy, but I dont want to make the wedding some "poor Ladamanera and Her Trials" look at me event (weddings are look at me enough!)

LordyMe Wed 06-Jul-16 16:50:00

I think it's perfectly OK to invite people who didn't invite you to their wedding. There is nothing wrong with that at all and I don't thing it will seem 'desperate' smile

However, I am not sure about inviting non-family guests if you haven't really been keeping in touch with them. It sounds like you have all moved on - it doesn't diminish the friendships you once had but does suggest that the friendships are on the wane.

If I were you I would invite all your current friends and family and work the wedding around that number of guests even if it ends up as a small wedding.

If you really want to go ahead with inviting your own friends then I think a save the day card might be an idea but I think it would be even better to try and get together with everyone beforehand. If they aren't fussed to meet up for a meal out or a drink then why would you want them at your wedding.

I think you need to be real honest about why you want a bigger wedding.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Wed 06-Jul-16 16:50:47

Just go for the wedding you want. You don't have to follow a 'template' wedding. Yours can be different.
You sound quite anxious about the whole thing and planning a big wedding is hard work and you may find you are putting yourself under huge pressure to make it perfect.
If you are still a bit fragile, I think it might be best to plan something smaller with family and close friends and perhaps plan a party at a later date to catch up with older friends?

dowhatnow Wed 06-Jul-16 16:51:26

I wouldn't come and then you'd get paranoid about me not liking you. That wouldn't be the reason though.
If I came you'd be so busy getting round all your guests that I'd only spend a tiny part of the evening with you. I don't particularly like weddings and a wedding where I don't know many other guests would be a nightmare.

Perhaps I might like to catch up with you. I may even love the idea but a wedding isn't the time to do it. A much more intimate meeting up would be much better where we can actually catch up.

LordyMe Wed 06-Jul-16 16:52:19

Typos galore... blush

Old friends not own friends

caramelchaos Wed 06-Jul-16 16:52:28

Hi op! If I received a save the date card with wee message inside from an old friend, I would be chuffed to bits. Life gets in the way of a lot of friendships and a happy event like a wedding is a great catalyst to make contact again

MrsHathaway Wed 06-Jul-16 16:53:34

You can refer to "when I was poorly" without going into detail. It sounds like that's sort of incidental to the story anyway: if you'd met at a railway station you wouldn't get people saying "oh where were you going? Did you prebook your ticket or buy it on the day?"

I agree with others that it may be difficult to get a firm date without having booked a venue. But it's the big showstopper venues that book up soonest (castles and so on) and that doesn't sound like your kind of thing tbh.

I think the Save The Date / RSVP idea sounds just the right idea. It doesn't matter whether you were invited to their weddings or not.

Witch91 Wed 06-Jul-16 16:58:51

A letter might be a bit formal and as PP have said, people might not be sure how to respond, so might just not answer, not because they don't want to or because they don't support you and want to come, but because they don't know what to say.

If you and your friends are all on social media, could you set up a private event and invite those that you would want to invite? In the description you could put something along the lines of what you said in OP - "hello, we are getting married and I think you are [all] amazing and would love you [all] to be there. Its on [date]. However I know we haven't caught up in years and I understand if you may have other priorities - please let me know [by responding to this event if you would like to / be able to attend, and I will ensure a formal invite makes it's way to you]

That gives people an easy way to reply (with a yes / no / maybe) and also gives a space for comments if people want to give extra details or an extra hello.

Final thought from me is to echo a PP though - do consider what you want as there are always ways and means of making it happen, don't be swayed by what is considered traditional if it does not match your needs / wants. For example, If you really enjoy the bit after majority goes home, you could have an early afternoon wedding, followed by an afternoon tea for all of your friends and family (so you get the big wedding and celebration), and then have a small wedding breakfast which only your core family and friends are invited too, so you can then chill out and enjoy yourself with a smaller group into the evening.

Hope this helps, I know it is an exciting and stressful time, so look after yourself smile flowers

marblestatue Wed 06-Jul-16 16:59:53

However I know we haven't caught up in years and I understand if you may have other priorities - please let me know?"

If I received this, I might assume you didn't really want me there! So I'd leave that bit out.

cankles Wed 06-Jul-16 17:00:08

ladamanera, this is what I think. You made the biggest point when you said that you used to organise big parties, which in the end you dreaded until almost everyone had gone home.

I think you are a very thoughtful person who would like a day connecting with old friends, etc etc - however, you can connect with these old friends on another day - not on your wedding day. It sounds like a small, intimate crowd of family and friends, who you know really well - where things will be fairly predictable will work much better for you.

There's the fantasy of a wedding day (which doesn't exist and people end of spending a lot of money, not enjoying their day - disappointed) and then the reality - I don't mean to sound harsh - it's your day, your husband to be and you have two lovely children who will also be involved - focus on them.

waterrat Wed 06-Jul-16 17:24:17

hello OP. I don't have clinical paranoia but I do get anxiety - and I really empathise with you as I am a weird mix of absolutely loving socialising/ other people and endlessly worrying about parties etc!

So - being realistic I think you should remember that a wedding party, which is about celebrating your intimate family life - may not be the best day, fraught as it already is with so much emotion, weight of expectation etc - to turn into a 'hey everyone I have ever known come along and lets get together again'

It is completely fine to invite people you havent' seen or whose weddings you didnt go to - but I would gently suggest that you rethink why you are doing this.

IF you want a big get together with people you haven't seen for a while I think I would personally just have a party in a pub for a big birthday - people will feel much less pressure and you won't have lots of people coming into a 'family, formal wedding' - be realistic about weddings - you know you won't have time to talk to them?!

that is putting so much pressure on yourself - why do it? Do you feel you 'should' want to do this?

I would just make the wedding a relaxed and enjoyable event about you and the people you feel very close to.

re. RSVP - if you do go ahead I think generally people say yes to weddings! I have been invited before to weddings of people I havent seen for ages and I have not at all looked down on them! but i have found it slightly odd - I go to the weddding, dont get a moment to speak to them and then dont see them again for years!

ADishBestEatenCold Wed 06-Jul-16 17:31:42

How about instead of you sending anything, your DP is the one to send out Save-the-Date cards?

In them he could put (obviously) the date and a little message saying something like ...

"I am planning the wedding of (I hope) my darling ladamanera's dreams, but in order to arrange what I have in mind, I need to know how many of her friends/family will be there. A bit unusual, I know, but can I ask you to send me a 'pre-invitation' email/text to say whether you will be able to come to our wedding on 'x-date'."

amazinggrace2001 Wed 06-Jul-16 17:35:00

You sound like a lovely person and very thoughtful and have obviously thought a lot about how you want your wedding. Please don't think that you 'have to' be popular and have to throw parties and socialise a lot if you don't really like it. It sounds like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself.
I have anxiety, my absolute nightmare would be to have to host a party or have a big wedding. I don't even like having guests round my house very much and sometimes can't go to social gatherings if am feeling anxious or paranoid. I have tried to push myself to do these things so as not to feed the anxiety and sometimes it's ok and sometimes it's not.

What kind of wedding celebration have your fiancé and children talked about having?

ladamanera Wed 06-Jul-16 17:38:23

This is really helpful, thank you. I will have to have a long think about the suggestions and comments .

I suppose I felt like having a really small wedding would be giving in to the paranoia and that I might feel sad on the day - able to appreciate the wonderful people who HAD come because of the ghosts of those I didn't dare invite. There's all the less pleasant thoughts too - won't everyone who comes feel sorry for me if its a small wedding because it will show them no-one else wanted to come… Oh dear. This is so stupid, these thoughts are so stupid, it's just a bloody day and the important things are him and me and our two kids. Not my internal torrid little tussles with myself! Maybe a registry office with two witnesses is the best thing - know my fiance wouldn't care how we did it. But a save the date card is the first positive step. I could send those out and then just take it slowly, step by step?

I also have difficulties with NOT inviting people in case I hurt their feelings - I have those hurt feelings so often that I couldn't bear for anyone else to have them - and if I hurt someones feelings they will get angry at me later. So at the moment my bridesmaid list is 12 deep.

I am not cut out for this. How does everyone else do it!!

happypoobum Wed 06-Jul-16 17:47:22

Could you elope?

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