Thursday, August 25, 2011

THE Critical Wedding Guiding Principle - It's Actually NOT All About YOU

See all these people? Your wedding is about all of them, too - it's not just about you. (These are Grant's family members who made it to the wedding.)

This will be hard for some people to swallow, but our first and most important Wedding Week lesson here at The Angry Bureaucrat is that your wedding isn't actually all about you ("you" singular or "the two of you"). If you approach your wedding in this way, you're already setting yourself up for disaster and/or disappointment. Our experience was that the most fun we had planning our wedding was when we were coming up with fun, creative ways for it to be a community-wide celebration of our joy, love, and union - and that we fought the most when we focused too much on us, on doing things this way or that, or otherwise being caught up in the details.

The whole "fairytale wedding," "princess for a day" bullsh*t was made up by the cynical princess wedding industry to make you feel entitled to everything and to separate you from your money. The truth is that, unless you're eloping, your wedding is bringing together a community of people who love you and care about you - friends and family, whether a few or a few hundred - in order to celebrate your joy, love, and union. You wouldn't be who you are without all of these people; that's why they're at your wedding. When planning your wedding and all the celebrations that surround it, you will have more fun (and everyone else will be happier) if you take into account their need and desire to celebrate with you, instead of focusing solely on your own selfish needs and desires. Much of the rest of these posts will be specific examples of how to implement the guiding principle of "it's not all about you."

(Note: Based on a dinner conversation I had after I wrote the first draft of this post, I want to add that, of course, your wedding should and will fulfill your need to celebrate in the way you want as well. The point of this post is not to say that you should work to please everyone else above and beyond yourselves - that's certainly not the case. Nonetheless, this post is a strong recommendation to take the needs and wants of the people you love and care about into account when planning your wedding. I assume that your needs will be well-represented in your wedding - my experience has been that most couples don't need much help asserting their own wishes in their wedding planning. But, you and everyone around you will be much happier if you take into account the needs, wants, and feelings of your community as you plan your wedding - and this is something that I think people often lose, forget about, or are even told is wrong when planning a wedding.)

OK - that's plenty to take in on the second day of Wedding Week here at The Angry Bureaucrat - come back tomorrow and we'll start talking dollars and (common) sense.


  1. My son and his fiancee (both 30 yr old professionals) are living together in Brooklyn, NY. She is from Indiana but has lived in NY from 2001. My son is born and raised in Brooklyn. They are discussing wedding venues and her mother has offered to pay for the wedding. I am on a fixed income and don't have any money to offer, but I gave him my mother's engagement ring that appraised for $7000.00 I thought it was a nice thing to do as he was her only grandson. They are leaning toward an Indiana wedding and I am very hurt that he is not taking into account my myriad health issues which make travelling impossible for me. He was curt with me when he said,"So if it's not in Brooklyn, you won't come." He acts like it's a choice when I am severely limited by health and financial issues. Should he be showing some concern about wanting me there, or is this his way of cutting me off? I am so depressed because I have always been a good mother. What can I say to him to make him understand that I want so much to be a part of this day. We even have a song picked out for years already.

    1. Anonymous: That is really difficult - I'm sorry to hear about your situation. My only advice is to be direct, open, and honest with him about the fact that you really, really want to come, but that it would be next to impossible for you to travel. He may just be terribly busy and wrapped up in his planning, and it may have honestly slipped his mind, or you might not have made it apparent to him just how much of a burden the travel would be on you. I know my parents are not always forthright and honest with me about all of their problems, as they don't feel that they should burden me with them - after all, I'm their kid, and they're supposed to take care of me, right?

      An alternative would be for someone (you, your son, her mother) to pay a little extra to make the travel as comfortable as possible for you - i.e. a private car to the airport, a first class ticket from Brooklyn to Indiana, etc. Since I know nothing about your health situation, I don't know if that's a viable option or not - but if traveling in more comfort might make it possible, it's something you could consider.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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