Wedding Talk

I'm writing this blog well-aware that I'm going to make some of my family members very upset if they ever see this.  1) I don't really care.  I need to get it off my chest.  And 2) it's honest and something I probably should have spoken up about a long time ago.  I also know that posting this will make a large number of you lose your minds over the prospect of an eminent engagement between Rashan and me.  Another risk I'll have to take.

Sometimes I want to completely disengage from my extended family.  All of them.  I get so irritated by their occasional affiliation with me, their knowledge of my life solely from facebook.  It makes me want to delete the ones who've made no effort to know me beyond that and keep the two who, ironically, aren't related by blood.  It's really only semi-ironic since most of the closest people to me aren't related by blood.  This frustration becomes more palpable as I have spent the last summer thinking about my wedding.  At times I'm shocked and dismayed at what I view as their rejection of me.  How could they dare deny themselves my company???  Then (most) other times I'm too irritated to feel anything but annoyance that I even have to consider such foolishness.

I don't want to invite a bunch of related strangers, many of whom I'm certain won't come even if it's just 30 minutes from their homes.  Others I'm certain will come just to be nosy even though I don't know them well or like them at all.  Why should I have to invite them to keep the peace when I don't feel included in their lives or even want to be included in some of their lives?  So though they've never attended any other significant event in my life, I'm supposed to include them in a ridiculously expensive day where I just want to be surrounded by people I KNOW will support our love?

Sounds pretty simple when you put it like that, huh?  But it's not.  It never is.  If you don't know or remember, I have 7 living uncles (and their spouses), 4.5 aunts (and their spouses) (or more if you count the outside offspring I've never met but for these purposes we won't), at least 36 first cousins (AND THEIR SPOUSES... sensing a pattern?) and only God knows how many second cousins.  I've only met about 16-20 of those children of my first cousins. 

The problem with weddings is that you invite one person and according to etiquette, you invite their husband, fiancé(e), or live-in significant other.  And what about children?  You say no children and then people see that the children who were known to be well-behaved were allowed to come but their ruffians were prohibited.  What if the children are better behaved than the parents and you'd rather have them there so they could be around some normal people for once and get exposed to fabulosity?

Then it's like if you invite this person, then you HAVE to invite that person because they're as tangentially related to you as the person you originally invited.  A 75-person guest list easily and ridiculously spirals to 125-person wedding then a 150-person wedding.  And what if you happen to be a foodie who wants no less than a 3-course gourmet meal with alcohol?  Those START at $30/person, not including alcohol, serving only chicken (i.e. not acceptable).  For someone I felt obligated to invite??  Just the $30 plate translates to $4,500 for FOOD ALONE plus tax, plus a 20% gratuity.  That's more than $5,800.  That just sounds crazy!  And guess what?  I can't do it.  I'm not the one to be compromising on food.  Am I supposed to eat "cucumber sandwiches with the crust cut off" (name that movie) when I hate cucumber and am equally averse to finger food (PLEASE FEED ME!!) so I can invite Pookie's grandma?  (For the record, I don't know anyone named Pookie. LOL)

So you pare it down to aunts & uncles and close cousins (believing 0 of your long distance family will come because they've come to nothing else anyway and you've spent your life headed in their direction with one reciprocal trip) but then realize you still have to nearly double your original list with all of their plus ones (JUST spouses & fiancées).  And that's still way too many people because what if they all magically decide, "Hey! We go to weddings and funerals!" and show up?  It's enough to make you want to have a destination wedding: everyone pay your own way.  Then we can invite the world!  But the financial burden would be too great for some of the closest members of our families.  UGH!!!

The crazy thing is I've always wanted a huge wedding.  But I'm not independently wealthy.  When I adjusted my ideas years ago (since I've been thinking about weddings since childhood-- so stereotypically girly, I know), I thought 100 people was appropriately modest considering the massive size of my family.  Then I started researching how much weddings cost for the barest of the bare bones ceremonies and balked at the idea of spending $10,000+ on 8 HOURS of my life when all I want to do is get married in a beautiful Jameil-designed dress, have a great party & MOST IMPORTANTLY spend the rest of my life with my love. 

Sometimes I feel sad when I think about not having a blowout party.  Mostly because I really, REALLY don't want to deal with the problem of the dozens of attitudes and hurt feelings people (not technically related, but still quite close) will have because they're not invited.  And what about the outrageous expectations of weddings these days?  Every detail is expected to be magazine quality because somebody is just waiting to rip apart the day you spent months to plan.  Then I get a grip on reality.  I have the rest of my life to have blowout parties.  For every Oscar I win, you'd better we are going to turn this mother out!!  :) 

But for now, I am a student.  I want to own a house, start a company, win many awards for my films and have children.  All in the next 10 years.  I also hold an exorbitant amount  of student loans.  How stupid would I feel knowing I threw all that money at a day (and didn't even spend it on the people I love most)?  Very.  If you have the money and that's where you want to spend it, please do!  Have a great time!  And since you're inviting everyone, shoot an invite my way!  But if you want to save some money and leave me out, trust and believe I understand.

If you're thinking like Rashan, you believe I wrote this to convince myself... It's true.  I also want some help!!!  So if you have some ideas on feeling better about leaving out a ton of people I actually do like along with some I don't like, do share.  Wedding planning sucks.  Even (or especially?) when you have no official wedding to plan.  Don't be surprised when we elope and just stream it live on the web.  It's fitting since we met on the internet.


Not so Anonymous said...

The movie is Brown Sugar...love that movie.

I don't really have much advice on your dilemma. Honestly, I don't want the big wedding, I tell everyone that me and the future hubby are going to vegas, he'll dress as elvis, I prasilla..or something even more corny...we'll laugh, exchange vows and spend the rest of our days making each other smile.

Unless he wants a big wedding, in which case he will have to do all the planning, and I'll just pick out my dress and show up.

Ok...back to you, lol. I say invite only those you want invited...related or not. Limit your rsvps. I've also heard of people inviting many people to the cermony and limiting the number of invitees for the reception. And, there is no way in the world (imho) children need to be at an expensive wedding. I really wouldn't care whose kids they were.

And, I love the way you're thinking when it comes to the finance part of it...don't go in more debt for one day ("they" say money is the number reason for divorce).

Maybe you all can do it big for your 10 year anniversary..now that's something to do blowout for, especially in a day where people get divorced after a year or two.

ooooh, and I can't wait to tell me I sorta kinda know an oscar winner, lol.

P.S. No matter your dilemma...I love the wedding talk (just had to throw that in there ;))

Mrs Count said...

Yay! Your blog finally stopped hating on me and let me comment :)

I had 250 people at my wedding because we both have huge families. From my experience, I say invite only who you want. People will be mad, but, then what? They aren't going to come kidnap your first born so it doesn't really matter if they're offended. You're going to have to be prepared to do a lot of phone calls to people that decided to add uninvited folks to their RSVP though. I think the best way to handle it is to NOT send out save the dates, because that gets people talking and people start telling you they're planning to come even if you weren't planning on inviting them. Get your invite list together and send it to the folks you want 6 weeks before the ceremony (or whatever the appropriate timeline is- I forget).

I totally advocate destination weddings for folks with large families (I'm begging my sister to have one), tell folks to start saving now. Also, if you need free security for your event, I'm available. The thought of getting to stiff arm and/or us a taser on somebody is payment enough for me.

K. Rock said...

I don't know a whole lot about weddings (we never had one) but I do know a few things. I know that if I ever have one, I am going to go into it remembering that this is OUR day and I won't do anything I don't want to do. Invite who you want, wear what you want, have a ceremony the way you design it to be. I am all about breaking traditions and you can be too.

Wedding are ridiculously expensive. I say just keep the guest list small. The smaller the better. Don't decide how many guests you want to invite first. Decide who HAS to be there first. You may realize that that guest list is only about 50 people long.

I'm rambling...so that is all.

Nerd Girl said...

My advice? Do what you like. Invite who you like. And don't worry about the rest.

If you can't/won't play hardball? I'm sure there's someone in your family who's invited to the wedding that will. Turn it over to them and blame everything on them. They won't care.

Heck, I'll do it.

pserendipity said...

Are you ME?? I just gave in. This wedding planning thing is bigger than I am, man...

But, I will say this. I've come to see that my wedding is not just my day. There are people out there that I don't even know that are willing to travel and book a hotel to come to my wedding. One reason is out of love and respect for my mom and dad. Some of these people have watched me grow up, have heard my parents tell stories about me, etc. and they want to honor my parents by attending my wedding. Some of my bosses that I invited as a courtesy happen to be very excited about coming. One of my students told me that she really looked up to me and would be pleased to attend my wedding. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though you feel one way about a person, weddings bring out that thing in people you really didn't know was there. If someone genuinely wants to come wish you well, let them come. Some of the people I tried to exclude were some of the people who most wanted to come. Except for Anne who can still kick rocks.

Like I said. It's about me and Tim. But it's also about our families and friends. The list is getting long, but at this point my motto must be "the more the merrier." Tim and I will be happy, my mom and dad will be happy, my grandma will be superhappy, and at the end of the day, we'll have had a great party. Can't beat that with a bat.

Okay, that may have been more for me than for you. *Whew* Thanks. I need to send you a check for that blog induced therapy I just had.

Nexgrl said...

My first thought was what you'd already written. A civil/church ceremony with close friends/immediate family and a large reception. I'm sure there are ways to cut the cost on a large reception, but there will lots of advance planning and group efforts.
Here are some titles that I found with a quick catalog search.

1001 ways to save money-- and still have a dazzling wedding / Sharon Naylor.

Your unique wedding : say "I do" with a twist / Kerry McDonald

How to have a big wedding on a small budget : cut your weddings costs in half--or more! Diane Warner.

Kali said...

Do what makes you and your partner happy! It will be your marriage and your day. Have the big party when you when your first Oscar, NAACP Image award etc. Every anniversay could be a vow renewal/wedding (like Nick and Mariah!)

Gorgeous_Puddin said...

Well you have a real dilemna I will say that. My first thought was invite who like and don't worry about the rest. But then I remembered my sister's wedding.OMG! She is evil(for real) and did not invite family members that just KNEW they were coming. It caused such a family rift that has not been repaired and it's going on 3 years since that wedding!

I have many of the same thoughts in regards to my own future wedding. I want great food in a beautiful unique atmosphere, surrounded by people who love me and him, and I don't want it to cost the down payment for my house! I am trying to come up with a least cost per person guide as well as reading all the cost saving books and sites. I will not invite children period! I also had a friend who allowed anybody to her wedding but the reception was invite only. It was weird but it worked. Go figure.

Alright now Academy Award winner!!!! Get it! Get it! Brownsugar is a FAV!!

Trish said...

I'm with Aretha! In the beginning, I wanted a huge, "everybody look at me" ceremony. At one point, I thought maybe I'd have a small ceremony.

After moving down here, away from family, a destination wedding will more than likely be in my future. Teddy and I have talked about weddings, like most men, he'd be okay with the court house.

While I know I don't want to go in debt for a wedding, Teddy's going to have to do better than a group courthouse wedding, or in a Pastor's office.

Naima said...

Patti keeps telling me, "All you HAVE to do is get married." It's been my mantra for the past 5 months and will continue to be until the ink dries on the marriage certificate next year.

My thought is that you're probably going to (knowingly or unknowingly) upset someone no matter what you do, so you might as well do what makes YOU ("you" meaning you and your partner) happy. I honestly think that your wedding should be a reflection of you, and if that means only inviting 30 people because you want to have an amazing menu, then so be it. I hate to play the somewhat selfish card here, but if you try to make everybody happy, you're going to drive yourself crazy.

For example, both of my parents come from large families and I'm close with pretty much everyone, but we're limiting "family" to 1st cousins. Kids? Nope. No one under 18. Is that going to ruffle some feathers? Sure. Do I care? I'd be lying if I said that I didn't. But that's the decision that we've made and we're sticking to it.

And don't even get me started on costs! OMGness!! Weddings aren't cheap, and we're not trying to go into debt for one day...but we're also not trying to empty our savings or have our parents pay for everything. There's a reason why we picked a date 18 months away (well, it was 18 months away at the time -- not so much anymore)...it's called the "let's put aside $XX each month so that we can get this thing paid for upfront" plan.

So anyway, that's my two cents. And for the record, just the thought of what your menu would be like got me ridiculously excited right now. LoL!!!

Unknown said...

I've been thinking about my wedding lately and talking to my bf about it and we are almost sold on a destination wedding and having a reception(party) in the states. It'll be much cheaper than having a big wedding, because his family his huge and mine isn't quite as huge. Some of my friends and his family aren't to happy about the destination thing, but as long as those closest to us are there, we will see the other ones at the stateside reception. *shrugs* BUT, I've seen a lot of DIY weddings that look super expensive but were pretty reasonable(i.e. cheap). I don't know...ultimately, you'll have to do what makes you and your partner happy.

Sparkling Red said...

I just went through all that crap last year, and thinking of it still makes me shudder. There's no way of completely escaping from it unless you elope, but of course that has its own drawbacks. Gah. Never again! (I have been married twice, but this time I really mean it!)

1969 said...

The wedding is up to you and your man.

You have to take a long hard look at your budget and go from there.

You can always get married on a beach somewhere. Just the two of you (with limited family to serve as witnesses-who will pay their own way) and wear your fabulous dress.

You can come back and throw a huge party instead of a sit down dinner.

There are no rules. You make them.

Stop stressing. It will all work out.

1969 said...

The wedding is up to you and your man.

You have to take a long hard look at your budget and go from there.

You can always get married on a beach somewhere. Just the two of you (with limited family to serve as witnesses-who will pay their own way) and wear your fabulous dress.

You can come back and throw a huge party instead of a sit down dinner.

There are no rules. You make them.

Stop stressing. It will all work out.

SincerelyGo said...

I have chills and not because I'm freezing my buns off in the coffee bean but because as a couple I LOVE you and Rashan!!! I've been waiting for wedding talk from you guys since...well since forever.

I had a small wedding, who needed to be there was there but I didn't enjoy it all that much...If I do it again, I'll probably take it to the beach somewhere on an island, cover my mother's ticket for everything and everyone else is on their own with plenty of notice in advance.

Kids that disrupt weddings make me want to shoot their parents. If you eloped, I would only be partially mad because I wouldn't be able to exercise my self invite. As long as you are beautiful and feel beautiful. Put your money into what you'll most likely remember the most. I'm doubting that's estranged relatives. Cruise ship party? Maybe.

I'm excited....[throws rice all over your readers in the comment section]

Why am I so excited again? I don't know... screams!!!!

Jameil said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions!!

Nsa... ME TOO!! Not Elvis & Priscilla! Hilarious. I don't want THAT low key but I get farther and farther from a huge day the more I want to be married and stop all this shuttling back and forth. The idea of him planning most of the wedding? (I want food input... lol) LOVE. I guess what I'm really trying to figure out is if I should consider how long people will be mad about their non-invite. We'll have children there b/c Rashan has some great nieces and nephews but there will be no children from my side. We are absolutely having a blowout down the road! I knew you'd love the wedding talk. :)

mrs. c... good job, blogger. i know you're right abt offense but my mind is taking a while to get there. i think the RSVPs thing is why I like the idea of small. That way we can directly call all those invited, saying we've invited a very select few and are so glad you're in that number, however, there are no extras. Only the names on the page. I will feel comfortable saying that to everyone involved. We're totally going the Chelsea route: only people who know us directly. If our parents want to invite others, they can hold a reception at their homes. I would do destination if it was affordable for them and/or we wanted to have a longer engagement... we don't. ROTFL @ you as bouncer!! LOVE IT!!

k... wedding expenses are outrageous. we figured out must haves are about 20-25, including friends and closest fam.

nerd... hahahaha. idk if there are any in the family invited who will play hard ball. i left them off. lolol. you & mrs. c doing it? THE BEST!!

pseren... you gave in???? DON'T SAY THAT!! I definitely see it as something where we want people we love to be there. I feel like I might have to leave off some people I really like if I were to fit family in which = fail. But b/c I need the best food in the whole world... it's never going to be the more the merrier. Even if I win the lotto. (Better start playing...) I'll take my check, ma'am! Thanks!

nexgrl... i really really can't do a civil service. i've tried to get there and almost got there multiple times... it can't be done. i can compromise on huge... sterile in a courthouse? i can't. great tips! thanks!

kali... LOL! IDK about EVERY ann'y but I think we should do a trip every ann'y and maybe have a party on the 5s & blowout on the 10s or something. oooooh.

Jameil said...

gp... thanks nightmare on gp street!! lololol. i thought about invite-only reception but it just seems so stank to me. and like it causes more problems than it fixes. might as well stay small from the beginning.

trish... GIRL. That was an epiphany moment seeing it in writing: "everybody look at me" ceremony. That's so what it was and so what it's not supposed to be. Ridiculous. I can't do courthouse, walmart... I could do pastor's house if pastor had an amazing million dollar home... but then w/my standards he probably wouldn't be my pastor anymore.

nai... that really is all you have to do BUT as you know, IT'S SO HARD!! i really am going to piss off somebody regardless. make them all mad together? so they can hate me ensemble? lololol. i really wish like rah limiting it to first cousins would help, it so wouldn't! first cousins i know would help a bit, though. you know the menu is gonna be ridiculous!!! :)

miss b... look at that. people unhappy about the destination wedding. LE SIGH. you really can't win unless you let any and everyone come and spare no expense. you've so got to do what you want.

red... lololololol. love it. and you're so right. ya can't win!!

1969... why you gotta just shut me down like that, tho? lol. it really will all work out and right now I don't have the time or patience to be bothered with it now that school is starting. however it happens, happens.

go... LOL! Get it together!! There will be no wedding-disrupting kids... did I just jinx myself? If I have to stop in the middle of the wedding to snatch up a lil monkey... lol. I've already told Stace if there's someone acting up, I expect her to lead them outside to play in traffic. LOLOL! j/k. Dead @ you throwing rice! HAHAHA!

Anonymous said...

Do what you want. All I can tell you is that I got some of what I wanted and some I had to compromise on. But the look on my fiance's face makes all this planning worth it. He is excited like a little kid on Christmas, and baby let me tell you something, you can't pay enough money to have someone love you like that.