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PhD and Wedding at the same time

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choro72

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I''m talking about within a week of each other. Would you do it? What if you have attempted this before, and you were going insane (i.e. cranky, snappy, and sobbing)? You know the wedding is going to take your attention away from the research?

But what if there was a possibility that the degree is going to be delayed again? What if you have people you can count on to help you with the wedding planning? And you pretty much knew what and wheres of the details, and all you needed to do was to execute? Is it still a lot of work on you? What if you were depressed on the prospect of postponing (again) and you can''t wait to start a married life?

Would you postpone the wedding until you are done with the degree? Or delegate detail works to other people and go ahead with it?
 

swimmer

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Hugs Choro,
Not quite the same, but I did my dissertation proposal about 9 days before the wedding and a pilot study trip to China 3 weeks before the event. Personally, my proposal hearing was the most stressful part of the process because the research design is...well, its mixed and some people on the committee are qualitative folks and some are quantitative, so it was a battle over territory that really wasn''t about me at all. You know what I mean about professorial pissing matches I''m sure.

The good parts: distracted, not focused on the wedding at all. (and lost weight) Friends and family were awesome in pulling together to make it a wonderful wedding. Everyone was vested so no pressure on me at all the day of.
The bad parts: I dropped the ball on some wedding stuff that no one but me would have known about. I was not in control and well, I like to be in control.

Can you live with the latter? (it sounds like you can.)
 

neatfreak

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Personally I''d say a big NO. I was stressed out enough about my wedding (and was a fairly laid back bride!) I can''t even imagine adding my prelim or dissertation defense into the mix. I feel like you wouldn''t really be able to concentrate on either well, and instead both would be a bit half a**.
 

JSM

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Well, my PI thought I "couldn''t handle a PhD", which is far from the truth and a long story
, so I am finishing my Master''s this semester. My thesis is due to my committee the day before I leave for my elopement, then when I come back I have to quickly prepare for my defense. Oh, and try to apply for jobs out of state because I''ll be unemployed very soon.

Let me tell you, I have a good idea what you are going through. I could not handle a true wedding so close to everything else. I feel burned out, anxious, nervous, scared, depresed, unappreciated, and extremely pressured 24/7. I have been taking nyquil nightly in order to sleep. I cry often. For the very first time in my life, my doctor is counseling me and trying to get me to take anti-anxiety medication. On top of it all I''m trying to diet.

I know I will make it through this (time on PS is a great distraction, and the exercise does help me relax). However, if I had to do it over again, I would NOT do it this way. My fiance and I are fighting right now because I''m so tense and anxious and I don''t feel like myself at all.

I hope that you find a way to balance everything!
 

havernell

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To clarify, what part of getting the PhD would be the same week as the wedding? Graduation? your dissertation defense? starting a PhD program? You mentioned the wedding taking your attention away from "research", but if you're talking about being at the defense stage (as Neatfreak assumed), research should be completed by that time anyway, right? Anyway, if you could clarify that might yield better comments from people.

I think the answer also depends on your program. Sounds like in Neatfreak's program the defense is a really stressful time. In my program it's stressful for sure, but our committees don't allow us to defend until they've already gone through revisions with us to the point where it's pretty much a guarantee that you'll pass the defense. So in that sense, the defense is more just a public presentation of the work, not a real trial, and therefore less stressful.

I think it also really comes down to how you are about time management. I'm a procrastinator, so I know I'd leave both things to the last minute and be super stressed. But I have friends who are really good about doing things in advance, and they would have either the wedding or the defense totally planned weeks in advance so they would only have to worry about one the week of. So, think of your usual time management approach- are you someone who can get things done early or do you leave everything to the last minute? If you're the former, then go ahead and have both the same week. If you're the latter, consider spreading them out a bit.

Good luck working this all out!
 

choro72

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swimmer, I'm so glad to hear someone has done it and succeeded! I do have enough people that will help me pull off the wedding, and I won't have to worry about a thing. But like you said, I'm going to have a hard time releasing control...And just trust that it's going to be great...
neatfreak, You're probably right as always...On top of that, a half hearted PhD means no PhD, so I'll be left with a half hearted wedding and no PhD

jsm, I completely understand!!!! I've been so stressed out about my degree that I haven't had a decent sleep since the New Years, I haven't laughed or smiled, and I cry and fight with FI every single weekend. I become unapproachable and horrid when people ask me questions about my research. My friend in the same department talks to me a lot about her troubles with her dissertation, and I have a hard time stopping myself from rolling my eyes because I just don't have the capacity in my heart to be nice anymore.
havernell, sorry to be unclear. I mean defending at the time of the wedding. Like your program, by that time I'm pretty much done. It's just that until that point I still have so much to do...

To clarify, our original plan was for me to graduate June 09 (walk) and get married a week later. It made sense because my parents can travel overseas just once instead of twice. Like I responded to jsm, I was turning into a ticking time-bomb because research + diet + wedding planning = choromogwai overfed at 1AM, dunked in the ocean, and handed a bazooka.
Then FI got laid off, and we postponed the wedding. We're thinking December or January, because even if FI doesn't have a job yet, we can accept his dad's offer to pay for the wedding (long story, this is okay). I was so relieved because this way I can just focus on my degree, and it was a huge thing I didn't have to worry about.

Well my research isn't going well, so yesterday I talked with my PI. The conversation went like
"I want to be done in Ju..."
"NO"
"Er..."
"December is more realistic"

So...it's planning the wedding and to graduate all over again! Waaa! I don't want to put off the wedding, because I feel like it's going to be one reason after another. We're legally married now. I know a lot of people just put if off and have a reception only, and call it a renewal of vows, but I want to walk down the aisle. I don't even care about the reception; I've been dreaming about walking down the aisle, exchanging vows, rings and kisses since I was 8! Won't the guests think that we're being gift hogger for having a ceremony so late?
Also, when we were planning the wedding for June, we had a lot of ideas and the logistics figured out. It's just put away in the back of our minds now, and we just have to pull it back out. Then again, no matter how planned out we think we are, and no matter how much work I give to people, I worry that there's probably going to a lot work we're going to end up doing ourselves.
 

JSM

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You poor thing! I''m so sorry timing is such an issue. Academia really likes to stretch things out, even when not necessary! The only reason I''m finishing up so quickly is because my PI wants me out asap.


A friend of mine married last summer, thinking he''d be done with his PhD at about the same time (of course, him being a man, had nothing to do with wedding planning). Turns out he''s finishing THIS summer. They like to keep us cheap labor around, I guess.

I''m sorry your research isn''t going well, and I know what you mean about wanting to have the reception as soon as possible after the wedding. But if you have until December, maybe you can do as much as you can now so you have less to worry about later.
 

pjean

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A student in my lab is going one better - her PhD AND her fiance''s PhD within two weeks of the wedding. Sometimes funding is a bitch.

She''ll be fine. She''ll have to have the thesis done well in advance, of course, but she''s got tons of help for both the dissertation and the wedding. Personally, I''d go for it, with the caveat that absolutely no procrastination will be tolerated.
 

kama_s

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I defended my masters a week (I actually finished 3/4 of a PhD in 2 years, but I decided to switch and finish up right away with a Masters instead) before our ceremony in India, and while I wasn''t doing much for that wedding, I was STILL stressed out. The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that the timing is NEVER going to be how you plan it to be. For instance, I had only one ONE day in a span of 3 months where I could have scheduled my defense so that my entire defense committee could attend - not something I had accounted for and resulted in me almost cancelling either the defense or the wedding! Plus all the little things that would need to be done for the wedding and not to mention, you''re going to be spending a lot of time studying and preparing for the defense. You''d also want to enjoy your wedding and days leading up to it.

Personally, I would recommend not having them back-to-back. That said, it also really depends on your area of research - some are more lax than others.
 

Elmorton

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NO! Dear God, NO!

I graduated with my MA on May 13, had my bridal shower on the 14th, and was married on the 16th of June (so actually more of an expanded timeline than what you've suggested)...and two years later (I was actually discussing this with a couple of my colleagues on Friday) I'm still calling it the "stupidest thing I've ever done." I had a therapist and a personal trainer as my "mental/physical health team" and I think that's the only way I got through it. After I got married, I pretty much mentally checked out for a month because I was simply exhausted. I really wasn't present at the beginning of my marriage the way I should have been. In some ways, I don't regret the timing overall - the transition of moving into the professional world transitioned very nicely with my transition into being a partner in my marriage, but to date, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Both my relationship and my scholastic efforts were strained because of how my wedding/graduation were planned so closely.

I absolutely understand what you mean about not wanting to delay your life further (heck, that's part of why I got married when I did!) but...the timing is awful. And, my experience was my MA. I can't imagine how the stress load multiplies for a PhD. What if you defend, and your committee wants revisions? Could you handle getting married with dissertation revisions hanging over your head? Personally, I know I'd be focused on one aspect of my life when I should be focusing on the other and vice versa. There's just no delegating when it comes down to the emotional part of getting married...

I know what I'm saying probably isn't what you want to hear, and you should do what you think you're capable doing and what works for you...but I just wouldn't do it, knowing what I know now. ((HUGS)) - I know it's not an easy decision, no matter what you decide.
 

bootsiekin

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Jul 23, 2008
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188
Is the option there for your parents to come out twice? Meaning, can you still have the wedding in June and plan on graduating in December? However, if you graduate in December would your parents even come out just for your defense? (I''m also planning to finish in December, but we don''t have a ceremony for Dec. degrees - kinda sucks..I got my masters in Dec too and I kind of wanted to walk! Oh well..)
 

bootsiekin

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Date: 3/8/2009 1:09:46 AM
Author: bootsiekin
Is the option there for your parents to come out twice? Meaning, can you still have the wedding in June and plan on graduating in December? However, if you graduate in December would your parents even come out just for your defense? (I''m also planning to finish in December, but we don''t have a ceremony for Dec. degrees - kinda sucks..I got my masters in Dec too and I kind of wanted to walk! Oh well..)

hmm..just read your second post and saw the part about postponing..could you accept the help from FIs dad and have the wedding earlier (depending on how much time you need to plan)?
 

katamari

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I think you could do it without one delaying the other, but you would have to really soul search and make sure you wouldn''t delay one or the other. Your FI has already made a lifelong commitment to you. My guess is that your department wouldn''t (mine wouldn''t anyways) since time to degree and placement is a big deal to their ranking and funding is always limited.

FI and I always planned on marrying as I finished my PhD. In the end, I decided it would be too much with finishing, moving to where our jobs were, making a final publishing push before starting our positions, etc. so we are now getting married a year before I finish.

I understand if you are limited to when your parents could visit, though, and I understand the inclination to try to schedule them at the same time. If you were to do it, my suggestion would be to take 2-3 weeks (maybe over a break, or a time when your advisor would be away, or a time when you were just working on data and not writing) and plan your wedding--hire all the vendors, make all the plans, and then walk away. Maybe only work 20 hours on your research during this time. Get planning fully out of the way quick, and then focus on your dissertation. If you approach it this way, I think it could be done. But, if you want to plan on doing wedding stuff more than 5 or so hours a week for a long stretch of time, I don''t think you could do it without impacting your defense. The worst would be if your parents came in town for both, and one didn''t happen.
 

choro72

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Thanks everyone. I just wanted to say that I''ve read all of your comments and I''m taking all of them into consideration. We''ve decided to just focus on job searching for now, and we''ll see how long that will take. If we can''t find employment by May, we''ll have a serious talk about what we want to do. Argh, I can''t stand the point I''m at in life now, but that''s a vent for another thread.
 

Dreamgirl

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I''d honestly wait, but that''s just me. It''s pretty stressful and would just make things MORE stressful...
 

alli_esq

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well, I''ve never done a phd, but if it''s anything like taking the bar, OMG, CHORO, DON''T DO IT, FOR YOUR OWN SANITY''S SAKE!!!!

seriously, back away from the altar...

you won''t be able to enjoy the process of having your beautiful wedding, and you may always feel like you didn''t give it your all for your phd...it''s just not worth it!! why put all the energy into either one if you can''t get the most out of two of the most significant experiences of your life?

now, keep in mind, I say this with love and with some degree of knowledge about what you''re talking about...for me, I took the bar exam in July, but I didn''t find out about the results until November...in between, before I knew if I had passed, I knew that if I had to take it again, I would have to take it in February...and this past summer, when I was looking at venues and trying to figure out 2009 wedding dates, the best prices and locations were in March--but I knew that if I had to take the bar exam again, it would be a week or two before this March wedding, and I just tossed that idea out the window, even though I would have gotten a better price and a more beautiful venue.

Even though I passed the July bar (phew), I am still SO glad that I didn''t put myself through the hell of worrying whether or not I would have that pressure. I beg you to do the same!
 

LabRatPhD

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I will be in this situation in a few years! SO and I are not engaged yet, but I think it will be very very soon. I am a 3rd year PhD candidate and my PI thinks I''ll be done in approx 2 more years. My mom wants us to wait until right after I defend to have our wedding, especially since I am in TX and the wedding will be in PA. Honestly, SO and I are doing the wedding for my mom only (she''s paying for it), as both of us aren''t that interested in a ceremony (neither are his parents). We would go to the JOP or have a tiny (10 people or less) ceremony if it were up to us. My mom, however, is already planning. She has said we will hire a Philly-area wedding planner to help since it''s going to be hard for SO and I to travel all the time. I really don''t know how I will be or if the stress will interfere with my research. Right now I feel pretty detached from the process since I am not that into having a wedding in the first place. It does concern me that my time in my program could go longer than 2 more years (biomed research is unpredictable). I have no idea what SO and I will do.

There is a postdoc in our lab who got married right after she defended and she said it was fine for her. She had a pretty big wedding but she and her hubby are really laid back people so it seems as though she didn''t stress too much about it being perfect.

I think depending on your personality and what kind of help you have, you could do the wedding before finishing if your defense gets pushed further along. I really think it is based on how you feel about the situation.
 

kcoursolle

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Been there, done that! When I got married I was in my second year in a Ph.D. program, which isn't quite the same as defending. It was stressful at times, but honestly I don't think it's worth waiting until the "perfect" time to get married, because being in a new job would be just as stressful. Somehow in the end everything worked out, but there were some days when I was answering 20 emails a day between meetings with my advisor and wedding planning and this drove me insane. Definitely attempt to take a honeymoon just to destress after the wedding. Even if it is just for a few days it will be a wonderful break!
 
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