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Post engagement blues... (long)

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Jan 9, 2007
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Okay, I did a search for this topic and when nothing came up, I officially feel like the biggest brat in the world. I got engaged less than two weeks ago and am IN LOVE with my fiance and my ring. I don''t have pictures up yet, as I am the world''s worst photographer, but I''ll get ''em up soon... Anyway, I had been eagerly anticipating my engagement for the whole month of March (it was on my birthday 3/31 and not a total surprise). The absolute bliss ended today when I got home from work and I can''t help but feeling down and horribly guilty at the same time. The whole "Did you set a date?" question is stressing me out beyond belief and saddening me at the same time. I vow right now that I will never ever ever again ask someone that question or one resembling it upon the announcement of their engagement!!

Anyway, I know I should be on cloud nine, but instead I feel just blahh. It all pretty much has to do with my mom''s reaction and the subsequent realization that I do not have funds for anything near my dream wedding. My parents hav been divorced for over ten years eand it was NOT mutual, my dad cheated on her, etc etc. My dad was thrilled for me, but we are not very close. I haven''t even spoken to him since the day after my engagement. My mom was excited for me, but very quickly let me know she doesn''t have money for my wedding, and that I will need to ask my dad for that.

My dad DOES have the money, but our not so close relationship over the past 10 years will make it awkward to come right out and ask him to contribute. My fiance is in medical school and I make a decent salary, but still am living at home to save up for a condo. I LOVE my ring and am so thrilled to be engaged, but I cannot pull myself out of this silly, selfish slump.

At first, we were going to wait to get married until my fiance is nearly done with med school, as he is applying for loans and would like to claim ''single'' so my income doesn''t affect his financial aid status and such (so romantic i know)... But at the same time, once he is done med school, his schedule will be much more hectic and planning will be harder than if we aimed for a wedding in the next two years... I also do not really want such a long engagement.

So basically - I am stressed about when to have the wedding and also about how to fund it.....Has anyone else experienced similar stress??? I am interested in those who have chosen to have a smaller wedding and paid for it themselves. This is most likely what will happen, but I am just a little upset (okay very upset) that I will not be having the typical "dream" wedding. Thanks for listening to me vent...

Also - I KNOW I have SO much to be grateful for in life, and I fear this post is going to make me come across as extremely spoiled and suffering from entitlement issues. I do not think my parents SHOULD pay for my wedding, it is MY wedding after all. Most of my friends'' parents are still married and have not encountered this added stressor. I also know most people do NOT have their "dream" wedding... I just am interested in hearing from people who have felt overwhelmed at the complexities of planning a wedding under non-ideal circumstances. Thanks for reading, and please be honest - I am hoping to hear some wise words to get me out of my slump!!
 

bee*

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2006
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12,170
Hey, although Im not engaged yet, FF and I have been talking about the wedding that we would like to have. Ive recently returned to college and will be here for another 4 years, and we are planning to get engaged this summer. Although we also do not want such a long engagement, we are going to have a 2 year one, which will allow us to save. As we are paying ourselves, some things we were thinking of ways to save some money. Ive decided that things like flowers and invitations, I will make myself, which will give us a bit more money to spend on the bigger things. For me, I am going to order my dress online from the US (which I understand you probably live there, so Im not sure if it saves you any money or not, but as I live in Ireland it does save me money.
 

ladykemma

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
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2,194
first of all, three hoorays for someone who is saving for a home! good for you. you sound wise.

all you need to get married is a marriage license, wedding bands, and an officiant. maybe friends present. everything else is "fluff".

what of the "fluff" do you have your heart set on?
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
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9,613
Poor you - you will probably find a lot of it is your mind and body settling down after all the excitement and adrenaline of the engagement.

Weddings are so expensive. I had a bit of a miserable time at the beginning because I didn''t want my father (who is now retired) to spend such a ridiculous amont of money on 1 day. Also he has odd ideas about what things actually cost!

Best move in my book is:

1) Decide what is really important to you - is it food, the dress, entertainment?

2) You don''t have to have 500 people there. We''re having family and close friends and then a drinks party later on for all our other friends/work colleagues

3) Have your honeymoon 3-4 months later. You''ve recovered from the wedding, you have something exciting to look forward to, weather/prices can be much cheaper and you have time to save up more $$$

4) Set the wedding date 18 months to 2 years ahead. Then you can buy bits as you go along. Try on loads of dresses, find the One then buy it secondhand the following season.


I''ve found loads of ways to save money - I need a lot of flowers for my venue, so I am buying silk ivy garlands at $4 for 6ft from ebay. Then I can just wire flowers and fruit into them which costs a lot less. I can also buy 1 or 2 a month so spreads the cost.

Find friends who can help out or DIY things. I''m buying my cake from Marks and Spencer (upmarket dept store) for 50GBP for 3 tiers, it comes with with white or ivory fondant icing and you can then decorate it yourself. In my experience no-one eats the stuff anyway!

Obviously, if you are after a Hollywood type affair you''ll probably be disappointed, but you really don''t need to spend $$$$$$ to have a nice wedding. To be honest - if FI and I were paying for all of ours we would be having a very small DW and I would be just as happy. (Actually it would be nicer as I wouldn''t have to have all my ghastly relatives!)
 

So_happy

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
1,084
So sorry you''re in such a slump
!!

I am in grad school and my FI is a new business owner so money is pretty....uh....awkward....right now. We have been together for 7 years already and living together for 4 of those and we just really want to be married so we chose to have a small wedding on a small budget (10K) that we can afford instead of waiting more time and having a larger one. It was just the plan that made the most sense to us :) Since we are paying for everything ourselves but I happen to be a pretty good deal-finder, having that upper limit set really helps one strive for the best that one can afford
And it feels good to know we did alot of the things ourselves or find a great deal on x y z!

We are having 100 guests and the only way we could afford all those people was to have a cocktail reception (We could''ve had a lunch/brunch wedding to save even more but we really wanted dancing and cocktails!!) on a Sunday night. We have a beautiful historic venue on the ocean and I did end up splurging for a Maggie Sottero gown (got it for $700). Other than that, we are doing invitations made of very good quality paper from Papersource, ordering flowers from somewhere (and probably fashioning them all together ourselves, too), and buying things from Ebay as we have an extra $20 here and there. We are also buying all of our own liquor for the open bar. My fiance got us a "free" limo and day-of wedding coordinator by trading some of his business services for theirs. It''s coming along beautifully........so I know it can be done! And it really is my dream wedding


I don''t mean to blab about myself when you''re feeling bummed out......I really just intend to give you another "real life" story that hopefully illustrates that weddings on a budget are very possible and, in my opinoin, make more sense! If FI and I had double the money, I think we''d still do the wedding we have presently!!! THAT''S a good feeling :)

Let us know how it goes for you. We are glad to listen and offer our words of advice and comfort. And we especially love to describe how we each saved money
 

NYCsparkle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 23, 2006
Messages
1,371
have a destination wedding....those who truely love you will be there---for the others there will always be the pictures. its much easier, less stress, and imho a lot more fun.
 

Cehrabehra

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
11,071
you know... we often talk about how skewed diamond perception is here.... but with the knot and even some of the lucky ladies here, the wedding perception is just as skewed. Many little girls grow up to want the cinderella for a day event, and seeing some of these women who have access to tens of thousands of dollars for a day (and well, a *process* that leads to a day) can make a girl feel like anything less is... well... a huge disappointment.

It''s good to remind ourselves that it really is about marriage and starting a life together... there will be plenty of time for expensive celebrations down the road. Maybe you can go into this knowing that for your 10th anniversary you will have a big bash!

And a lot of things are free... or cheap! We got married at the park - free! We called an orchastral school and they sent out people - free! There are a lot of things you can do that don''t cost a lot of money... but don''t look toward the knot for inspiration! LOL It''s not unusual to peruse there and see 100k weddings. Not at all realistic for most of us.

To get married costs maybe $100 bucks. The rest are trappings ;-)
 

Cehrabehra

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
11,071
Date: 4/11/2007 5:44:50 AM
Author: ladykemma
first of all, three hoorays for someone who is saving for a home! good for you. you sound wise.

all you need to get married is a marriage license, wedding bands, and an officiant. maybe friends present. everything else is ''fluff''.

what of the ''fluff'' do you have your heart set on?
you are so much more succinct than I, and of course once again on the same page ;-) Though rings really are just a symbolic option ;-)
 

Jas12

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2006
Messages
2,330
you don''t sound selfish, you sound normal! A lot of emotions get stirred up when a person gets engaged, things you never thought you would feel, want or focus on, sunddenly flood into your brain.
Sorry if i repeat other''s advice (i didn''t have time to read more than your post) but this is what i would do:
1) sit down and talk budget--decide if asking your dad is realistic--come up with a figure you could put toward the wedding (realize that you will likely spend a bit more than this amount--which is the case for most couples--so leave some room for a cushion)
2) Based on this amount, prioritze. Decide if you want to have a small group of people at a higher cost per head, or a bigger guest list and less extravagant food/locale/details etc. Or something different like a private ceremony/dinner for family and a big cocktail party at a later date.
3) Don''t let the pressure of ''did you set the date'' get to you--i felt the same thing--i waited about 6 months to set it officially--i just started giving people fake dates b/c really, they just need something to ask about and no one would remember anyway! I have a friend who has been engaged for 4 years now !People have finally stopped asking her ;-)
 

basil

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
1,526
Oh, I''m sorry you''re going through this!

My only advice - get married in April/May of his 4th year of medical school. Do not plan a June wedding because some residency programs start earlier than the typical July 1 and the orientation starts mid-June and I''ve heard of people running into trouble in that way. You didn''t say what year he''s in now, but 3rd year is a very busy year and also not a great year for a wedding. And depending on the specialty he chooses, the Fall and early Winter of 4th year can be rough with applications and interviews, etc. Definitely don''t wait until internship starts!
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
11,534
Sorry you''re bluesy! Honestly that''s very normal & you shouldn''t tell yourself you''re a brat or whatever negative talk you''re serving up.

There''s always a gap between expectation & reality. Intellectually you KNOW that most girls ... like 90% of girls don''t get their "dream wedding" ... but a tiny part of you is still upset you won''t be in the 10% who do.

My advice:

Stop telling yourself lies. Probe the truth of statements. Are you a "brat"? Do MOST girls get "dream weddings". Are most wedding situations "ideal"?? NOPE.

Then

Embrace a new reality. Shake things up. Give yourself permission to define your OWN "dream wedding". Or not even think about that right now. If it''s a year or more off -- just enjoy ENGAGEMENT. Develop "lines" to deflect the "when, when, when" talk & just be ENGAGED.

You don''t have to tackle all the "problems" at once or have an instant DREAM solution. It''s really a *process*. If you learn to be patient with the PROCESS and YOURSELF -- it''ll do wonders for your stress levels.

Lots of girls EXPECT that engagement & wedding planning is this giant ball o''fun & bliss & being the center of attention and are DEVESTATED to find out that it''s lonely & hard & stressful & FROUGHT with compromise & mean comments & jealousy & strange outbursts from generally reasonable folks & even broken friendships! Getting "REAL" about the REALITY of engagement & weddings should be your first step. It might have looked different from the outside - or from wedding mags -- but ya better believe: you''re not alone.
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
11,242
First of all LMS, congratulations on being engaged! That two week mark is about when I, too, started feeling overwhelmed by the questions and reality of wedding planning. I'm pretty sure it's normal


The only thing I can suggest as far as your father, is to call him when you do set a date, and check his reaction. I called my father/parents again about two weeks after our engagement to tell him we had set a month and a year, and he asked what kind of wedding I wanted "because [he] came up with an idea of a budget." It's possible that your dad is planning/intending to contribute to your wedding, but hasn't found the right way to tell you or ask you about it. A cemented when may be the cue he's waiting for. MAYBE.

However, I think most people would probably be happiest assuming from the start they'll be footing the bill. It's much better than having that let-down along the way, after you plan your "dream wedding" and then find out you're the one who will have to pay for it.
 

CrownJewel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 26, 2006
Messages
1,895
Hey Little Miss Sunshine!
Aw...I hope some of the wise advice you got from the PS-ers cheers you up a bit. My FI and I got engaged late October 2006 and we still haven''t set a date! People keep asking us but we just say, "well the next year is totally up in the air for both of us so we can''t decide until we''re sure of our school and financial situation. As of right now, we are shooting for mid 2008." It doesn''t bother me too much that people ask and they seem content with my answer.

FI will be starting an MBA program in September so he won''t have an income for 2 years. I don''t make very much money right now and hopefully in 2008 I will be in medical school. His parents can''t contribute to our wedding because they don''t think a wedding is necessary. My parents DO think a wedding is necessary but they are financially unable to help. My side of the family is HUGE...I have about 2 million aunts, uncles and cousins. My parents would like to invite all of them, but they understand that we can''t afford it. We would like to keep the wedding around 50 people (I personally like small and intimate affairs). Of course I have wild ideas for a "dream" wedding that could cost a million dollars...but I also have faith that we can plan something for around $10,000 (which is still an enormous amount to spend for a party) that will also qualify as my "dream" wedding.

Food was the most important to me so I''m going to focus on feeding my guests well. I still don''t think we can afford to have a nice wedding in NYC or the tri-state area...so I''m thinking about Maine. FI and I loved loved loved being in Bar Harbor, Maine when we went on a camping trip there a few summers ago. But I haven''t done too much research yet into prices!!! I don''t care much for having truckloads of flowers, so I have visions of candles and mirrors and swathes of fabrics (decor that I can do on my own). Once again, I have not done the research into prices yet...so I anticipate many Excel spreadsheets comparing various options. (Will start researching after the MCAT!)

As for my dress, I''m going to buy something previously worn or whatever else I can find that is low cost. I hope to spend less than $500 on my dress.

The key is to realize that you can still have a beautiful and memorable event on a small budget. Throughout all this planning the main idea for me is "no stress," meaning I will go with whatever option is least complicated. Good luck and keep us updated!!!
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2007
Messages
107
Thank you all!! Everyone gave me so much great advice. Coupled with a good nights'' sleep, I definitely have gotten out of the slump.

Musey - I agree ... I would much rather assume it will be me footing the bill and be pleasantly surprised if it turns out that he will be willing to contribute. Plus, as others have mentioned - even with my father paying - weddings are an exorbinant (sp?) amount of money for a single day and I think that is one of the biggest realization I have made - how much they CAN cost is utterly ridiculous!

decodelighted - I totally needed to hear that! Reading other posts on this board have totally made me realize how whether its the ring, the dress, or the people, wedding planning is not (usually) the perfect, magical experience that most of the girls I work with have made it out to be!!

basil - he is actually starting this august... Good tips... I think we may end up doing a smaller wedding in 18 months or so (the summer before his second year) before he gets bogged down with all that stuff near the end of med school!

Ladykemma, Cehrabehra, Pandora, so_happy, jas12 & others - Thanks so much for the advice and insight! I love hearing about your experiences. They totally put a smile back on my face. I think most people don''t divulge all the ways that they managed to stick to their budget, but it helps to hear about how others got everything to work out! Plus, I am SUCH a budget shopper when it comes to clothes, shoes, etc, so I have no doubt I can tackle planning a wedding "for less".

nycsparkle - I am leaning more and more towards it! The more I think about it, the more a DW seems so much more my style. I can keep it small and have it somewhere thats special to my FI and I... so many options...

I am sure I will be back to post some more!! For right now I am going to enjoy my ring and my FI (yay i love writing that) and just relax... Thanks for the insight! It was totally what I needed
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2007
Messages
107
Crown Jewel - I just read your post --- thanks for sharing your similar story. Good luck on the MCAT!!! Maine sounds gorgeous, I have heard nothing but great things about the area. Food is also a priority for me too!! Best of luck w/planning and studying! I don't know what I would do without PS, it is such a great resource. I guess I should actually say the PEOPLE on PS are the great resource!
 

surfgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
4,438
I think we all grow up and are fed this diet of "what every little girl dreams of" wedding fodder...like we''re all supposed to have a "Father of the Bride" wedding. Lavish, money is no object wedding, and let''s face it, not everyone has a parental checkbook with no budget!

I only share that for us, as an older couple both getting married for the first time, I want the "wedding" without all the hassles. So I am planning an elopement but it is going to be a real wedding nonetheless. We chose an elopement for several reasons:

1. We''re very private people and I can think of nothing more horrifying that saying my wedding vows in front of anyone else except me and FI;

2. His parents are deceased, and his sister and he are not close at all. My parents are divorced and my father''s remarried and my mother is just bitter. They''d pretend to be happy at the wedding but it would be ME more uncomfortable so I dont want to deal with that. And, neither can afford to help pay for a wedding of any size at this point.

So a destination elopement seemed the best option for us. Dont get me wrong, I still want a lovely dress, bouquet, flowers at the outdoor site, a beautiful location, nice dinner and a little cake, and a luxurious place for our wedding night(s). And since we''re paying for it ourselves (and we dont have a lavish parental checkbook laying around anywhere!), and it''s a tiny wedding (probably only us and 2-4 friends), we will probably be able to afford some niceties that we couldn''t if we had a more typical sized wedding. I''m not saying you have to elope, but you could scale it way back to only the essential people in your life and it might make it seem more manageable and you wouldn''t feel like you need to have "that conversation" with your father. And that would surely take some stress off of you, yes? Something to think about... And yes, we are all lucky to be who we are! There are people that are living in a manner that nobody should ever live in, so the very fact that we''re able to talk about such possibilities makes us lucky. And the fact that you see that, makes you not a brat ;-)
 

firebirdgold

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
Messages
2,216
I originally wanted a traditional wedding, it''s what I had always pictured when I thought about getting married. But my then-fi suggested an immediate family-only destination wedding. We got married with just 8 guest on a beach in Hawaii, and it was the most wonderful wedding we could have imagined!
I''m very glad we did a dw, so special and so much less stress! I seriously recommend it!!
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
11,242
Indie, every time I read a post from you about DWs I'm a little bit more convinced that we should chuck all our plans for a 100-guest LA wedding and just head to Italy
 

firebirdgold

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
Messages
2,216
Heh Heh Heh... That is my goal!

I now think it should be the new dream wedding instead of the Cinderella type! Especially when I read people''s threads on all the drama and stress that goes on with traditional weddings.
 

FireGoddess

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
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12,145
We had to pay for our own wedding and were NOT independently wealthy, so it involved lots of sacrifice and planning. We sat down and figured out how much we could set aside each month for the ''wedding fund'', decided what things we HAD to have and what we didn''t, and then figured out when we wanted to have the wedding and how much we would have saved by then. That''s the only way. Sit down and think it out - that''s my best advice.
 
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