My partner and I are discussing getting married. I would like to have a City Hall wedding and save the tens of thousands we would spend, but my husband wants to have a traditional wedding. Even a modest wedding here in California would cost tens of thousands of dollars and require all of our friends to travel here to Palm Springs from the East Coast.
We recently purchased a home, and we are both entrepreneurs who are building our businesses. We are not wealthy by any means, and I can think of so many other uses for that wedding money.
I don’t want to insult my partner or hurt his feelings by suggesting that we forego a wedding, but I just think that there are better uses for the money, and living with less debt would add to our quality of life. How should I raise this issue without hurting my dear partner’s feelings?
I don’t want him to think that my reluctance to get sucked into an expensive wedding is a sign I don’t value our future union, because that is the furthest thing from the truth.
You think too much.
You’re adorable, but you are really putting way too much thought into this. As you can see above, I cut a TON out of your original letter – all of it your anxious rumination upon whether or not this would hurt your partner’s feelings and your concern that he would take your thoughts and extrapolate them to the point he assumes you don’t want to get married.
I find it difficult to imagine your partner jumping to that conclusion, when in fact you are showing excellent financial acumen and planning for your future together wisely. If he takes that the wrong way he’s fruitier than a fruit bat, and I mean that to be insensitive towards and make fun of people with mental health issues, not gay people.
I see two issues here: how to broach the subject with your partner and what to do if he is insistent upon having some sort of celebration and you are still reluctant. Let’s talk about the communication piece first because you don’t really need my advice at all, do you?
Re-read the letter you originally sent me.
It was so long and filled with obvious concern about your partner’s feelings that I had to edit the shit out of it or it wouldn’t fit on the Internet. You are a sensitive, loving, caring guy who is committed to his fiancé and eager to build a solid foundation for a happy and prosperous future together.
Tell him exactly what you told me: you love him, you think it’s a bad financial decision to have an expensive wedding and that you don’t want him to infer from your wedding allergy that your true issue is with marriage.
He may very well agree with you, especially since he has already had a traditional wedding, and I mean traditional in every sense of the word. That didn’t work out so well, did it? Still, if he insists upon a party be prepared to offer an alternative solution that will serve you both.
Marriage is all about compromise, so it is fitting that you are beginning your marital journey with a situation requiring you both to bend a bit. I think I have a solution that will work well for you and your partner, so listen up:
Don’t have a wedding, have a party and interrupt it with a wedding! This is what Mr. Patience and Understanding and I agreed to when I was pushing for a Vegas drive-through wedding and he wanted a formal affair.
You can save oodles of money by simply throwing a party and interrupting it with a very brief ceremony. I am happy to serve as the officiant (I am SO not kidding), especially since you head up my Palm Springs gay fan club, of which there are 5 members. Here’s how it goes:
Assess your guest list.
Rather than picking a date and sending out invitations or a “save the date” card, make calls to your closest friends and ask them if they’d be interested in coming to Palm Springs for a very informal wedding. Be straight with them (well, as straight as you can) by telling them how you feel overly obligated when you are invited to an out-of-town wedding and you want them to know that while you’d love to have them there, you don’t want them to feel obligated to make the trip.
You should also tell them that you can’t do the planning you need to do until you have a good sense of who will be there. Have your date picked out so you can knock people off or add them to the attendee list either during that call or soon afterward.
You worried about whether people will be annoyed or feel pressured to travel from NYC and when we chatted you told me you always feel that way when you are invited to a destination wedding. That’s one hell of an assumption you’ve made there, Billy Boy. I checked the weather in Palm Springs this morning (as I do every morning during the winter in Portland) and I see it is going to be 86 and sunny. In New York, it is 36 degrees and sleeting.
If you think your friends don’t want to come see you, you’re as crazy as your fruit bat partner.
Make a budget.
You spoke of the “tens of thousands” you would spend but that’s nuts. Go to Costco for your wine, liquor, and food and hire a young and thirsty caterer to do your party and throw it in the common area of your condo complex.
If that isn’t quite what you imagined as your Big Day, check out some local spots that can host your affair for a decent price. Here’s a link that has several options ranging from extremely hoity-toity to very down home: Palm Springs Weddings locations.
You and your partner can either agree to forgo a wedding or do something very simple and lovely as a compromise, but I am not worried about your anti-big-wedding-stance having a deleterious effect upon your relationship. You are solid, smart, careful with each other’s feelings and committed to one another. Now practice a little flexibility and you are both assured a happy wedding in whatever form it takes and more important, a happy marriage.
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