A Tale of Two Hills

Weddings are one of those things where everyone has an opinion, am I right? Better yet, everyone has to share their opinions, solicited or not. For the most part, it’s pretty easy to tune out the peanut gallery. But sometimes, the people you love the most happen to be the people you disagree with the most.

At some point, you need to ask yourself if it’s a hill worth dying on. It’s a metaphorical question, bees. In other words, choose your battles. Sometimes, it’s worth pushing your side; sometimes, you’re better off letting the other person win.

For the most part, my wedding planning has been smooth sailing. I’ve been fortunate to have extremely supportive, drama-free families—both mine and Stallion’s—and friends. But I’ve had a few bumps along the way, and I’m hoping I can illustrate for you how I decided which hills were worth dying on and which were not.

First, a story in which I caved:

My mother is absolutely wonderful. I adore her. But she is one of the chattiest people in the entire freaking world. Neighbors, friends, waiters, cashiers, random passers-by—Mama Filly’s gift of gab escapes no one. So I thought that for our receiving line—more on that to come—it would be most efficient to have just Stallion and I, and our parents could do table visits. This way, our guests can get to cocktail hour quickly, and Mama Filly can have all the time in the world to talk everyone’s ears off. Mama Filly? Was not pleased to hear this.

We had a bit of banter back and forth on the subject, and then she dropped her big argument on me: “But I won’t be able to sit and enjoy my dinner!” Point: Mama Filly. She was right; who was I to make her spend dinner time wandering from table to table? The whole reason I wanted to do a receiving line in the first place was so that I could eat my dinner in relative peace; it wasn’t fair to subject our parents to table visits if that’s not what they wanted to do.

This hill: not worth dying on. Why? Whether or not our parents were in the receiving line affected me very little, but it affected their evenings quite a bit. If it takes an extra fifteen minutes to get through the line because of Mama Filly’s motor mouth, it’s not a big deal. (Love you, Mom!)

Now, a story in which I stood my ground:

My future in-laws are wonderful, and I adore them. They are practicing Catholics, and I am not. Stallion and I have had the religion conversation plenty of times—I can’t speak to his exact religious convictions, but he’s not a church-goer and he respects where I stand on the matter—and we knew that a church wedding was not for us. Stallion’s parents asked us to reconsider, but at the end of the day, we are sticking to our guns and having a simple civil wedding ceremony.

The Stallions’ major argument was that if we don’t have the church wedding now, we’ll regret it later. Which is a valid point; there are endless posts on the boards about various wedding-related regrets. But you know what I would regret more? Going through pre-cana, having a wedding Mass, and committing myself/my future family to the Catholic faith when it’s not something I believe in. I may not be religious myself, but I have all the respect in the world for other people’s religions, and to have a Catholic wedding for the sole purpose of pleasing other people, despite my own lack of religious conviction, feels awfully disingenuous. Should we turn to Catholicism later in life, there’s always convalidation. Otherwise, we’re happy as is.

This hill: so worth dying on. Whether or not we have a church wedding affects Stallion and me. No one else. Sure, people might disagree with our decision, but it ultimately has no impact on anyone but us. And sure enough, the Stallions understand that and they respect our decision as adults. (In hindsight, using these two specific stories as examples here could look like I’m setting the scene for in-laws drama, but that couldn’t be further from the case—if the shoe was on the other foot, and I had super-religious parents and an incredibly chatty future mother-in-law, the outcomes would be exactly the same!)

So when you’re faced with potential conflicts, here are some things to think about:

  • Who is really affected here? You pick out $500 gowns for your bridesmaids to wear. One expresses concern that she can’t swing that much money. If you say that this impacts you because these dresses will look the best in pictures, CHECK YOURSELF. At the end of the day, you’re not spending the money and you’re not wearing the dress, so maybe you should consider reevaluating your options.
  • Down the line, will you actually remember what the conflict was about? Your weirdo cousin wants to wear a Hawaiian shirt and jorts to your black-tie wedding. You could launch an angry tirade and end up with an estranged family member or two as a result, or you could let it roll off your back. So you’ll have a few pictures of an out-of-place schmuck. In ten years, will you even remember that this was an issue?
  • Where are your priorities? Is it worth making your guests stand for your ceremony just so you can have it in the most picturesque location that’s ever existed? If so, do you really, really need to include three readings, a sand ceremony, and a laundry list of self-penned vows?
  • Is this hill worth dying on? The examples I listed above were pretty extreme, granted, but at the end of the day, you’re the only one who can decide if a certain issue is worth standing your ground over. If something means that much to you—for me, it was not having a church wedding—then it’s worth all the arguments that may or may not come along with it.

Okay, this post got a little serious. Let’s lighten the mood a little.

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Gratuitous Sunny GIF. (via GIFBAY)

What conflicts did you encounter in the planning process? How did you deal with them?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Filly

Location:
Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
April 2014
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comments

  1. Member
    bighornsheep 115 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:36 am

    This post really hits home. We faced a few hills ourselves and the advice you gave is just so true!

    There’s been a lot of clashes between my family regarding our wedding. With the cultural, traditional and, I guess, even ethnical differences between Big’s family and my own, we’ve had to struggle for a little bit on fighting our own hills! Luckily most, and hopefully all, the more difficult things have past and we can just focus on getting married!

  2. Member
    nadnuk 938 posts, Busy bee @ 7:37 am

    I went back and forth and back and forth on the topic of having a Catholic wedding or not. My fiance and I started talking about it a few months before getting engaged. In the end, before we got engaged, we settled on having a Catholic wedding, because it’s something that means a lot to me, even if I have issues with the church. It’s a struggle, knowing that this was my decision and that my fiance is dragging his feet over all of the prep involved.

    I caved on having a white dress.
    I caved on having a regular wedding cake.
    I’ve pretty much caved on nearly everything because at the end of the day, I’m still marrying my partner and we’re forging a life together. If my mom wants the wedding of her dreams, she can have it.

  3. Member
    KatieBklyn 2009 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:38 am

    Love this post. If I weren’t already married, you would totally be my Reasonable Bride role model!

  4. Member
    HereComesHoneyBeeBee 84 posts, Worker bee @ 1:29 pm

    I feel the exact same way about the religious ceremony. I know of so many people that had to had their baptism, confirmation and what not all in one day just to get their church wedding, even when they don’t truly believe on it and never set foot on a church.
    To me, doing all that would somehow feel “fake”.

  5. Member
    mspalmtree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:25 pm

    I think you make so many good points, especially about religion! A food friend of Mr. PT and myself is engaged and we were discussing their ceremony. He mentioned that they feel like they “have” to have a Catholic ceremony to please both sets of parents. It hurt my heart to hear that and thankfully, we are close enough with them to have had an open conversation that at least had them considering following their own path.

    All of this having been said…I would have been furious if someone wore a Hawaiian shirt and jorts to my wedding and mucked up some of my photos. ;)

  6. Member
    msfilly 827 posts, Busy bee @ 2:49 pm

    @Miss Bighorn Sheep: I’m glad you guys have worked through the big stuff! We definitely have some cultural/traditional differences between our families. So far so good, though.

    @nadnuk: You’re exactly right – at the end of the day, it’s all about marrying your partner and committing to your lives together. The rest is just details, and if anyone feels THAT strongly about the little things, I guess it’s not a big deal to let them have their way.

    @KatieBklyn: Aww, thank you!

    @HereComesHoneyBeeBee: Exactly! I’m not religious at all, but having gone to a Catholic high school/university, I have seen how important it is to other people, and to fake it would feel really disrespectful. I’m okay with my godless heathen wedding, haha.

    @Mrs. Palm Tree: That’s awesome that Mr. PT’s friend was able to understand your perspective on it – I totally understand wanting to please their families, but to me, I’d feel like I would be disrespecting truly religious people if I went through the motions and faked it, you know? As for the Hawaiian shirt/jorts example … that may be based on a real-life example involving a distant family member of mine, haha. We’ll see how the photos come out :)

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