All in My Mind the Knife in My Back

Partly because I’m oblivious and partly because I don’t care, I have never noticed if people judged me, the way I do things, the choices I make or the way I see the world. I’m sure I’ve been judged, gossiped about, made fun of, but mostly I’ve had no idea.

Until I started planning a wedding. I feel extremely exposed and vulnerable through this whole planning process due in part to my lack of planning skillz and also because so many people have their idea of what a wedding should be, how it should look, what it should include. Because it is an activity in which almost everyone has participated in some way or another on multiple occasions, everyone has firm, even rigid ideas. It’s like true religion, wedding ideas that have come through inspiration, the Holy Spirit, given them a burning in the bosom that makes them know that their visions of a wedding are the one true wedding. But like religion, when one vision doesn’t match up with another’s vision, there’s tension. And one of them has to be false.

Or at least judged. Directly or indirectly, I have found out there are many choices that I’ve made concerning the blessed event that other people hate. It’s wrong or inappropriate or ugly. It’s too non-traditional or too traditional. Too Mormon or not Mormon enough. Too expensive or too cheap. Telling myself that it doesn’t matter what other people think turns out to be a bad band-aid when I’m bombarded with others’ disapproval.

Then my mind starts to play tricks on me. Before anyone says a thing, I’m sure that so-and-so won’t like this or that. In my head, they’ve gossiped about it before they’ve even heard let alone had time to let their lips mutter their disdain. I’ve formed every opinion they surely must have and then done my own bit of gossiping and venting to protect myself. We all know gossip is the best shield from other people’s gossip. Some of their backstabbing is real, but some of it is a stabbing pain I’ve made up in my head.

I report this because I have finally come to understand what my married Mormon friends have complained about for years. They have all mentioned judgment from others if they’re married with no children. They’ve noted even more judgment after they’ve had children. If you’re getting a divorce, judgment ahoy! It comes out in the nursery, in Relief Society, in the Primary room. It seems that everyone has an idea about what everyone else is doing wrong and we’ve got to tell everyone about it. [1] My friends would complain and I would listen sympathetically and then try and gently say that maybe they’re just making it up because it’s hard to be absolutely positive that all your choices concerning marriage and child-rearing are right and good for you, especially if they are slightly askew of the mainstream. That unsurety makes us vulnerable in the face of other people’s choices. Especially if, right or wrong, they make their choices with certainty.

As a single Mormon, I felt mostly protected from this. Through what could appear to be no fault of my own, I was not chosen to be married. I felt like I could float around doing whatever I wanted without judgment because hey I was a single woman in the Church. Through this wedding planning however, I’ve come to find out that people really do judge you. Some of them have told me so. I’ve heard even more through the gossip wheel. This brings me to this wicked little place where actually being judged and the judgment I’ve made up in my head merge into one beastly little creature and I have no idea what sword I should wield to fight it.

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[1] Please note that all humans can be wretched creatures and that I do not think this is exclusively Mormon problem. But we do judge each other, let’s not pretend that we don’t.

Comments

  1. As a bishop I have often said that I would much rather officiate at a funeral than a wedding. The expectations are much higher; there is much more stress (believe it or not), and the “wretched” part of human behavior surfaces in unexpected places. Being judged is a part of being alive and being human. The weapon I try to wield is to ignore it. Try to move on. Try not to hold grudges against those making the judgements. I have made many, many incorrect judgements about people in my life. When I am unrighteously judged I try to remember my misjudgements and be more kindly disposed to those who are judging me. I am not always successful, but I try. It is much easier on the soul to do it that way.

  2. We recently moved into a new house (yay!), and, since we have been married nearly 20 years (next March) and had been in the house we thought we were going to spend the rest of our lives in, we had a lot of stuff. The ward helped us move in, and so there are many witnesses to the amount of stuff we have. We are childless, and because of the amount of stuff we have, we bought a big house. A few days later, my wife overheard the EQ Presidency gossip about the move: “Boy, they have a lot of stuff” “Why do two people need such a big house?” We get that a lot–you don’t have any kids, and you have a big house. What’s the deal?

    The irony to me is that one of those gossiping is a school teacher with six kids. I wonder how many times he or his wife have been asked why somebody with such a limited income would have so many kids. I wanted to tell them that, if we had the choice, we would have taken the small house full of kids over the larger house full of stuff. But life doesn’t always work out the way you plan.

    The sad thing is, that people will gossip about the way your life turned out, and not talk about the life you planned (but didn’t get).

  3. Oh Amri- my heart goes out to you. Few things bring up more contention than a wedding, and for the life of me, I will never understand it…

    To survive my own wedding, which I really didn’t care about all the details so important to so many others, I chose the three things that REALLY mattered to me, and let my mom and aunts (and whoever else wanted to) make the rest of the decisions.

    I wish I had an effective sword to pass on to you… all I can offer by way of advice is this: The best defense against the pain of judgement seems to be “be as open and non-judgemental yourself as you can possibly be”. It has helped me a lot.

    Bon Chance with this, Amri.

  4. While I agree that being a single woman in the church does absolve you from some forms of judgment, some of the harshest judgments I have heard about myself have been because of my singleness: “Maybe if she didn’t focus so much on her education, she’d be married.” “If she would just lower her expectations…” “She shouldn’t be so career-oriented…”

    Blah, blah, blah.

    Judgment can rear its ugly head anywhere, for anyone.

  5. I did myself a great favor when I got married in a different country and anything that people didn’t like at the wedding could be chalked up to cultural differences: no bridesmaids–must be an African thing; fancy invitations (with picture!)–must be an American thing. I am forever grateful things worked out that way.

    My headmaster (I was a teacher) gave some advice when I got engaged (my husband and I have an inter-everything relationship). He said: the birds can circle and squawk, just don’t let them land on your shoulder. I interpreted this as: people are going to talk and the only control you have is to not let it bother you.

    I try and mostly succeed. Now I just need to work on it the other way–sometimes I am the one circling and squawking.

  6. I don’t have a handy formula for doing this, but I reached a point in the last few years where I *just don’t care* what people think.

    I don’t care what my in-laws think. I don’t care what my parents think. I really don’t care what Church members think, outside of performing my calling to the bishop’s expectations and maintaining my temple recommend.

    I believe it was Hyrum Smith who said that if you are living close to the Spirit, then 90% of your first impressions are accurate (note – I don’t have a source, but it’s the sort of thing I’d like to think he said, so feel free to slap someone else’s name on it). If we believe that to be basically true, then we can accept how Person X wants your wedding to be one way, and Person Y wants it to be another way — and they can be both correct.

    Part of my path to gaining independence from others’ expectations is that I have finally come to terms with my own interests and desires and expectations (about money, possessions, houses, politics, etc.). Once you’re happy with what you have and what you want, you can dismiss the gossip and the backbiting toward you — those who complain about how your chosen path doesn’t meet their expectations are often exposed as tremendously unhappy.

    Case in point – we were at a family wedding in a distant state with fabulous things to do, where we had arrived a week early (so that we could do all these fabulous things. We spent the week having a great time. It ended up as perhaps the single greatest week in our family’s history, and we have killer photos and memories to prove it. Many of our extended family who showed up right before the wedding festivities arrived grumbling and upset and dismayed by some of the arrangements we had made for a group outing. This turned into open criticism for the activities we’d already done and what we had left to do. It finally dawned on me that these extended family members were NEVER going to be happy with ANY arrangement we had made. We finally went our own way and just showed up at the wedding.

    You can’t negotiate with terrorists or kidnappers — especially the emotional kind.

    There’s no real path to get to that state of “don’t care what the masses think” — but it’s incredibly liberating. In my personal life, I try to stay worthy of my temple recommend, try to magnify my calling, try to keep my boss happy with me, keep my family satisfied with my performance, and try to feel that the Lord is happy with me. That’s about it.

  7. Oh, and my advice for the wedding (having attended three family weddings in the last 2 years):

    1. You will never avoid snarky comments about your wedding. Never. Just do what you want. For every planning point in a wedding, there are 5-10 different options, and everyone will find disfavor with *something*.

    2. There are aspects of the wedding that you probably don’t care about (band, invitations, etc.). For those, find the one person you care most about with the strongest opinion, and put them in charge of planning that element. They’ll love it — and you’ll have their approval. Only do this if you don’t care about that part. In my case, DW and I outsourced the thought leadership on our wedding to my MIL. And she was ecstatic. And we had a blast. And heck, they were paying for it anyway.

    3. If you truly don’t care about something (what your family wears, etc.), then don’t go back and express dismay if they wear something you don’t like. If you don’t care about something, then you don’t care about something. [Passive-aggressive lawyer-type control freaks who want to come across as NOT being control freaks tend to fall into this trap.]

    4. Have a sense of humor. It’s a wedding! Not a funeral. This is not supposed to be a deathly serious day. You’re not defending a dissertation, for heaven’s sake. You’re just getting married. Have fun with it.

    5. Ignore everything I said if you disagree with it (perhaps the most important rule).

  8. Amri, I can’t add anything profound that hasn’t been said already, but I will echo Darrell and queuno, especially. I know it is hard to “not care about what others think”, but I also believe it’s the best solution to the issue of being judged – no matter when and where it surfaces.

    I have shrugged and expressed incredulity over how much some people pay for a wedding planner, but I also understand completely why they do it. My only advice: Listen to Tracy M, pick whatever very few things are absolutely non-negotiable, then turn over the other details to someone else – singular or plural. Do that, and you will be able to focus on enjoying your engagement – spending time with your best love instead of stressing over the craziness that is wedding planning.

  9. Amri, I share your experience. The comments in this thread are useful advice for managing the fact that people are relentlessly judgmental. But whether we manage that well or not, it doesn’t change the unfortunate underlying situation, does it? The only way that the judgment of others can fail to hurt is if we don’t care about those others at all, yet we’re trying to be a Christian community of love in which we’re all connected to each other. So it is going to hurt, and all we can do is manage the pain. Oh, and reexamine ourselves to find the moments when we’re equally bad.

  10. StillConfused says:

    One word – elope!!!

  11. #10 – Funny story I heard from a ward member. She had gotten baptized, but it hadn’t been a year yet, so they couldn’t get sealed in the templet yet. They drove to their bishop’s house on their way to Vegas, had him marry them, renewed their vows a few hours later in a wedding chapel. They got sealed the next year.

    She said her parents were ecstatic that they didn’t have to pay for anything. His parents (LDS) were just happy that he wasn’t gay (as per their belief that any late-20s male Mormon who marries is obviously no longer under suspicion).

  12. Only the opinion of the bride matters at a wedding. All else is irrelevant. Even the opinion of the groom.

  13. #10, #11 & #12 – This is why I shouldn’t be drinking anything while I read this blog. Even water is a pain to clean off of a laptop.

    Talk about bring back memories long forgotten!

  14. 12 – The most irrelevant person is the groom’s father.

    Seinfeld did a routine where he talked about how if the groom passes out at the alter from the tux, the men can just shift up one spot. The bride isn’t marrying “Joe”, she’s asked if she accepts “this man”.

  15. The funny thing is that for most of my life out of spite or ignorance I honestly have barely given a damn about what other people think. I think it’s the crossroads of awareness that people judge me and the making up in my head that people judge me.

    My friends tell me it only gets worse as you have or have no kids (like CS Eric said). I wonder why we spend so much time assessing others? Cuz we’re bored with our own lives? Cuz it’s too painful to think of our own?

    And Liz, I’m sure I was judged as a single girl. I was told I was too independent and that’s why no man would have me. But since it seems more people have opinions about a marriage than single life I felt mostly free of it.

  16. My advice is to TRY not let any of the judging harm your relationships. I got married in May and was very sure about how I wanted the wedding to be. (I’m very decisive and opinionated — sometimes to my own detriment.) A month before the wedding a member of the family told me that she had planned another family event for the day of the wedding. My groom and I wanted to keep things simple — I told her I would prefer not to add another event. She was VERY upset and said things about me that I know she regrets now. Unfortunately it harmed our relationship. So my advice: be flexible when you can, consult with family members on things that you want to consult on, and try to let everything else just roll off your back. It’s a day you’ve waited for and should celebrate with your whole heart!

  17. Amri,

    One of the most appealing things about you is your individuality and sense of self. We do have obligations to the greater community, and weddings are events where people can celebrate and share in the couple’s joy. I think it is admirable that you recognize that and want to please. But since I simply cannot imagine you in the role of “Bridezilla”, it would be a shame if you were to allow someone else to assume that role and dictate how your wedding will go. Do what is important to you and hope that others can be happy, too.

    I once heard a man wish his wife a happy anniversary on the radio with these words: “Happy anniversary, Honey. Has it really been twenty-two years since we eloped and ruined your mother’s life?”

  18. I am of the opinion that weddings bring out a lot of craziness in people. Esp the family members. I now take the opinion that I have no opinion on weddings in my family. I show up, wear what I am told, spend what I am told, and do not let my opinions be heard and tell others to do the same.

    Its not worth fighting over say a suit color or a dress or whatever. One thing for sure is that people remember the fireworks around weddings and hold grudges over them.

    As for people judging each other its part of the human condition. We get judged all the time over or appearance, material possessions, family size and style all the time. Its an unfortunate part of life and almost all of us are guilty of it to varying degrees.

  19. I am what I am. The opinions of others don’t matter to me. Often they should matter to me more than they do. I guess I’ve always figured that everyone has opinions and let it go at that.

    This all reminds me of that Max Lucado book. You know the one? With Punchinello or whatever his name is… That’s a great children’s book.

  20. I have been in lots of weddings and officiated many weddings.

    The verse in Isaiah 26 is helpful. Shalom, Shalom. Peace, Peace. Perfect peace is the need. This comes by taking all those imaginations, all those thoughts, all your mind . . . and fixing it upon Yahweh.

    I know, this is the Baptist preacher jumping up to the pulpit again.

    Amri, I do hope you have a nice wedding.

  21. I have an aunt to refused to attend our reception because she was not invited to the temple. Somehow, I failed to see how anyone merits an automatic invite to the temple ceremony.

    My wife and I realized that we wouldn’t have room in the temple sealing room for all of my endowed relatives (she had a very limited set). (Back when the Church didn’t discourage this, we wanted an all-white wedding in the upper sealing rooms in the SL temple — our own concession to having to get married in SL as opposed to other temples we preferred). So, since we didn’t want to be in the position of deciding *which* aunts and uncles should attend, we didn’t invite any of them (just immediate family and grandparents). (You have to understand, not inviting aunts and uncles and cousins cut out about 50 people.) Had I to do it again, I’d have said “screw it” and invited those I wanted.

    We had 15 guests in the temple. If I’d had my way, we’d have cut that down even further.

    I know lots of people who don’t invite *everyone* to the actual ceremony, temple or not, and it really seems to upset people.

  22. Amri,

    Good advice from many points here. I will only add a short thought, having had two of my sons get married in the last 8 months.

    Darrell is right about the stresses of a wedding. It’s almost toxic, and the fear is rampant. No one wants to do anything that will be misinterpreted, and we agonized over everyone else’s expectations, for a while. At the most recent son’s wedding a few weeks back, we stressed over what to do for the wedding breakfast after the temple ceremony. We caught whiffs of disapproval from the bride’s family, but we finally went with having a taco/burrito bar catered by Qdoba at our ward building. It fit our budget, they set the whole thing up, and made it easier for us mingle with friends and guests.
    End result, it went off just fine, and everybody was happy with it.

    The moral is that all of this stuff comes down to just one day. Everybody hypes up the wedding, reception, etc. But it is just one day, and you and your husband to be have the whole rest of your life to be together, and that’s what counts. Pick your one or two most important battles, and then just let someone else take care of the rest. A couple of months from now, you won’t remember the stress, and anyone who is still offended or judgmental, well that’s their problem.

    You won’t ever escape being unfairly judged by others, but you can at least choose not to be offended, and don’t let the hyper-emotionalism of the event cause you to judge others. Treasure the best moments, and forget the rest. Remember, it’s only one day, it’s only one day……

  23. An odd side effect of Mormonism is that most of the judgment involved will revolve around whether it is a temple wedding or not. If it’s not a temple wedding, you are doomed to negative judgments from the start, I am afraid, no matter how pretty the dress or cake is.

  24. If wedding planning is like religion, then YOU are like the prophet: Once you’ve spoken, the thinking has been done.

    The murmurers be damned.

  25. I’m such a dope. Everyone explains things away like, “well, I guess you are doing a non-traditional wedding.” And I think what? it’s pretty traditional. We’re not making people wear costumes or sacrifice animals or anything. But really that’s their way of saying let’s just agree to disagree.
    I think mostly my problem is that I am unsure about many things. I’m not the kind of girl that has imagined a lot of details about my wedding. I’m not picky. I’m pleased by many things. I can make decisions easily but it’s not because I think it’s the one and only way, it’s because a decision has to be made. I’m pleased with everything I’ve chosen (believe you me Mark IV some of them definitely reveal my individuality)but I’m not the girl who’s like “I must have orchids are people will die!” In surprise to my saying she could put whatever flowers were in season on my cake, the pastry chef told me that a bride she made a cake for did that.

    Still, I’m surprised we care so much about what other people do or think.

  26. Amri, just go out and have a blast. It’s all about you and the lucky guy you’re marrying. It’s a prime chance to be selfish, throw a wicked party and have awesome BBQ. Don’t fight between you — just go into it with the sole objective of making each other happy. That’s what you’ll remember going forward.

  27. RE that is an excellent point.
    I am the prophet!

    bbell, I wish everyone would take that view. Just do what you’re asked. I’ve done that to every wedding I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been a bridesmaid 13 times) and it usually turns out for the best.

  28. I love Steve’s point. It’s what I tried to say – only worded much better.

  29. Wow, what an amazing peek into the nightmare that I so fortunately avoided. By virtue of my wife having moved East (from AZ), motivated in part by the intolerable judgment of her very insular Mormon community, we were able to have the wedding that we wanted (okay, the one that I wanted – she just wanted to get married!). One major benefit of being the family “black sheep” (true, to a certain extent, for both of us), all of our immediate family members treated us like the Prodigal Children – the fact that we were getting married at all was a blessing, so no one really got hung up on the particulars. We were able to invite only those Church members who felt nothing but joy for my wife, so there was no drama over the fact that it wasn’t a temple wedding, or that we had a female minister presiding, or that the reception was largely booze-fueled.

    My heart surely goes out to you, Amri. But your post has reminded me just how lucky my wife & I are to be surrounded these days by people who genuinely care only about our happiness. There is, of course, some sadness on my wife’s part that she had to move so far away from home to be free of the negativity of her community, but it’s certainly been for the best. And you never know what may happen – with their youngest child about to go off to college, I suggested to my mother-in-law that if they moved closer to us I could be persuaded to provide some grandchildren.

    Anyway, in the end your wedding day is meant to be a celebration of a joyful union. In my book, you have every right to choose whatever scenario makes that celebration most special for you and your spouse. Those people who can’t be happy for you if things aren’t done “right” need to go back to Sunday School.

  30. I hope you can stand one other bit of caution and advice.

    The caution: something will go wrong. It may be minor, like in ours where people came to the sealing room who were not invited (most of these were her ex-boyfriends), so there wasn’t room for everyone who actually was invited. Or it may be bigger, like in my wife’s older brother’s wedding which was the event where her youngest brother decided to come out by bringing his boyfriend.

    The advice: roll with it. It’s your day. If nothing else, those incidents will give you stories for the rest of your life.

  31. John Mansfield says:

    Amri, though you weren’t dreaming up wedding details in advance, at least you still have all those funeral plans stored up for future use. Reading through this, I never quite knew before how grateful I should be for my undemanding, easy-to-please relatives and in-laws.

  32. Banky we’re not getting married in the temple either but I feel no judgment about that. My dress is pink however and that makes people nervous.

    We’re having our wedding/reception at a Mormon church. I love the building, the ward has been nothing but good to me but sometimes I wish we could have booze so people could just chill out.

    My family is surprisingly hands off. His family is surprisingly hands on. It’s dizzying.

    Luckily I can write little self-absorbed blog posts. Thanks for indulging me, y’all.

  33. John Mansfield, funny right? I have my funeral plotted out, down to the funeral favors, but I hadn’t imagined anything for my wedding. I actually love my inlaws. I couldn’t ask for better. They just have an amazing number of opinions.

    CS Eric-many people have told me that. I’m trying to gear myself up for something deliciously wrong to happen. I’ll let you know what goes awry. We’re sealing the deal on Sept 8.

  34. California Condor says:

    At my sister’s wedding there was a chocolate fountain. That was pretty cool.

  35. As usual, Kirby’s perspective is refreshing.

  36. To echo bbell’s comments and one of my previous ones — the least important person in any wedding planning is the father of the groom. He shows up, he shuts up, and he pays up.

    So far, my 10-year-old daughter, having been a close witness to several weddings in the last 2 years, has developed the mindset that “I just want a simple wedding reception with a few close friends.” Bless her heart. I just hope she finds a guy who will let her get away with that… After she finishes her PhD or med school, or course. :)

    Here’s the Seinfeld quote about the relative insignificance of the groom:

    The idea behind the tuxedo is the woman’s point of view that men are all the same, so we might as well dress them that way. That’s why a wedding is like the joining together of a beautiful, glowing bride and some guy. The tuxedo is a wedding safety device, created by women because they know that men are undependable. So in case the groom chickens out, everybody just takes one step over, and the ceremony continues.

  37. Kevin Barney says:

    Amri, if it helps any I am coming with no particular expectations but to witness the blessed event and to see my friends. I am sure it will be great, whatever the details.

  38. A pink dress is AWESOME!

  39. It does make me feel better, Kevin.

    Tracy, I’ll email you a picture. It’s a sweetass dress. 1952 prom dress I found for 200 bucks.

  40. Oh my, please tell me you found a copy of the dress from Pretty In Pink?!? Seriously though, “The Dress” was one of the few concerns my wife had – hers was “champagne” colored. She was briefly caught up in all that “the bride should wear white” vs. “some brides should NOT wear white” vs. “what will people think if she doesn’t wear white?!” &c. Fortunately, she settled on wearing a dress that she loved, and that she liked how she looked in. I thought she looked stunning, and so did everyone else. It was the right call, as I’m sure yours is.

    I love the commentary on fathers-in-law in this thread…We actually gave her dad a role in the ceremony, figuring since he was Bishop he’d be comfortable saying a little something in Church. And lo! if he didn’t make me tear up with his speech about how her family had prayed for me to show up. He also gave a little sermon about how to make a marriage last…highly unusual for a “New England” wedding, but everyone really loved it – another unique (though unplanned!) touch in our wedding.

    (Which reminds me of what I swear will be my last unrelated-to-the-post anecdote…when we discussed Dad’s proposed mini-sermon to the officiant, her only concern was that he might be preaching something in the “wives shall obey their husbands” vein. In the end, our wedding turned out to be both fun and educational – the minister was not the only one who had some serious misconceptions about Mormons sorted out during the preparations!)

  41. It’s at time like these that being autistic has its advantages.

  42. If someone can tell me how to have a couple elope to get married in the temple . . .

    I have four daughters, and I am dreading the thought of the preparations for those weddings. Eloping sounds pretty good to me. I hardly even think about my boys’ weddings, but the thought of my girls’ weddings gives me nightmares.

    Amri, will there be pictures that we can access on line?

  43. Ray – it’s not that complicated, although it takes *some* planning. Your daughters will have to have interviews by bishops and stake presidents and they will have to get a time set at the temple. But other than that, you don’t have to know about any of that.

    The caution: something will go wrong. It may be minor, like in ours where people came to the sealing room who were not invited (most of these were her ex-boyfriends), so there wasn’t room for everyone who actually was invited.

    There’s a way around this. Basically, appoint someone at the temple to act as the bouncer. And politely ask them that the bridge and groom would rather not have them there, or that there isn’t enough space, or that they asked other people not to come to make space, or whatever. We did this last year at a family wedding.

    It’s entirely appropriate to ask people not to come into the sealing if they are not invited.

  44. Susan- BwaHAHAHA! Leave it to Susan M.

    I’ve seen the dress and the dress is BETTER than Molly Ringwald’s in Pretty in Pink. Seriously way lovely and fabulous.

  45. Ray,

    My wedding was pretty close. My wife rented one of the nice dresses at the temple. Family came who could on short notice. Our reception was a buy your own lunch at a family style restaraunt. Our cake was one picked up at Albertson’s by my aunt when she found out we didn’t have one. I’m pretty sure that’s where they bought flowers for my wife.

    Man, we were sooooo poor.

  46. I heart Amri. Behind her back.

    I suspect many people gripe about weddings because theirs wasn’t what they expected it to be. That and it’s felt to be one of the bedrock rites of passage, so when you deviate from their model, they feel that you are making a cultural assault rather than simply expressing your voice.

    Plus I hear you hired a solid priest for the wedding.

    I suspect it will be great. Though I would probably veto the NRA banner over the bride and groom. But I won’t respect you any less if you decide to keep it.

  47. When it comes to wedding planning, I think a lot of problems could be avoided by following the guidance of Miss Manners and have the bride’s mother plan the wedding. She’s been through more weddings and more life and will be better able to sort through the options than the bride, who has other things to worry about.

    There will, of course, be cases where this is not the best way of doing things, but, on average, I think it would work better than having the bride and/or groom doing it. I don’t expect this idea will be popular with any brides. I also like the idea of getting away from making this a big show with the focal point on the bride.

    A wedding is not just about the bride and the groom. It’s about family, since you’re joining two families together and beginning this new unit within those families. It’s also about community, as you step out of the world of children and into the world of responsible adults.

    So, I guess, chalk me in with the judgmental folks. I don’t know what your plans are or how you want to do them, so I’m not going to pass judgment on those details (except to say that most of them don’t really matter one way or another), but maybe somebody somewhere might find these ideas useful in some future wedding plan.

  48. think a lot of problems could be avoided by following the guidance of Miss Manners and have the bride’s mother plan the wedding. She’s been through more weddings and more life and will be better able to sort through the options than the bride, who has other things to worry about.

    I also like the idea of getting away from making this a big show with the focal point on the bride.

    This is a conundrum as old as the Garden of Eden. The only way to avoid the second is to avoid the first.

  49. Ray, I don’t know about eloping to the temple, but my parents gave us a set amount of money and said, “whatever you don’t use for the wedding/reception you can keep”. So, if we spent beyond the limit, we’d have to use our money and there was a lot of incentive to only spend a portion of the money (thus keeping things simple) so we could use it while we were poor newlyweds. Just an idea to keep the financial stress down – you can decide ahead of time what you can afford.

    My wedding was the first wedding I’d ever been to. I had no idea what was usual or expected. My friends couldn’t help much b/c they were all non-members and were used to the $20,000 sorts of weddings. My parents would have preferred us to skip everything except the temple ceremony. My mom kept telling me, “whatever you want to do, it doesn’t really matter” in reply to my pleas for advice and opinions. So, sometimes when people don’t care what you do it can also backfire.

    Pre-wedding, it all matters so much. Post-wedding, you realize that it really doesn’t matter. If I hadn’t had a reception I would probably always regret it (even though it was a simple affair in the branch cultural hall), but I can envision myself telling my daughter, “it really doesn’t matter what you do; do what you want”.

    I heart Amri as well.

  50. Joshua A. says:

    Ray, it’s not that hard–my wife and I eloped to the temple. Actually, we were married in Europe where most countries quite correctly, in my opinion, don’t allow for religious marriages of any kind. So we got a civil ceremony first (on a Monday morning–the county workers thought we were crazy) and two days later flew off to Germany to get sealed. My wife’s mother attended the civil ceremony, and we were at the temple by ourselves. And if anyone had/has an issue with that–I really don’t care (with the possible exception of my mother-in-law :)).

  51. The title of the post is excellent. If I have start a band and we put out an album, that’s it.

    I am more impervious to judgment than most: I work with teenagers, who are constantly judging and who you know talk about you behind your back in the least flattering manner possible. The only way to survive is to embrace it. I collect the caricatures I sometimes find students have drawn of me: and when I accidently heard a student refering to me as a ‘fat-ass motherf###er,’ I contemplated having a tshirt made. (But where would one wear it?)

    Obnoxious comments by adults at church or work (sometimes in Finnish which people don’t think I’ll understand) roll off me for the most part because whatever they say is way less damaging than what kids probably say about me in the stairwell every day — or at least after exams.

  52. Floyd the Wonderdog says:

    Re #10, I had friends that eloped to the temple. They got so fed up with everything that they took their temple recommends and drove on up to the temple. The bishop was in on it.

  53. anonymous says:

    I want to echo the advice that the wedding is for your parents, their friends, and your community – so give in to what they expect. At our wedding, it was amazing to see how much it meant to my parents to be able to give back to the people who helped raised me. In fact, the only parent involved who really distressed me was the one who had no opinions to give and stayed out of the planning – it made me feel unloved.

    That said, if I were to do something over again, I would have stood up more firmly for the wedding ceremony I wished to be married under. I am still not comfortable with how the temple cermony treats women within a marriage, and it bothered me to the point I think it marred our wedding that I was being asked to make covenants that I felt were wrong. I didn’t at all mind letting everyone else plan the wedding receptions and dinners, but the promises I made to my spouse should have been ones I wanted to make. Even if it caused my family pain, we should have gone to the temple when we were all ready for it.

  54. anonymous, I couldn’t agree more with the last sentence. I have seen too many parents pressure children who weren’t ready to go to the temple – and the negative consequences in too may cases.

    Amri, my pictures question was sincere. Are you planning on posting any? If not, I understand completely, but . . .

  55. SMB-we were planning on having our pix taken by the NRA poster by I-90, you know near Landsdowne Street? You don’t think it’s appropriate.

    We’re paying for our wedding entirely. In my mind, that makes it inappropriate for our parents to plan it. Plus my taste is very different from our parents so it would be like I was at someone else’s party if they put it all together. I’m inept at planning but I’d still rather do it myself.

    Norbert, the title came to me in a dream.

    Ray, I’ll post some pix after we get hitched. Some of the BCCers are coming out (aren’t they good to me?) and we’ll take some genuinely awesome photos.

  56. As I was reading this, I was thinking that I wished I had waited until I was old enough to just do what I wanted for my own wedding. But I did the usual Utah thing and got married at barely 21. Your dress sounds cool, and it absolutely not anyone else’s place to criticize your wedding. We did have one big annoyance with mine. I had signed up for the church on the 14th, a Saturday, and another girl in my ward decided to get married then too. She was really nasty about me having the church already. She could go later because it was Christmas and temple was closing, and she didn’t want to get married on Friday the 13th. She kept whining that she had more family coming than I did, and that I should trade to make it convenient for them, but we refused to back down, having made all the arrangements. At her reception, a man walked in, had a massive heart attack and died. I’m pretty sure she blames me for that.

  57. Oh, Paula. It’s so wrong to laugh, but I can’t help myself. I have to admit I never saw the last two sentences coming.

  58. I want to echo the advice that the wedding is for your parents, their friends, and your community – so give in to what they expect.

    I’m not sure that was really anyone’s advice. At any rate, it’s advice I’d firmly, firmly reject.

    Although, as a father of a daughter, I will throw the “if I’m paying, I get some say”. Though truthfully, I’ll just be happy if she invites me, as I subscribe to the idea that no one — parents, grandparents, etc. — merits an automatic invite to a wedding.

  59. I want to take this back a bit to the general idea of being judged for our choices and circumstances. I mentioned in an earlier comment that my wife overheard the EQ presidency gossiping about us. Last night, one of them called my wife to apologize to her. One out of three ain’t bad.

    Paula,
    My mother’s first (failed) marriage was on Friday the 13th. Because of how that turned out, she was supersititious ever since. In spite of that, my brother had his second marriage on Friday the 13th. I’m still on my first marriage, on Saturday the 12th.

  60. RE: #56

    Was it an invited guest, or a random guy?

    RE: Friday the 13th

    My parents not only got married on Friday the 13th, but Friday, October 13. They are still married.

  61. Amri Plisko says:

    Hi Amri,

    My name is Amri also, short for Annemarie but legally changed when I was a child. I,ve never met another Amri before nor heard of one. Would like to know how you came up with this shortened version also.
    Thanks,

    Amri

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