Guys, I have been engaged for 2 years, and I feel like I’m never going to fucking get married. (Here begins a rant.)
Mr. Kates and I got engaged the month I graduated from law school. We’ve been together a long time, have no question about our designs on marriage, live together, and the whole lot. We are partners for life.
At first, we knew we were getting engaged without the immediate intention of planning a wedding - I needed to find a job, we didn’t exactly have savings, and we were in no rush. Then, when I found a job, it required me to move across the country (at first, by myself, as it was a temporary contract job... and then, nine months later, when my job became permanent, Mr. Kates joined me and we now live in this new city). We have officially lived in our new place for 1 year. Moving completely depleted our savings and our emotional energy - we had 6 years of stuff in our old place to get rid of, some things to move, and many to buy for our new set-up.
Getting to know our new city has proven expensive, as well (because what are the best ways to explore a new part of the country? Restaurants and bars and Zipcars to nature!). And working a high-demand job also means that I spend money where I don’t have time (Lyft rides when the bus is inconvenient, lunches from the Whole-Foods-like grocery store prepared foods section, take-out coffee).
Basically, we don’t have a big kitty of wedding savings, though our earnings put together are pretty okay.
Throughout the time we’ve been engaged, we’ve hatched various potential plans that have stalled out for how to get the deed done. Mr. Kates’s initial idea of a wedding was for no one to be invited and for us to go to the beach, tie two (biodegradable) balloons together, let them sail off into the sky, and call it a symbolic act. He’s a little shy about putting our personal feelings about each other out there and doesn’t want to be the center of attention. My family would all but punch me in the face if I didn’t have an event of some kind. I am 100% opposed to going to a courthouse/city hall because it feels like defeat, as we have amazing, hysterical, and hilarious friends and family (mostly my family) and it seems like a total missed opportunity that I would regret forever not to put them all in the same space with alcohol and dancing. He is in agreement that a party with our friends/family would be a super swell time, and we have an understanding that it’d be nice to have an event if it wasn’t a massive production. That is awesome, because that’s not necessarily what I want either (no offense to people who’ve wanted major weddings - they’re just not for us... I am anti-wedding-industrial complex and went through the whole rigmarole a few years ago when my brother got married and found it very tiresome... especially when he and his wife split up a year later).
The most successful/mutually-agreeable idea we’ve had is throwing a party at a venue (cocktail party or evening shindig/dance), jumping up on stage 3/4 of the way through the event, doing a 5-minute, probably-half-drunk ceremony, and continuing to dance/rage into the wee hours. The most perfect incarnation of this idea was to do it as a New Year’s Eve party (we’re particularly fond of New Year’s and our friends could use an event that night, as it always seems like a shitshow for everyone) and race the clock in the last minute before midnight saying our vows, then have whoever officiates yell, “Everybody kiss!” instead of just “You may kiss the bride.” We approached a venue owner in our old neighborhood about this idea maybe last summer, and while she loved the thought and was game to try it, had a standing commitment at her space for NYE. (YES, I somewhat expected this and understand what a big night that is for many venues... just had to try to achieve my dream.) I haven’t found another good venue to run that idea past.
Other ideas we’ve considered but not made progress on include:
- Same idea as above but Valentine’s Day or just a random weekend evening (which is less exciting, don’t you think?)
- An afternoon garden party wedding at a local historical site on the outskirts of a neighborhood in our old city where many friends live (We abandoned that after discovering that the place that would be otherwise perfect had some prissy/expensive requirements; like, I was fine with the venue fee and general responsibilities about not trashing the place, of course, but they required port-a-john rentals and had preferred vendors for that that tacked on $5k, which felt like more expense than I was willing to bear, though understandable from their perspective)
- Something beachy or pseudo-destination-y in the town/area where Mr. Kates is from, which is a tourist area of our home state (Abandoned the idea because, from my perspective, we don’t have sufficient independent contacts there to find something in our price range and Mr. Kates is unwilling to inquire with his siblings/Dad who still live there and might have better community contacts/a guy-with-a-place from whom they could call in a favor.)
- Eloping to the Alps in summertime, one of our dream vacation destinations (though again, I would have some pangs of regret about not having family there, and my parents and siblings could not, financially, travel abroad for this)
Neither of our families are in a position to provide the type of financial assistance that might change our price range, and neither of us particularly wants to involve them in the planning (my parents live in a small town and their taste is very different from mine; his Dad has good contacts but Mr. Kates is very reluctant to involve him as he tends to let plans get out of control, tries to pay for things he can’t afford, and Mr. Kates wants desperately not to have their extended family there and the Dad has been known to invite people to events where it’s not his place). Nor do we have friends who are sufficiently connected to event planning or wedding planning or otherwise seem like the type of people who would enjoy helping us solve this problem for compensation or fun. Mr. Kates is opposed to spending money on a wedding planner, and I wouldn’t even know where to start with one from across the country (in my eyes, it’s not a viable idea to our wedding where we now live, as it would be cost-prohibitive for many desired guests to get here).
I just don’t know where to go from here, and in truth, am very shy about just cold-calling venues. I’ve tried The Knot and other wedding-y sites to drum up additional ideas/help but not a lot of the brides on there seem like they’re on my level/vibe (the big wedding vs. small wedding event). I even bought the Bitchless Bride wedding planning guide, and it wasn’t really helpful for the problems we are having.
I guess I’m not looking for cure-all solutions (nor admonishment for being a hot mess, rare GT judgypantses!), though if you have an idea, I would love to hear it. I’m more so just frustrated that I can’t get this together, and I’m anxious to move on with the next phase of my life. We have forever to be together, but only so long for our parents to enjoy our wedding (mine are retiring and moving away at the end of this year, and I worry about their old age or sudden death). And I’m sick of people asking when we’re getting married (generally, I’m like “Fuck people,” but in this case, I want the wedding to happen too, so it only makes me feel guiltier/worse).
Mr. Kates feels a lot the way I do, but he’s not really going to take the initiative on this one to come up with other ideas (which is frustrating but fair, because given my work schedule, he does more than half of the work to maintain our life/home/sanity right now anyways). We want kids soon but don’t want to make them until we get this wedding business squared away. My biological clock is ticking like whoa, and frankly, it would be nice for him to have my awesome health insurance.
I just don’t know what to do but am not ready to give in and skulk over to the courthouse. Thanks, GroupThink, for listening. <3