12 Jan
I Want a Big Wedding, He Wants To Deny Me Happiness

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m getting married! YAY!! And I’m actually excited about it. Double yay!! I have found my match in every way and I never thought I could ever be so lucky. I honestly didn’t see this happening for me. So. Happy.

The problem is this is not my first marriage. My first one started begrudgingly on my part and ended in drug addiction on his part.  It was a horrible mess that I didn’t want to do in the first place. My fault. But we did have a nice, beautiful wedding with all the glitz, spectacle, and of course, gifts.

So now I feel conflicted. I don’t feel like I deserve another big party. True, this is 10 years after the first one and my social crowd is completely different, but I know that I’ve already had one wedding extravaganza. I feel guilty about having another. This is my fiancé’s first wedding but he wants the equivalent of a back yard barbecue for the reception. I feel that since I already had my party, he should get what he wants.

Am I wrong to feel disappointed?


Finally Excited to Get Married


Dear Getting Married,

Mmmm… barbecue…

I mean, Yay! Wedding!  Congratulations on your engagement!

There’s no rule (that I endorse) that says that you get only one big wedding per lifetime.  So if you want a big shinding, release the doves!

Oh, except your fiancé wants something more low key.

I see the problem.

We’ve all heard that it’s not the wedding but the marriage that’s important, but from where I’m sitting (in my chair) there’s no reason to plan a wedding that makes either of you unhappy.

(By the way, it is possible that in the whole history of man-woman weddings the only man who wanted a big wedding was the former Mr. Liza Minnelli.  Most of the other men learned to compromise.)

And you and your honey can too.  Talk to him.  When you say that you want a wedding extravaganza, what do you mean? Do you want the locals to start craning for Joan Collins because they’re sure that Dynasty is filming a reunion show? Or would you be satisfied with embossed invitations with a side of calligraphy? Wear a fancy white dress? Sip Dom Perignon? Have a wedding registry?

Prioritize which of these (or others) are must have and which you are flexible on.  And then discuss it with your fiancé.

He may want an intimate affair but not object to a gift registry. Or he may just really like barbecue.  (Lord knows I do.)   The point is, have a back and forth with him.  A give and take.  Getting into the practice of compromising may be the best wedding gift the two of you give yourselves.

Best wishes,

Marinka, TMH


26 Responses to “I Want a Big Wedding, He Wants To Deny Me Happiness”


Comment by SammanthaMaxx.

My husband was the one who wanted the big wedding, and he’s no friend of Dorthy.
I wanted to spend an extra week in Hawaii and get married on the beach, just us.
But I let him win and we sunk thousands of dollars into a big wedding. That I did all the work for for months.
The big day? It was 104 degrees, less than half of the confirmed yes guests showed up we received exactly 4 gifts. Only 1 was from our registry.
Weddings are overrated. Do the backyard BBQ with the people who really matter.


Comment by Wendi.

Agree that weddings are overrated. And it’s just the first of many compromises you’ll make in your marriage. Markina speaks the truth.



Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

I think a back yard BBQ sounds a lot more fund for everyone involved. I have been to a ton of weddings, and the big fancy weddings are usually boring and stuffy. The backyard and more casual weddings are always the ones where people have a great time. Those are the ones people end up talking about because they feel like a party.

I’d let him have his way on this one as long as he is willing to collaborate with you on the BBQ.

sisterfunkhaus Reply:



Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

I had, what I would call, a regular wedding. Wedding in the church, reception afterwards in a hall. I had 200 people there and it was LOVELY. I had great time and so did my husband. We caught up with family and friends we hadn’t seen in years and danced the night away.

Weddings can be overrated, but they can be a lot of fun, too.

Maybe you guys could have an intimate wedding and celebration in your backyard with a barbeque and have a larger party a few weeks later to celebrate your union? Maybe it’s the BBQ aspect that DH really wants? Maybe a large pig roast and invite everyone you want. Maybe it’s the fact he doesn’t want a ‘formal’ setting and it’s not that he wants it to be small.

As Marika said, have the conversation with him. Compromise on it. But don’t be a martyr. This is your wedding, too. So what if you already had one previously? You should absolutely be able to enjoy this one, too. You don’t want to look back 40 years from now and regret that you didn’t confide in your husband and get at least a few things you would have liked from your wedding. Let go of the previous wedding guilt and start fresh with the new hubby!

Oh, and congratulations!

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

I totally agree here!

Meredith L. Reply:

That’s exactly what I was going to suggest! A small, intimate ceremony (with BBQ, please invite me) followed by a big, blow-out party. He gets his small wedding, she gets to throw a big party without the pressure of it being another “wedding” – just a big party.


Comment by scrambler4201.

You are getting married- get used to feeling disappointed!

Cate8 Reply:

LUV!!! so true


Comment by StephanieG.

MrG and I faced the same situation as you and your intended. I wanted a big fancy wedding, and he wanted a non-affair. Eventually we compromised, and I set priorities that mattered most to me. I wanted pretty flowers, pretty music, and pretty pictures. I gave in on some things, but honestly, I can’t tell you what I gave up.

We’ve been married now for almost 13 years. You know what I remember about our wedding? Walking into the church and seeing all the people who were there just for us.

The flowers were beautiful, the wind quintet exquisite, and the photos are truly heirloom quality.

But what matters most in hindsight is the group of people who gathered together, just for us.

Bend a little here, give a little there, and put your foot down for what really matters to you.

13 years from now, it won’t matter that your reception wasn’t exactly what you thought you wanted in the beginning. 13 years from now, what will mean the most is the memory of you with your new husband and your guests, some who are no longer with us, but will be forever a part of your precious memory.

I think I’ll see if I can find MrG for a lunch date now. I’m feeling a little sappy.


Comment by Emily.

I don’t attend weddings unless I have to. I would attend a backyard barbque 🙂

We had a small wedding. 40 people. I got to wear the pretty dress, but everything was minimal. We did it outside and let the scenery take place of flowers (the view was gorgeous).

I say figure out which part of the wedding is most important to you. I didn’t really want a big wedding, but I did secretly really want to wear a pretty wedding dress. If the whole shebang is the important part to you well.. time to get to talking to the fiance.


Comment by Andrea.

Backyard BBQ weddings can be nice too! Check out the Young House Love blog … they did a backyard BBQ for their wedding and it was really lovely. It all depends on how creative you get…


Comment by rojopaul.

Marinka, your advice was perfect. Relationships involve compromise, so figure out what you both really want and then make it happen! There’s nothing wrong with that. And ignore scrambler4201’s comment. She needs more coffee this morning. Congrats!!!

Ace Reply:



Comment by Kara.

Great advice! I think talking about his wedding expectations is a must. You may find you can “adjust” some elements to suite your needs and still call it a backyard BBQ to make him happy.


Comment by Becky Rice.

A BBQ would have been preferable to the in-law drama and insanity that I dealt with up to and during our traditional wedding. Sauce up the pig (chicken, cow – whatever your protein of choice is), bust out the keg and bake those beans.

And congrats!


Comment by Ace.

My husband and I got married in a hurry (as many military couples do) because of a pending deployment for him. We had about 20 people at a nice ceremony on my parents’ deck, pretty dress (compromise: hubs wore Converse with his dress clothes and excluded a tie), and had the bar-side of a restaurant for a party afterward. The biggest regret I have is that we didn’t have music and dancing! We both love both, and I don’t know how in the 3 weeks I had to plan a wedding, I took no music or dancing into account. Those are my favorite parts of wedding photos.

Marinka’s compromise means a lot. If your guy wants the feast of a BBQ but won’t mind wearing dress clothes, if you want formal wear but don’t care what food is served… all those things have a meet-in-the-middle point.

Someday my guy & I will have another ceremony, which will include music and dancing. The first 5 years of our marriage have been just fine without the fancy wedding, though!



Comment by vodka tonic.

We both won with a Hawaii beach wedding – just the two of us – followed by the big backyard BBQ about a month later and “no gifts, please.” It was perfect!

I'm a big ol' b with a captial B! Reply:

Did the ‘no gifts please’ actually work?!

For my second baby my friend wanted to throw a shower. I told her it’s kind of unusual to have a shower for a second baby and that I was really set on baby stuff (ok, maybe clothes since my second is a boy and my first is a girl).

Anyway, I agreed to it but only if she said the ‘no gifts’ thing and if they wanted to do something to give money to St. Jude or March of Dimes in baby’s name.

Day of, STILL a ton of gifts! I know I’m complaining about getting gifts but it made me feel like a gold-digger especially when I tried so hard to not to have it be that way!

vodka tonic Reply:

We had no gifts! My mother wanted to spring for a cake (sheet cake! No silly tiered cake for second wedding), and my bestest girlfriend brought some of the food and helped me decorate. We had a great turnout, a lovely time, a no gifts to feel weird about (“Yes, you already gave me a toaster a few years ago for my first marriage, Aunt Helen! My ex- got it in the divorce, so thanks for the new one!”). We got lots of greeting cards, though, and that was perfect.
I think a baby shower is a little different. People like to buy for babies, no matter if its the first or second baby. I do think a shower for second (and subsequent) babies is tacky, though. That’s my old-school beliefs. I wouldn’t have had it. In fact, I didn’t have one for my second baby! Didn’t need a thing, either.


Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

Well, this was the way to celebrate with DH’s coworkers/friends who he gets along with fabulously (and are decent people on the whole). It was a family affair and not just for the women. So it was a house full of people. And it was a good time, no denying. We didn’t do any silly games, or stuff like that.

And yes, I guess people can’t resist buying baby clothes and diapers. 🙂


Comment by Plano Mom.

We were going to have a big wedding, my second, his fourth. I was going to have a “real” dress, catered food, jazz band, etc. Then reality hit in a custody bid for his then 4-year-old daughter. My dress came from a bargain special attire shop, on the sale rack. We bought a new suit for him that he could use for work. And the reception was a grocery-store-made sheet cake and an ice cream social where everyone served themselves. Flowers from a box store, table “linens” were plastic. Music came from a boom box, and the photos came from disposable cameras placed on all the tables and handed to all the kids. Honeymoon was a day at Six Flags.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It was nothing I planned for but everything I wanted. It was almost 15 years ago, and our church still talks about it and sets it as the example of a perfect budget wedding.

Plano Mom Reply:

Oh and the daughter is now 20 and has been with us ever since.


Comment by Cate8.

1st marriage: back yard casual
cost:$500 or less.
1st Divorce: Cost $2,200

2nd Marriage: pig roast lots of fun. Cost $2,000 or less.
2nd Divorce: cost $16,000 and worth every penny.


Comment by N & Em's mom.

I love that weddings are becoming more personalized and less cookie-cutter. There are great references; check out ‘The Knot’ a bridal magazine from different cities for ideas. Also, go to ‘pinterest’ on-line and look at ideas for outdoor weddings. Just because its casual doesn’t mean that it can’t be romantic. Good luck!


Comment by Getting Married and Getting Gifts | The Mouthy Housewives.

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