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Howdy folks...I'll try to keep this short. I'm getting married in… - The Anti-Bride Community
piss on tradition, we're doing it OUR way.
Howdy folks...I'll try to keep this short.

I'm getting married in four months, and I just know the nagging about "tradition" from just about everyone in my family is going to get worse before it gets better. I thought I was out of the woods when the whole shock and revulsion about my not wanting a proposal or engagement ring died down...but no such luck. (For example, today I told my mom I wasn't planning on doing a bouquet toss, and she totally flew off the handle...I might as well have told her I'm quitting my job to join the circus.) It seems like everyone wants to throw in their two cents on EVERY aspect of the wedding, and as soon as our ideas don't mesh with theirs, they fly into a frenzy of "BUT YOU HAAAAVE TO" or "BUT IT'S A TRADITION", sometimes followed by motherly (or grandmotherly) guilt-tripping. Fun.

I know I shouldn't let it bother me, and I keep telling myself that these kind of negative reactions to our plans have more to do with the naggers than they do with me, but...it's still incredibly frustrating. I feel like my FH and I are being objectified and boxed in to everyone else's idea of what a wedding should be, which is unfair and so very annoying.

Anyway, I do sort of have a point to this post...does anyone who's already made it have any sort of advice on getting through it all? Is there any way to put your foot down without invoking reactions of "OMG BRIDEZILLA"? Is there some kind of broken record phrase that keeps the traditionalists at bay? Any advice is much appreciated...thanks for reading.
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gunstreetgirl78 From: gunstreetgirl78 Date: November 17th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
a simple " We really want to have a ceremony that reflects us and our personalities and I'm really excited about what we've come up with!"

Make it about your happiness and what you enjoy instead of what you don't like or dont want. Just keep the language positive and it will help
stpattysbride From: stpattysbride Date: November 17th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I asked a lot of "why" questions... But you have to have a bouquet toss... WHY? And I really only listened to and further entertained responses that were more than "just because" or "its tradition". A good answer to "its tradition" is "its not my tradition" or something along those lines... Good luck though!
greyanna From: greyanna Date: November 17th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Hehe...I just kept most people in the dark about it until they got there. Or was so positive and excited about it that people didn't dare say something to my face. Like having bellydancing at my wedding. And not wearing a white dress. Though traditionalists actually liked that part since I was a 2nd time bride - they didn't like the fact it was purple, green and blue!
danger0usbeans From: danger0usbeans Date: November 17th, 2008 06:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a bellydancer, and I've been seriously considering doing a clothing change midway through the reception and performing. But I think performing myself might be a little tacky. Also, I'd probably have creases and marks all over my belly from the corset. So there's also the option of asking a couple of my friends to perform. How did it work out at yours? Were many of your guests dancers? Were they familiar with bellydance? I really worry that most of our guests won't really know how to act during a performance, and they'll just sit silently and not give the dancers any encouragement. People tend to do that in this town.
kyaraelf From: kyaraelf Date: November 17th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been to several weddings with bellydancers (I'm one too). Usually the performance is about 2/3 through the reception. Everyone crowds around the edges of the dance floor and watches and claps and enjoys the hell out of it whether or not they've ever seen a bellydance performance before. And even if some of the people sit quietly I'm guessing a few of your guests have seen you perform and know how to behave for a dance performance, hopefully the others will get the idea and follow suit.

greyanna From: greyanna Date: November 18th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
We had about 5 drummers and 7 dancers, including me. There was some noise, mainly from the drummers and people who have seen performers before. And my corset lines were not that bad. Have some henna on your belly and no one will notice! We made sure to have some free dance time and pull up people to dance with us who definitely are not bellydancers. People seemed to really enjoy it. I agree with the timing above.
marence From: marence Date: November 17th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I, too, had a somewhat non-traditional second wedding. And my daughter/MOH and I bellydanced to Lorena McKennit and Rob Zombie's VooDoo during the reception, in our finery (black silk corset and bustle-back skirt for me, re-use of a bridesmaid's dress for her), with no choreographing, just moving to the music. People stared. We had fun.
Much about my recent (second) wedding was weird, or non-traditional, or just fun for us. And we explained- a lot- that we were having the kind of wedding we wanted this time around. It helped that this was a second wedding; that seemed to make our eccentricity allowable.
janetmajorsnyc From: janetmajorsnyc Date: November 17th, 2008 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
i said it very simply- "Because we want it that way." I would not continue the conversation- therefore they were just mumbling to a wall after a while. The insistence died down within weeks.

When some point of contention would come up later that agitated me i would just say "because apparently i'm a moron who doesn't know HOW to marry my own husband" and that shut people up quickly, too. It drives the point home that WE"RE getting married- not them.
From: meagansworks Date: November 17th, 2008 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Love & Marriage

Wow, I feel your pain, sister! Lol While my current issue isn't necessarily with the women of my family badgering me into the bouquet toss or other things, I think I may be able to help. Or at least hopefully will be able to. Be firm, yet polite. DO NOT take their bullying. Let's face it, it is YOUR wedding, not theirs. Presumably, they've had their wedding already. Remind them that there were things that they wanted but were bullied - and I use that word appropriately - into forgoing or accepting. Then remind these ladies that they love you unconditionally and that means that they must abide by your wishes, because again, it is YOUR wedding, NOT theirs. All else fails, guilt trip the holy hell out of them until they cry for mercy. Not nice, I know, but neither is bullying you into doing things you don't want to. :) Hope this helps a little and good luck!
awfief From: awfief Date: November 17th, 2008 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, we left the details to ourselves as it was a private matter, and anything that people said like "you're doing a bouquet toss, right?" or "you HAVE to have centerpieces!" or "are you sure you want to use the real rings in the ceremony?" or whatever....

Mostly I just said "thanks, that's a good idea!" or "it's on our list of things to consider". Basically everyone wants to see the best wedding for you possible, and they don't realize they're bullying, and (at least my family was this way) they're trying to help.

I put my mother in charge of the flowers/centerpieces (i would have just done something tasteful and inexpensive, worst case scenario get $10 flowerpots from the supermarket, but if it made my mother feel better to buy $90 centerpieces from a florist, so be it!). My mother was the worst at this stuff, so I thought giving her something to do would at least direct her obsession to that area. Which it did, mostly ("we should get a halo of white flowers for [flower girl]'s head" -- my inner response was "hey, it's my wedding, not hers!" but on the outside I said "sure, sounds nice!").

The best way to cut the drama short is to acknowledge that they have a good idea, but don't promise to use it.

The most important thing is that you enjoy the day.

We definitely did!
http://sheeri.com/wedding/, photos and videos are linked from http://www.sheeri.com/wedding/?p=11

(definitely check out the wedding ceremony, it's only 16 minutes long. The lighthearted humor prevented both of us from bawling -- we both cry easily at intimate moments).

Also, the best things I did other than marry my DH and have some laughter into our ceremony -- make sure you get a video of your ceremony -- most people don't care about the dancing, if a videographer is too expensive, just ask someone to video it....as you can see from our site, the video doesn't have to be perfect, just enough to relive the moments.

No speeches (made the night before).

We did the dancing in a hall afterwards, but made it more like an afterparty...we did a first dance, but not a mother/son and/or father/daughter dance.

No tossing of the bouquet (though I might have done something I've seen before, where someone asks all the couples onto the floor so the bride and groom can see how much love surrounds them....then ask whoever has been together 5 years or less to stop dancing and watch the more experienced couples, then 10 years, then 20, then 25, etc. The last couple(s) standing get the bouquet (and garter if you want!) and may, if they so choose, give their best advice on a marriage to last as long as theirs. (this is also a great way to honor older family members))

awfief From: awfief Date: November 17th, 2008 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
So, some more of the family angst I'd had (I won't even go into the guest list fights!)

My part of the wedding party was 4 women and 2 men (3 of the women were my sister + sisters-in-law) and at first I said "just wear a black dress and appropriate shoes; any length, any sleeve type, wear a shawl or scarf or not I don't care, etc" because everyone has a black dress, matchy-matchy wasn't important to me, etc. Then my BMs got together and said "we're all going to buy a new dress anyway so why not just pick something?" So I picked one of the red colors (garnet I think) from After Six, and said "get anything in that, don't care if it's a dress, 2-piece, whatever." a few months later when the shopping happened, one BM informed me that the garnet color was discontinued, but a "new garnet" color was out, but it was totally different.

So I switched to "black, satin, After Six line". And what happened? My friend and one sister both (separately) got a dress from different line, but they compared the fabric/color and it was the same. Then one sister-in-law called saying she'd just come back from the tailor, and realized she should probably ask me this, because the dress had only looked right when it was cut just above the knee.....

All I wanted was a black dress to begin with! I DIDN'T CARE!!!! That was my first experience learning that if *I* wasn't the Bridezilla someone else was going to be!

(My mother balked at red roses because she thought they were expensive flowers....sure, on Mother's Day they are! But not in mid-June when they're peak in-season! Then she asked if I wouldn't like something more exotic, like an orchid....Um, no, I like roses, thank you!

Then my sister-in-law -- the "above-the-knee" one -- asked if I wanted all the boys dressed the same, "because they'd be so cute!". Her son was one of 6 nephews I had at that point. Inside I was like, "they are cute, and I love them, but them being matchy matchy isn't important, and it's MY day, not theirs!".....I just said, "Sure, they'd be cute, but I know it might be hard or expensive to find boy suits in 5 different sizes! So if it happens, great, but don't go crazy or spend too much to make it happen.")

3 months before the wedding my mother saw where we were doing our dance party afterwards and pushed to have the whole wedding ceremony and dinner reception there....even though the planned venue was my DH's parents' house, the house he GREW UP IN, with a gorgeous backyard, AND the dance party venue didn't have air conditioning, and did have lots of stairs, and DH has a close aunt in a wheelchair....there are stairs to the bathroom.....so yeah, NOT a possibility, but my mother said "can't we just have people carry her?".....

(also, my sister was the MoH and DH's brother was the best man, but my sister would deliver an embarrassing speech and DH's brother lives overseas, neither would be appropriate for a speech. Also, my dad skipped the rehearsal dinner, so the week of the wedding I told my mother and sister that we weren't doing toasts during the wedding, but they could do a speech during the rehearsal dinner. That's what we did, and my mother felt honored, and my sister embarrassed me in front of way fewer people.)

In the end, the "must do" items are:
bride shows up
groom shows up
officiant shows up with paperwork
bride, groom, officiant, witnesses sign paperwork.

Everything else is just details.

My mother didn't like that we were ordering a huge amount of takeout from our favorite restaurant and having our friend, the caterer, arrange things in chafing dishes we rented....."what if your friend wins the lottery and takes a trip to Hawaii the day of your wedding?" I said "She probably wouldn't relax much in Hawaii with her husband and 2 girls, but the worst case scenario is we call Dominoes Pizza and I get great pictures of me smiling broadly as I carefully eat a slice of pepperoni pizza, trying to avoid getting orange pizza oil on my dress." Heck, I almost WANTED that to happen, because that would have been an awesome picture!
kyaraelf From: kyaraelf Date: November 17th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
My first wedding was a traditional NY wedding with all the bells and whistles. For my second wedding I was only semi-anti-bride. I was still semi-traditional.

My mother and his mother were really the only ones trying to add traditional elements. My mother's biggest sticking point was music. She couldn't understand why we wouldn't have a DJ or band at our tiny wedding reception at a small restaurant. She also couldn't get it into her head that there would be no dance floor even though she'd been to the restaurant several times. She'd bring it up and I'd tell her I was already working on the mix CDs. She'd bring it up and I'd talk about saving money for a house. She'd bring it up and I'd talk about a dress fitting. She'd bring it up and I'd say "Mom, we don't want a DJ." Luckily his mother wasn't as persistent as mine.

Mostly what I did was just move on from it and picture in my head the perfect wedding my husband and I had planned.

And you know what it was perfect. Exactly what we wanted. And everyone there told us how perfect it was too.
serialkiller From: serialkiller Date: November 17th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
my general response to these kind of things were
"when you got/get married, you got/get to plan the wedding you wanted, now it's my turn"
pumaviking From: pumaviking Date: November 17th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
i think that can be a dangerous response, in case someone *didn't* get to plan her own wedding. i've heard from a couple women that their moms are planning the wedding to be what they want, because their own moms hijacked *their* weddings... nice tradition, eh? :)

i was lucky to have family mostly stay out of it. someone mentioned just staying positive - i think that helps. if you and your partner are on the same page, that helps, too. "It's important to both of us to do it this way..." etc. good luck!
rainboigrl From: rainboigrl Date: November 17th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
From the beginning I have stated and continue on a regular basis, this is MY wedding THIS is how I am doing it. Also I have my mom one project that is all hers to do, the flowers, as they are the aspect of the wedding I could care less about. I gave my aunts the job of the wedding shower. Just giving family members a job that is all there's seems to be working for now allowing me to focus on everything. My family won't know that I am not wearing a white wedding dress until they arrive. It will be a 1980s prom dress.
chinchiller From: chinchiller Date: November 17th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't tell anybody what the plans are unless they are on a need-to-know basis.

I found out that my mom and I have totally different "visions" for this wedding and I absolutely cannot involve her in the planning unless I want to keep hearing, "But this is so cute!" and "Why don't you want to do this?" or "Why on earth would you want to do that?"

I have this fun, whimsical, green, garden vision with lots of Martha Stewart pom-pom flowers, lots of color, (fake) butterflies and birds everywhere, tree sapling favors, down-home cooking, and forgoing a lot of the traditional stuff.

Her vision is a big, white poofy wedding with traditional vows, color only in the flowers and bridesmaid dresses, fancy meal, little wedding bell mints for favors, the creepy bride/groom cake topper, and all the traditional stuff like the bouquet/garter toss.

Obviously they're totally different and, no matter how much convincing I do, it's still like pulling teeth every time I try to get her input because her feelings constantly get hurt. Since the craft store incident with the damn cake toppers, I have only been giving her little updates here and there and it seems to be working all right. I'm freaking out a little over our meeting next week with the decoration lady at our location. My parents will be there and I just know I'm going to have a headache afterward.
marence From: marence Date: November 17th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
First, you have to really believe that this wedding is for the two of you and that inviting your family and friends to share it is a gift from you guys to them.
Second, tell said friends and family, "it's our wedding, and we've decided _____". No explanations, just the fact - it is your wedding.
Repeat ad naseum.
Now, if someone else is paying for it, they do have a say. Not a final decision, but be reasonable. My daughter had a (mostly) traditional wedding 2 years ago, and since I was footing most of the reception cost, I was a part of the reception hall choice - she chose it, but I got to do the tours and food tasting with them, and nixed a few places based on food quality, price, or stupidity in their contracts.
We paid for our wedding last month, and we decided everything between the two of us. When friends or family offered to help, I repeated "thanx, but I'm really enjoying the planning, and I've got all my checklists and spreadsheets and everything, so it's all under control" or "FH is handling the reception, you'll have to ask him." His answer was "Thanx, but it's all taken care of." That way we were able to do it our way, without interference from well-meaning people whose ideas were not the same as ours. We also only spilled details if asked repeatedly, and just a small thing - "well, I'm wearing black, and he bought a new tux - you'll just have to show up to see the rest of it!"
We found that not volunteering info was the easiest way to deal with most of it!
rubytramp From: rubytramp Date: November 17th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had a very small very non-traditional wedding and when I told my Mom our plans I made it very clear from the first that it was going to be what my husband and I wanted. She was very good but towards the end of planning she asked me if my husband would step on a glass for her. She asked very nicely and when I asked Jim (who isn't even Jewish) he said sure. She was thrilled. She got to go to a Judaica store and but us a glass to use and I still have it with my very small collection of things from the wedding. We didn't mind doing one or two small traditional things as long as they were small or short in duration and since we were asked so nicely.

Why don't you compromise with your Mom a bit. Go to her and say "I'd like you to choose one small tradition you'd like to have us do at the wedding." That way she'll have a role and she'll know you are doing it for her - it will be secret code that you love and respect her
frenchthebully From: frenchthebully Date: November 18th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much for all of your responses...just knowing I'm not alone on this is a big help.
blondebaroness From: blondebaroness Date: December 19th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Toss the bucket!

If you tell them that there won't be any marriageable young women invited, then there will be no one to throw the bouquet to. I was the last one to get married. No unmarrieds were at my wedding.
m_s_cooper From: m_s_cooper Date: January 26th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I keep going to offbeatbride.com for moral support :) Just seeing that other people don't feel compelled to do things the way they're told they have to, and look so happy is inspiration. Good luck!!
raepillow From: raepillow Date: July 23rd, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm getting married in six months and also did not want to get labeled a Bridezilla. I've been using a phrase that I read somewhere and it seems to work well. When someone comes to me with an idea like a bouquet toss (which I won't be doing either) I say, "Thank you for the idea. I appreciate your opinion. We'll consider it", or "I'm not sure how we're going to handle that, but I'll talk to [my future wife] about your idea."

It prevents being called a Bridezilla because it doesn't open the door the way saying, "It's MY wedding" does and it shuts down the conversation because you've acknowledged their idea without giving an answer. It does take some repeating sometimes. People have come to me with the same question or multiple questions but they've gotten the hint.
gaertuilinn From: gaertuilinn Date: July 26th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Anti-bouquet toss

I always hated having to go up with the single ladies and got sucked into it every time. I do not plan on having it for the 3 single ladies that will be attending my wedding... I would hate to have people staring at me like that knowing you're still single in a room full of couples... yeah... that's fun.
sonarvampress From: sonarvampress Date: February 19th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I had the same issue, and will probably have it again, but I've found the best way to explain why I am not doing certain this is to say 'it's not me'. It's began to catch on with people now. My mom even said the other day that some of my crazy ideas were 'me' and she wouldn't expect any less.
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