Getting over wedding disappointment

wedding Getting over wedding disappointmentAfter a three-week engagement, Eric and I had a small courthouse ceremony and a 50-guest reception in my parent’s backyard.

At the time, I was fine with letting a lot of things go, because I knew we would have our “real” wedding when Eric returned from Air Force training. (Long story short: Eric never left for the Air Force).

As time has gone by, I’ve sort of let the idea slip out of my head of redoing our wedding the way I would have really wanted.

We celebrated three years in April, and while I have no qualms of having a second wedding (people who remarry other people have another wedding, why can’t I have another wedding to marry the same person?), I’m still having a lot of doubts.

For our one-year anniversary, I really tried to do a church vow renewal but all the work and the costs were a serious impediment. We were too broke at the time to even entertain the idea of doing another wedding.

Now that we’re more financially settled, we could definitely save up for a “real” wedding. But now I’m wondering: do I even want to?

The thought of plucking down thousands of dollars for one day just makes me extremely squeamish. There are so many other things that we could use that money for, such as

At the same time, I am kind of sad that I didn’t get the wedding I wanted. While our small ceremony and reception was very beautiful (it really was), there were still a lot of things I feel I missed out on.

I didn’t have the wedding dress I dreamed of, I didn’t get to have my dad walk me down the aisle or get married in a church. I didn’t have a sit down dinner, or a champagne toast, or even a wedding cake. We sort of had a first dance…?

Some of these things are more superficial than others. The bottom line it comes down to is: I want a wedding, but I don’t want to pay for it.

I guess we could all say that for a lot of things, huh?

It may not have been the wedding of my dreams, but I do love our story.

I love our marriage, I loved the actual act of getting married and I remember the way I felt on that day and how I seriously knew it was the happiest day of my life.

There are moments in our lives where we are filled with so much love that you feel you will burst. Our wedding was one of those days.

Why do I keep focusing on the materialistic aspects of that day when I am beyond happy with the purpose of our wedding, which was to actually get married?

And if I did do another wedding, I know that I would be so preoccupied with the budget that it still wouldn’t be the wedding I dreamed of. I would be so worried over dollars and figures that I have a hard time imagining myself actually enjoying it.

How could I possibly devote thousands of dollars toward one day in my life, when we’re working so hard to save up for a house?

I think I need to let the wedding dream go…but you best be damn sure I’m going to have a huge ass baby shower.

Do you have any wedding day regrets? Anything you would change or would you do it exactly the same way?

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35 thoughts on “Getting over wedding disappointment

  1. Brigid
    December 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    We got married in Tahoe with immediate family and a few friends. I wore an off white 2 piece skirt,/top I wore to work. I won my cake at a bingo game and had sparse flowers-‘bouquet and baby breath in my hair. Never had any family wedding showers or even a reception. Both set of parents did not offer any financial help nor did we expect it. I was naive and had no expectations. Looking back I wish I had had a real wedding with a gown and all. My son just got married and had a small event with 115 guests at a lovely golf course. We contributed over $5000 as did her parents. They had 2 showers and a beautiful reception with a wedding cake, catered dinner, DJ dancing with all the trimmings.

    I recommend anyone getting marrow to have some special event to remember and to feel special. I never felt special on my wedding I guess because I had and continue to have lowered expectations for myself. If you don’t you will regret it.

  2. V
    November 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I got married in a simple court ceremony to my then boyfriend of 5 years. Not because we were ready, I was still in college at the time, but because I was going to be deported. We are still married, going on to 4 years now, and I love my husband very much. However, I feel like I missed out on so many rights of passages.

    It didn’t help, that I really didn’t have any family to support me during this act. My dad was not in the picture, he was the main reason why I was in process to be deported. For the day of the ceremony my mom had a hard time finding the location of the ceremony site, which caused an argument between my sister and mom. My reception was at a restaurant, where I stopped another argument between my mom and sister.

    My husband did officially asked me to marry him before the ceremony. Which made me very happy when he did officially ask. However, when I called home to share the happy news, the response I got was, “that’s nice, now let me tell you what’s going on with me.”

    My wedding night was spent at my in-law’s house, since we couldn’t afford a place of our own to move into. And the day I moved out of my house, I was alone. No one helped me move my stuff.

    So now, every time I hear someone’s happy wedding story, I feel like I can’t contribute. It pains me to think of my failed wedding attempt. And now I hate weddings. I hate being part of them, and I’m a little jealous of the happy couple with all the support from their family and friends. So then many would say, just have another wedding or a vow renewal. And my response is, why? It’s really expensive and it won’t fix the pain of my first failed attempt at a pathetic wedding. So now I must live with this burden and the pain that is associated with it. Pathetic, right? I know.

  3. September 28, 2013 at 6:17 am

    We had the courthouse ceremony and 30 people at a small restaurant, where we paid for their meals. That’s it. I don’t want a ‘real’ wedding, and I surely don’t need one.

    I think we’re ‘duped’ into wanting them by all the media. All women (almost all), dream of their day to be like a princess, to wear a white dress etc. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who understands there’s more to marriage than a white dress and a party, not to mention I was never ‘bride material’ anyway. We’re very happy with our arrangement, have saved A LOT of money and had a great day with our closest friends/family without the stress of a big reception.

  4. Fel
    September 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I don’t have a single regret about my wedding. We got the marriage license 2 days before (and that was the only money we spent), then arranged for a family friend/minister to meet us in the park and said our vows in front of about 6 family members. I didn’t have a wedding dress, flowers, or a first dance, but we did what worked for us–and we’re now going on 7 years.

  5. hannah
    September 14, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I totally understand how you feel. I always thought I’d have a sweet church wedding, but instead we had a simple ceremony in front of a judge in a park and I didn’t even have a wedding dress!
    At the time I didn’t mind since we planned to have a real wedding later on when more people could come, but of course that never happened. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but I do envy friends who have lovely pictures and memories of their special day.
    I’m with you on the cost though. I’d rather spend the money on a honeymoon – we never had that either – or student loan payments.

  6. September 4, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I had a ton of regrets with my first wedding and probably for obvious reasons. With the hubby and I there were no regrets. Sure, everyone can always say they would do things different but the day will never be without that. You can do it 20 times and still always want to change things. I think you will know when the time is right to have your big wedding bash or not.

  7. September 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I didn’t have my dream wedding also since I got married while on pregnant and the marriage was immediate. On the first years of our marriage, I did dream to have my dream wedding someday. But as years pass by, I realized that having a wonderful relationship with my partner and with the kids is far more important than having that dream wedding.

  8. September 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I’d personally prefer to have a really fun vacation that lasts for several days instead of a second wedding that lasts for one, but that is just me! And, why not wait until your 5 year or 10 year to do vow renewals? You have so many years ahead that there isn’t any rush!

  9. August 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    What about setting aside $10k for a vacation/vow renewal at a Caribbean resort or something like that? For that price you can 1. get the wedding dress you want 2. fly your parents and maybe his parents down so your dad can walk you down the isle 3. not have to stress about costs, details, or decisions because a lot of resorts offer packages that are all inclusive. You can have your mom champagne toast you, have an official first dance, and have a killer vacation too. It wont cost as much as the average wedding (25k) and you can not feel bad about spending the money because you love to travel and you get a vacation out of it too.

  10. August 31, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I think a small part of us will always regret something from the past and as we grow older, the memory becomes distant and the regret eventually becomes less pronounced. The good thing is, you can redo the whole thing if you want. But maybe you don’t really regret it, and that’s what is making you reluctant :) Of course, you know yourself best.

  11. Anne
    August 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    I wouldn’t do another “wedding”, because you wouldn’t actually be getting married. To me, the true beauty of any ceremony no matter how simple or extravagant, is that it is the act of a bride and groom becoming man and wife.

    Plus, the expense of it all! I’m currently planning my wedding, and the costs are already astounding (sometimes I want to just take a sharpie to 3/4 of the guest list and host a small intimate affair). I personally can’t imagine being married already and still willing to spend that much on it.

  12. August 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Yesterday Hubs and I celebrated out 31st wedding anniversary.
    We had a very small wedding without bells and whistles and lots of things could have/should have been done differently.
    But looking back 31 years later, none of that matters at all.

    Here’s hoping that when and if you are married to your hubs this long, that how much/where/how your wedding day happened will be the last thing from your mind. ;-)

  13. August 29, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I wish I would have walked down an aisle. Getting married outside was gorgeous, but I sorta wish I had that church aisle moment. I also wish I would have let go of the worry about the impending rain and been mentally present for my ceremony. There are always little regrets.

  14. August 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Small regrets. Walked wayyy too fast down the aisle, ruining what I wanted to happen with the music (and then it started from the beginning after the ceremony rather than continuing on from whereit stopped). MIL embarrassed us a little by trying to make people give speeches (we told everyone to only speak if they felt compelled to). That we’d reminded everyone to BYO if they wanted to drink, rather than counting on them to read the info on our wedding website. But nothing too big…

  15. August 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I wouldn’t change a thing. We thankfully had what we wanted and didn’t have lots of stress doing it. I’m an event planner for work so it was a breeze for me. I feel badly for all the people who complain about complying with whoever is paying for it or who don’t know about what to ask vendors, contracts, budgeting, etc. I don’t enjoy being the center of attention so it made me a bit anxious to have so many (100 guests) staring at us.

    A housewarming and/or baby shower could be top-knotch if you want the themed experience of planning etc!

  16. August 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Our plan was to get married during hubby’s R&R. So right between him coming home for two weeks after USAF Basic Training and before he left for Tech School. Well they discharged him a week before Basic Training graduation based on medical even though he was capable of doing and passing his physical exams.

    So I totally get what you’re feeling right now.

    The thing with our wedding was that the only people who ended up showing up was our parents and one of my friends who I’m sure just used it as an excuse to go to Vegas because she never did end up meeting up with me for lunch the rest of the week…

    I’m sad I didn’t get the big wedding I always wanted but now I think I’m more bitter that no one cared enough to show up (despite that people I did invite decided to either go to Vegas the weekend BEFORE or AFTER my wedding). So we’re planning on having our “real” wedding on a Disney cruise to France. By ourselves.

  17. August 28, 2013 at 8:18 am

    My hubby and I got married July 2007. We really started planning January/February 2007. So just in just a few months and with limited cash we tied the knot. We spent about $2500.00 of our own money…however ALOT of money and resources were given to us. It was so exciting! The one thing I regret not having at my wedding was a good wedding planner. Some things were forgotten because we did not have one. However the amount of money we saved because we DIY’s alot of things ourselves was amazing!

    I say that you should plan something cool for your five year anniversary. Maybe a destination vow renewal thing? OR…you don’t have to do anything at all. It’s your choice.

  18. August 27, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Wear a veil to your baby shower! Why not?! :-P

    I think most brides probably have at least a few regrets about their wedding day. Or maybe not “regrets” so much as things they wish had been different or more extravagant or whatnot. Every wedding I’ve gone to SINCE my own wedding, I’ll see something and be like, “Shoot, totally should’ve done that at our wedding!” And there are even times when I momentarily wish we had just kept things way smaller and simpler (or even eloped)!

    Ultimately, I think you have an excellent financial perspective, and the feeling when you put a down payment on a new house (and even better – the feeling later down the road when you pay it off COMPLETELY) will far outweigh any regrets over not having a more traditional wedding ceremony.

    You could also do a big vow renewal at one of the milestone anniversaries like 10, 20, 30… :-)

    Lastly: PLEASE INVITE ME TO YOUR BABY SHOWER. Whenever that is. :-)

  19. Glenda
    August 27, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Baby shower!??! Are you hinting at something? Congrats!!!1!

  20. August 27, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I don’t think I would go back and change a thing about our wedding (we eloped on a boat!), but in general I don’t care much for traditions and formality. I had never been one of those girls that plays dress up and pretends to be a bride or fantasized about a dream wedding, so when the time came to get married it wasn’t a thought. There were 2 people involved with the process (me and Mr PoP), and it didn’t really feel like we should consider what anyone else cared about except for ourselves – so we did it our way! After all, it’s really what comes after the wedding that matters in our book =)

  21. August 27, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Ugh, It’s been almost 2 1/2 years and I haven’t gotten over my biggest wedding disappointment – the photographers. They didn’t tell us that we wanted to do too many formal pictures for the allotted time. So instead of suggesting that we cut down our list (which I would have been HAPPY to do – those formal pictures we a pain!) they let the session run over by like an hour. The people at the cocktail hour ran out of food and worse, our reception ended up only being a couple hours long because of the delay. To this day I can’t get over it!

    And my $.02 is that you both should take that kick ass vacation, but buy the wedding dress of your dreams and renew your vows in some tropical paradise and make it what you always wanted it to be! :D

  22. August 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I loved our wedding, but I still want another one. Partly because it was so much fun and partly because some of the things didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I am seriously thinking about having another one not any time soon, but for our 10year anniversary. By then, we better be out of debt (other than mortgage) and have bought a house.

  23. Kelly
    August 27, 2013 at 5:48 am

    We did the exact same thing- very short engagement (because I wanted to get married on 12/12/12), and no money, so we did the court house thing, and then my dad took us out to lunch at a very beautiful restaurant. We wanted to have a wedding on 12/13/14 (yes, I have a thing with dates), but all of his family lives in South America, and would not be able to attend, so then we would need to have TWO weddings. It would just be an enormous expense. I too would love to have pictures and a great dress and a great time, but all of that money for ONE (possibly TWO) night just does not seem worth it! I still would like to have something, but I’ll plan to renew our vows later down the line, possibly at our 5 (or more likely 10) year anniversary.

  24. August 27, 2013 at 4:30 am

    I’m currently engaged and getting married in February, and am having a good-sized traditional wedding – church, reception, etc. I know there are so many other things we could do with the money, but it’s also not really my money – it’s my parents, and they have been wanting to throw me a wedding for some time.

    Even if it wasn’t my parent’s money, I still think there’s an argument for spending it on yourself, because getting married is a huge deal, and should be treated as such, so I never judge people for spending a crazy amount of money – it’s the only life event you really get to do that with. It can still be a huge deal to you without spending the money, so it’s really a personal preference. If you have a great marriage, that was the point of it all anyways, so whether you spent the money or not you still have the marriage!

  25. August 27, 2013 at 1:46 am

    We were engaged for two weeks, so I totally can relate to this. In two weeks we are having a reception for our one year anniversary, but it’s still pretty different from the typical wedding. Our wedding was absolutely beautiful, but sometimes I do wonder if I should regret our non-traditional approach more. I had a wonderful bachelorette party (with unexpected gifts), but I didn’t get the usual bridal shower. I had one bridesmaid. Dan didn’t have a bachelor party. And while we are expecting 130 people at our celebration many of my closest friends aren’t coming, probably because it isn’t a “real” wedding…and that’s been really hurtful. So all that to say…yes, I get how you feel.

    At any rate, I do love how unique our story is. It’s different and quirky. That’s always a good thing in my book.

  26. August 27, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I guess that whatever you do, there will always be something you might´ve liked to do differently. But how about like way down into the future when you´ve been married for 20 years and have a nice house, a stable economy etc, then you can do a big fancy renewal!

  27. August 26, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    My husband and I eloped just over three years ago now thanks to short notice orders moving us overseas. On our fourth anniversary we’re going to do a vow renewal ceremony complete with white dress, reception, and our nearest and dearest. For us the desire to share our love and commitment with family and friends trumps worrying about what else we could be doing with the money. I know we’re lucky to be able to do so, but I’m really glad that we are pushing forward with having the ceremony and reception that we both want.

  28. August 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I wanted a small wedding with only close friends on the beach. My parents told me my grandmothers wouldn’t be able to take that kind of a trip, that they wouldn’t be able to walk in sand, etc. So we decided to get married closer to where I grew up. My wedding was beautiful and I loved the venue, my dress and most of the details. But I did kind of miss that beach wedding, sand in my toes type feeling. I don’t regret what we did, my grandmother died shortly after. My wedding was less about us and more about my parents and in-laws. It ended up being much larger than I planned because the parents on both sides had so many people they wanted to invite. It was strange to meet their friends and some relatives on the day of the wedding. I’ve thought about it and wondered if I shouldn’t have put my foot down about the size, (especially since we paid for it), but at the end of the day I realize it made both sets of parents extremely happy to see us get married and to have their friends and family be a part of our big day. So all in all I think it worked out just the way it was supposed to. I have talked a lot about renewing our vows on our 10 year anniversary with friends at the beach. 10 years is coming up next fall though and now I’m not sure it’s something I want to plan. Maybe I’ll wait for 20!

  29. August 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    “Why do I keep focusing on the materialistic aspects of that day when I am beyond happy with the purpose of our wedding, which was to actually get married?” Um, great question–and one I should be asking myself. Not frequently, but more than is obviously necessary, I think about how I wish I could redo dumb things like my color scheme. As if it matters!

  30. August 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Honestly, my wedding was great and beautiful but nothing’s perfect and I kind of wish I eloped or did a small thing instead. And it is totally the marriage that matters not the wedding, but maybe you could do a vow renewal celebration on your 5th anniversary and throw a big party instead?

  31. August 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I had a very small wedding for under a grand. I don’t have any regrets, but that may be because I hate weddings. I went to too many as a child, most of which didn’t work out — the whole thing was discouraging.

    I guess it just depends where a second wedding falls on your priority list. If you were to take “second wedding”, “house”, “new car”, and “vacation” and number them 1 to 4 in order of priority, where would “wedding” be?

  32. August 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I feel the same way Erika! We had a tiny ceremony because we were broke. But we said we were going to do one later on in life. Actually, I think we said 2 years to everybody. Well, 2 years came by and went. We have been married two years but we have other priorities, like buying a house, a nice couch, and bed. Oh and of course investing and traveling. I just can’t fathom spending so much money on a day and having no tangible object to hold. Well, of course the nice pictures.
    My mom still wants me to have a wedding. She asks me about all the time. I just sigh and tell her it’s really not one of our priorities right now. She gets hurt because I promised her a wedding! Then I realize, if I planned a wedding, I would probably have to please a lot of people. I just don’t want to. I’m happy with my hubby.

  33. August 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I think it’s natural to have these feelings. I never in a million years dreamed I’d ever ever have a wedding. I didn’t the first time and I got over it. I didn’t expect it the 2nd time and it was just a bonus that it happened. We did a Justice of peace thing with just us two and then we had the “real” thing later. Looking back I am so so glad that I got to have that experience and I totally feel it was worth it. We had everything planned out as far as time frame for the wedding and we went for it immediately otherwise it may not have have happened. You could still have a giant anniversary party with vow renewal somewhere down the line; which, if you do it big enough it’s basically a wedding.

  34. August 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I think it’s natural that your desire for a traditional wedding has faded with time and with other goals surfacing. You can now focus on celebrating your marriage daily in the small ways.

    We had a very traditional wedding except that we did two receptions, one on each coast. If I could redo anything it would be some edits on the guest list – some people who I had recently met and thought would become good friends didn’t, and some people I didn’t know well at the time became good friends. That and not having it downpour right as everyone was driving from the church to the reception location!

    Mostly I’m just glad the wedding is OVER. It is very stressful and time-consuming to plan. Now we just get to be married and awesome, which is way better. You got there just the same with the smaller/hurried wedding and that’s what matters most.

  35. August 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I had a beautiful wedding — one with all the little details (think homemade cookie favors, tulle, burlap pennant banners, tissue paper flower balls, twinkle lights, etc. etc. etc.) and when I look back on my wedding I don’t remember the feelings of love or joy, instead I remember the stress and lack of sleep.

    I love my husband more than anything and there are so many fond memories from our wedding, but I would give just about anything to have it feel like the happiest day in the world, and in some ways it was and in others it wasn’t. I tried my hardest to let it all go and just take in this once in a lifetime day, but I still couldn’t sit back and totally enjoy it. You know?

    Maybe it never ends up quite how you imagine it and you always wish for something a little different?

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