Marriage? That's for life! It's like cement!
October 13, 2010 1:24 AM   Subscribe

How can I convince myself that I don't need a wedding? Details inside.

So it's every little girl's dream to someday walk down the aisle in a beautiful gown on that extra-special day. Right? But sometimes little girls grow up and find themselves eloping in a black cocktail dress with just two witnesses nearby. Three years later this girl is still really happy and doesn't at all regret that night. There wasn't time for cake, but I did have my best friend and a bouquet of red roses.

So how come I can't stop thinking about when I'll trade in my cocktail dress for something whiter? We eloped in secret with only our two closest friends in on it for over a year. The plan was to have a ceremony just for us in the purest fashion to celebrate the biggest reason for our union: love. It's a long story how we came to that decision which I'll save for a later time. A few years after the fact, we'd have a "real one" with all the bells and whistles and no one would be the wiser. Eventually we cracked, told our families (who were actually overjoyed, believe it or not) and carried on in wedded bliss.

I know I shouldn't want it. I know it's a waste of money. Everyone already knows we're married, so what's the point? We don't need gifts and we don't need the drama of who-sits-where-at-what-table-don't-put-so-and-so-next-to-uncle-James, etc. But still, I want my grandmother to see me walk down the aisle. I want my mother to see her only daughter say the words and wear the ring. I want to carry roses again, but do it right this time.

Tell me, MeFites, how do I talk myself out of it?
posted by Vrai to Human Relations (34 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have the feeling it's going to be difficult to talk yourself out of it. It's obviously something that you DO want, no matter how much you think that you shouldn't.

The only advice I have is fake it 'til you make it. Keep telling yourself that it would be expensive, a hassle, etc. Eventually it will sink in, probably, and you'll start believing it.

Is there some reason that you can't have a very small, low-key traditional wedding? You could have your nearest and dearest there (instead of your very nearest and very dearest), and do the reaffirming-your-vows thing. There' no need to spend a fortune on this. The point of it would be to give you what you obviously want - for your "grandmother to see you walk down the aisle" and for "your mother to see you say the words and wear the ring". It doesn't need to be expensive or a huge production.
posted by Solomon at 1:34 AM on October 13, 2010

Why do you want to talk yourself out of it?

It's your life and your money. If you want to do it and you can afford it, or a version of it, and you have the money, and your husband is up for it (or at least not against it), what's stopping you?
posted by penguin pie at 1:41 AM on October 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for such a quick response, Solomon. I like your suggestion. To clarify a little, my family all live overseas in America. His family all live here. Having it in either country would require flights, hotels, and most likely a lot of hassle. Back when a wedding was definitely still on the table (prior to the in-laws becoming aware that they were in fact in-laws) we'd planned to have it here as he's a lot closer to his large, extended family and mine are more likely to fly. (Other reasons too, but those are among the most important.)

Despite all this, I still have a voice in the back of my head that tells me I can somehow "make it work". Le sigh.
posted by Vrai at 1:42 AM on October 13, 2010

Hmm do you really want to be talked out of it? Because you painted a really lovely picture and I don't see anything wrong at all wanting to celebrate with your family.

I agree, getting married is to celebrate your loving union and commitment to one another. There is nothing wrong at all to want to share that declaration with witnesses who care about both of you.

You don't have to invite anyone you don't want to be there. You don't have to rent out a massive hall (sometimes backyard weddings are the best and most fun!) Heck you're already married, you can ask a friend to do the ceremony. Think of it as renewing your vows, but rather than renewing after many years it's renewing the vows in front of a larger group to reaffirm the act you carried out "in secret".

But ok if you want to be talked out of it: it will be a lot of planning and money (even for a small thing) and everyone already knows you're married.

Ok that's exactly what you already said, but I got nothin. I just got married 2 months ago with the dress and the guests and the cake and I want a wedding again! It was so much fun! :D

posted by like_neon at 1:43 AM on October 13, 2010

Response by poster: @penguin pie
Practicality mostly halts the idea. And money. That's a pretty big factor I guess. Next comes time. Conceivably with enough time, we'd have enough money. But I feel like the more time passes, the more the event would just be like beating a dead horse. Kind of pointless and devoid of real meaning. Seems like it'd be more of a joke or mere formality to those attending.
posted by Vrai at 1:48 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

If your family was up for travelling before you were married I don't see why they would change their mind if an actual wedding was taking place. Talk to your family, just be perfectly honest (because really, you cite beautiful reasons to want to do this) and ask what they think.

My family (and a few friends!!) flew from America for our wedding in the UK (my husband is Scottish) and yeah it was a bit stressful but it was so worth it to see my auntie boogie down with the best man's grandpa! Families coming together are also a big part of marriage and that should also be celebrated, I think.
posted by like_neon at 1:50 AM on October 13, 2010

Response by poster: @like_neon

Small world. ;x Must be the allure of those Scottish men that gets us.

Or the soft aroma of Irn Bru.
posted by Vrai at 1:53 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's what I'd do:

Work out what it is you really really want from a marriage ceremony.
Some day when you can afford it and perhaps when your family have come over to visit anyway, the two of you throw a great big party. Call it "renewing your vows" if you want, or just call it a big party to celebrate your life together.

Put enough of a twist on things that it isn't just a fake wedding, leave in enough of the bits that you wanted. Make some solemn speeches, have some toasts. Tell your family that you really wanted them to be able to come together to celebrate your union, even if that wasn't possible when it originally happened. Tell them they missed the wedding but you won't feel properly married until they all toast the happy couple together. Wear something white that isn't exactly a wedding dress. Have a first dance. While you're at it, use the opportunity to ditch the aspects of a wedding that you don't like or that are expensive and stressful for no good reason at all. Rent a barn and have a barn dance.
posted by emilyw at 2:00 AM on October 13, 2010 [5 favorites]

It was actually his mum's square sausage rolls with tattie scones.

Hey look, it's been 3 years. Save money and plan for a ceremony on your five year anniversary, that's such a reasonable reason, particularly if you are now inviting more of your family. And that's plenty of notice for others to save for a trip.

You won't have to actually plan anything for at least a year. In a year's time you may feel even stronger about this idea or maybe it'll fade away. If you feel stronger about it, you have still a year to plan. If it fades, you have a nice bundle of money saved up for a faboo (second?) honeymoon.
posted by like_neon at 2:02 AM on October 13, 2010 [15 favorites]

Hm fair enough :) Maybe you could offer to set up a simultaneous party in the US with it broadcast on a big screen and money behind the bar? I bet if you did that, a lot of people would actually opt to come and take part in person, but you wouldn't feel so much like you'd coerced them.

(A friend of mine got married in New York not long after 9/11, and lots of us couldn't fly from the UK to be with them because flights were still down. We gathered in a restaurant with a mobile phone on speaker (pre-Skype!) and listened in live. It wasn't quite the same, but it was a fun night for all its own reasons and she still got her wedding.)

But give people time to save up and I bet they'd come, very happily. You could even ask the most important Stateside people when they're planning to come visit next anyway and work around them. And agreeing that you could just pick the bits that really mean something to you and that you can afford - the dress, the cake etc. [on preview - what emilyw said!]

If you really can't afford it, fair enough, but I don't think you should rule it out just because you think it's silly - go for it! Delayed wedding parties are quite common now. My brother got married last year in the winter, in a tiny registry office do, then they had a big party and catered barbecue outdoors six months later - it was fantastic; another friend had a tiny wedding then they invited lots of people a few weeks later to the family farm in Wales and redid their vows on a beautiful hillside and there was much feasting and merriment.
posted by penguin pie at 2:04 AM on October 13, 2010

My wife and I are in the same position. She's American, I'm Scottish, we had a very small civil ceremony in the UK with pretty much only my family and friends there (only one couple made it from the US).

We're saving up and we're planning something around our fifth (or 6th, 7th, 8th, basically, when we can afford it) anniversary, basically renewing our vows in the presence of the other side of the family. Probably nothing massive as we don't have heaps of cash, but definitely something.

It blows, but it was kind of necessary (woo immigration costs) and there was no real way of having a big splashy wedding, either cost-wise or simply getting the American side of the family here (or the British side over there).

So, yeah, I'd start saving and planning, and figure out what elements of that second ceremony are really important to you so that you're not just having an expensive second wedding purely for the sake of it, but for the emotional reasons you cited (your grandmother watching you walk down the aisle etc). Don't get carried away and don't go into debt to do it, but if you want to do it, go for it.

Also, come to the next Scottish MeFi meetup, it'd be nice to meet another couple in the same situation as us!
posted by Happy Dave at 2:41 AM on October 13, 2010

Seconding emilyw. You can't get married twice, but you can have one enormous, formal party that swerves away from being a wedding.
posted by tel3path at 3:02 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I totally agree with like_neon.
Make it a five year ceremony and explain that you're going to have a bigger bash since it was such a small wedding.

However, I think you need to word it really delicately so your families won't see this as a gift grab. "Oh, she never invited us to the wedding but NOW she wants all the good stuff associated with it yadda yadda." You might see this as unreasonable but pay attention to how you word it nonetheless, you know your families best.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:04 AM on October 13, 2010

To clarify a little, my family all live overseas in America. His family all live here.

Why not have two small reenactments, one for his family, another for yours? That way, it's just the two of you traveling and booking hotels, and you can still keep it small if need be. Have it at someone's house, out in the backyard, everyone can bring food. The point is just to be with family, not all the fancy crap. Go for it!
posted by nomadicink at 4:12 AM on October 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Seconding nomadicink's suggestion, which I was just about to post (almost in those exact words).

There is no "what I should or shouldn't want" here. Weddings are as personal as birth and death. You want what you want, and that's okay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:22 AM on October 13, 2010

I was one little girl who never, ever dreamed of walking down the aisle in a white dress. Mr. B. and I had a very simple civil ceremony followed by a nice family-catered reception at his parents house and I think I would have been completely satisfied with that.

However, Mr. B. wanted a big party, so, in the summer, we had a 'spiritual' ceremony that we wrote ourselves, on a hill in the remains of an old church. Then, we walked down the hill to a nice barn owned by friends and had a killer party with a professionally catered buffet, a band, and later, a DJ. It was amazing! We had such a good time, friends had a great time, family still talks about it. I love looking at the pictures and Mr. B. has subjected all the friends who couldn't make it to at least one showing of the video.

My family flew in from overseas with the money they would have given us for the wedding, and, for the most part, were really happy they came.

In the end, the whole party cost under 4,000 pounds (I wore a gorgeous dress from eBay, we found cheap decorations, we supplemented the catered food with salads, bread and whatnot from Macro, etc.).

So, I say talk to your partner and do it! It was something we don't regret at all and doesn't have to be terribly expensive.
posted by brambory at 4:31 AM on October 13, 2010

How about a family reunion (of both sides) in the future - and you renew your vows with all your loved ones present? The passage of time will only work in your favor, for that. I've been to one or two vow renewals, and the bride definitely wore a fabulous dress, each time.
posted by pinky at 4:50 AM on October 13, 2010

Perhaps next time you are in the US, you plan a reaffirmation-of-vows party. Make it plain that you are not expecting gifts (although there will always be some that will bring them anyway), and position it as a party to celebrate your love, or something like that.

I dreamed of the white dress, the flowers, the party, all that. And I did it, although it was small due to lack of money. People said it was one of the best weddings they had been to. We're amicably divorced now, but I have no regrets and I'm glad we did it our way. I'm in a live-in relationship now, and even though we've both been married and see no reason to do it again, I still fantasize about how I would do it again if we chose to (just us and our kids, no frou-frou, with an emphasis on our blended family).

If you want to do this, and your husband is into it, then do it. I think it's sweet and we only live once, right?
posted by sundrop at 4:56 AM on October 13, 2010

Sounds way more expensive than reasonable to me. Just save up half the amount the wedding and reception would cost, and donate that to a worthy charity that you could endorse as a couple. Encourage people who would otherwise give gifts to donate to that or another from a list of worthy charities instead.
posted by dontrockwobble at 5:42 AM on October 13, 2010

To play devil's advocate to the majority of responders, and to actually answer your question:

Don't have a wedding. Don't renew your vows. Don't spend time and money inconveniencing yourself and loved ones on both sides of the pond for an essentially selfish celebration of how wonderful your union is. There is no "doing it right", what you did already was right! Would having a vow renewal/5th anniversary thing devalue your original elopement?

You don't have the money. Do your friends and family have the money? Will they in two years? If you save up for something, is there something you should be spending the money on instead, like a house or funds for kids or a sanity-preserving vacation?

Your mom and grandma want to see you be all properly bridal, you say, but are you sure? Is this a regret they have expressed to you, or is the wedding industry so far up inside your brain that you assume they want it? Would sending a lovely card and perhaps a framed wedding-esque couply portrait of you and your husband be just as good? They could put it in the living room in a hideous white frame and for all visitors would know you'd have had a "proper" wedding. You could even hold roses in the photo. Wear a lacy white blouse and have the photographer take a shot of you from the bust upward - instant faux wedding whites.

Why do you have to have a wedding, exactly? Is it to throw a party for your friends and get the two sides of your family together? If that's the case, you can have small, local parties whenever and wherever you visit your friends next, that have not much to do with your marital status but just because parties are fun. You can invite your different halves of the family to meet each other for a regular visit, and not force everyone to sit down and eat some dry chicken kiev and talk about how beautiful you are.

If it's for the celebration of you, and your husband, and how wonderful and happy and pretty and hooray love you are, then you have a bit of a problem. You're really lucky so far and you want to show everyone how lucky you are and spend a lot of money and stress declaring your luck to the world? Why don't you take that money and time and do something outwardly productive instead? Build houses for people, volunteer to help city kids, organize charity drives, or even better, every time you catch yourself thinking "I want a wedding!" remember that you want that "real" wedding because you're so happy with your relationship. Be grateful and pleased at your fantastic luck, and try to spread that happiness around a little more into the wider world, instead of turning it inward and expressing it through tulle and rose bouquets.

And make friends with a florist. You can have roses every day!
posted by Mizu at 5:48 AM on October 13, 2010 [9 favorites]

Heh. I am also American by birth; I also married a Scots bloke.

Listen, here's the thing: I had the big wedding. And it was more or less pretty much what I wanted. I was also exhausted, drunk and remember very little of it except that I had a great time and there were cupcakes. I also have a deep regret which is that we have no good photographs because we fired the photographer about 1/3rd of the way through.

My plan has always been to throw another party, either for our 10th anniversary or our 40th birthday. Venue, catering, open bar, excellent photographer, internationally imported friends, and the whole "look amazing" thing. This is a plan of long standing, which is a savings priority and one I occasionally make actual progress on. I don't see why that wouldn't be worth doing if it will fill an emotional need you have.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:57 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd think about why you really want to have one - the magic of the day, the celebration with friends and family, it's what you always thought you would have, etc - boil it down to the purest reason.

Then also make a list of the logistics involved - if you decide to have on this will be the list you work from, so do it right - list the step, the cost (to you and to whomever), who would be inconvenienced. And then think through what else you want to spend money on, and decide if the wedding wedding is the way you want to allocate your resources. As you start working through it you may decide that you don't want all of that pressure and planning, especially with coordinating travel arrangements and such.

Then if after making the list and thinking about why you want to have it you still really want a wedding wedding, then make it happen, and go through the steps and simplify simplify simplify.

I see it mentioned above, my first thought was have something small in both countries, if that fits with what you want. I know that's sort of a compromise position so it may not be sensible.

I don't see anything wrong with wanting to have one, I just think that if you work through it kind of analytically then you can be more comfortable with your decision either way.
posted by mrs. taters at 6:03 AM on October 13, 2010

Why do you need to talk yourself out of it?

Your wedding wedding doesn't have to be expensive. It sounds like what you want is to wear a pretty dress (which does not have to cost a million dollars) and to have your family watch you proclaim how much you love this guy. What's wrong with that?

Life is short, if you want this then go for it.

I recommend these places for inspiration on how to do things "on the cheap" and not huge-and-poofy-style:
posted by blue_bicycle at 6:23 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I sort of did the opposite...I had the big family wedding (at mom's insistence) then "eloped" to Vegas for our 5-year anniversary. I think a big, celebratory party is a great idea and if you want to wear a poofy white dress, go for it.

Our family only seems to get together at funerals anymore, and we always say we should see each other more often. Seems like a good excuse to me, assuming everyone gets along well.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:32 AM on October 13, 2010

Similar situation here: I'm American; hubby is Australian. We got married in a civil ceremony in the US with my best friend and mother there and went out for a nice dinner afterward. This, after waiting 7 years to get married just because of the issues with having families on opposite sides of the world. I have "regretted" it a few times and get wistful thinking about all that it could have been or doing some sort of renewing of the vows concept, but ultimately, practical issues come into play and the idea is buried and the desire to have a proper wedding isn't as strong as I thought it might be.

Having said that, I'm very much in the mindset now of you only live once and within reason, you need to do what makes you happy. However, mirroring some of the comments above, make sure that the families are willing to join in this second celebration, because you might be inadvertently putting them in a tight spot where they don't really have the time/money and they feel obligated to attend.

My advice is to go old-fashioned and put down a "pro" and "con" list and get some direction that way. Good luck!
posted by cyniczny at 6:52 AM on October 13, 2010

I'm with those saying maybe you could channel this desire into a sort of milestone anniversary thing or even a vow renewal with your nearest and dearest around. It sounds like it'd be an undertaking with the overseas thing which means needing lots of time to plan as well as save funds for it, so having to wait until the 5 year mark or whenever becomes an asset, not a problem, and then you won't be "beating a dead horse" or sort of acting retroactively as you fear but celebrating publicly your love together in a timely way. Seems win win...
posted by ifjuly at 7:36 AM on October 13, 2010

I'm going to do what you asked and try to help you talk yourself out of it.

Your wedding sounds fabulous. I had the traditional gown-cake-reception thing and it was a lot of "doing what's expected" so grandma could see me do this and mom could see me do that. While it was good, if I had to do it over again I'd do it the way you did. I think you did it right the first time.

This is probably because I'm seeing most weddings becoming productions first, ceremonies second. When the ceremony has already happened... well, it's just a production.

I went to a "renewal of the vows" ceremony for a family member. The couple were married while serving overseas, and a year or two later invited both extended families to a "renewal of the vows" ceremony and reception at a picturesque location stateside. Complete gown, cake affair. A wedding reenactment. We did not feel like loved ones sharing in the joy of this couple's union. We felt like an extras in the bride's wedding fantasy extravaganza. YMMV, but the whole thing was strange and a little sad. Felt like "look at me, look at me, I'm wearing my gown, I'm having my fantasy wedding!"

A little better was the time we were invited to a summertime reception for a couple who'd been married in a small private ceremony several months earlier. No gown or ceremony. Dinner and cake and I think a dance after (we didn't stay). They showed slides of the wedding, talked about how they met, had toasts. It was nice. Not sure how that would go over three years later, though.

I really think, a few years from now, you'll realize you already did it right.
posted by evilmomlady at 7:45 AM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, it'd be expensive, but in my experience families who live far apart welcome any chance to get together for a "special event." It can be really fun and meaningful to see how someone lives now, as opposed to when you first met them.

I'm in something of a similar situation right now with a second wedding. Most of my family will (hopefully) come to the potluck in Iowa, not the small formal thing in Wisconsin where the actual ceremony will happen. That reflects both our thoughts about the actual cost of having them there and our thoughts about what kind of event suits them and the way we interact.

Figure out what the important things are to you with a wedding -- a chance to dress up? a chance to go through a ritual? formalize something in front of your family? a chance to get everybody together? -- and put the elements together with that. We're working on a way to share some of the vows, etc. from the formal thing with people at our potlucky thing in a way that won't feel out of place -- it'll have a completely different feel to it, but we want to share some of the emotion of making the commitment in front of people we care about.

I think you can go from there quite nicely. Welcome your family to town, show them the things you love about where you live (your regular haunts, the tourist traps, whatever), and then have a group dinner at a restaurant or a gorgeous picnic or something. Stand up, make toasts, buy a special outfit, do what is meaningful to you.
posted by Madamina at 7:47 AM on October 13, 2010

Why not plan a formal vow renewal in a few years time to give you (and anyone you invite) time to save up and plan for it?
posted by cestmoi15 at 8:56 AM on October 13, 2010

Instead of the whole family travelling to see you, why don't you travel to your family. It isn't unusual for people to have a wedding in one place and then have a "Marriage Blessing" or a "Ring Ceremony" or even just a reception in another. When I was married we did the big wedding with my family, then did a smaller reception a month later for my husband's extended family.

You could do the same thing with your family. Have a vow renewal ceremony in the UK, then do it again in the US. You get the bonus of letting Mom and Mom-in-Law help out with their own parties. They can be simple, inexpensive affairs and since you'll be the only ones travelling maybe your family will even pitch in.

If the party idea is just totally off the table, maybe you could rent a wedding dress and have a formal bridal portrait taken. You'd get the opportunity to get all dolled up in the fancy white dress, and a nice anniversary present for your husband without the time and expense of a full wedding.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:08 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

P.S. I did the huge wedding and 12 years later I still wish we could have just done what you did. You might think the grass is greener over here, but I really wish I had saved all that money. Not to mention the stress. I know that probably doesn't make you feel better, but I thought I'd tell you any way. That huge white dress is now just taking up space in my closet and has actually yellowed pretty badly. The important thing is that I married my best friend that day, he is as amazing as ever and I love him even more than I did then.

You really did the right thing.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:13 AM on October 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Consider having the party, or ceremony, or whatever you decide to call this (and I think you should do it, because the heart wants what the heart wants) over the Christmas holidays (if you celebrate Christmas), or some other time when you would normally expect to either travel to see family or have them travel to see you anyway. You could have a small ceremony in a B&B or even at the home of a friend or family member there in Scotland, if the groom knows someone who could accommodate you.

To keep it from being expensive, make the walking down the aisle ceremony part just for family, his and yours. You don't have to have a reception; you and the family could go out for tea afterward or have breakfast together before the ceremony. Then you could just have a big dinner at a nice restaurant with his friends in the evening and that could be their wedding gift to you, each of them paying their way and chipping in for the bride and groom's meal. You spend the night at the B&B for an added little honeymoon feel.

When you eventually get back to the states, you could again have a celebratory dinner with your American friends.

For the ceremony, you will want a nice dress that says "wedding" to YOU. It doesn't have to be a traditional wedding gown unless you want it to be, you don't need the veil, you don't need flowers all over the place, just a lovely rose bouquet for you and matching boutonniere for him--but if you want flowers, go for it. Really, all you *need* here are the trappings that make YOU feel like you have had the wedding celebration you've missed. I can't stress that enough. You do NOT have to buy into huge pageantry and go into debt over this while still having the dream. Think simple, elegant and classic.
posted by misha at 9:19 AM on October 13, 2010

we had planned to do the same thing when our 10th "elopement anniversary" came around, but it snuck up on us so quickly that we felt we hadn't been able to give people time to make arrangements to attend (we'd already been living as expats in Japan for several years at that point, far from both of our hometowns) or to prepare the party we'd both imagined.

(or the dress I wanted to wear.)

fast forward a decade and we are now heading into our 20th year together, (which is kind of a great reason to have a party in and of itself) and we're still in Japan and have begun to talk about that "real wedding" again, but I find my priorities seem to have changed a great deal and it just doesn't seem like something terribly necessary. paying our mortgage and buying the tickets to visit all the friends and family who have yet to make the journey to Japan just seems more important at this point.

I suppose the most important thing is that you both on the same page about your decision. That's the best prescription I know for a marriage that lasts like cement without feeling like a pair of boots made out of the stuff.
posted by squasha at 9:23 AM on October 13, 2010

Don't watch Bridezillas or any wedding how-to show on cable. That's not a wedding.

It's a big party for friends and family, with a fancy dress dinner and a rockin' band (or DJ), with kids dancing and running around screaming and misbehaving and old folks thick as thieves talking about the new relations, and the adults trying to get both to behave before saying "screw it, they're playing "Proud Mary," let's all dance!", and it's just generally a good time.

That's the kind of wedding I had, and it was great. I'd been living with my wife for 4 years before we made it official - the ceremony isn't important to our relationship, but it was something my wife really wanted. I don't regret it a moment.

My wife put it together for chicken feed by being very careful to get the most bang for her buck - we checked out a zillion venues before we found one that had great food, a nice space, and was really inexpensive, we found a friend of the family who baked cakes as a side-business who was a lot less expensive than a bakery, while making a cake that was awesome and unique (chocolate raspberry!), she bought her wedding dress at a dress outlet, and it was beautiful - and it was fun for her! She got to plan and research and comparison shop and go to cake tastings and visit beautiful venues and design centerpieces she built with my Mom and aunts and her crafty-minded friends for the price of a few bottles of Riesling.

You have an extra complication of travel arrangements - but even the relatives who can't or won't make it would love to see pictures. Besides, you know the in-laws are dying to meet each other - this is a fine excuse, and who wouldn't want to spend some time in Scotland (or the US?), especially if there's a kick-ass party with a fancy dress dinner and everything planned as part of the trip...
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:18 AM on October 13, 2010

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