Arts & Entertainment
Dear Jody: Care more about our wedding!
Originally printed 10/8/2009 (Issue 1741 - Between The Lines News)
Q: "James" and I have been dating for almost two years. We have finally decided to make a commitment. We want to do it right, have a ceremony with all the trimmings. We also want it to be a destination ceremony; both of us have always dreamed of that.
We both are in our late 30s and have had other relationships. This time, we are ready to make this one our last. We have even gone through couple's counseling. Not because we were having problems, but because we wanted to make sure that we didn't have problems - or at least nip some hidden problems in the bud.
Our plan has been to have our ceremony in Hawaii and invite our friends. We decided to do it over the Christmas holidays because most people can get time off then, and we figured they'd love the warmth of Hawaii in December. The problem is that when we told some our friends of our plans, they wished us well but said that they can't afford it. I'm not sure that's true for all of them, as I know that some of them are planning other trips this year. So why can't they afford this one? Others say that they can't go because of Christmas, that they want to spend that time with their families. I find it hard to believe that they can't spend one Christmas season without their families, especially given it's in Hawaii. (One Christmas out of, say, 85?)
James and I feel like someone let the air out of our balloon. Even our best friends said that they might not be able to make it because one of them has his job on the line and is afraid to be spending money at this time. My parents said that they can come, but James' parents can't afford it. Only one sister and her husband said that they would be there, and we aren't all that close to them.
We have gone to other friends' ceremonies, even if it meant spending money that we didn't want to spend. I feel like we were really there for them, now when it's turned around, they are not there for us and our dream.
We just don't know what to do next. If we are going to do this, we need to get our plans nailed down, things arranged, invitations sent and money put down. In the last few days, we haven't even talked about our ceremony or the arrangements because it just ends up getting us both in a fight, so instead of this being a happy and fun thing, it is turning into a subject for fighting. (I guess the fighting is because we are both so stressed about it and don't know what to do next.)
Why do you think people don't understand that this is a big event for us, and that they should do what they can to be there for us, as we were for them?
A: Because something is a big deal or a dream for you and James, it doesn't mean it fits in with others' lives. They need to do what's best or prudent for them. It seems clear that people are telling you why it can't work for them - and you and James are having a hard time, for whatever reason, hearing from them, "We can't, or it won't work for us." If you have chosen in the past to spend money that you couldn't or didn't want to spend, that was your choice, but don't expect others to do the same thing. It doesn't mean they don't care for you or want the best for you.
You clearly need to make a choice here. Either have your ceremony in Hawaii, letting those who can come, come - or have your ceremony where everyone can be part of it. In essence, you'll have to decide, in this case, whether Hawaii or your friends are more important for your special day. (You can always honeymoon in Hawaii, if you decide to stay at home for the ceremony.)
Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The Dear Jody column appears weekly. Reach Jody at DearJodyValley@hotmail.com. Letters may be edited.