Coping When Neither The Candlesticks Nor The Happy Couple Dance With Joy At Your Being Their Guest

I posted recently about my hero, Lumiere the candlestick from ‘Beauty and the Beast’, who choreographs elaborate musical numbers to honor his guests. My point was that at its core, the point of party you’re throwing is celebrating with guests, if they are unhappy, something has gone wrong.

Alas, not all couples have gotten the memo.  Amy Dickinson, brilliant syndicated advice columnist and another (non-animated) hero of mine, addressed the issue of dealing with the fallout in her column today.  I repost her wise response to this worried MOB from the Toronto Sun.

Groomzilla plans wedding no one can attend

Amy Dickinson, Advice Guru My Little Flower Shop

Amy Dickinson, Advice Guru and a personal hero

 

   By ,QMI Agency

First posted: | Updated:

DEAR AMY: How can our family move forward from the mess of an overplanned, underattended wedding in Europe? The groom (in his mid-30s) has planned everything and excluded me, mother of the bride, from any of the plans. The bride’s siblings can’t afford (or can’t get vacation days from work) to attend.

Tuxedo Shirt 6-10-08 -- IMG_0638

Involved grooms are a good thing – don’t overgeneralize!

Yesterday, the groom called our son and offered to fly him to Europe for the wedding but made no such offer for the bride’s sisters. Of 200 invited guests, only 40 are expected to attend — no aunts, uncles or cousins. As the bride’s parents, we gave a fixed sum of money for the wedding but now, due to the small gathering expected, the couple will be making money on the deal.

Yesterday, the groom announced that the one family friend who can attend is not invited to the rehearsal dinner, after traveling 6,000 miles. A destination wedding sounds, at first, like a good idea, but when the day nears, it feels exclusionary, hollow and pretentious. As the mother of the bride, I am filled with sadness.

The couple has been engaged for two years, and we feel so burdened by the build-up, the bad decisions, the exclusions, waste and self-centredness of this event. How do families recover from this? I can’t see these relationships ever going back to normal.

I love my daughter very much, but I believe the consequences of this wedding will be the unravelling of our family. Is there any hope? — Heartbroken

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You aptly describe the challenges when couples pour all of their attention into trying to create a fantasy day while causing real-world problems. Often these couples return home after their fantasy weddings seriously let down by the reality of marriage and family.

You and your husband should meet with the couple. Do not pile on and accuse them of creating a hollow and pretentious event, but do ask that they commit some of the money you contributed to helping family members attend the wedding.

Otherwise you should accept that this is not what you would have planned and not what you want (and perhaps not what the couple wants at this point, either). If your daughter is completely dominated by a “groomzilla” who is demanding and disrespectful, she is going to need your support moving forward. You may also have to accept that you and she have very different values.

Though this event might rend the fabric of your family, don’t make the mistake of assuming it will unravel.

My Little Marital Bliss Shop: Never Stop Dating

Cadillac CTS Coupé Concept

Cadillac CTS Coupé Concept (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who’s dating your man? It had better be you honey boo boo child, before, during AND after the wedding.  He was beguiled by your charm and fun personality, and fell in love on dates with you. Keep the initial spark alive by still going out regularly- and I don’t mean some kind of obligatory once-a-week dinner that you drag yourselves through. Snooze fest. Think about what you really enjoy doing together, or separately, and have some adventures! You can go as far as a weekend get-away, or stay as close as your own kitchen, but be creative.

Recently I told my husband we were going on a mystery outing. He had no idea where, but loved trying to guess!  He’d been talking for the last few weeks about wanting to test-drive a Cadillac CTS Coupe, so I had found a local dealer, and we went on a “Sunday Drive” to go take a look.  He was very surprised that I would even come up with such a thing, and was thrilled to pieces. The date was a hit because it was something he was really into, and it warmed his heart that I had been listening.

If your imagination is running a little slow these days, The Dating Divas have a website chock full of ideas to spice things up. (No, not that way. Get your mind out of the gutter). They have themed dates, bargain dates, at-home dates for after the kids go to bed… you get the idea.  So go out and get dating!

Be well, and love well.

Dinah

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The Not So Accidental Tourist

My Little Flower Shop LOVES tourists.  We rejoice when we see families consulting maps, large groups of people wearing matching visors, or most importantly, a “tourist” bride coming to have her destination wedding in Palm Springs.  We are also big advocates of being unashamed of tourist-y behavior while travelling.  See the sights! Take pictures! Consult your maps!

So this summer, why not be a tourist at home? I’ll bet you dollars to donuts there are attractions or historic sites nearby that you either have never seen, or not visited in 10+ years.  Goodness knows here in Southern California it would take a lifetime to do all the possible day trips.

One of our beautiful brides, Stephanie Orson, at her wedding venue /local sight to see: the lavender fields. (Highland Springs Resort, photo by Alan Gough)

Even if you can’t leave your city, town or neighborhood, investigate a little.  Find the tourist office for your city, and see what the “highlights” are.  You’ll be surprised what you’ve been missing all these years.  Architectural gems,  birthplaces of interesting people…there’s a lot out there.

What are you waiting for? Dust off your matching visors and head out on a homegrown adventure.

Live well, and love well.

-Dinah

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