Doctor Love: Beach Bride-to-Be
Sunday, May 19th, 2019
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Dear Doctor Love,
I just got engaged and my fiancé and I want to have our wedding in San Pedro on the beach, wearing crisp white linen with three close couples to join us. Instead of a reception, we’d rather bar-hop around the island and eat lobster burritos in our beach front hotel room for a week.
My family isn’t taking this news well. My mother thinks a church is the only appropriate wedding venue. Dad is devastated that he won’t get to walk me down the isle and my sister is furious because she and her husband and their four kids aren’t invited—four toddlers, to be exact.
We aren’t religious—I haven’t been in a church in twenty years and the idea of a huge wedding reception with chicken or beef just makes me want to run away.
How do I smooth this over with my family? My fiancé’s mom thinks it’s a great idea and insists on paying for our accommodations and his sister and her husband are one of the couples who will be with us in Belize. It is my family who are nursing hurt feelings.
I don’t want to cause a fight, but this is what I want to look back on in twenty-five years. It is our dream wedding, but it also marks the end of eight years of university for my fiancé and is a much-deserved vacation.
What can I say to bring my family around?
Congratulations on both your engagement and the completion of nearly a decade of higher education.
If you have presented your family with your reasons as you have here, there’s not much more you can say but give it one more try.
Take your mother out for lunch and explain it again, clearly and concisely. You’re not being mean or selfish, you’re planning your dream wedding and that dream isn’t the same as hers. If she feels she’s being left out, offer to Facetime with her and your dad for the ceremony. He may not be able to walk you down the flower strewn beach, but he can watch you say “I do” and wish you love and happiness.
Your sister may be feeling the sting of not being invited at all. Talk to her and perhaps plan a girl’s weekend at a quiet boutique hotel away from her kids, complete with massages and mud masks.
Getting married is exciting and the start of a new life together. Do the best you can to make your family happy then pack the tanning lotion and head to Belize.
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