cross-posted in wedding woes and Catholic weddings
I'll be the first to admit I've done a lot of things wrong in this process...I'm looking for third-party advice on what the least-bad course of action might be.
I'm an 'accidental' PPD. The 'real' wedding is Sept 6, the one everyone knows about is Sept 13. Why don't they know about the other one? Lots of issues with the Catholic Church and annulments. According to the Church we're not really even supposed to talk about how/why we're able to get married while the process is still underway. But suffice to say that we can only be married by the priest we've been working with, in a state where almost none of our relatives live (it's where my FI had lived, then he lost his job and moved away, which had been our long-term plans anyhow). We haven't told many people about this, between the attitude of the Church, the discomfort of bringing up my FI's previous marriage, and not wanting to make others feel 1) that we didn't want them at the real wedding or 2) obligated to come to somewhere so far away. And, we had already made plans for a Sept 13 ceremony (and others had done so as well). It will be a renewal of the vows but is intended look/feel like a regular wedding.
My FI and I are okay with it really...we put it in terms of, if we went to a wedding and found out later that the couple had been married already, how would we feel? And both of us would have wondered what the situation was, but shrugged it off. If we like the couple enough to go, we like them enough to not care how they planned things. Not the best course of actions perhaps, but we did what we thought was right, and for months and months weren't even sure ourselves what would/could happen because the Tribunal was being so unhelpful. We can't take that back. But now, my mom is upset at how we've handled the situation (since we made her lie, she feels, by not telling people). Trying to explain now is near impossible (without a going-into-the-details explanation of what/why/how, which seems inappropriate). But, people will learn sooner or later.
I had been unsure about having a big wedding all along, but I did want to celebrate with family, and I didn't want to regret not having one later. Secondarily, there'd be questions/judgments from friends and family, and I worry about hurting others by not including them. I know now that I should've gone with my gut. The stress from wedding planning - I'm not a big party or attention-lover - has been stressful, the guest list decisions were traumatic, it's expensive, and my relationship with my mom will never be the same. I feel guilty that my parents are paying for an ordeal that I don't want and about which I can't stand to think anymore.
We had never wanted gifts or money, we signed up for no registries, and spread the word that we did not want anything. (Not because it's not a real wedding, but we both have everything we need and the wedding day is, to us, about celebrating with friends.) Then I heard about some letter that my aunt (mom's twin, but doesn't know about the situation) sent to all the invitees, I assume asking for gifts or money or something. I really don't want people to feel like they have to give something on principle, but especially if it then comes out that it's not a real wedding.
So, I've already sinned, and I accept any and all judgment and criticism. I should not have planned the PPD all along - or at least should have had the invites read that it's a renewal of the vows, not a wedding. Now what?
Can --should-- we call off the PPD now? Or just go through with it? People have made reservations and bought tickets.
Make a general announcement? We can't reliably contact everyone prior via email or phone to do so beforehand.
Regarding the presumed gift collection/whatever it is - despite two guests accidentally giving a bit of a slip, I've not told anyone I know. Should I address this with the aunt, parents, anyone? Refuse to accept anything given?