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We want a small wedding, our parents want a big wedding...

My fiance and I just got engaged about a month ago and we are already under wedding pressure from our families.  We are both students, who met in undergrad.  I am currently in my first year of veterinary school and my fiance is in his second year of medical school.  We are both out-of-state students in two different states about a 4 hours drive apart.  We got engaged now b/c we wanted to make the commitment, but plan to get married when we complete school.  The problem is that we do not want to have a large wedding, one of the main reasons being that we will be completely broke.  Right now we are approximately $100,000 in debt each from school loans, and estimate our total when we are both finished to be around $400,000.  We do not plan to have much money to spend on a wedding and are perfectly happy have a very small ceremony with just our immediate families and maybe a few close friends at bed and breakfast or something w/in our home state.  However, both sides of parents are completely unhappy w/ this idea.  They want a large wedding that includes all of the family as a minimum.  We both come from large families, and based on the people they are currently demanding we are estimating a wedding of 150-200, not including any of our friends.  We don't foresee being able to pay for something like this.  Nor do we want to plan a wedding like this.  My fiance will be in a residency, and I am contemplating one after vet school as well.  We have no idea what states those will be in or if we will be able to live in the same states.  Our family feels that it will still somehow be possible for us to plan it.  They keep telling us that you will make time for it.  Both of our families have also started talking about paying for things.  But my family has been hit hard by the economy and I know they can't afford it.  They talk about possibly losing the house and yet they still want to pay for a wedding.  I got angry and said that if they could somehow miraculously come up w/ money for a wedding then they should have been able to help pay for my undergrad.  I would rather have my degree than a wedding.  They told me that the wedding was for the family and a degree isn't for the family. 
We both don't want to accept family money b/c we don't want them to be able to control everything.  Also, we don't want to owe anyone anything.  My parents have also said that you make a lot of money back on gifts.  I don't feel that it is a smart economic plan to try to break even on a wedding.  I honestly don't think that this is really possible anymore w/ how expensive things are.  Also, I am so sick of how many family members who automatically assume that you walk out of medical school or vet school making over $100,000 a year b/c that is not the case.

Sorry to keep complaining, I am just beyond frustrated w/ our families.  We just want something small and simple b/c we just look at it as one day in the rest of our lives together.  We want it to be romantic and special, but don't feel that requires a lot of money or people there.  Truthfully, if we were handed money w/ no strings attached we still wouldn't want a big wedding.  We both just are not ok w/ spending that much money on one day.  We would rather put a down payment on a house or pay-down our debt, things that are more important than a wedding to us.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation and have ideas on how to deal w/ the families?  I really don't want to elope b/c I would like my dad to walk me down the isle and for my mom to be there, but it is looking better and better...

Re: We want a small wedding, our parents want a big wedding...

  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    My advice for right now, if the topic comes up just say "Well the wedding isn't for a few years so we'll worry about that when the time comes"

    When you are closer you are just going to have to stand your ground.


    stewykins432
  • In Response to Re: We want a small wedding, our parents want a big wedding...:
    [QUOTE]My advice for right now, if the topic comes up just say "Well the wedding isn't for a few years so we'll worry about that when the time comes" When you are closer you are just going to have to stand your ground.
    Posted by bethsmiles[/QUOTE]

    This....
    My baby girl is a married woman...and now my baby girl HAS a baby girl. Time unfolds in such an amazing way. I've been blessed!
  • Agree with Muffin'sMom and Beth. Don't fight this battle right now. 
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  • god, paragraphs...

    don't stress about this right now... ulimtately, if you do accept any money from them, they do get a say in how it is used...
  • peekaboo2011peekaboo2011 Washington, DC member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    Relax for now.  You don't need to worry about this until you're closer.  Just enjoy where you are right now.  If you aren't planning on getting married for a couple years because of school and distance, it's a non issue.

    When the time comes, however, I'm echoing SteveandKris - if your parents give money and you accept, they get to tell you how it's used.  End of story.  If you don't want them to have that, then don't accept money.
    I french with my man
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    stewykins432
  • I get everyones' comments that it doesn't matter now b/c we don't plan to be married for a while.  The problem is that since we aren't around much, the families have mentioned starting to make plans this summer.  I have an internship back home this summer and I have already been told that we should come up with a guest list so that we can start looking at things like food, etc.  Some members have even expressed starting to go dress shopping.  So while, I would like to just push it off, I really can't.
  • If you absolutely have to discuss this with them now, you essentially have two options, which PP outlined already:

    1.)  You accept the money from your family and do what they want.
    2.)  You do not accept the money from your family and have the wedding YOU want.

    After all, the wedding should be for YOU and not your family.  You decide how you want to handle it and who you want to have a say in it.  As someone on TK said before, "No pay, no say,"  and I completely agree.
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  • (I didn't read your massive wall of text...)

    Is there a reason you want a small wedding? And is there a reason your parents want a big wedding? Why don't you all sit down and talk about it like adults?
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  • In Response to Re: We want a small wedding, our parents want a big wedding...:
    [QUOTE](I didn't read your massive wall of text...) Is there a reason you want a small wedding? And is there a reason your parents want a big wedding? Why don't you all sit down and talk about it like adults?
    Posted by mrandmrsbrist[/QUOTE]
    Then why did you reply? She explains this, and I happen to know that not all parents act "like adults" in some matters.
    In other news, I agree with PP's that you can afford to delay this conversation for years. Perhaps your parents' financial situation will improve sufficiently for you to be ok with them paying for and having more say in the wedding itself, including having a larger wedding.
    I know it is difficult sometimes to stand up to one's parents without having a rift in the relatiohship, so I wish you the best of luck!
  • I know what you mean here, families tend to push ideas on you sometimes. Start standing up for what you and your fiance want. You don't have to be rude, just tell them a big wedding isn't what you want and it won't make you happy. Tell them while you appreciate their thoughts, you are going to put on the wedding of your dreams. If you are paying, you play by your rules, plain and simple!
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