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...