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How many weddings are truly happy?

Started by Monroe, January 24, 2017, 09:40:20 pm

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We all know marriage is tough - but I am wondering how many weddings are actually happy affairs, or if it is typical for families of the bride and groom to be gritting their teeth to get through it? 

On the surface, all is happy and lovely, but having been behind the scenes at several weddings now it occurs to me that, while the bride and groom are happy and well-matched, for the families to get together can be a clash of cultures and expectations and hurt feelings. 

I am aware of a situation where there was room for 130 people.  The bride's family allotted ten seats for the mother of the groom to issue invitations.  The groom had a few on the primary list - but the parents of the groom were only allowed to invite ten people - while the brides parents invited dozens. 

At another wedding the mother of groom was never told when pictures would be taken.  She assumed after the ceremony - and was surprised when pictures were all over by the time she arrived. 

In another situation, the groom's friends were totally obnoxious, chanting for the groom to smash cake in the bride's face, which would have ruined her hair, dress, etc.  This deeply offended the parents of the bride - the mother of the bride was in tears for a week afterwards - so hurt that "friends" would propose such an attack. 

I am just wondering if many weddings are genuinely happy for the families, or only for the bride and groom.  I am beginning to think there is a lot of unhappiness and resentment at weddings on the part of the families - but it is all glossed over. 

What do you all think?


January 24, 2017, 10:12:19 pm #1 Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 09:37:36 am by luise.volta
To me, weddings are just mirrors. We all respond differently to pressure, spending large amounts of money, being around strangers. The list is endless. Our fortitude is tested as well as our ability to adjust, speak up and yes, shut up.
Often, we are interacting with people we don't know and don't have a working relationship with. They might even be people we wouldn't choose for friends. Considering all of the variables, probably no two weddings are alike, In retrospect, the dynamics may be more recognizable but by then, the deed is done.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


This topic reminds me how na├»ve I was regarding DS/DIL's wedding.  I thought we were joining families--DIL's large family seemed so friendly, nice and welcoming.  I actually made a little box labelled "New Family" in which to put cards and notes as keepsakes from DIL and her side of the family.  It is embarrassing now because I eventually sadly realized I didn't gain a family but lost my DS.   :(  It certainly started as a fun and joyous event. 


Oh boy, I have many old posts regarding this topic! I was naive, too. It's been almost a decade since DS/DIL wed, and not a lot has changed (except me, thanks to WWU.)

Maybe my friends w/ single DSs have learned from my experience and won't be blindsided if it happens to them. I had no clue and it was quite a shock!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb



Can only speak for myself, but when my adult children married those were some of the worst days of my life.
I'm in same boat as Pen's post explained: stunned.
Before DIL married DS, she was very friendly and inclusive of me/DH.
Soon after wedding, she morphed into cold, aloof and distant human being. No clue why.
Admittedly, I was anxious months before the wedding and at the ceremony, since I knew my relationship with DS would change and didn't know what to expect. Now on the other side of it all, it's worse than expected.
I didn't want DS to go through life alone and am thankful that he now has a wife and family, as they seem happy. It just doesn't include me. sniff..
I do believe her family was happy about the wedding as they seemed to enjoy the occasion.
DIL's FOO all still gather frequently for fellowship and fun; after all, they did get a great addition to their family. I would be happy, too.
Sorry if this has bitter undertones -- I'm still working on that.


Bitter undertones are honest, S. Truth telling is healthy. You haven't made your life about it...that's inspiring. Hugs!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Luise, you are well-loved by so many on this forum, including me!
Wished you lived in the southern US and I could visit you in person!

Hugs back


Shiny and Pen - -

I know you have had issues with your DILs.  Did those issues arise only after the wedding?   Or were you on alert before the ceremony?

And even if you were happy about the union, did things happen at the wedding to spoil the day for you?  My question is really about the wedding day - not so much the relationship afterwards. 

Of course hard feelings at the wedding often carry over into relationship difficulties later.  Even if  you are delighted with your child's choice of a life partner, sometimes friction between your family's culture and traditions and the new in-law family's traditions are enough to put people on edge - even if they are very happy with the spouse their child has chosen. 

i've just decided that weddings are way overdone and ridiculous.   Even if the bride is not a Bridezilla - sometimes the groom's family can be rude and demanding - and don't get me started on the rudeness of guests.   Luise would have to start a new category for issues with drunk, obnoxious groomsmen at weddings. 


Interesting, M. It seems to be a cultural swing. A kind of competitive variety of entertainment? The grandest  wedding in my family was staged in the mountains of Vermont. Two large Bed and Breakfasts were rented in their entirety and paid in full in advance for those of us that came from afar, one for the young and one for those of us from other generations. The festivities started on Wednesday when people started arriving and ended on Sunday when the last of us departed. A banquet every night for a different reason and after the wedding on Saturday, a umpteen course meal in a huge white tent on an even huger estate. The bride, my husband's grand niece, was a direct descendent of J. P. Morgan and the groom was the nephew of a hugely popular movie star. The marriage lasted 10 months. That was 27 years ago. Now we read of Hollywood extravaganzas that would make that look hokey. If there is a point...I simply don't get it. So no words of wisdom here...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


My DS's wedding was an ordeal that I had to endure.  There were people there who saw it as a happy event but I could only see my DS saddling himself with an obligation to a person who obviously enjoyed being sick and bragged about it and who was usually too sick to be any help whenever anything went wrong.  Time has unfortunately proved me to be right and now there are two GC involved.  Anyway my point started out to be about the insight we bring into a wedding.  The feelings I have about weddings are not as warm and fuzzy as they once were. 

Of course there is always the old saying:

"A son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life"

I have thought long and hard about this saying and it honestly makes sense.  We raise our sons to stand on their own two feet and instill in them the thought that it is unmanly to ask for help or advice, but our daughters are never made to feel wanting if they ask for advice or help.  So when they get married the DD will ask for help but the DS won't and the couple will grow closer to the female's FOO.  This is something I should have been prepared for but it took me totally by surprise.  I was so close to my DS that I thought we would avoid that trap and when I found myself falling into and tried to stop I was accused of having separation issues and empty nest syndrome.  The pain of that time was the worst I have ever endured including losing my father, mother and one brother.  The fortunate part is that I will not be taken unaware when my youngest son gets married. 
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown



I was "on alert" even during their dating season.  :)

Our issues arose not because of cultural/tradition differences, but because DIL and her DM don't want anyone else in their little circle. They're still playing seventh grade games.

I agree with you and Luise that weddings have gotten way out of hand and such a waste of money.
Why spend extravagantly to impress people you don't know, don't like and probably won't see again?
My grandparents had a simple family ceremony where they lived in the country, and remained married for sixty-seven years before one of them passed.

Still-learning, I ditto your comments -- with an exception: I have no more younger sons!
Thank goodness.


My younger son and his lady have passed on marriage. And they have been together for 17 years! Go figure...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


M, I had no idea before the wedding. We were excited and happy for DS as well as looking forward to family events and celebrations. In hindsight there were little signs as the big day grew near, but I assumed it was pre-wedding stress, Bridezilla stuff. I was stunned to find out we were hated by DIL & her parents.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb