A tale of two hills.

Weddings are one of those things where everyone has an opinion, am I right? Better yet, everyone has to share their opinions, solicited or not. For the most part, it’s pretty easy to tune out the peanut gallery. But sometimes, the people you love the most happen to be the people you disagree with the most.

At some point, you need to ask yourself if it’s a hill worth dying on. It’s a metaphorical question, Bees. In other words, choose your battles. Sometimes, it’s worth pushing your side; sometimes, you’re better off letting the other person win.

For the most part, my wedding planning has been smooth sailing. I’ve been fortunate to have extremely supportive, drama-free families – both mine and Stallion’s – and friends. But I’ve had a few bumps along the way, and I’m hoping I can illustrate for you how I decided which hills were worth dying on and which were not.

First, a story in which I caved:

My mother is absolutely wonderful. I adore her. But she is one of the chattiest people in the entire freaking world. Neighbors, friends, waiters, cashiers, random passers-by – Mama Filly’s gift of gab escapes no one. So I thought that our receiving line – more on that to come – it would be most efficient to have just Stallion and I, and our parents could do table visits. This way, our guests can get to cocktail hour quickly, and Mama Filly can have all the time in the world to talk everyone’s ears off. Mama Filly? Was not pleased to hear this.

We had a bit of banter back and forth on the subject, and then she dropped her big argument on me: “But I won’t be able to sit and enjoy my dinner!” Point: Mama Filly. She was right; who was I to make her spend dinner time wandering from table to table? The whole reason I wanted to do a receiving line in the first place was so that I could eat my dinner in relative peace; it wasn’t fair to subject our parents to table visits if that’s not what they wanted to do.

This hill: not worth dying on. Why? Whether or not our parents were in the receiving line affected me very little, but it affected their evenings quite a bit. If it takes an extra fifteen minutes to get through the line because of Mama Filly’s motor mouth, it’s not a big deal. (Love you, Mom!)

Now, a story in which I stood my ground:

My future in-laws are wonderful, and I adore them. They are practicing Catholics, and I am not. Stallion and I have had the religion conversation plenty of times – I can’t speak to his exact religious convictions, but he’s not a church-goer and he respects where I stand on the matter – and we knew that a church wedding was not for us. Stallion’s parents asked us to reconsider, but at the end of the day, we are sticking to our guns and having a simple civil wedding ceremony.

The Stallions’ major argument was that if we don’t have the church wedding now, we’ll regret it later. Which is a valid point; there are endless posts on the boards about various wedding-related regrets. But you know what we would regret more? Going through pre-cana, having a wedding Mass, and committing ourselves/our future family to the Catholic faith when it’s not something we believe in. I may not be religious myself, but I have all the respect in the world for other people’s religions, and to have a Catholic wedding for the sole purpose of pleasing other people, despite my own lack of religious conviction, feels awfully disingenous. Should we turn to Catholicism later in life, there’s always convalidation. Otherwise, we’re happy as is.

This hill: so worth dying on. Whether or not we have a church wedding affects Stallion and me. No one else. Sure, people might disagree with our decision, but it ultimately has no impact on anyone but us. And sure enough, the Stallions understand that and they respect our decision as adults. (In hindsight, using these two specific stories as examples here could look like I’m setting the scene for in-laws drama, but that couldn’t be further from the case – if the shoe was on the other foot, and I had super-religious parents and an incredibly chatty future mother-in-law, the outcomes would be exactly the same!)

So when you’re faced with potential conflicts, here are some things to think about:

  • Who is really affected here? You pick out $500 gowns for your bridesmaids to wear. One expresses concern that she can’t swing that much money. If you say that this impacts you because these dresses will look the best in pictures, CHECK YOURSELF. At the end of the day, you’re not spending the money and you’re not wearing the dress, so maybe you should consider reevaluating your options.
  • Down the line, will you actually remember what the conflict was about? Your weirdo cousin wants to wear a Hawaiian shirt and jorts to your black-tie wedding. You could launch an angry tirade and end up with an estranged family member or two as a result, or you could let it roll off your back. So you’ll have a few pictures of an out-of-place schmuck. In ten years, will you even remember that this was an issue?
  • Where are your priorities? Is it worth making your guests stand for your ceremony just so you can have it in the most picturesque location that’s ever existed? If so, do you really, really need to include three readings, a sand ceremony, and a laundry list of self-penned vows?
  • Is this hill worth dying on? The examples I listed above were pretty extreme, granted, but at the end of the day, you’re the only one who can decide if a certain issue is worth standing your ground over. If something means that much to you – for me, it was not having a church wedding – then it’s worth all the arguments that may or may not come along with it.

Okay, this post got a little serious. Let’s lighten the mood a little.

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Gratuitous Sunny GIF. (via GIFBAY)

What conflicts did you encounter in the planning process? How did you deal with them?

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