ShareThis Page
More Lifestyles

Must a second (or third, or twelfth) wedding be an intimate affair?

| Thursday, July 19, 2018, 1:33 a.m.

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I’m engaged to a wonderful man, “Jim,” and we’re planning our wedding. We just booked a gorgeous inn and I am going to wear a stunning full-length white dress. We’ll also be having a sit-down dinner with band and dancing for the reception.

I’m in my 30s and Jim is in his 40s, and we are paying, so no one else really has any say in this, but since it’s my third wedding and his second, we’re catching a surprising amount of flak from both our families.

Is there some kind of limit to how many big weddings you’re “allowed” to have? My mom and his sisters are acting like we’re violating some unwritten rule that this wedding has to be small and intimate.

This isn’t a gift grab since we’re planning to indicate “no gifts necessary.” I asked my mom if she had doubts about me and Jim but she insists it’s the wedding, and even said, “Enough with the big weddings.” We can fully afford this nice but not too elaborate wedding, so why all the grief? Are they living in the past or have we made some kind of awful goof?

— Engaged

I’m going with “neither.” They’re not living in the past and you’re not making some awful goof.

Chances are both parties are acting on some unspoken internal doubts: They’re concerned you’ve learned nothing from Jim 1 and Jim 2 and are forging ahead as if it’s a do-over, and you’re concerned you won’t be taken seriously because you’ve been here before.

If that’s the case, then my advice is — for you, and for your family too if they’re watching — to reckon with your own stuff as needed emotionally instead of fighting a proxy war through the wedding.

By that I mean, you resolve any doubts you have about (this) marriage head-on, not through event planning; and your families reckon privately with their concerns versus channeling them through canape-carping.

If you’re confident you’re doing what’s right for you in marrying Jim, then celebrate how you want to. And feel free to say to your critics, “We’re happy. We’re celebrating. I hope you’ll join us.” No further discussion necessary.

Dear Carolyn:

Does there reach a point on the introversion scale where you’ve gone too far? I work from home and rarely see other people besides my wife. I’m finding more and more that I like it that way and don’t really want to see friends or family. I’m not depressed, I just prefer to be home alone or only with my wife. Should I challenge my introversion and go out with friends from time to time, or is being an extreme introvert OK?

— OK?

You’re treating your circumstances now as if life is permanent, which we all know it isn’t. What will you do if your wife suddenly isn’t around to serve as your only source of companionship? What if you lose your friends and family to relocation, alienation or death? What’s your Plan B?

If you don’t feel like having one, then that’s your prerogative. If I were you, though, I wouldn’t let my connections and social muscles atrophy completely. It’s so much easier to maintain them now than it is to rebuild them later.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me