A reader writes:
"My fiance's parents want to wait 2 years for the wedding. They are paying for it, and just threw their other daughter a wedding, so I understand that money is tight. I am not in a position to contribute, but my parents have offered to help out.
Both my fiance and I think 2 years is too long, but we don't know how to convince them otherwise. We don't want a huge wedding (150 Max) and have stressed this to them, thinking this would cut down on costs. It seems to me that they think everything has to be the same as my fiancée's sister, yet we don't feel that way. Is there anyway to try and convince them that this wedding can still be nice if done sooner?"
A lot going on here. First off, we wouldn't be our no-bullshit, truth-telling selves if we didn't ask you an uncomfortable question. About that two years thing... no disrespect, but are you sure it's about the money, or is there a chance they're wondering if you'll still, you know, be in the picture? Just something to think about.
Assuming it's about the money, though, here are 3 things you can do, one simple, one a pain in the ass, and one dramatic:
Have your fiancée be more explicit that she does not want your sister's wedding. In all likelihood, her parents' hearts are in the right place. They just want their baby girl to be happy. Ironically, what they think she wants has nothing to do with what she actually wants. She needs to be more abundantly clear. Get to the heart of it. Something to the effect of, "My sister's wedding was beautiful, and it's just what she wanted, and I'm happy for her. And I really, really appreciate that you want to throw me a wonderful wedding that will make me happy. But the kind of wedding my sister had isn't what I am looking forward to, and the wedding I'd really love is _______." This might not be a silver bullet, but it could help nudge their psychology.
Pain in the Ass
Bring them some solutions. It's easy to say, "Let's do the wedding cheaper!" in the abstract. However, if you do your homework and bring them some specific, concrete ways to reduce costs, then that's a more compelling argument. Examples: scout a venue that's not traditionally wedding-ish but will do just fine with enough white linen. Get some ideas in our Slashing Costs in the Recession article.
Fair warning: there's a 17% chance this will get you beaten to a pulp by her father. And a 26% chance that your fiancée will slap you in the face. Still reading? Think about eloping. No, this won't make her parents happy. And not all girls will go for this. But depending on what your fiancée is like, potentially, you could elope now, and then have a blow-out celebration 2 years from now (if money is truly the concern.) A high-risk maneuver but not impossible.
Hope that helps. Oh, and one more thing. Here's another crazy, crazy idea: just wait. You'll have the next 70 years to be married, what's so wretched about waiting 2?