Wedding Date Rivalry

by admin on June 22, 2010

This is a tale about accidental wedding rivalry.

My fiancé and I had settled on a date to tie the knot a little over a year in advance, and began the ordeal of wedding planning, locking down venues and vendors, etc. Meanwhile, my cousin (let’s call her Carol) meets a wonderful man, and announces her engagement and intent to marry the following year as well. I figure, it’s a pretty big year, and the weddings will surely be far apart. As we see each other every holiday, she and I talk about wedding planning, share anecdotes, etc.

A few months later, Carol calls me to ask what our wedding date is again. I tell her the date, thinking little of it. She then calls me the next day with her “wonderful plan.” We both have an aunt, Trudy, who lives with her husband, Trent on another continent. Carol’s wonderful plan is this: she should have her wedding a few days before mine! If we’re having back to back weddings, then we can have Aunt Trudy come to both weddings! Yay! Her mom, Trudy’s sister, also thinks this is a magical idea! And hey, maybe we can plan together and have thematically similar weddings!

Flabbergasted, I tell her I’ll have to think about it. I call my mom, to tell her about this odd new turn of events. Trudy is her favorite sister, and of course she wants her at my wedding too, so she thinks this is a fantastic idea. I’m sorta wierded out by it, for reasons I will elaborate later.

My family is big on phone trees. Having to still process this idea, I call all my three sisters and a few in-laws to discuss (yeah, I have a big family). My sisters are all outraged, from two declaring that Carol is “stealing my thunder” to my eldest sister who thinks I am entitled to be married first as I was engaged first. I don’t really care about not being the focus of attention. What I do find odd is:

  1. If our weddings are back to back, then all of our relatives (as I mentioned, big family) will either have to make the commitment to schlep to both weddings, or pick one, or go to neither if they can’t take the time off. Everyone excepting Aunt Trudy lives in the same state, a few hours apart. Imagine having to drive to one location for a few hours to attend a wedding, then have to do it again a week later for another wedding. Weird.
  2. Why would Carol base her wedding planning Aunt Trudy and me? Granted, I love my aunt but the reasons my fiancé and I picked our date were about us. We’re getting married, not Trudy. If she can’t make it, that’s ok. Furthermore, I’m selfish enough to plan my wedding around my fiancé and me, can’t Carol have enough spine to plan her own event?
  3. Gifts. Yes, I said it. While I don’t necessarily expect gifts I know my kind and loving family will want to give us things. If the weddings are indeed right next to each other, it might put a financial strain on our relatives.
  4. My cousin and I do not share the same tastes at all. There will be no “thematically similar wedding.”

After deciding that I thought it was odd to do a double wedding just to have our aunt in attendance, I called back all involved parties and explained that I just wasn’t comfortable with having the weddings that close together. The solution? My cousin grudgingly agreed to a two-week interim. Woo.

I know this is maybe a tale about my cousin being too considerate, but I still thought it was bizarre! The end result is that Aunt Trudy ended up coming to both weddings anyway. And, after knowing the date of my wedding (and basing her wedding on my date) she didn’t even come! Unfortunately for my poor cousin, since the ceremonies were still pretty close together, my relatives liberally compared the two, hers was “nice” – mine declared one of the best parties they had ever been to.  0607-10

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Bint June 22, 2010 at 5:23 am

Well, it’s odd but it’s not mean-spirited or anything bad -simply a little misguided.

The gleeful comparison at the end is pretty spiteful though. I wonder what those same guests said to Carol’s face?


Mom June 22, 2010 at 6:00 am

I don’t see an etiquette breach here. I can understand your reluctance to have ‘thematically similar’ weddings, but, as you say, couples can choose whatever date they’d like – and your cousin chose one close to yours (as did mine – no big deal). You’re kind to worry about the financial burden on your family, but that’s really for them to worry about.


NotCinderell June 22, 2010 at 7:09 am

For someone who claims not to care about these things, you really appear to care about these things. I believe that your cousin, while maybe going about things a little hamfistedly, probably meant well. You, on the other hand, do not bother to hide your smugness when mentioning that your relatives thought your wedding was a better party than hers. Let’s hope you’re not going to try to compete on who has the happier marriage.


josie June 22, 2010 at 7:39 am

I went to weddings a couple years ago that were a week apart and it was cousins….there was a big family reunion happening with lots of relatives around, so the one cousin just planned hers a week before the one who had the date first. The colors/food/everything was different enough that it wasn’t an issue. Yeah, I personally would of been a bit miffed if I were the one with the date first, but we don’t “own” the calendar. Why would she want to do similiar themes…that was rather weird, unless she was wanting to share decorations or something. In reality, it shouldn’t be a competition.


padua June 22, 2010 at 7:52 am

i understand the OP’s concern re: sharing a similar wedding date. but of course it’s about wanting attention. my brother decided to get married a week before me for the same reason- we have a handful of guests we share in common, all of whom we wanted to attend both our weddings. as we live on opposite sides of the country, i didn’t know if i’d even be able to make it out to his if we didn’t have our weddings close together (as i was planning on having my wedding in the same area as his). i don’t know if i’d feel the same way about a cousin, b/c perhaps the OP isn’t close to her cousin, and i certainly don’t think the idea is conventional, but i can see why reactions are mixed with some people thinking it a great idea and some people being irate.
as for the OP’s reasons (since being the center of attention is NOT one)
1. people will come to a wedding regardless of how close it is to another’s if they’re close to you and want to go. a few hours on a couple of saturdays isn’t that horrific, and i doubt it would keep away people who really care about you.
2. i don’t think this is a fair statement. i think (as my brother did) carol may have genuinely wanted trudy to be there, and she was trying to make it easier. thoughtless, maybe, but if she didn’t throw a temper tantrum after you told her you didn’t like the idea, i think she may have realized it just wasn’t the best idea. from what i can see, she went to you first with the idea. it’s not as if she called the phone tree before clearing it with you. i don’t think this makes her spineless as much as trying to be considerate. maybe your shouldn’t have called everyone until you could have talked it out with her, first.
3. gifts. seriously? they’d be paying for two gifts that year anyway. people will give you what they can afford. i don’t think they’re going to begrudge you or your cousin and say “i can’t believe i’m forced to buy two gifts this month.” i think i heard somewhere that people have up to a year to give wedding gifts. am i off-base with that?
4. i wouldn’t want a similarly themed wedding also, but you’ve in no way implied she was unreasonably expecting you to submit to her ideas. it sounds like she offered it as a helpful suggestion, and she was trying to be considerate. thus i don’t think it fair you talked about this with all your other family members until you spoke to her about it and see if she couldn’t be reasoned with, and i don’t think the parting shot about people saying yours is the nicest party fair either.


auntmeegs June 22, 2010 at 9:13 am

Yeah, sure, nobody owns the calendar and that technically couples can choose whatever date they want, but I do, and always will, think it’s extremely obnoxious to pick a date that is within a few days or a week of a close relative or friend, unless there is a major reason why you absolutely MUST have your wedding on that date. And why is that the second person always seems to pick a date BEFORE the person who first announced their date?


Amy June 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

The only weirdness I see is wanting to have thematically similar weddings.. that’s a little odd, but still not rude. I suspect that despite OP’s protests, it was about her not being the focus of attention.. especially with the smug parting shot about her wedding being a better party.
I think it would have been very considerate to plan your two weddings closer together, so that Aunt Trudy could have saved what was undoubtedly hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in airfare, and had to fly intercontinental flights four times in a two week span.
I also don’t believe #3.. I think the OP was afraid that her gift would be less if the relatives had to pay for two gifts in such a short time.


jenna June 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

“People will come to a wedding regardless of how close it is to another’s if they’re close to you and want to go. a few hours on a couple of saturdays isn’t that horrific, and i doubt it would keep away people who really care about you.”

Padua, I have to say, while I agree with most of your post, I can’t be silent on this. It is an utter fallacy that if people want to be at a wedding (or other event) badly enough, that they’ll make it happen regardless. It makes me both upset and sad that this myth is perpetuated.

I have recently gotten over a fair bit of pain because all four of my best local friends (ie not expats – the expat friends are attending) in the country I call home have sent their regrets to our wedding back in the USA (I am based in Asia but getting married near my hometown in the near future). Two of the four promised they’d come. One even agreed to give a reading. Then airfare prices, the insane US visa system (really, it needs reform. BADLY) and unreasonable bosses got in the way and not even those two can make it. They really want to…but they can’t. And while I am not personally affronted or insulted by this, I do feel…well, pain. It just breaks my heart. They are such a huge part of my life. My fiance’s life too. We are each others’ cheering squad, sounding board and cultural exhange partners in addition to being friends.

So it really bothers me – like a spear to the gut – to hear “if they really want to be there they’ll find a way to attend”. GRRR. No! Can we please let this myth go?


karmabottle June 22, 2010 at 10:35 am

Sorry, OP, but I’m not feeling your pain. Weddings are about starting a life together, not scheduling.

It truly doesn’t matter to the world when you or your cousin marries. The dates are mostly irrelevant in that people will come or they won’t come based on the strength of their relationship to the two of you respectively.

It really weirds me out when brides are quirky about people being married close in date to them. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the whole “stealing my thunder”, “taking attention away from my day” ,or “mine was set first” mentality. Honestly, those attitudes make me uncomfortable. The only odd thing about this scenario is the passing suggestion that you and she might discuss a similar theme. Even that is probably her effort to just have someone to get excited with.

Do I speak from experience? Yes, actually. When my spouse and I got engaged, we set a June date, six months out. My SIL and BIL got engaged a month after us, and set their wedding date for two weeks before us. Everyone got married, everyone is still married, and eleven years have passed.

It truly doesn’t matter.


SHOEGAL June 22, 2010 at 10:38 am

Well – there is something to be said about dreaming about your own special day for so long and enjoying a brief moment in the sun – nothing wrong with that – you want for once to be the bride and enjoy being the center of attention. When someone else swoops in and starts planning her wedding a week ahead of yours – I, for one, would be a little miffed. It steals your thunder. True – it is certainly not the end of the world and I really believe it won’t make much difference to most people to attend back to back weddings and to put out for two gifts in a short period of time (might make it easier – go out and buy both at one time) and it does make it a little more convenient for Trundy. I think that perhaps the cousin had her heart set on the earlier date and wanted to present it like it was a good thing for Trundy – so it was good for everyone since Trudy could be there. She went to far suggesting that the weddings be similiar – I am at a loss to see what that achieves. Maybe saving money on the same centerpieces?

However – this arrangement, unfortunately, DOES promote comparisons, in my opinion – and people will talk. I believe that the cousin probably had similiar comments about her having the better wedding.


gingertwinge June 22, 2010 at 10:41 am

The last statements about who had the biggest party is exactly the problem I see with weddings today –it’s all about who is having the biggest, best, blowout clearance-end-of-season par-tay instead of what a wedding is all about –a celebration of the committment of two people, and as such, who cares about themes, decorations, colors, etc??.


Shayna June 22, 2010 at 11:51 am

I think a lot of the problem stems from the importance placed on the *ceremony* itself rather than the wedding day. I was a bride. But I get tired of hearing people talk about “the bride’s day”. No, it’s not. It’s the groom’s day, too. Scratch that. It’s just a *day*. What comes after is of much more importance than the day itself. My wedding day was such a small part of my marriage, so small, in fact, that it doesn’t even register to me on most days. What is important is the nearly seven years since that my husband and I have had to work to keep our relationship together.

My husband and I have gone through so much. We’ve had to work through his disability, a near separation, work and employment issues, the failing of a business leading to near financial ruin, returning to school, etc. To place such high importance on one day almost takes away from all the work and tears that we had to put into making the seven years following it worth it.

I say who cares who gets married on such-and-such a day. Let it go. It doesn’t matter.


NotCinderell June 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Shoegal, I beg to differ. I think there is something very wrong with thinking of a wedding as a bride’s day to be the center of attention. In fact, I think that the whole marketing machine that says a wedding is, first and foremost, a woman’s opportunity to be queen for a day, while people fawn over her with adoration, do her bidding, and strew flower petals in front of her so that she may not have to tread on bare ground, is the epitome of what’s wrong with weddings in the US, and is what causes Bridezilla culture. A wedding is the ceremony wherein two people (not just a bride…the groom is just as important) commit to be married and embark on their lives as a new family. If your cousin does it two weeks before you do, that will not detract from your being married at the end of the day.


Original Poster June 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Alas, I realize I was smug. Mea culpa. I guess I rightfully deserve a pitchfork for cattiness 🙂
I know that with planning, I don’t have any right to own a whole month. Like the Carrie Bradshaw points out, you get A DAY. Not a week, not a month, but one day. I guess what I was trying to point out (and seeking to validate my feelings) was that it was odd behavior for Carol to call me and say, “I need to know your date again so I can set my date for a week before your date for Aunt Trudy.”


The Voice of Reason June 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I for one can’t believe you didn’t issue a 30-day moratorium (prior to and afterward!) on other weddings. Your wedding is YOUR big day, and those other, less spectacular brides need to give you your space.


Calliope June 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I just don’t understand the “stealing thunder” thing at all, in relation to this story or any other. It’s not as though the cousin wanted to have a double wedding, on the same day. A bride is certainly going to be the center of attention at her own wedding, regardless of who got married last week or who’s getting married tomorrow.


padua June 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

i apologize for the way that came across. my point pertained to this situation specifically where the only out-of-towner from the family was the aunt. everyone else seemed to live in the area (or within a radius of a couple hours), so i was directing my comment to that. i certainly agree there are extenuating circumstances. my point was if people live less than an hour or two from your house, and you’re close to them, having another wedding the week before wouldn’t necessarily keep them away.

i certainly don’t begrudge a bride her day in the sun, but the OP specifically stated her issue wasn’t with having someone else get attention, in fact she said “I don’t really care about not being the focus of attention.” it’s the other list of reasons i disagree with.


gramma dishes June 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I agree with *padua*. She said “she went to you first with the idea. it’s not as if she called the phone tree before clearing it with you. i don’t think this makes her spineless as much as trying to be considerate. maybe your shouldn’t have called everyone until you could have talked it out with her, first.” I think maybe if you had talked directly to Carol first, much of this problem could have been avoided.

But I do think the “suggestion” was not meant to steal YOUR thunder! I think she really truly thought that by having the weddings close together, Aunt Trudy could attend both celebrations and get a chance to spend time with many relatives during her one, more extended visit. It was actually a rather thoughtful gesture as far as being concerned about Aunt Trudy, who presumably loves you both.


karmabottle June 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Jenna, I can see why you are saddened, but I think that what people mean by the “if they want to come they’ll come” must be taken with logic, not emotion.

It is true that most people will attempt to attend the events important to them, however circumstances temper the ability to be present at *any* occasion.

At the end of the day, people have to be able to pay their rent, get someone to care for their dog, find a ride, come up with the money, or any dozens of other things. With that in mind, I don’t think we should judge people’s affection by whether they are present or not. We have to assess based on the individual. After all, would we rather our friend pay the rent, or come to our wedding if they don’t get paid leave? Would we rather someone charge a ticket they cannot afford to pay off, or be at our baby shower?

Not to mention, circumstances change beyond what we can know about people’s private affairs. Whereas two months ago, a person might have $800 in disposable cash lying in their account, two months later they might not. Does that mean we should be angry at them for not having the cash to buy a ticket and gift? I don’t think so.

Unless one knows that the invited person is sitting idly in their living room ten minutes from the wedding chapel, it’s really hard to hold them in contempt for not appearing. We never really know why someone is not able to come.


Xtina June 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I think it is a “nice” idea to try to plan around those who will be traveling far, so they can attend both weddings, but if I had my heart set on getting married on a specific date or place that didn’t work out with that plan, I wouldn’t sweat it, I’d just go with the date I wanted. As someone else said, your wedding is your affair, and it’s not up to you to worry about your guests’ financial situations.

I don’t think Carol’s idea was totally off the wall in this story, but I will concur that most people don’t really want to plan weddings very close to other friends’ or relatives’ if they can help it, so they can feel like their event is more individualized. Understandable that you want your day to be yours, not part of a “two-fer” (although in the big scheme of things, not a big deal to me if they were close together). I don’t see what the point of thematically similar weddings would be; in fact, if I was going to hold a wedding very close to that of a person whose wedding many of my guests would also be attending, I would probably do all I could think of to make it dramatically different from that person’s.

I don’t think the OP is as self-centered as some of the other posters here are making her out to be, but I think she’s trying to make too many assumptions on behalf of her guests.


Lisa Barton June 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I agree with karmabottle… I got married in a justice of the peace’s basement, in my sock feet, at 11:00 am, with two witnesses (my sister-in-law and her then-boyfriend) in attendance. Afterward, I worked from 12:30 – 9 pm, and then the four of us went out for a late dinner (Philly cheese steaks and two jugs of beer). I have now been happily married for over 20 years. It really doesn’t matter! I was the centre of attention at my graduation party (from university – this was 15 years after I got married), and it was hard for me to enjoy it because I had to mingle with each guest and thank them for coming, etc., which I was happy to do because I love all my friends, but it’s very tiring. Now when I have a party to celebrate something in particular, I don’t tell people what it is for because a) I don’t want them to bring gifts and b) I just want to have fun and be a guest too.


Stephanie June 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

The impression I got from the comparison at the end was that by saying it was the “best party” the relatives weren’t commenting on the decorations, colors, or themes, they were commenting on how much they enjoyed themselves. What makes a party isn’t anything material, it’s the people and the mood. You can decorate to high heaven and have all the best everything but no one shows up, or everyone who comes is uncomfortable and awkward, that’s not a good party. You can throw together some munchies and have your best friends or a huge crowd and when everyone is enjoying themselves and having a good time, that’s when you know you have a successful party.
I’m not surprised that the cousin didn’t show up to the OP’s wedding. The fact that she scheduled her wedding so close pretty much screamed the fact that she didn’t care about the OP. Two weddings in two weeks, let alone one weekend as originally suggested, would be a strain on all the guests, not only financially but scheduling wise and energy wise. And anyone in the bridal party, especially the bride, would have have exponentially more stress, as in after your wedding, you probably just want to relax, not attend another for someone else. And that’s exactly what the cousin did, which I find very inconsiderate. The OP at least found time in the busy weeks right before her wedding to celebrate her cousin’s marriage, and she wasn’t the one who suggested the whole thing!


Kaymyth June 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

It’s funny, I have a very similar family wedding date situation; I have a cousin who set hers a week after mine. And you know what? It’s really not a big deal. Perhaps it would be if we lived on opposite sides of the country or something, but we live in the same state, only a few hours apart. Much of our mutual family lives in this same state, and those that don’t live so far away that having the weddings a week apart really *is* more convenient for them.

Granted, it does help that our weddings are going to defy comparison; they’re going to be wildly contrasting. She’s having the big traditional white wedding, and I’m going considerably more offbeat. But even if we were going for the same style, I really don’t get the thunder-stealing aspect. This is my thunder. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Somebody else having thunder doesn’t diminish the boomtasticness of my own.


Chocobo! June 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Gingertwinge — I understand your sentiment completely. Granted, the main focus/theme of my wedding is that my guests (and myself) have an awesome time — but not for the bragging rights.


Dan June 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I suggest what might solve a few problems I see the brides these days are having. I believe some bride should have the courage and integrity to eliminate gift giving at her wedding. Then others should follow her good example. The expense put on guests to give a gift would be ended. And, the embarrassing gift registry list would end. Also, the event some brides believe is a give and take situation between her and her guests would end. I have read about too many brides complaining that the gift received did not match or exceed the cost of hosting the guest. If my plan were used any gifts anyone wanted to give to the bride or to anyone else for that matter would then be private and unknown to others. Let it be known that any gift of any kind associated with the wedding given to the bride is not welcome. Any cash given will go to a charity chosen by the bride. Any other gifts given will be sent unopened to a named charity to be sold to benefit those served by that charity. There will be no acknowledgements of any kind for any gift made. Then abide by the statement. The “party for profit” motive for a splashy wedding would end. The critical remarks aimed at the bride because of this policy should be carefully noted by her.
And, since the writer of the posting did not make the following errors I would like to suggest the following to those who have made them. Please do not use the word “throw” when the meaning is “to host” or “to plan” as to a party. Also, the word is “invitation” not “invite” when referring to either a written or spoken invitation to any event.


Elizabeth Bunting June 22, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Well, as a bride 50 years ago, I was a young woman of 24 years of age. What was wrong with me? Well, I remember being annoyed about many things at the time.

I was jealous of anybody in my circle getting married at the same time. Yet, I had been bridesmaid and MOH many times and was very generous and helpful to the bride.

I have now decided that being a prospective bride is somewhat of temporary insanity. Speaking for myself, I suffered from temporary insanity at the time. My mother was something else! My sister, 19 years of age, got married the year before me and I was her MOH. I helped her a lot. Our mother was very angry because my sister, Evelyn, would NOT join the church to which the family belonged. It was all terrible!

I, however, married someone in the church of whom my parents approved. My mother still complained and gave me a hard time over every aspect of the wedding planning.

My relationship with my mother was always somewhat Bridezilla vs. Bridezilla’s Mother. To say that my wedding was the happiest day of my life, it was not. All I did was worry about everything. I paid for everything, except my parents paid $200. for the reception.

I now regret that I was not happier on that day when I should have been the happiest of my life. Anyway, to introduce a happy note, when Dave and I went on our honeymoon, we had the BEST time. We went to the UNITED STATES for our honeymoon, Niagara Falls, New York CITY, Washington, DC, Atlantic City. We were totally enthralled. We went to Radio City Music Hall and saw the Rockettes and then we saw the liturgical dancing with the easter lilies forming a cross. We went to the Rivoli and saw “Some Came Running” with Shirley McLaine and Frank Sinatra.

All this from a couple who got married in the Plymouth Brethren who did not approve of anything.

All of this is to say that being a bride-to-be in my case was temporary insanity. It would be nice to hear the experiences of others.

My daughter was not like this, but she just got a divorce after 18 years of marriage.



Angie June 23, 2010 at 3:06 am

I guess I just don’t get it. My BFF got married a week after we did and it wasn’t a problem, it was a joy! She was my maid of honor, I was her matron of honor and we spent hours planning our weddings and even had a group bridal shower for our mutual friends. My wedding was the big church thing and hers was a smaller event held at a mansion with a garden. We even *gasp* went on a group honeymoon.
If you asked either of us, we would say it was a lot of fun and I don’t think anyone protested attending either wedding, even though they were held in two different cities 3 hours apart. Call us crazy, but it was about being in love and 8 years and five kids later, we are all best of friends and our kids consider each other cousins.


Bint June 23, 2010 at 3:48 am

PS I’d also like to add that I don’t think the ‘second couple’ to get engaged should have to wait on the first to choose a date. Why should they? You don’t get priority for date-picking just because you got engaged first. Maybe that second couple is ready to pick a date before you are, and if they are, fair play to them.

I remember a story here where one girl complained that her sister got engaged and picked a date without asking if she had already done the same and “I am the elder”. As if it makes any difference. If you’ve picked a date, *tell people*. Nobody should have to wait until it suits you to decide when they want to get married.


Girlysprite June 23, 2010 at 6:10 am

Dan, that might be harder then you think.

I tried it, to say ‘no gifts, I really don’t need anything, so please no gifts’, but people felt really uneasy about it, so they ended up buying something for us anyways. And you know, if people have spent time and energy on finding something that will suit you, I would find it somewhat rude to reject it and send it off elsewhere, even if a prior warning has been issued.


jenna June 23, 2010 at 7:55 am

karmabottle – that’s actually my point. A person’s ability to be there has little to do with their affection for you or closeness to you, though these things can and do provide motivation. Of course I know my friends here want to come, and I don’t begrudge them their inability to attend (if I ever meet their bosses, though….hooo boy look out. There will be *shenanigans*).

It’s the “if they really want to be there, they will come” that bugs me. I hear it all the time. I hate it, because it’s just not true. That, not what I said, is what puts the onus on “if you’re close to the couple, you have to attend”, and makes it seem like anyone who really wants to attend can do so.

It also kind of bugs me because my fiance’s younger brother is getting married in December. That’s four months after us and totally no big deal. We’re ecstatic for them, in fact. The weddings will be totally different (ours: large celebration in late summer with outdoor ceremony, ethnic food, world music and my huge multicultural family. theirs: intimate, low-key holiday wedding, fires and Christmas ornaments and sleigh rides) – not that that matters so much.

But…we live abroad, as I’ve said a kahillion times. After our wedding, the chances of us having enough money to return to the USA for his brother’s wedding three months later are not so good. I can see that this bothers my fiance, and it does bother me, too. We really want to be there. But. (On the other hand, they chose that date knowing ours, so clearly if we are financially unable to make the trip back for theirs, they had to have known this was a possibility and are clearly OK with it. So OK.)

That said, padua, I see your point. You’re right that the OP’s relatives all seem to live reasonably close to the hometown, and I agree in that case that it is really no big deal.


Meow June 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Perhaps I am jaded, but I think cousin was trying to one up the OP. No one owns a month, not even day necessarily, but had she wanted to book it the week after I wouldn’t be batting an eyelash at this. Suggestion of thematically similar designs? She does it first, it makes the OP look like she was trying to copy her cousin, or at the very least guests think ‘Hm, this has been done’ or constant comparisons (good or bad) between the two. Aunt Trudy sounds like just a poor excuse to justify stealing OP’s thunder as it were.


counselorm June 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I had a similar situation with my mom’s funeral. My mom died suddenly on a Thursday a year and a half ago. Tragically, my mom’s aunt (and the aunt of my mom’s 3 sisters) passed away the next day. Everyone was pretty devastated by both deaths. My mom and brothers lived/live over 1000 miles away from the rest of the family but we decided to have my mom’s funeral where her sisters lived and where other family was located (including the immediate family of my dear departed great aunt). We were in communication with that family so we could coordinate arrangements. Both my mother and my great aunt were cremated, but (understandably) both families wanted to have the memorial services as early as possible. We were shocked when the son of my great aunt proposed that it would be too much to have both funerals in the same weekend (also understandable) so we should postpone my mother’s funeral to the following weekend. We refused and it turned out that we had my mother’s service Friday night and my great aunt’s service on Saturday. It actually allowed people to not have to extend the pain of the immediate pre-service grief (you never get over grief) too long and it helped one of my mom’s sisters because she was also traveling a distance for both funerals. It was a surprisingly beautiful weekend as my whole family gathered to remember two people we love very much.


Michelle Prieur June 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

Uh, “Voice of Reason”, you must be kidding right?????


Elizabeth Bunting June 24, 2010 at 11:29 am

Dear Counselorm,

I am so sorry to hear about your mother’s and your great-aunt’s passing, especially so close together.

However, I think you did the right thing having their services on the same weekend. It would have been torturous for the whole family to stretch it out for another week. Your mother and your great-aunt will always be with you in spirit and you will think of them every day. Your memories of that weekend will be very fond. I know there will not be a day go by when you will not miss them.


SHOEGAL June 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm

NotCinderell – you’re right!!! That is exactly wrong with this churning bridal machine in the United States – we are all taught this load of nonsense about being the center of attention and your big day and blah, blah, blah and life really begins the day you get married-( Huh? I have been dead all this time and didn’t know it?) I totally agree – it really isn’t about that and all that crap about time and wedding gradeur is actually supremely ridiculous . It is truly about just being married. We all want to resist this thinking – but in the end – it had been pounded into our brains since birth with fairy tales and romance novels and movies & the bridal industry. Right or wrong we all believe in that a smidge and like another posted said – there is a measure of insanity that takes over. So I’m not saying that its right or appropriate but it is still there (unfortunately). Although the OP said it wasn’t about stealing her thunder – I was thinking that – maybe a bride truly wants to be gracious but human nature doesn’t always let you feel that way.


Alissa June 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Wow, I actually think that the OP is the one that comes out sounding badly in this story, not the cousin. From what I can tell, the cousin didn’t want the OP to move her wedding date that she had already picked, the cousin wanted to move her own wedding date closer to the OP’s so Aunt Trudy could attend both. I actually think that was a very sweet idea.

IMO weddings aren’t supposed to be all about the bride being the center of attention (which face it, that’s why brides don’t want anyone to have a wedding close to theirs). Weddings are about the coming together of two families in a marriage. That’s why I think it’s lovely that the cousin wanted to make things easy for Aunt Trudy. I think that the OP is the one that was feeling “the rivalry”, not the cousin.


Stephanie June 24, 2010 at 5:34 pm

While I appreciate your desire to do away with gift-grabbing, I find your suggestion to be incomparably rude. If someone were to come up to you with a gift for any occasion, saying “This gift is for you because I love you and I want to show that with a physical item,” would you really respond with your policy of sending it unopened to a charity and refusing to thank the giver? While weddings are indeed not your normal everyday occasion, any gift, for any occasion, should always be accepted graciously and with hearty thanks, no matter what you plan to do with them afterward. Indeed, if a couple receives many gifts that they have no use for, donating them to charity is a worthy action, yet only after the generosity and kindness on behalf of the giver is acknowledged and appreciated.
While you loudly decry the concept of gift-grabbing, you seem to buy into the myth that a wedding is all about the bride, when it is in fact about the couple and their commitment to one another, and the friends and family that they choose to celebrate with… Well, I’ll let you draw your own conclusion about the issue.


Joanne June 25, 2010 at 4:49 am

@ Michelle – I would think Voice of Reason is indulging in sarcasm …….


Dan June 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I agree. I would never refuse a gift that way. In my defense, please note, I suggested it be made clear in some way before the invitations were sent the request that no presents of any kind honoring the wedding be given as they would be sent on. Those who ignored the bride’s request would be dealt with as I described. If no prior information other than “No gifts, please” was the only statement made then, of course, accepting the gift with thanks would be the only way to behave. I would also thank those who complied with my wish not to send a gift, as well. I’m not against gifting. Please let us find a way to eliminate it as a wedding requirement laid on all those invited to the wedding. My idea is primarily about the “gift grab” as you so rightly describe it.


TheBardess June 27, 2010 at 4:14 pm

“Please let us find a way to eliminate it as a wedding requirement laid on all those invited to the wedding.”

Dan- gifting *isn’t* a requirement for those invited to a wedding. NO ONE is EVER obligated to give ANYONE a gift for ANY occasion. There are certainly some people who think that they are entitled to gifts from their wedding guests, but they are wrong. Gifts are never mandatory, there is no obligation to give them, and it is not rude or a breach of some “requirement” not to give a couple a wedding gift. We don’t have to “eliminate” gift-giving as a requirement for wedding invitees- it was never a “requirement” in the first place.


Enna June 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

I think the OP was concerned about Carol dominating her wedding by being a bit pushy. She may seem very smug but I think she does have a point – it’s nice to have a break between weddings if the 2 cousins do not have a close relationship. Saying “my wedding was the best” is immature if she doesn’t demostrate how it was better – not in a show off way but if Carol’s wedding was worse she clearly didn’t give herself enough time to plan it. If the weddings are spread out it allows ppl to book time of work and have little breaks/family renunions thoughout the year.


SmalltownJen June 30, 2010 at 8:03 am

It sounds like you are just whining. Carol obviously wanted that Aunt to be able to go to both weddings. Is that selfish or kind? Seems more kind to me. It seems like you just threw a big fit, got your way, and then gloated on the fact that your wedding was better than hers. Why didn’t you just enjoy your day and let her enjoy hers?

(This site makes me abhor weddings. I am so glad that I eloped.)


RP June 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I disagree, SmalltownJen. While I think it was nice that Carol wanted to make things easier for the out of state aunt the OP did have a valid point about the financial strain it would put on the rest of the family. While I personally wouldn’t mind going to a party two weekends in a row gift and gas money could be a problem.

But I do agree that the gloating at the end was unnecessary and mean-spirited.


Rei July 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm

It’s weird of her (especially the “thematically similar” thing), I think, but I think it was mostly harmless. Somehow, I do think she should have asked if you minded her having her wedding shortly after yours. I think that it would have been nice for her to get married after you especially since you had been planning yours long before her and she approached YOU with this “interesting” idea. That’s my own, personal feeling anyhow. And how weird is it that she wanted to basically copy your theme? Wouldn’t you think that she would want to give your family a totally different, memorable experience instead? The most important question is, did you enjoy your wedding? I really hope you did. And I’m sorry that she didn’t attend your wedding if you attended hers. That does seem a little cold to me.


Chelsey July 14, 2010 at 11:45 am

I had a similar situation with my brother-in-law. My now husband proposed to me my junior year of college after we’d been dating for over three years. His brother, who was my age, had been dating a 17-year-old girl for about a month and proposed to her right after we announced our own engagement. When we announced our wedding date, they announced that theirs would be before ours. Their reasoning was that the girlfriend would be 18 by then and “she could if she wanted to” (how romantic). My mother-in-law managed to talk them into waiting until she had at least graduated high school. They agreed, though they weren’t happy about it. So we got married at the end of May after I graduated and they got married two weeks later.

Every year, my husband’s parents go to the beach on a family vacation–so it’s parents, grandparents, children, and, of course, the significant others of said children. My brother-in-law had decided to get married within two weeks of us because they had declared that the family vacation would be their honeymoon (which made me uncomfortable, as I did not want to go with them on their honeymoon–and, as I feared, it was awkward because they felt entitled to everything BECAUSE it was their honeymoon, though they paid for nothing). What made me mad was that they had no REAL reason for getting married around the same time we did. They eloped, which they could have done at ANY time. While I agree with everyone who says no one owns the calendar (my best friend got married within the same week as me and that was perfectly fine–we attended each other’s weddings and had a ball talking about our plans and crying about our families, planning weddings within a week of each other probably helped us both through a lot of issues since we were going through the same things at the same time….ANYWAY), it felt a lot like he was just trying to keep up with his big brother.

Of course, they now say they are going to have a party to celebrate their marriage so they can get presents, which REALLY irks me. The whole reason you get married is to celebrate your love with each other and with friends and family, it’s not to get presents. If that’s all they really wanted, they should have thought about that before eloping.

Anyway, good for you for having the better party! I think a lot of brides spend too much time trying to create a “nice” ceremony and forget that a lot of guests only REALLY care about three things: booze, food, and music. It’s all about the party, man. =P


Katherine July 24, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I think there can be good reasons why a person may not be thrilled when another family member sets a wedding date too close to their own. In my case, all of my extended family lives about 10 hours drive away from where myself, my parents and siblings are living. This extended family is not well to do and have limited days off work and money for travel. My future husband and I had been dating for 4 years and were discussing marriage, but not technically engaged. We were discussing when we were thinking about getting married, which was a certain time due to when my husband would have paid vacation and when I would be off school (an intensive professional program with limited breaks). Well despite having discussed when we were planning to get married and reasons why in front of my brother and his girlfriend of less than a year a week beforehand, when my brother proposed to his girlfriend, they immediately set a date 4/5 weeks before the time frame we had discussed.

It was awkward for me since we hadn’t officially set a date yet so now they put me in a position where I was going to have to choose a wedding date close to theirs or wait one more year, which after 4 years of dating we were ready to get married already and weren’t looking for a super long engagement. If I had stuck to original plan, all our extended family was going to have to choose between weddings since most couldn’t make two 10-hour round trips within a month of each other. I love my relatives and would be disappointed that they couldn’t make my wedding or that I wouldn’t get to see them at my brother’s wedding.

For me it wasn’t about it being my special daaaaay at all. Actually I dislike being the center of attention and if we could have gotten my brother and his fiance to agree to a double wedding, I would have been thrilled since all the relatives would have made it to both weddings and it would have taken the pressure off of me. Luckily enough my husband’s boss agreed that fall to let him have his vacation a few months early and we were able to get married during that coming year’s summer break and my brother and his fiance got married 11 months after we did so relatives were able to attend both weddings. But it still annoys me that they chose a date with so little thought to the rest of the family or even to my husband and I even though everything ended up working out great. But unfortunately not considering anyone but themselves is pretty typical behavior from my brother and his wife.


Moi September 22, 2010 at 12:35 am

It certainly wasn’t as if Carol was trying to steal your spotlight. Also, she was only trying to be considerate. I don’t think that this should even be on eHell. Honestly, I feel that the OP is being slightly self-centered here. Just slightly. Yes, one’s wedding day is a special day be Carop had good intentions. She wasn’t neccessarily being rude.


Moi September 22, 2010 at 12:40 am

Everybody’s missing something:
It’s CAROL’s “special wedding day” too.


lkb September 22, 2010 at 7:48 am

I have a few comments to make about this. I’ll write them as they come to mind in no particular order.

@Dan. I think your no-gift idea is a sweet thought. However, this comment: “There will be no acknowledgements of any kind for any gift made,” just doesn’t sit well with me. Someone went to the time, trouble and expense of showing their affection in a tangible way and there will be no acknowledgment? Really? Not even to show that yes, the gift made it to its intended recipients? If they went to the effort to do so, the very least one can do is take five minutes to write out a thank you.

I was taken a bit aback by the comments about Carol not being at the OPs wedding. Ummm, wouldn’t she have been on her honeymoon? I wouldn’t have come back either.

Perhaps when the issue came up, Carol’s groom had already made honeymoon plans that could not be changed. Or, perhaps this was Carol’s way of double-checking to be sure she didn’t accidentally pick the OP’s date (if one week away was bad, imagine what would have happened if it was on the same day!) (I’ve had nightmares about accidentally double booking business meetings and such and have asked similar questions to save face and avoid looking like the total fool I can be at times.)

As to the thematically similar wedding — just a couple of thoughts: Maybe it was a cultural thing. If Aunt Trudy was in town, maybe the thought was to make it a week-long family reunion with the weddings book-ending it. Or, perhaps the intent was to ask for the OPs theme so Carol wouldn’t inadvertently swipe the idea and the OP misunderstood.

I agree with Moi’s comment: It was Carol’s (and her groom’s) wedding too and I salute her for thinking of Aunt Trudy. (I salute Aunt Trudy for whatever it is about her that makes her so very much loved.) I was sort of in the same boat. We had made preliminary plans but my sister who works in health-care had scheduling difficulties at work so yes, I changed “MY DAY” (horrors! 😉 ) to accommodate her schedule. You know what? I didn’t mind a bit. It’s what you do for families — I have been married to my husband a week longer than anticipated because of it.

Whichever previous poster who basically said to chalk up the OP’s problem to bridal insanity is right. It’s a nice way to put it too.

People are not obligated to give a gift and I can see where two weddings close together could possibly make each couple’s gift smaller. But after the thank-you cards are written (Dan! 🙂 ) and sent, I honestly couldn’t tell you who gave what anyway (or who didn’t give). It really is the thought that counts, isn’t it? Isn’t it???

@OP, I don’t think I would have had the guts ever to ask my guests who’s wedding was better. If I was one of those guests, even if I thought one wedding was better than the other, I certainly would not have said so to anyone. Who would have said, “Sorry dear OP, but Carol’s wedding was a bit nicer than yours?”

OP, I hope you and Carol and your spice (plural of spouse, yes? 🙂 ) had lovely weddings and even lovelier marriages and that everyone has recovered their mental health after wedding insanity.


Nicole October 11, 2010 at 3:15 am

I understand twofers. My brother was baptized at my Aunt’s wedding, because we lived in the States, and all the relatives (on my mother’s side anyhow) were gathered in Switzerland anyways, so we figured we might as well do it. In addition, my about to be born kid will probably be baptized on Christmas, since we’re hosting, and we might as well not make my parents and brother fly out twice. Of course, it will mean a smaller, more intimate baptism.

The travel thing is tricky.


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