The family I've married into is pretty darn awesome. At this time of year (anniversary approaching), and in light of various unpleasant recent events with us, I wanted to say that.
Basically: both DH and I are super low-key people. We don't like going to loud parties. We hate being the centre of attention. We go to museums and read books. We're 'boring' by a lot of standards.
When we got engaged, both of us felt that a big wedding would be worse than death. Neither of us are into wedding culture at all, and the attention, time, and energy spent on something that would make us as miserable as we could be would be nothing short of masochistic. Both our families knew this for years beforehand due to basically just what personality types we are. Neither family is religious, and not having a huge giant wedding is a very strong part of each of our personal beliefs and philosophies (i.e. not wasting money and making a spectacle of an intimate event etc.) We're happy for other people who do the big wedding thing, but it is absolutely not for us.
We were very nervous to tell my family we were engaged. We expected exclamations and shouts and so on, and were frankly terrified. I almost couldn't do it. When we did tell them, the first thing anyone said (before even 'congratulations' or anything) was questions about the wedding--where, when, how expensive, etc. These were details that would be not only be most likely unplanned at that point (we were just engaged), but would be quite personal to ask.
When we responded that we weren't having a wedding, just the bare-minimum civil service, all hell broke loose. We offered every possible compromise, (even offering to fly all of them interstate to us to a fancy restaurant and function hall) only to be told how selfish we were for not thinking of their interests. I am not exaggerating here, either. I received an email only a few days after the fact which started off with, "a wedding is about family, not the couple. This is why it is so important that you stop being silly and wake up and do what you're supposed to do." This was doubly rude as it did not consider my husband's family, who are from another culture and do marriages differently anyway. One relative actually claimed (I have no idea if it was ever true) to have booked and paid for everything, to try and guilt us into getting married against our beliefs.
Cut. Sever. Detox.
My husband's family were absolutely wonderful. Supremely graceful and gentle by contrast. We were out at dinner with all of them together, and told everyone at once. The response? "That's lovely, we're all very happy to hear it. Now, what kind of entree should we order? I'll pay since you're engaged and all." That was it. They knew that we were terrified of a big production or show, and they all behaved generously with this in mind. After being disowned from my family, I was stunned that such kindness and class was possible.
Anyway. Here's to them. People who do not what they think society wants (as my family attempted), but what matters most to the individuals who matter in their lives. If it weren't for them, our anniversary would be nothing but painful memories.