Carolyn Hax: Parents, not couple, dictate wedding

The Washington PostJuly 17, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion

Carolyn: My brother and his fiancee have had issues with her parents during their wedding planning. Basically the parents want the wedding they want - not caring about the wedding she wants.

The two of them decided to elope the week before and then put on a second wedding to maintain the relationship with her parents. Honestly, I feel a little weird about participating in all the pre-wedding stuff (bridesmaid dress, matching shoes, bridal shower, bachelorette, etc.) knowing they will have already been married. I know they're trying to do what's best for them, but a tiny part of me just feels like they are not owning their decision and asking others to help cover for them.

I'm pretty annoyed at this tiny part of myself and really want to see this as a way to support both of them! Verbal slap-down, please?

BRIDESMAID

Not feeling slappy over this, I'm sorry.

While I don't love that you're in on the lie, and I too would like this couple's chances better if they stood up to her parents openly, I have a lot of sympathy for people who get pushed to the brink by outside wedding pressures.

Eloping sounds like an attempt to preserve themselves and their intimacy. Since those are paramount in a marriage, that (to my mind) is enough to hang on to as you smile through the clustercuss of bouquets and matching shoes.

Re: Eloping: Not trying to be snarky, just mystified: How does eloping solve any of the problems?

ANONYMOUS 1

It makes the whole thing theirs again, in a way the interlopers can't touch. I totally get it.

Strong feelings abound. A sampling, without comment:

If the couple don't want to put up with the parents' crap, then they should stand up for their rights and be honest.

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