The Washington Post

Carolyn Hax: Groom who wants big wedding must take lead in planning it


Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn!

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

I’m engaged (I asked him) and planning a summer 2012 wedding. The problem is, I don’t want a wedding at all. I want to either elope or just have a small ceremony with close family and a few friends.

He wants a bigger wedding, as he has a large and fairly close-knit family. Fine, we’re trying to budget and do this cheaply, as we are paying for everything ourselves.

My problem is when I ask his opinion on anything: He seems indifferent and says it’s up to me. Well, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t be planning any of this! I’ve told him how I feel, but we’re still about in the same place. Any suggestions?

Wedding Weirdness

Why are you even planning it? If you want to plan a big wedding as a gift to him, then fine — but if that’s not what you intended and this all just fell to you by default, then you have a problem that’s not going to go away when the thank-you notes have been mailed. Will housework and child care be your jobs, but will he decide how you do them? Will he get to decide how much effort he puts into your life together, while you absorb the rest?

It’s time for you to say kindly and calmly that you’re not going to plan the big wedding he wants just because it’s supposedly the bride’s job (you are female, yes?) to plan the wedding. Explain that you see the two of you as partners, and in a partnership each of you has an equal role. If it falls to you, then it’s going to be a trip to the courthouse. If he still wants the big wedding, then you will help him plan it, but he is going to have to take the lead — just as you will take the lead when your preferences are the driving force.

Dear Carolyn:

My beloved grandmother just died. I had not seen her in several years due completely to the fact that my deadbeat father, from whom my siblings and I are estranged, lived with her. My grandmother was not perfect, but I loved her and missed having her as a part of my life for those years.

I am torn about going to the funeral. I would like to go, but I have no clue what kinds of things my father has said about me to his siblings and other relatives. I have reason to believe that it’s been pretty bad. Frankly, I am a little concerned over the reception I’d receive if I attended. But I want to honor my grandmother and celebrate her life. Suck it up and go?


Yes, do — mostly because you apparently think you should.

If your reception from relatives is frosty, then that will obviously be painful — but you’ll also know it’s based on fiction, meaning there’s no need to take it as anything but an unfortunate circumstance.

The reason to go is, of course, to honor your grandmother . . . but you will also be standing up for yourself. Wear a brave face and greet people politely — in other words, as if you don’t have any reason to feel ashamed, since you don’t.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Subscribe at



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