How postponing my wedding saved my marriage

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We were at the two-months-till-the-wedding mark, and I was losing it.

That's the best way to describe it. I was in the middle of a major job transition, in the middle of a financial crisis, and more often than not, I was in the middle of a pointless fight with my fiance.

Added to that, I've never even planned a child's birthday party… what was I thinking, trying to plan a wedding? I asked myself that every day. In reality, the planning was coming together well, but in my stressed, panicked state I couldn't see that. I could only see this giant mountain of things that I Had To Get Done.

That stress caused me to lose sight of something much more important than the wedding: my relationship with the man I was due to marry.

I've never handled stress terribly well, and I have this nasty habit of taking that out on whoever's closest. As the wedding date loomed closer, I found myself picking fights over the dumbest things… and I do mean the dumbest. The fact that his tournament had ended late, despite the fact that we had no plans for afterwards… The way his wedding ideas clashed with my wedding ideas… How quickly he came up the driveway… And whether or not it was his fault the tire had gone flat (even though it was under warranty and cost nothing to replace).

I didn't realize the wedding stress and our constant arguments were related. I considered our relationship another check on the Things I Am Failing At list instead of wondering why we were fighting so constantly.

In fact, it didn't even click until I sat in tears on my best friend's bed after yet another stupid argument. She asked me, gently, “Are you sure you want to go through with the wedding?”

I realized that I couldn't say yes. It wasn't because of the man — the sweet, understanding, goofy man who I was sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It was the wedding itself.

That caused me even more stress, more guilt.

“It's just one day,” I said to myself nervously. “It's the marriage after that matters.”

I repeated that like a mantra while I continued with the plans for a day I didn't want to have, not at that time or in that way. I had made promises, printed invitations, spent the money I was given for the “big day.”

Wouldn't I be letting everyone down if I cancelled or postponed? I kept my mouth shut while guilt and nerves churned in my stomach.

Then, the day before I planned to reluctantly send out invitations, I received a job offer. One that would take me out-of-state, and away from my fiance, for a year.

He and I talked about the job offer; he encouraged me to go for it, and live my dream. Suddenly it felt like an out, like a way to get out of having a wedding I didn't want. I realize now how silly it was to have felt like I needed a reason to put off my wedding.

It turned out that my fiance also wanted to put off the wedding but, like me, was afraid to bring it up. And I realized where our primary issue was: Communication. We were both so hell-bent on having the wedding, doing what was expected of us and what we thought would make the other happy, that we didn't think to touch base and make sure it was still what each (or either!) of us wanted.

Planning a wedding quickly is great, even ideal for some people. It very much wasn't for us, and I'm so happy we've accepted it instead of trying to force it to work. In the end, I don't think I could have walked down the aisle as unhappy as I was.

When I get home from my travels, we'll have a small and private ceremony. Instead of making concessions, we'll take time. It's true the wedding is just one day, but it's important for us to start our lifelong commitment on a note we're both happy with.

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Comments on How postponing my wedding saved my marriage

  1. I can totally empathize with this! When we got engaged my partner and I weren’t living together, and I knew the move would likely result in me changing jobs. I asked that we take 2 years to be engaged, but he told me didn’t want to wait that long, so we pushed out our date to 19 months. As predicted I did change jobs after the move, and then quit, started my own consulting business for a few months, before starting yet another new job. I can’t imagine trying to get married in the middle of all of that. We received SO MUCH GRIEF from everyone for taking 19 months to get married, but I am so glad we did it. I got the time I needed to change locations, adapt to living with my partner, adjust to several new working situations, and now I have the right window to plan our big day. Good luck with the new job!!

  2. My fiance and I have moved our wedding date so many times since getting engaged 3.5 months ago I think all of our family members have whiplash. People definitely think it’s odd that we’ll ultimately have a 23 month engagement, but what’s a few more months if it saves you stress and your sanity? Plus this is a lifetime gig, so it really doesn’t make that much of a difference in the long run! So glad you were able to make the right choice for yourself and for your relationship!!

  3. Oh, where was this article a month ago before my life imploded??!! If I had just listened to my fiance when he suggested that we postpone the wedding, maybe I wouldn’t now be alone and trying to pick up the pieces. 🙁

    • I’m sorry that happened. I hope you’re ok. Hugs if you want them.

      • I will take as many hugs as you wonderful ladies would like to provide. I’m so sad and brokenhearted and all I want is my Mikey back. We’ve been talking and it’s good that we’re communicating but I honestly just want to fly to Texas and make this right again. Sorry to unload here, but I just don’t know what to do. 🙁

        • If you think you should try and patch things up, you should. Go. My ex-fiance and I split up before our wedding and a year later we are back together. Anything is possible. Good luck. If it doesn’t work out, life is not over and love is not over.

          • The update to our story is that he is coming to see me for Thanksgiving and we know that we still love each other! Now we need to figure out where we’re going to live , but we both know that we’re no good without each other! 🙂

  4. It’s reassuring to find real blog posts about real feelings. This really resonated with me. I wish you well in your wedding-planning and all the best for your marriage. Sometimes when we let go of one thing, we open our hand to receive the very best of things. 🙂

  5. This makes me really glad we had a long (3.5 year) engagement. The wedding is in three weeks and over those same three weeks I’m expecting my bar exam results, expecting the results of my mom’s cancer biopsy and expecting to hear back about two job opportunities. We are lucky everything is already sorted because of the long engagement. I don’t think we could have pulled off the whole law school graduation/bar exam/wedding trifecta in one year if we hadn’t had such a long time to plan things.

    I hope your wedding 2.0 is wonderful and that you have a great year in your new job!

  6. The one sole thing that has taken a lot of stress away for us and actually made wedding planning enjoyable again was getting legalled a year before the big wedding party.

    We had a very, very small legal ceremony (5 people), mainly cause I became pregnant right after our engagement. It wasn’t quite planned that way, but it gave us the chance to figure out that this whole marriage thing was not going to fundamentally change our relationship with each other, and that there was really nothing to be afraid of. Intellectually we knew, but we got a chance to actually feel it.

    Now, we are seeing our wedding party for what it really is – a great party, a chance to gather all our family, friends, and other people that are dear to us in one place, and an opportunity to enjoy ourselves. If things go wrong, oh well, that’s ok. After all, by the time we have the wedding we will already have screwed up and made up again in our marriage too.
    No party and no marriage ever goes 100% as planned…

    • How did you handle this so that you actually getting your wedding party. My husband and I got legal’d this spring, we had a falling out with my husbands employers/our landlords, who also happen to be my parents, (long complicated story but I am just barely speaking to my mother, not at all to my father, and now both of them are telling everyone they can, including our friends what terrible people we are and how stupid we both are), so we found a great job for husband that included housing and a good if only part time job for me in the same place, but for everything to work out, we needed to be married first, otherwise no insurance for me or my son. But a month of just day work for him, debt we already had, moving 4 hours away, canceling services where we were, and a million other things that keep coming up, has pretty well left us broke and frustrated, expecting no help from my family, his family is willing but not able. So now I am being shut down at every decision, by budget, lack of family support and stress, but I feel like I am just out of luck, if I postpone, I feel like it will never happen or be awkward since we are already married, but at this point my courthouse wedding with one person there and a fallen cottonwood branch my son found for a bouquet will have had more frills than what I am getting now.
      sorry to gush at everyone just pretty stressed right now.

  7. Rraw, you are so right! my fiance and i have been dating since 2004 (10 years). we got engaged July 2012 and planned a long engagement and to bemarried March 2014 (in 2 months from now). well 6 months after we got engaged, i got pregnant. well i wanted to be married before our son was born (important to me) so we went to the courthouse and got married. didnt even tell anyone, still havent. it was just important to us to be legally married before our child was born. well a year after getting engaged we had our baby. 2 months later i had unexpected, emergency spine surgery…i havent worked in 6 months because of maternity leave and my surgery. im just now able to walk for more than an hour at a time..and lift our baby on my own. well, our wedding is planned for 2 months from now. 90% of it is planned but now we cant afford to pay for it…
    we could probably find a way (go into debt) to pay for it if we want to keep our date but the BIGGEST issue is, i still have alot of pain when im up and about for more than an hour or two. theres no way i can enjoy my wedding like this. plus i cant fit in my dress because i still have 20lbs baby weight because i havent been able to walk let alone workout.
    we decided, (even tho im sad because ive already waited over a year) that its best to postpone the date…so we are moving it back a year and praying by then we will be in better health and be able to pay off the wedding without breaking the bank. like others said, its just one day annd its a change to get our family and friends together to celebrate. i already know our marriage is and will be amazing, now i just want to celebrate with everyone else and of course wear my sweet dress 🙂

    ill tell you, if we hadnt already put down LOTS of deposits, id prolly scratch the big wedding and just go with something small and less fancy but i dont wana waste all that money. might as well have a good party lol

  8. We are getting married in July this year, we are not ready, compromising on waaaay to much, struggling with our current bills, I just want one more year. But everyone is excited and looking forward to our wedding, helping plan, the girls ordered their dresses, save the dates are sent out….just seems like too late. We have 360 on our list, and right now all we do is stress about everything. I just want to push it back, or decided to get pregnant early and tell people we are post-poning because of that…we want more kids anyways, we know we are together forever….plan on trying out wedding night….none the less I really wouldn’t do that…but we just don’t know what to do at this point. It’s not fun anymore, not at all. I just want to be married to the man I love, but could care less about the wedding show.

  9. Just finished having a meltdown over potentially having to change our date. We’ve been together for 4 years now; just got engaged in January. I’ve always wanted a spring wedding, so we set our date for May 10th of this year. I didn’t want to wait until next year I guess because…well, honestly, I guess I was just being impatient. Well, in February, I found out the woman whose backyard we’re having the wedding in was told she was ridden with precancerous cells and was ordered to have a double mastectomy. When she told me this, I immediately said ‘Well, there’s no way this is going to happen now! We will find somewhere else to have the wedding, of course!” but she insisted we go on with the show. She was saying it would give her something to look forward to; something to will herself to recover for. (She’s obviously a very positive and strong woman). I’ve been going along with it…until now. She just had her surgery yesterday morning. All is well, and she is now in recovery; but my conscience is telling me this just can’t happen in May. We have 7 weeks and 4 days from today…and I don’t think that’s enough time. I just want her to get well. She’s like a second mother to me, and it’s not imperative we get married on May 10th. I just hate having to change everything up on everyone just after sending out the invitations. And I have numerous people flying in from out of state…but…I think it’s ultimately going to be the right thing to do.
    Now I just have to figure out when the new date will be. We live in Dallas, TX, and anytime after May is going to be far too hot to put everyone through a backyard wedding unless we wait until autumn. I picked the colors mint green and dusty rose because I felt like those were beautiful spring colors; but I suppose they can work in the fall too, right? Bridesmaids have already bought their mint green dresses, and I’ve already bought all my decorations in those colors. [sigh]
    I know all will go as it should, and it will be beautiful and wonderful no matter what. Right now my main concern is that she recovers and gets back to normal. The wedding can wait, and so can I. And everyone else can just deal with it.

    Thanks for letting me vent, ladies. 🙂

  10. I wish I could have seen this months ago. I have been having a two day stress-cry session that I couldn’t figure out what it was about, and my behavior has been ruining my family’s good summer fun times. The wedding is a month away and I have not been keeping up on getting everything planned. I feel horrible and it is not fun at all anymore. I wish I could talk openly to my friend who just got married in May, but she was happy with everything and had a great time planning. I feel horrible and like something is wrong with me that I am failing at all of this. I just want to be married to my love!!!! I don’t want all this stress. I want a lovely wedding that reflects both of us and God. Just after we got engaged (september), my fiance was getting upset over the changing the date all over the place, december, march, june 7, aug 9, now aug 16…. Now after waking me up this morning with a tasty doughnut he suggested we postpone the wedding. I started crying! I am so fixed on getting it done as soon as we can. I do want to have time to plan every OCDetail (like what I did there?) but I also really just WANT TO BE MARRIED!!!!!!!! D: waaaaaaahhhhh!!!!! I don’t know what is right anymore…. I don’t want to push it back because when school starts for me late august it will be a more intense semester I will have too much workload to have any time to plan wedding. So doing it in the summer would be ideal but I’ve wasted my time. But I don’t wanna wait to get married till sometime way after I graduate next May!!!!!

    Any suggestion for help would be useful.

    • I am really sorry for your stress and I hope you have figured it out by now. I’m sure by the time you read this you will have already had your wedding (yay!) but nonetheless, I wish you luck!

  11. We have been engaged for four years and are getting married in less than two mths. I never planned on a long engagement, like most girls I was looking at ideas the next day. But we were broke, it was desperately important to us to pay for it ourselves, and sadly our beloved grandfather passed away two weeks after our engagement. So two years went by and I decided that was it. Set a date for 12 mths and started booking things. But fiance and I clashed over everything! Guests, money, the date, location and he was not excited. Then four mths out we realised we couldn’t pay for it, weren’t organised and a grandmother had dementia which meant my MIL was seeing her everyday and driving along way. Timing seemed bad but I had my heart set on it happening. FI insisted on postponing. I cried for three days straight and argued. But by the second day I was starting to see it for what it was. Our family love us and would be fine, the suppliers when I called were wonderful. Those that weren’t were scratched from the list and not used. The relief was amazing! We stopped fighting and while my grandmother fought hard she lost her battle 6mths ago. Round two means im more confident about my ideas(which changed and are much better), we have the money saved, and there seems to be less pressure all round. I am OCD so wedding planning is hard and im having to learn to let people help. Ladies wedding planning can suck! Thats why there are planners and coordinators and day of peopleand specialists in every aspect who all get paid alot. Diy is hard and being on a small budget harder. But I think it can help bring people together and you learn to bargin 🙂 Don’t let it take over, you still need to be a partner number 1 then a daughter, sister, friend and lastly a planner.

    • This post about made me cry. I have been engaged almost a year 2-14-14 and our wedding date is fast approaching, April 18, 2015. I am EXTREMELY OCD and this whole planning it solo and the fact we have to pay for it ourselves has stressed our relationship to the point of stupid arguments, my constant complaining, depletion of financial means, and overall I am not happy. The planning sector has contradicted everything I love in my fiance’ We both have struggled to pay for this and seemingly the most beautiful wedding I’m sure has been planned, but NOW we would rather do something quiet and low-key. I am currently working on my Masters degree and a FULL-TIME mommy and pediatric RN , I’m overloaded and just want to elope. He went along with whatever I wanted , but not at this emotional cost. He misses what we have and knows I don’t mean to be so worrisome and angry, but we definitely felt the pressure of planning a big wedding. Me and him would love to go to a winery and elope with 2 sets of our closest friends and enjoy a quiet weekend to celebrate our new life. I have dreams about our wedding day and in it I’m a tearful bride. We have no doubt that we are made for each other, but with all my OCD tendencies and the emotional and financial stress planning has caused I’m so confused as to what is next. I just feel so pressured with all this planning when it is not a necessity. I finally realized why so many people elope. Its so nerve racking to plan and financially establish a wedding.

  12. I am having a wedding of 400 guests next year July, 4 2015. I’m 9 months away and we doing cake tasting and set up of mock tables next week saturday. And wedding dress shopping next week saturday. We’ve booked our venue, photographer, caterer (and done food tasting), booked our decor company, florist and people think I’m crazy to be so in advance. But none of them have ever single-handedly planned such a big event, no one in my family has ever had a wedding of 400, ours will be the biggest in the history of our whole family, we breaking family records here! So I know it will be overwhelmind come the new year, and we 6 months away from the big day. When u have to times everything by 400 u can slowly just lose ur sanity! I feel those tiny panic attacks most people feel 4 or 3 months before, because for a wedding this size (that my mom inlaw is forcing us to have, even though I begged for a wedding of 100 max!) Its best to just do things in advance. And in fact even for a smaller wedding, u can still find things so overwhelming come closer to the date, so just do stuff in advance, check 90% off the list, deposits down and being paid off etc, and then come the last few months before the wedding I just wanna focus on me and my fiancé as a couple, get our minds and hearts ready for marriage, enjoy every moment, whilst just paying off those last loose ends (but not still planning). So yes that’s my goal to keep my sanity, plan plan plan, and then relax before the wedding and even focus on just me:) I mean its 9 months before and I’m already gonna know how my tables will look:) it really puts my mind at ease to know now, and the more I prepare the calmer I feel. December we begin marriage counselling and I wanna focus more on that than worrying about planning. Let’s see if my ‘plan’ will go according to plan! LOL a girl can only hope and dream her ideas work out the way she wanted.

    • I definitely planned mine well ahead of time and paid deposits and costs in full. Everyone said I was crazy, smh but doing all this myself with no help has made me loathe weddings and their planning/ We are now considering going away that weekend and eloping. I know I’m getting slack, but even if I lose deposits the happiness is more important than the money. Even being early I still am stressed, anxious, have lost so much weight my dress isn’t even alterable now and I have to find another one. Not to mention the arguments and anxiety attacks I have had. ALL in all it was a great learning curve and let my fiance’ see me at my worst as an anxious OCD bride to be and still come out in love. But again its all about you two and not the show it will be for your loved ones. My experience has basically allowed us to reconsider a ceremony and save money for a tropical or mountainside private ceremony where me, my fiance’ and my 10 yr old son, along with our 2 best friends will be there. Makes me think spending the time with my family (fiance’ and son) will be more important and cherished than a huge ceremony and reception. minus all the fights and stress!! Good luck in your wedding endeavors

  13. This was a great post and it’s amazing to see how many people it resonated with! My fiance and I initially planned a late 2015 wedding, then we went through some real make-it-or-break-it moments that made us want to get married as soon as possible. In an uphill battle, I completely lost my desire for anything wedding related. Our date would have been two days from now had we not gone back to the late 2015 date. I’m happy we have another year for us to really solidify what we want. A huge part of me is praying that we just elope and everyone can get over it because I can’t fathom spending another moment thinking about other people’s religions, kosher food, sabbath, and making it convenient for guests instead of special for us.

  14. Thank you ladies for all sharing your stories, we are all clearly not alone. My fiance and I got engaged December of 2012 and we have pushed our wedding date back FOUR TIMES. Mostly because of financial reasons, but also because of other big events occurring in our family. I told my fiance that I am tired of accommodating our lives for other people so I think finally we are going to set a date in stone and set a venue within the next month. If its one solid piece of advice I’ve heard throughout is, “It’s your and your fiance’s day, no one else’s so not to worry about pleasing others!”

    I wish you all the best wedding ever, no matter what that may consist of!

  15. I really hope things have gotten easier and your well on the way to having everything planned. I found that as the date got closer I became a little calmer, I worked really hard to let things go mentally and emotionly and trust that I had it right. We had our wedding three mths ago and you know what, it was small (some ppl didn’t come), it was at home and very basic. BUT everyone raved about the food (basic buffet) and thought it was beautiful even ppl I thought would judge us harshly. Nothing major went wrong and the little bits that did were quickly fixed.
    Enjoy the day, take a deep breath and look at your partner. Take five min away from everyone together and soak it up. We did this alot and its these moments that i think of the most. Your first kiss without anyone watching, his chance to see how beautiful you are and the moment ypu can giggle and say ‘wow, were really married’ 🙂 These little moments are the ones you will treasure long into your marriage.

    If eloping really feels like something you want to do and is just not to get away from planning go for it! We thought about it but I knew I would resent the fact we didn’t have a family wedding and that I wouldn’t be happy in the long run.
    Trust yourself your much better at this than you think 🙂

  16. I felt some of this, but it’s been so rough that I don’t know if I’ll be able to salvage this relationship. We were engaged 3 years ago, but broke it off because neither of us was really ready or doing it for the right reasons. We got re-engaged last fall and were planning our wedding for this fall. One year. It was doable. And then my fiance suddenly quit his job with no backup. I had a baby and have to put all my money towards his medical bills and other expenses. We talked about moving the wedding date back a few months so we could afford it. He agreed on a month but wouldn’t say a date. Then I told him I had found a way to have the wedding for 1/3 of the price and he said we could set a date immediately – just to give him a day to not think about it first. Well the next day he asked for a month. We started fighting over EVERYTHING and he started getting upset about me wanting to talk about things. So I told him that we should just wait until I graduate (in 4 years, by the way things are going) and he agreed happily. Honestly I don’t even want to get married anymore, I can see a happy future with just me and my son, but I don’t know how to move forward right now. I’m just kind of letting our relationship exist despite the fact that it’s dead.

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