My boyfriend (since last August) and I plan to marry in September, when we’ll be 18 and 20. This is normal for our religious community.
- He wants a large wedding with all his friends present (120 people). I have no close friends. I’d rather elope than be there friendless.
- His parents are paying for half of the wedding and want to invite extra guests. How do I deal with this?
- I have social anxiety and don’t do well in party situations. But my boyfriend wants me to join in the celebration and not go hide and read a book, as I usually do. But parties are anxiety inducing and often end with me crying.
- He has ADHD and doesn’t plan well. So it's unfair that I’m responsible for most of the planning.
- Three of our parents are teachers so I’ve limited us to a $6,000 wedding. If my parents have more money, I’d rather have it later when we really need it. We’re both still in college. How do we lower costs?
- I currently live with my grandfather, rent-free. How do I ask him if he’s okay with my new husband moving in until he graduates (two years)? What can we contribute besides household expenses?
- My relatives may disapprove of my marrying this young. How do I deal with criticism?
- Is it rude to pay back our parents for the wedding in a few years, or should we buy them things they can’t otherwise afford? What about my grandfather?
- My boyfriend wants to pay off his student loans as soon as possible after college, but I disagree.
I think we should prioritize savings, because if something bad happens, borrowing creates higher debt. Who’s right?
Though young, you’re ready for love, and for advancing in college toward your goals.
But with all respect for your thoughtfulness about wedding issues, I urge you to recognize that you’re not ready for a wedding at this time.
Your social anxiety is a real factor, not to just be dismissed. At college, counselling through student services may help you lessen your anxieties.
But if you proceed with marrying soon, a close-family-only wedding (best for a low budget) would be far more comfortable for you.
Your boyfriend can celebrate with friends at a bachelor party.
Extra guests for only one set of parents usually causes resentments. Thank them for paying for half, but explain that you mostly want harmony among all.
It IS unfair for you to do all the planning, evidenced by the level of worry you already show.
Enjoy your relationship. Waiting longer to marry gives you both a chance to talk about some of your different wants/needs regarding the wedding, without time pressure.
If you want to live with your grandfather as a couple, you have to have the courage to ask him.
But, if you’re marrying so early to live together rent-free, then re-address your personal discomforts.
Either your boyfriend stays where he is, or you elope.
However, you already suspect that your relatives will be surprised at, and even critical of, such a young marriage.
Even in a strong faith community, maturity is needed for a marriage to thrive.
If you cannot agree to delay this wedding, I urge you to talk to a respected person or faith leader in your community about some of these issues, and get more emotional support for starting a life together.
FEEDBACK Regarding the letter from “Too Skinny Lover” (April 16):
Reader – “In 2005, my husband of 14 years developed symptoms that concerned me. I made an appointment with his doctor, as I wasn’t satisfied with his progress since his last medical check-up.
“I told him not to come home without a requisition for a chest x-ray, as I was very concerned about his voice’s hoarseness.
“He got the requisition and immediately went for a chest x-ray. There were other tests and he was referred to a specialist.
“A biopsy of the lung revealed inoperable lung cancer. He had 37 radiation and four chemotherapy treatments. He’s still cancer free.
“I always pay attention when I notice anything different, and always make sure he goes to his doctor for a check-up.
“That’s what partners do for each other.
“On June 1, we’ll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.”
Signed: So Happy to Still Have my Husband
Tip of the day:
When wedding plans are severely overwhelming, a delay may be the wisest recourse.