If holidays with future in-laws I already don’t like weren’t bad enough, throwing wedding planning into the mix has made everything worse. And I’ll be dealing with that for the next year, not to mention whatever other bullshit pops up in our married life. We can only avoid his family so much. The really sad thing is it’s not even a matter of me disliking them–in bed Saturday night, Paul commented that he didn’t even want to go himself for Easter. I reminded him that he’s not obligated to, but of course, sucking it up and doing it is easier than saying, “You guys are toxic, if not downright abusive, and I’m not coming over anymore.”

We started Easter with church here at home, made a quick grocery trip, and enjoyed a few hours at home before we went for visits. Normally, we’d start at my parents’, but we decided to do that later in the day this time. So we got at Paul’s grandparents’ house right on time–which we’ve been doing a lot of lately, thank God–and were actually the first ones there. A cousin pulled in right behind us, and other relatives gradually followed.

Overall, it went well. It was the first time his extended family’s seen me since we got engaged, so there was a lot of showing off of the ring happening. But for the most part, we hung out with the siblings and the cousins.

It took a turn, albeit only a minor one, when his mom started asking about wedding plans.

Here’s where wedding planning stands now–we have a venue and a date, and as of today, the contract has been signed by all parties necessary and we owe them half their money, which I’m hoping to mail to them either tonight or tomorrow. It’s August 26, 2017 at the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens. We’re undecided on whether or not we want a Catholic wedding. I’m leaning towards no, he’s leaning towards yes, but we included it in the contract should we want it but have started going back to church so we’re in good standing and can actually join and get married.

When Paul initially told his mom the location, she made the comment that people were gonna have to travel to get there, and that’s technically true–while it’s a half-hour away from us, most of our families will have about an hour’s drive. But after considering other venues, we liked this one the best, and though Paul originally didn’t want to consider Pittsburgh venues, I asked him to reconsider. I don’t feel like it’s fair to us to plan our wedding around other people, plus we do plan on getting a hotel block nearby so people can stay.

She asked the expected questions over Easter about how the planning was going and where things were. I mentioned that as soon as we got the contract back from the venue, it’d be set. She must’ve missed this, because not long after, she said we’d better not sign anything until we knew we could get the church that day, which does make some sense. The thing is we can’t exactly sit around and wait on this venue. We already lost time to unreliable venues we ultimately dropped from the running, and we grabbed the only August date left. Not that we were set on August, but the rest of the summer was pretty much full at that point, so we took what we could when we could. Not to mention the whole bit about not being sure what we want, but that’s a whole side of it she frankly doesn’t even need to know about unless we decide no church wedding.

I started to say something like, “Well, we already signed it because we know we want it,” but I only got out the “well” before she interrupted it. I honestly don’t even remember what she said, but while she was talking, I thought, “Don’t even tell her. Just don’t even go there.”

Somehow, though, it came around to if the church out here isn’t available, maybe we could have it back in Uniontown, and that’s when I started to get downright annoyed. Part of the point of exploring venue options out here was because the others we’d looked at were an hour away. So I told her I didn’t want to be driving an hour, and she goes, “Oh, no, no, that’s not what I mean,” and Paul was probably screaming inside because he knows my patience with her has worn really, really thin over the last year, and I’d warned him that if she pissed me off, it wasn’t gonna be pretty. But I’m not really sure what she did mean, then. I think maybe she thought I was referring to an hour’s drive between the church and reception, and I kind of was, knowing we’d already signed, but I was also considering the fact that it would mean either an hour’s drive for us to get to our wedding ceremony or that we’d have to stay somewhere in Uniontown the night before. And all of this isn’t even considering the fact that we already decided Uniontown isn’t even what we want. We considered venues like Seven Springs that would’ve been an hour-long commute for us, albeit with overnight accommodations onsite. I mentioned that factor as a downside. Being able to swing by right after work if we need to is really, really appealing, and the venue is us. Part of the reason Paul vetoed Seven Springs was it was a little too fancy for him. The Botanic Gardens is the kind of place I think represents us better.

Somehow, the conversation shifted and did eventually turn to the fact that I don’t want a bridal shower. For one, the women in my family hate them. I don’t know what it is, but we just don’t enjoy them. But more than that, we live in a cramped, cluttered apartment as it is and will presumably be getting wedding gifts in a year. I really don’t want to add more gifts on top of that, and the registry’s sparse enough as it is for that reason. Plus it’s another thing that’ll cost money, and one of the things I’ve discovered about myself as a bride-to-be is I went from having grand ideas pre-engagement to looking at 90% of my wedding Pinterest board and saying, “I’m not paying for that,” which I expect will save me a fuckton of money. But in Paul’s family, especially with his mom, you just have to do certain things, and I knew the shower was gonna be a point of contention–I just didn’t expect it to become one before the ink was dry on the contract that she doesn’t know was even signed. She asked me over and over if I was sure. I said no every time. If it comes up again, I plan to say as calmly as possible, “I’ve told you no before, and I’d appreciate it if you’d respect that and stop pushing the issue.”

As I thought about it all later and I considered her previous comment about having to travel, I started wondering if maybe the conversation about having the wedding in Uniontown was her sly way of trying to talk us into moving the wedding to a location she prefers or is more convenient for her. Yeah, I’m overthinking it a bit, but knowing she’d say that previously, I couldn’t help but wonder. It started to feel like so many things with her do–that her concern was what she wants, not that it’s our wedding, and she’s trying to influence our decisions. I’ve been thinking of ways to politely tell her, should it happen again, that I feel like that’s what she’s doing and that we’d prefer she keep her opinions to herself unless we ask her.

The other side of that is there’s almost no way I come out of this without looking like a bridezilla, and I swear I’m not. As usual, she’s the only person I’m having any issue with–everyone else has commented on how beautiful that venue will be or has offered actual suggestions that don’t sound like they’re selfishly motivated. It’s just bad timing. I’ve been frustrated with her for a long, long time, and it just so happens that now is the time she starts saying things that rub me the wrong way.

Fortunately, though, the visit with my parents was a lot better. Meri’s in from El Paso and I fortunately caught a text from my mom right on time, so we left a little earlier than planned–well, sort of. We had to look through pictures first. But we did get to briefly visit with Meri (and Aunt Gina), then had a nice dinner featuring a healthy dose of my grandma’s recipes and candy my mom gave all of us. We hung out, Brandon and I played some Nintendo, the four of us played Cards Against Humanity and drank a little, and things ended on a positive note. I mean, until Paul and I bitched to each other the whole way home, but hey. I guess that’s part of the reason we’re getting married.



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