Every week, Mallory Ortberg answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. Reluctant bride: I am engaged. I have never wanted to have a wedding, but my in-laws wanted us to very much. They agreed to pay for it and plan it, and despite my discomfort, I agreed, to maintain a good relationship.
They have since decided that I should plan the wedding, not them, and also clarified that by “pay for it,” they meant catering and drinks. This is the bulk of expenses but not all of them. I am growing increasingly resentful about the responsibilities and expenses that have been thrust upon me for a party I never wanted—to the point of fantasizing about breaking off the engagement just to get out of this wedding.
I have expressed these feelings to my fiancé, because I know that it’s his responsibility to talk to his parents—but either they don’t get it, or he has not expressed to them the depth of my resentment. I have also tried to put things in perspective (“it’s just a party”). Despite this, I have spent the last three months miserable or angry. How do I get through the next 15?
A: I don’t think you’re going to get through the next 15 months, if a mere three months have pushed you to the point where you’re considering leaving your fiancé altogether.
Tell him the whole truth—that you can’t see yourself getting through another 15 months of wedding planning, that the money isn’t worth it, and that you’re fantasizing about chucking everything and running away. You and your fiancé should decide together what kind of wedding you want to have, what compromises you’re willing to make, and figure out whether taking your in-laws’ money is worth the pressure that comes with it. If it’s not, the two of you will get to have the difficult but necessary experience of returning the money, and planning the kind of event that you two want to have, whether that’s running off to city hall or inviting friends over for a low-key buffet in your backyard.
A good relationship with your in-laws can’t be predicated on doing things you don’t want to do and swallowing your resentments; they’ll think everything is fine until you eventually explode out of nowhere. Nip this in the bud now, otherwise you might be setting yourself up for a married life full of swallowed words and in-law-related distress.