General Question

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Should I feel ashamed and embarrassed when I announce an engagement to my family?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11979points) June 14th, 2011 from iPhone

As some of you know, I was married once already and it unfortunately didn’t work out. I knew beforehand but went through with it anyway. Live and learn. I now have a new partner. We are expecting a baby in September. I’m absolutely in love with him and everything about this relationship is 100% different than my last. Still, I sometimes feel as though I’m not “allowed” to celebrate my happy and successful relationship to my family. They are still upset over my failed marriage and not all of them share in the joy of my new life. My partner and I have discussed marriage of course and it’s something we definitely plan to do after the baby is born. There is no date yet, no rings yet, no set plans yet. We have already committed our lives to one another regardless. But eventually we would like to make it official. Here’s my concern…it’s my second marriage. Am I supposed to have a small wedding, avoid white gowns, and treat it more like a funeral than a celebration? That’s how I feel my family will expect me to treat it. As if I should be ashamed that I’m doing this again. Will they think it’s a big joke and wonder “Hmm how long before this marriage ends?” I’m so happy for once in my life and I want to enjoy my wedding this time around. I want to laugh and dance and not worry about silly wedding details. But how can I do this if I’m constantly wondering how many people are judging me?

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27 Answers

Judi's avatar

I would consider a destination wedding. The “concern” that may feel like judgement might be that they think gifts are expected. That can sometimes be considered tacky for a second marriage for a bride.
If you have a destination wedding, only those who really share your joy will choose to attend, and you can make it clear that no gifts are expected.
You could also discreetly make that clear on an invitation for a local wedding as well.
If they are ashamed for religious reasons, then you just have to decide if you want to assume their shame or not. I have found that when I expect people like that to live their faith and show a little grace, they somehow find a way to do it.
It’s your day. They may not come around right away, but they will eventually. (it may take 20 years of wedded bliss to convince them, or this grandchild just might do the trick. )
Congratulations on finding the live of your life. There’s nothing better than that.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Judi You make a good point about the expectation of gifts. I hadn’t even thought of that. I would never expect gifts for a second marriage but I can see how that might cause an issue if it weren’t made clear beforehand.

seekingwolf's avatar

I think Judi is giving great advice.

You may want to consider having a very low-key wedding. Don’t ask for gifts, don’t invite many people, etc. Don’t have a huge big thing over it. Just have it be low-key and focus on your upcoming union and baby. Hopefully, your family will come around and see how happy you guys are together despite it being a second marriage for you.

Hibernate's avatar

Do not feel ashamed.
Tell them and ask them to be happy for you.

If they still insist staying upset then they are wrong .. they should want you to be happy [ It can be another failed marriage but if they start with this idea then they will never accept him ]

Blackberry's avatar

We don’t know you, but a lot of people have seen these situations before so of course we’re going to be skeptical.

Stinley's avatar

I think things will change once the baby arrives and people see that you are committed to each other and are a family together, Then it will seem like a natural step for you to take and they will be for it.

chewhorse's avatar

By all means treat it for what it is, a celebration.. Wear whiter whites if your so inclined.. Have a ball and enjoy yourself. In all situations there are those who are so soured of life that they choose to spread their sourness and we can only pity them.. ignore their faults and do as Scrouge’s nephew did when his uncle poo pooed his Christmas spirit.. You can reflect on how your family judged you after your homeymoon if you must (yes! you can fully indulge in this as well).. I think happiness deserves celebration, no matter how many times you encounter it.. Oh, and one more thing.. Never treat your life like a funeral.. Leave that to your survivors.

Bellatrix's avatar

By all means follow the advice here from @Jude about a destination wedding, but most definitely the wedding you have should be the wedding YOU and your partner want. If you want the white dress… wear a white dress. (I wanted a red dress for my second wedding and it was far more elaborate than my first). You have nothing to be ashamed of and you should not act ashamed. If others want to tut tut and judge, let them. Just go about things how you want to and those who want to join you will, wherever your wedding ends up being. Keep in mind, this is about you and your future husband and making a commitment to each other. Not pleasing your family. Be respectful but definitely not ashamed.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Getting married is supposed to be a joyous and celebratory occasion (right? That’s why people do it, right?). If they can’t get on board with it, if they’re too hung up on you failing to meet the expectations they unfairly placed upon you, then fuck em. That’s their loss, not yours.

marinelife's avatar

Your wedding is for you and your fiance. Make sure your parents know that they are not expected to help out financially. If it is your fiance’s first marriage, you could do the whole big wedding.

Do not feel any shame,. you have found the right man. Now you know that the wedding is not what’s important, the relationship is.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

To each their own.
I know for myself,If I were going to get married a second time,I would probably celebrate with a party,if at all, before I had a big production of a wedding.
No gifts,just bring yourself.;)

funkdaddy's avatar

It just takes time.

People don’t see your new partner every day, and they weren’t really there to see the old relationship wither so it takes time for them to process. They still expect you to walk around the corner with the ex-husband and so it’s just a little jarring each time.

If it’s a big deal to you, then maybe have a long engagement and give your family some time to get used to your new life. Hang out with them so they can see how happy your new partner makes you and they don’t just know him as “the new guy”.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You’re not a bride; you had that last year with your first marriage. You should not expect gifts the second time around. From what you have posted here about your financial situation, you cannot really afford the expense of a large second wedding.

The tasteful thing to do would be to have a small wedding, one attendant, small reception at a restaurant. It’s the relationship that’s important. You don’t have to treat it as if it’s a funeral. Plenty of people get married without a three ring circus and stay married. Buy a lovely outfit that you will wear again, let your SO spend money on a nice suit that he will wear again, have a maid of honor who gets to choose a dress that she loves, and do it with elegance.

john65pennington's avatar

Judi has just about said it all and I agree. jp

tedd's avatar

The white gown signifying “innocence” or “virginity” or “purity” is 100% myth.

Hundreds of years ago England (I’m pretty sure it was England) was facing a major economic downturn. In order to show the kingdom that the royalty shared in their pain, a princess being married (who would become queen I think) wore a white dress rather than some colorful thing.

It was about austerity, it had nothing to do with purity. It caught on, and the meaning has since been warped.

janbb's avatar

I remember going through your first wedding planning with you and how much you were invested in it. The focus this time should be on the relationship. Have the wedding you want and celebrate your love but I think it behooves you to focus on what’s important – your baby and your man.

josie's avatar

I would elope.

quiddidyquestions's avatar

@BarnacleBill She’s not a bride because it’s her second wedding?

Have the wedding you and the guy want. You wanna wear white, invite everyone you know, make a big deal out of it, go ahead. The only thing I suggest is to let it be clear you’re not expecting gifts or financial help. Your family will have to deal. This isn’t about them unless you make it about them.

flutherother's avatar

You shouldn’t feel ashamed, rather your family should be pleased but I would keep it low key the second time around.

SuperMouse's avatar

In March I married for the second time. I was married to my first husband for over 20 years and we have three children together. For all of my family except one sister (who knew the reality of my marriage), our divorce was a pretty bitter pill to swallow. My divorce was final for about two years before I remarried and when I did it was a very low key intimate affair. As far as I was concerned it was absolutely perfect. While it low key it was not somber, it was the happiest moment of my life when I finally got to say my vows with my soul mate and best friend. We only invited our immediate family then we all enjoyed a meal together at a nice restaurant. We planned (still haven’t gotten around to it) to send announcements to the extended family. The only bad part for us of having it so small was that my family felt left out at not being part of the ceremony. It was better for me however because I was subject to less scrutiny by these folks who had forever ever seen my ex and I as a single entity.

Do what makes you happiest, plan your wedding, enjoy your love, and don’t worry about what anyone else has to say.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Your wedding is supposed to be a celebration you and your partner share with the people who love and support you. If your family is acting that way then don’t invite but the fewest of them you can get away with. Elope and have a wedding ceremony at your honeymoon destination spot, you can send pictures and announcements later.

Wear what you like! Anymore then women are wearing formal gowns for more than first marriages, having bridesmaids, parties, etc. Make the celebration a celebration rather than a traditional display. Some people didn’t have the wedding they really wanted the first time around and so have those details in later weddings.

Friends will be happy for you no matter what you choose.

wundayatta's avatar

You pay for it, and you can make it whatever you want. You can put it where you want and invite who you want and run it how you want. Afterall, it’s got to be meaningful for you.

In my opinion, a wedding is about bringing together three communities—the bride’s family, the groom’s family, and their friends. These people come together and eat and dance together and put their approval on the union and then agree they will help support your marriage as you grow and change.

In this case, your family is not anxious to approve a new marriage, so they will be stiff and awkward at the ceremony, and who knows? Maybe they won’t even show up. It doesn’t matter. You are standing before the people you care about (who show up) and telling them all that you are making a promise (whatever vows you write) to this man. Well, both to each other. You are implicitly asking the community’s support but you could also make that explicit.

That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. I wish you the best of luck, and hope that your family will come around and if they are supportive, as least not be unsupportive.

SpatzieLover's avatar

We eloped. If for some reason I was in a situation where I wanted to marry again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Elopement at a destination then plan some sort of family gathering with great music and food to follow a few months later ;)

If we had already had our son prior to our marriage, we both being extremely practical would not have spent much money, time or energy on our union.

beyonceboy's avatar

so what dont feel bad no ones perfect just tell them.

linguaphile's avatar

My friend shared a quote with me last week—“Tension is what you think you should be, relaxation is what you are.” Have a relaxing event and later wedding, whatever “relaxed” means to you!

keobooks's avatar

@SpatzieLover ,My husband and I also eloped. It was the best thing for us. Not expensive, and it was low stress and perfect. Nobody could complain about our wedding because nobody knew it happened until after the fact. LOVED it!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@keobooks I agree. We had almost zero stress.

We had my mom the only person who knew we were eloping send out the invites to our reception. The invites announced our “Leap Day” surprise elopement, and asked that they come enjoy a nice celebration Memorial Day weekend. It allowed out of state relatives time to plan, and let people know we were interested in their company, not their gifts.

I don’t understand why so many decide to complicate “their” day. We had fun!

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