I bet this goes over well.

Background to this email: Jeff's and my 10th anniversary is in late July. We found out last week that instead of the fall, as we'd been told, my mother's wedding would actually be on Saturday, August 2 in central Arkansas. We had made trip plans months ago, which required changing in order to make it to the wedding. (It's about a 7.5-hour drive each way from Huntsville to my hometown.)

The last part won't go over well. I have little doubt of that.

Mom -

I apologize for needing so long to get back with you on travel arrangements, but we were caught off guard by your wedding date. You'd said it was going to be in the fall, so we had no reason to think that your wedding date would conflict with the trip we'd already planned for our 10th anniversary in late July.

We needed the week to get in touch with our Seattle host (Adam) and get our travel plans changed so that we could attend.

As we already had plans in place and reservations booked, we can't shift them very much. This is the best we can do:

Jeff is leaving Seattle a couple of days before me, so he will drive to Arkansas from Huntsville after work on Friday, August 1.

I'm staying a couple of days after Jeff in the Pacific Northwest, so Adam (our host) will drop me off at the Seattle airport on the morning of Friday, August 1. I have a layover in Memphis and will touch down in Little Rock on Northwest #935, arriving at 8:16 p.m.

Both of us:
We were both already scheduled to be back at work on the following Monday, so we'll be driving out on Sunday morning or early afternoon to get back to Huntsville.

On Friday night, whichever one of us arrives first in Little Rock will check into our hotel room. (I don't have that booked yet.) I expect I'll be the first one in; I don't think Jeff will get to central Arkansas before 11 p.m.

Now for the sticky part --

> Reception at the community center. I will need
> you to help [your sister] clean up.

I don't think there is a way to say this that will make everyone happy, so I'll say it as gently as possible. I think you need to plan on having other people help. While I am willing to pitch in, I will have just come off a cross-country flight the night before, as well as several days of hiking.

At the very least, I will be jet-lagged and physically tired from the hike, and will also have a 7-hour drive the day after the wedding. I will be happy to help out some, but if you'd asked me before placing me on cleanup crew, I would have told you that I was coming straight from a hiking trip and that I wasn't a good person to ask. I'll do what I can, but I think you are better off finding some people who are local to Tull to help out.


I still don't know if this was the right tactic to take. On the one hand, I felt guilty for not being willing to dive in and help out. It's my mother's wedding, after all, and I am happy about it. My mother and Paul also have the right to pick any wedding date they want. (Repeat refrain: it's their wedding, not anyone else's.) I think the part that frustrated me was being told my duties without even being asked if I could make it on the date in question -- because in truth, the timing is terrible for Jeff and me.

(This post restricted to authenticated users only for obvious reasons.)


Wow, that's kinda annoying. I totally understand your grumpiness.

My wife's brother got married in January. Ever since last September, we've been receiving phone calls from her mother with lists of things that we (well, my wife, but I'm not going to let her go it alone, right?) need to do. We volunteered for a few things: getting invitations printed, getting a photographer and videographer. We ended up also being told to handle printing "Save the Date!" cards, decorations for the pre-wedding party, taking the bride shopping for her groom's suit, etc etc etc. And then on the day of my wife and I spent the day running around making sure things didn't go too wrong, telling people where to be and when, and making sure our son didn't destroy anything too important.

Okay, long digression. But I know where you're coming from on this, and I think you've done a great job of politely saying "Hey, you need more hands than this to make it happen". So good luck!

My theory: weddings cause normal, level-headed, rational-thinking adults to lose touch with sanity and sometimes reality. Not saying that's happening here, but it makes me wonder if maybe, just maybe, jewelers should look into mixing a little Thorazine into the metal of engagement bands. Combat Bridezilla at the source!

(Says she who got married once, and remembers it eating her brain, too.)

Meh. Either way, the trips are planned, and airfare's purchased. Our cabin's booked for Washington, and the group of friends who are staying there that weekend have already arranged for airfare and time off of work. All we lack are Mariners tickets, I think.

Funny - I just realized that I have never flown in or out of Little Rock before. My first plane ride wasn't until a while after Jeff and I married...

I got married once, too, and while it did eat my brain, I don't *think* it ate my sense of consideration for the other people involved...

(You'd have to ask for indpendent corroboration on that, of course; my brain was eaten.)

You've never flown out of Little Rock before? I seem to remember one Christmas where you got well acquainted with the Little Rock airport and all of its amenities.

Ha! I wondered if you'd remember my getting iced in the Little Rock hotel in the Christmas 2000 ice storm. (all entries from December 2000 -- skip down)

I was never able to get a flight out; Jeff had to pick me up and we drove home.

(I see that I really need to set up next/previous links on entries...would help here, wouldn't it?)

I think your theory is entirely correct-- I can remember doing things when I was planning for my wedding that must have been totally maddening for everybody else in hindsight. I can also think of a lot of instances where I wondered if friends and family members had visited Stepford before their weddings. I really do think it eats your brain-- good thought about the Thorazine.

I think you handled this in the most tactful way possible. Kudos.

It could have been worse. She could have scheduled the wedding for your anniversary day. In fact, that would have been all kinds of awesome, you could go on double anniversary dates!

Wonder why the change from fall to August... Hopefully it all works out good :)