Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Looking back, groom regrets cost of reception — but why?
Disagreeing about money in public: I just learned that my husband feels our recent wedding celebration was not worth the money. It came up because an engaged couple asked for our views in the context of their own spending, and that's the view my husband plans to share with them. I am a little defensive because I feel like he's bailing on decisions we made jointly — we planned the wedding together, equally, and I recall him being happy with everything at the time.
I guess I'm hurt that he now regrets something we did together. Is that a fair thing to say to him? How about in front of this other couple?
Carolyn: It sounds as if you're putting emotions where his money is.
Unless he's actually blaming you for making expensive decisions that he was a party to making, I don't think his regrets necessarily mean he's "bailing."
His experience might simply have told him that 50 of the 150 guests didn't really add anything because he had no time to enjoy them, and that the most moving parts of the day, for him, were the ones that would have been the same at a $5,000 wedding as at a $500,000 wedding — seeing you come down the aisle, the vows, your favorite music playing at the reception, the look on Mom's face, having your closest friends and family laughing it up with his.
If (IF) that's what he wants to say to this other couple, then I hope he does, and then goes on to preach it far and wide.
It would make sense, though, for you to ask him to explain his views a bit, and warn him that your reflexive response so far has been to feel hurt and defensive.
Just don't go into that conversation assuming that because he has a negative opinion on the budget, he has a negative opinion on the whole wedding experience. Again, it could just mean that the good time he had and the memories he took away can be bought for less than you and he spent.
And if it turns out he is shifting blame to you, then this is an even more important thing for you both to wrestle with openly.
Whether he's failing to own his own choices, or you failed to listen to him when he was objecting gently to expenditures, or a combination of both, this is a communication issue that will keep piling up consequences until you figure out how to resolve it.
Anonymous: The signature, "disagreeing about money in public," suggests the issue isn't so much that he has these opinions as that he's planning to share them. Just because you're married now doesn't mean you get to censor his opinions. No one with any sense will expect the two of you to agree about everything.
Carolyn: Interesting take, thanks. And I agree, but couples (or family members, or friends, for that matter) need to tackle emotionally charged topics in private first. Where do you first want to hear your partner's unvarnished opinions of your family — home alone together, or out with clients?