Survivor guilt

It’s a well known phenomenon when someone survives a situation or event and others don’t. They say DJ AM had it from the plane crash he survived last year. They use it to describe how people feel when they’ve survived a bunch of lay-offs at work and their friends haven’t been so lucky.

I feel it at times. I feel it now.

Not because I’ve survived a tragic event or my friends have been laid-off. No, I’m feeling it because I’m not in debt and I’m not majorly effected by the recession (yet). I feel it because I’ve been able to live comfortably in a nice apartment, in a nice side of town without worrying too much about where my next meal is coming from or how I’m going to pay my rent. I’ve been able to shop when I want and know that I have money if I need it. I’m not an extravagant person and I don’t live beyond my means – never have – and I watch my friends spend money and then worry about groceries and I feel guilty that it’s not me.

Planning a wedding in the whole recession atmosphere is fraught with pitfalls. Everyone’s talking about how to economise – how they managed to put on a wedding with few people for very little by making all the clothes or renting a school gym and picking wild flowers and having an iPod for the music. They talk about this so proudly and I sit there feeling guilty because that’s not the wedding I want.

I don’t need the huge wedding and the ballgowns either, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want a wedding with 350+ of my closest friends where I’ve spent $10 000 on a dress I’ll wear once. But at the same time, I don’t want a garden wedding with a keg and a BBQ with a dress I found at the discount thrift store. I want to feel special. I want to wear a wedding dress that I’ll never wear again. I want to celebrate properly.

I know it’s a lot of money to spend on one day and financially, it doesn’t make sense. But I want it and I feel guilty for wanting it. When there are people who are losing their homes and losing their livelyhoods, here I am wanting to spend a small fortune on one day. It seems ridiculous and so I feel the guilt. I know I’m being silly (or maybe I’m not). But I don’t want to regret the decisions I make for this wedding. I don’t want to compromise everything away. I don’t need the fancy schmancy stuff but I don’t want to minimise the day to such an extent that it’s something I don’t enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “Survivor guilt

  1. You know, most lives end up having their share of adversity, whether it’s financial or something else. I view that as permission (or a mandate) to enjoy what you have while you have it. It’s good that you’re sensitive to other peoples’ situations. And I think it’s kinda good for the first world to crank back a bit on material expectations. But I wouldn’t let that alter your wedding day for the worse. If you are not planning over-the-top grand, why not have things be lovely and the way you want them, bearing quietly in mind, as you do, that you are lucky to be able to afford it.

  2. ahhh guilt.

    the indicator we are doing something “wrong” or something, if youre me, which doesnt mesh with how I wanna see or define myself.

    DONT FEEL GUILTY.

    enjoy.

    Miz EazierSaidThanDoneSheKnowz

  3. Hey bride to be! I also got married recently. My take was like yours, I wanted my wedding day to be memorable and special, without being over the top. In the end, finding that medium was not as hard as I thought it would be. As it turns out, all the things I did that many would consider ‘cutting back’ were the things that made the wedding more personal and intimate.

    Here are some things I did:
    1. Spent a day trying on all the really expensive designer dresses (just for fun), and then found a reasonably priced one I liked even more.
    2. Had the wedding ceremony in my parents back yard (no kegs involved…lol!). It was beautiful, and simple, plus being at home helped keep the wedding day jitters to a minimum.
    3.The reception was at our favorite restaurant. This beats the generic catering bit, and we didn’t even have to rent the space.
    4. Rather than hiring a DJ, We created our own personal ipod playlist for the reception. This guaranteed we would love the music AND there was no chance an overzealous DJ would allow Sir Mix Alot’s “baby got back” to make an appearance.

    No matter what you do, you wedding will be amazing. No need to feel guilty about that!

  4. It’s YOUR wedding day – do whatever you feel like doing! And don’t feel guilty for any of it. You are a smart girl, and you have already proven that you are good with money, so think about what you want, and the best way to get it and JUST DO IT. You don’t have to explain your choices to anybody – you and the boy will remember this day for the rest of your lives, so make it as special as you want! Just make sure you invest as much energy into the MARRIAGE as you do the actual day of the wedding. 🙂

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