do I really need to schedule my wedding around work events?

A reader writes:

I got engaged in May of 2016. In July, we chose a venue and date (January 2018). When I told my boss the good news, the first thing she said right after congratulations was (in a panicked voice), “But that’s right before our Annual Teapot Gala!” — to which I didn’t know how to respond, since at this point the gala was so far away that at this point we hadn’t even held our 2017 gala yet. I said something along the lines of, “Yes, but that’s still a year and a half away” and she basically made it clear that it was a very crazy time and I’m responsible for creating all of the marketing materials leading up to the event.

I guess my question is this: Now that the wedding is about a year away and we will start planning our honeymoon, etc., do I really need to take this into consideration? When I told my boss that I hadn’t thought to pick a wedding date based on a work event, her response was “Well, I planned my wedding and honeymoon around work events. That’s what an employer should expect you to do.”

I do want to note that I work for a small nonprofit, and I’m currently the only person who does what I do. I just can’t imagine that I’ll get married on a Friday, and come in on Monday ready to work again and put honeymoon plans on hold so that I can work for this one event. I figure a year and a half is more than enough time to figure out how to fill the void in my absence.

Now, I’m in my 30s and that makes me much younger than most of the employees here, and I’m aware that I very well may have a skewed sense of what’s expected since my perspective is from a different generation. Is this something I SHOULD be mindful of? Should I have planned my wedding (and ultimately plan my honeymoon) around the big annual event? Or is it inappropriate of them to expect that of me? I would really love to know if I have a point or if I’m just naiive in all of this!

I also want to say that the few times I’ve tried to take off in the last few months (even one day), I’ve been denied because “things are too busy” … but ultimately don’t I get to decide if I can handle the consequences of taking a day off? Or is my perspective on this also inaccurate?

It depends.

There are some jobs where it would be reasonable to expect you to take a major work event into account. For example, if you were the sole event planner running a major event, then yes, it would be reasonable of your employer to expect you to be there for it. Being present for something like that is a core part of the job without much flexibility to it. (And really, event planners and others in similar jobs usually know that going in.)

But in this case, you’re just responsible for creating all the marketing materials leading up to the event? That sounds like something that you should be able to do before you leave for your wedding, as long as you ensure someone is able to make any needed last-minute changes to the materials.

Maybe there’s some twist to this that I don’t know, like that for some reason the materials truly can’t be created until the week before the event, and that’s when you’ll be gone. If that’s the case, ideally you would have sat down with your boss, explained that this was the only option for your wedding date because of X reasons, and asked if she’d be okay with using an outside designer for this one event … or something along those lines, rather than just “hey, FYI, I’ll be out then.”

Whenever this kind of question is asked here, there’s always an argument that comes up in the comments section that no job should ever be able to dictate something as important as what day you do (or don’t) get married. And while I get the spirit of that, in reality there are jobs where you really can’t do the work well if you’re not taking major events into account in your personal scheduling. Not minor stuff like “but that’s our planning meeting for the fourth quarter!” but big stuff like annual galas if you play a big role in them where someone else can’t easily step in. Even then, often it just means that you need to raise the question and work out a plan with your boss and you can still get the date that you want — but just assuming could come off as tone-deaf.

Anyway, in this particular case, it sounds like it’s more about your boss being overly rigid — and overly rigid about time off in general, since she claims that it’s always too busy for you to ever take a day off. That said, given her stance, you’ll need to decide what you’re going to do. If she’s insistent that she won’t give you time off then, you may need to choose between the date that you want (and maybe have already booked?) and the job. Before it reaches that point, though, I’d try sitting down with her and having the “I know this isn’t ideal, but we’re limited on the date because of Reasons, so can we figure out if there’s a way to make this work?” conversation, and see where that gets you.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 416 comments… read them below }

  1. she was a fast machine*

    My knee-jerk reaction is that it’s absolutely atrocious to try and dictate someone’s wedding and honeymoon dates around work events, but I can see the point Allison is making. Still, though, I adore my job and if they tried to tell me I couldn’t get married when I was planning to I’d be pretty upset. I’m engaged now, and thankfully when it’s come up in casual conversation that August is when I’d like to get married everyone has been incredibly supportive, despite that month usually being our absolutely craziest time.

    1. Epsilon Delta*

      My knee-jerk reaction is the same, but my logical side says, if you know that there is some recurring event/busy period at work every year, you do need to plan your vacations around it, including vacation time for your wedding/honeymoon.

      That said, the boss had like a year and a half of notice so I’m sure they/OP can come up with good back up plans, especially if it is just one event (caveat: I know nothing about event planning or OP’s role in it).

      1. paul*

        yep. if you’re a tax accountant don’t plan a big vacation in early April. There’s some jobs with relatively reasonable clearly defined busy seasons.

        1. Turtle Candle*

          Yeah, I think it depends hugely on the job. We have a predictable release schedule at my workplace, with deadlines announced long in advance, and for some positions heavily involved in the release, it would be… oh… tone-deaf to schedule a major absence for that time. Not verboten necessarily but given that the company is genuinely very flexible the other 11 months of the year, it would come off oddly for sure, simply because a lot of people would be wondering “why not literally any other month?”

          1. ZVA*

            Yeah, my company’s busiest season is August & September—while it’s definitely possible to take time off in those months, it’s something you’d have to ask your higher-ups about & get their approval first; just announcing you were doing it would come off as tone-deaf.

          2. The Rat-Catcher*

            Agreed that the flexibility for the remainder of the year makes a huge difference. I had a job where there were a total of three busy months out of the year (and not even all together, more spread out into three-week intervals here and there). Depending on the reason for time off, it wasn’t always an egregious thing to do, but we went in with the understanding that during those three months, we’d be expected to really deliver, and the rest of the year we could more or less take off at will.

            But OP’s boss isn’t showing that kind of flexibility even at this point, and that’s a game-changer.

        2. cake batter*

          Agree… if you work in politics, you schedule events like this around elections or legislative session, depending on what exactly you do. If you were a campaign manager and scheduled your wedding for election week, you’d be fired pronto and never find work again.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Oooh, campaigns are a great example. You wouldn’t even need to be the campaign manager; in the majority of roles on a campaign, you’re not getting any time off between June-ish and election day.

            1. FK*

              I work in politics, can confirm! Although usually August-Election Day are the worst. June/July are busy but not the WORST. That being said, a fall wedding or vacation is almost unheard of. Primary season can be treacherous too!

            2. BPT*

              It’s so funny – living in DC, it’s really common to see August weddings in odd numbered years (when Congress is in recess and there aren’t elections), but definitely not in even numbered years.

              1. Political Animal*

                Can confirm, DC lobbyist who got married in August of an odd-numbered year for precisely that reason.

                Silver lining – tropical vacations for honeymoons are usually a steal because August is hurricane season!

              2. TrainerGirl*

                Definitely. I used to train congressional staff, and there was no such thing as being out of the office during a new congress. It’s one thing that I don’t miss now that I’m not working in government contracting anymore.

              3. VelociraptorAttack*

                I used to work on campaigns and I just got married last August. Luckily we eloped because the majority of my friends still work in the field so I would have had no guests able to make it.

          2. Jessesgirl72*

            Or a player for a professional sports team, planning a wedding during the season.

            And really, in this case, although the wedding itself is one thing, the honeymoon is another thing entirely. I have known lots of people who delayed their honeymoon because when they couldn’t get time off right after the wedding. Especially since most people aren’t concentrating well on the job before their weddings…

            1. Alice*

              This makes me think of something I’ve wondered for a long time – do male professional athletes and their partners try to schedule their pregnancies not to overlap with the playoffs?

              1. Zoe Karvoupsina*

                If they do, at least in hockey, it doesn’t always work. (See: Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Evgeni Malkin)

                1. Dez*

                  My husband’s cousin is a coach and his wife was due about a week after the Olympics were ending in 2014. Her last appointment before he left they found out she was already mostly effaced and 4cm dilated and could essentially go any time. A kept saying “but I leave for Russia in like two days…” I stayed with her and we had a great time watching their three year old look for Daddy and cheering them on. Baby waited until Dad came home with a gold medal.

              2. JustaTech*

                My friend’s husband is a manager of a minor league baseball team and he missed the (early) birth of their first kid because the team had done really well that season and he was on the road for playoffs.
                He was eventually forgiven, and their next kid was born in the off season.

                1. TheLiz*

                  Yeah, but that can happen to anyone – my father missed my birth because he was in Canada on business. I was three weeks late, and the trip had been (re)scheduled for after I was *supposed* to be born…

            2. SimonTheGreyWarden*

              My husband and I got married mid June but we didn’t take a honeymoon until end of July because of my summer class schedule and the fact that he was starting a new job and had onboarding in early July (though they did grant him the honeymoon time off since that was already scheduled). However, for our venue we had the choice of one weekend in June or one in September, and September wouldn’t work because of other scheduling issues.

          3. Gadfly*

            My last job (newspaper advertizing dept) I was warned at the interview that 4th quarter was crazy and was a basically a blackout for time off for anything non-life-threatening. That was a little exaggerated, but I can’t imagine trying to get weeks off while dealing with Black Friday and Christmas ads for something that I had a choice of when to schedule. And I was an assistant–someone higher up would be a disaster.

            1. Gadfly*

              Advertising. I am horribly embarrassed to discover my phone has learned to misspell that and that I didn’t catch it.

      2. BWooster*

        If you work in retail, you definitely aren’t going to get much time off between Thanksgiving and New Year’s +2 or so. It is just the nature of the beast.

      3. User Experience Researcher*

        Yeah, and I’d do it solely to avoid the stress. If we have a big release coming in July, it would probably be less stressful for everyone involved if I don’t plan my wedding or a big vacation that month, and there are 11 other months I can choose from.

    2. RD*

      That’s funny. My knee jerk reaction was the opposite.

      It’s over a year out, so it seems pretty easy to plan it for a date that doesn’t conflict with a major part of your job.

      1. De Minimis*

        This was my reaction too…but I work for a similar small nonprofit with certain events that happen at the same time each year.

      2. anoncmntr*

        Mine, too. It’s not that the company is dictating when you can get married, it’s that you’ve chosen a job that has certain requirements at certain times of year — why would you choose a date that conflicts with those requirements? Like, you can’t choose the first two weeks of May because your sister has final exams, you can’t do October because Dad’s having surgery, you can’t choose January because that’s when the annual work gala is.

        1. Karen D*

          Right. You can’t decide you want a career as a mall Santa and then add “but of course I’ll need the two weeks after Thanksgiving off for our big family reunion.”

          1. anoncmntr*

            Ha, exactly! I almost gave an example of being an elf demanding time off just before Christmas but thought maybe that was too silly :)

        2. Kathleen Adams*

          Mine, too. I work for a non-profit, and our big event is usually in mid-December. I won’t say it would be impossible for a staff member to plan a wedding for, say, the 15th of December and keep her job, but I will say that you’d absolutely have to have a really, really, really great reason why you needed to do it then and not, say, the 19th of December or the 15th of November.

          Baring major medical issues (giving birth, recovering from surgery – in at least a couple of cases, people have been excused because they had the flu), being available for work then is simply part of the job.

      3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Me too. But I know that I a) don’t tend to think of weddings as hugely significant days and b) I’ve been in a role that had a very significant date-specific responsibility. I absolutely planned my wedding around that date, and it wasn’t burdensome. In my circumstance there was about a month that was off-limits… it isn’t hard to avoid just that one month.

        I do recognize and am hugely sympathetic to the pressures related to weddings, including the dates. After factoring in my work schedule and the highly-inflexible work schedules of my mother and father-in-law-to-be, and our need to be in the “off-season” because of our budget, there was one weekend that worked. It’s rough out there. But you have to start with your reality, which might include a set of dates that just won’t work (because of work).

        1. Zombii*

          You bring up a really good point. It seems like there are two ways to schedule a wedding: 1) look at the schedules of yourself, the person you’re marrying, everyone you really want to be involved, then pick a date, or 2) pick a date and assume everything else will slot into place around it. I’ve seen both ways, guess which one tends to be less stressful?

          (And I’m wondering if any of the LW’s coworkers are saying “Oh, cut her some slack. It’s her first wedding! Don’t you remember your first wedding?”)

      4. Jessesgirl72*

        Exactly. The annual gala is always the same month. The OP was a year and a half out and had 11 other months to choose from.

        1. MsCHX*

          I too had a, “But you know the gala is a huge annual event and you know when it is and certain things will still happen in the weeks/days leading up to the gala so it being months away is irrelevant!” (run-on on purpose) reaction. Why not schedule after it so you can truly relax?

          I GET wanting a specific wedding date…I really wanted 9/10/11 (I know…) but 1) it was insanely popular-duh and 2) a majorly important day (September 10th) for an event in DHs family. So we changed it. And we did not take the honeymoon immediately after because we couldn’t.

          1. Mookie*

            Why not schedule after it so you can truly relax?

            Good point. Might not be feasible, but it’s something to consider.

      5. TootsNYC*

        I had that same reaction.

        I think it depends a little on how many of those blackout periods you might get. i have monthly deadlines, and those 12 periods are the ONLY reason my position exists. However, there are 12 of them, 24 weeks total, so missing one is something I think is reasonable. Simply because there are so very many of them. Also, there are several people who can pitch in for me, and my budget included weeks for vacation for all my people.

        At a different job, I had only 4 deadlines. And 8 weeks of the year were the only true reason my position existed. I never planned a vacation of any sort in those 4 periods. And there was no real vacation budget.

      6. GA*

        Mine was the opposite, too. I work in non-profit fundraising as an events coordinator and I would never plan a personal event at the same time as a work event. Especially when the dates are known so far in advance. I took my job knowing what it entails … it’s not like the events dates are sprung on me last minute. It seems unprofessional of the OP in my opinion.

        1. Violet*

          I also work for a nonprofit and would never plan a vacation or wedding during our gala season. I scheduled my wedding after our gala and I only take classes (for grad school) during the off season. Within two years of me getting married, three of my co-workers (we all work in fundraising/development) did as well; and they all scheduled our weddings during slow times. This has been common practice in every nonprofit I’ve worked in – even the big universities who have huge staffs.

      7. Stranger than fiction*

        Well, I’m sure they picked January for a reason. Maybe it was the only opening at the venue, or the only time parents could fly out or something like that.

        1. KM*

          Also, if you’re getting married in the US (except maybe HI and FL), January is probably one of the cheapest months in which to get married. My wedding is this June and I could probably have paid half as much if I had gotten married this month!

        2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Right, but that reason may or may not be more important than a work conflict I’d argue that only time parents could fly out = reasonable; only opening at the venue = not reasonable (there are thousands of other venues).

          I just don’t get why (some) folks believe that a work issue should be so low on the consideration list. Of course it’s not the most important thing. But it is more important than many other considerations. Opinions will vary on how the various considerations should be ranked, but I don’t see an argument for a work event being below abstract things like a preference for a winter wedding or a particular date or venue.

          1. lokilaufeysanon*

            There might not be thousands of other venues to choose from. Not everyone lives in a big city or by one.

            1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

              Ok, fine. I’ll concede that if there is literally only one place that you could have your wedding, that consideration is more important than work obligations. But that’s a straw man argument.

        3. yasmara*

          Right, but it’s not like the event covered the whole month. Why pick a time that overlaps with the busiest event of the year? I agree, this seems tone deaf of the OP. I get that she gave her boss 1.5 years notice…but she also had 1.5 years notice to not do this.

          I am also coming from the standpoint of someone in my 40’s who has been married for over 15 years. The wedding is one day. The honeymoon is one vacation. I just don’t have that perspective of The Wedding Day Is Everything anymore (if I ever did, which, nope, I didn’t.).

          This isn’t a death in the family or major illness, which you can’t control. This is completely within the OP’s control. She just doesn’t want to change her plans. If that’s the case, there could be consequences at her job that she needs to understand.

          1. User Experience Researcher*

            I’ve only been married for 4.5 years and I don’t have that perspective anymore. I used to want to get married on some cutesy date – like 7/7/07, or 9/10/11, or the day that we first met, what have you. I didn’t get married on a cutesy date and realized that whatever date you get married *becomes* a special date for you automatically.

            My husband and I didn’t get to take a honeymoon after our wedding – we were both starting school the next week. We’re planning on taking one this year for our 5th anniversary.

      8. boop the first*

        I feel the same way! Though… I’m also a bit of a pushover who feels uncomfortable booking time off for any reason and thus never gets vacation time. I also consider wedding celebrations to be a big superfluous party.

    3. DaniCalifornia*

      I think you have to take in all sorts of things when you plan your wedding. Hopefully one’s job will be accommodating if you truly needed off or it worked best to have a wedding during a busy time. Like Allison said it can depend on what career you are in.

      I sort of planned my wedding around work. In a tax office, vacation during tax season is taboo (Jan – Apr, September – Oct 15). I definitely did not want to go through the stress of wedding planning during tax seasons either. We got engaged in May and married that December. It worked for us (especially since I’m also a student.)

    4. Artemesia*

      My knee jerk reaction is that when setting a wedding date you obviously ask: are their work issues for me or my intended that we should work around and what works for my immediate family.

      I cannot imagine booking a wedding over a year in advance right the week of the biggest event in my workplace. I can’t imagine booking a wedding the first two weeks of April if I am a tax accountant. I can’t imagine booking my wedding in early April if I am a school teacher or professor if I expect to take a wedding trip.

      You can’t time when the baby arrives but you can choose when to have a big party and a year and a half in advance gave you plenty of time to make that work around this well known work event.

      1. Kyrielle*

        And, if the date is very special for some reason (it’s some other special date in your life that you want to tie the wedding to), then a) you talk to your boss and b) you go into it knowing that the honeymoon may not happen at the same time as the wedding. (It’s probably not unreasonable in most cases, if the date / timing has sentimental reasoning, to try to get one day off for the actual wedding – but the addition of the honeymoon takes it from one day to rather more time.)

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          My late 20’s SIL and her husband delayed their honeymoon because of work reasons, and because they did take time off- and major concentration- away from their jobs for the wedding itself, they needed to concentrate on their jobs for a few months after the wedding was over. They got married in February and took their honeymoon in the summer.

          1. Bookworm*

            I know a number of people who’ve done that. Usually, because they wanted a certain date but then couldn’t get away right away for the honeymoon.

            (And really, who wants a honeymoon where you’re thinking about work because you left at a busy time?)

        2. TootsNYC*

          You sure as heck don’t sign a contract w/ a vendor without getting approval for that time off!

          That may be part of the boss’s attitude here.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            If that is the message then, the boss’ delivery could be better. “We need to look at our calendars together before you make huge monetary commitments.” I have had bosses say, “We will try our best to work with you on this” and I believed them.

            Which brings me to maybe part of OP’s concern is that she does not see where they actually need her on that particular date. And it sounds like there maybe the seeds of trust issues already planted. So there are several things running at the same time.

      2. CDL*

        I agree with this – we have a giant event every year that one person on my team leads, and she is getting married the weekend before. She’s coming in the following week to run the event, and then going on her honeymoon once the event is done. It’s not ideal for her – I imagine she will be completely exhausted – but it’s very clear that all members of the team (especially her) need to be present for the event.

      3. Joseph*

        My knee jerk reaction is that when setting a wedding date you obviously ask: are their work issues for me or my intended that we should work around and what works for my immediate family.
        Exactly. Unless you’re in a “shotgun wedding” or “elope to Vegas” scenario, you have flexibility to move things around a little. This is no different than if you wanted to take a week at the beach or take the kids to Disney or anything else – there are some times of year that It’s Just Not Possible.

    5. FinFin*

      I can understand if that specific date was ABSOLUTELY crucial to you, but at least be apologetic about it not just mention it in passing. Also it seems a little selfish to be inflexible on both the wedding date and not waiting till a more convenient time to take a honeymoon.

      1. SadPanda*

        This makes me sad.

        “Also it seems a little selfish to be inflexible on both the wedding date and not waiting till a more convenient time to take a honeymoon.”

        A once in a lifetime event vs. a job. Just my opinion.

        1. lolnope*

          A once in a lifetime event that costs a lot of money for very little reason versus the job that pays your bills and can catapult you to bigger and better things. If weddings were important just on an emotional basis, people wouldn’t be spending thousands of dollars to show off to their family and friends. They’d go down to the courthouse and get it done, because it’s the union that matters, not the party.

          1. wedddddings*

            Or the church. Cause for some people it definitely still has to be in a church for it to count. (Now, you can have a church wedding with very little money/in normal clothes/not with a reception, etc.) But I know I wouldn’t have felt married if I didn’t get married in a church.

            1. Not A Morning Person*

              And even that kind of planning for a church wedding might need flexibility. Church and town were flooded (hurricane season) nine days before the wedding. So we moved it and got married in my brother’s backyard. Still feel married and no one mentioned that it wasn’t a “real” wedding.

          2. Rhys*

            There can be a balance in this. Spending money to throw a good party for family and friends doesn’t have to be just about showing off- there is an emotional component too. Not saying that the OP was in the right, but there is a WIDE range of wedding choices between courthouse and extravagant showing-off.

        2. Why Don't We Do It in the Code*

          The phrase “work/life balance” implies at least some balance towards work. I try to have my life come first but I acknowledge that working pays for my food, shelter and clothing and I need to make some concessions occasionally. Unless there was literally no other choice out of the rest of the year (which I think she would have mentioned) then I think she should have taken the big gala into more consideration.

          1. No Name Yet*

            I think your comment about work/life balance is really important – we tend to focus on making sure the ‘life’ is included (understandably!), but the ‘work’ aspect is also part of it.

        3. a different Vicki*

          My marriage wouldn’t be any different if I’d gotten married in January or May instead of February. To the extent that we planned around anything, it wasn’t dates with specific meaning, or venues, but my mother’s availability, because she lives on a different continent.

          On the other hand, my spouse and I are oddballs who think that the wedding is much less important than the marriage/relationship. We wouldn’t be any more married if we’d had a hundred guests to a fancy sit-down meal instead of our parents and very closest friends for tea, coffee, and Italian pastry. Possibly less, since that would have required us to plan a large and expensive party, and my spouse to co-host one.

        4. Zombii*

          Insisting on taking time off during a specific timeframe that is inconvenient for work, when the choice of that timeframe was—as far as we know—mostly within the LW’s control is selfish. Sure, it’s once in a lifetime, but assuming that she’ll be able to take the time off when it sounds like the gala is an all hands/mandatory attendance event makes her seem oblivious about this company’s culture.

          And when she says at the end of the letter that she should be able to take the time off and take the consequences? that tells me I’ve worked with people like her before and I can see exactly how this is going to go.

    6. Jean*

      All I can say is that our receptionist at a small private school planned her wedding and honeymoon for the first week of school. Which made it very difficult for the rest of us. I mean, we got through it but it really was an inconvenience.

        1. AMPG*

          A receptionist is not a do-or-die position. I’m not surprised that coworkers had hard feelings, but I can’t see that being a firing offense.

  2. Liz T*

    An SAT tutor at the time, I planned my wedding around the SAT…and then the SAT was a week earlier than I’d expected. I had to work the whole weekend before my wedding, and couldn’t go to the annual staff party because I was getting married that same night!

    1. many bells down*

      I kind of did the same thing: I was teaching and planned my wedding to be over winter break … and then they changed the dates of winter break, because we’d had unplanned closures earlier in the year. So I ended up missing a week right before break which didn’t make anyone happy.

    2. alter_ego*

      haha, the joke at my job is that no matter how hard you work to plan your vacations around a deadline, the deadline is inevitably going to move to the week of your vacation. Our deadlines are external, and for really big jobs, can be months out. Every. Single. Project, at least one team key member ends up on vacation the week that the project ends up being due, since it inevitably gets pushed as the project progresses. We just shrug and make do at this point, since no amount of planning has managed to counter-act the issue.

      1. yasmara*

        Super true in a lot of jobs, not necessarily true with a big annual event. I’m running into something similar now – we have our big family vacation planned for the 2nd week of February…and I just had a big deadline stuck on me for the 2nd week of February…

        I’ve communicated the difficulty with everyone involved, but I have dependencies on other things happening exactly on time. Which, in the past, they haven’t. So I’m gambling that something will go wrong somewhere and the actual deadline will be after I get back. But I’m also planning to take my work laptop, we will have internet connectivity on all crucial days, and I’ve warned my husband that I may have to take some time to work if the deadline holds. Clear communication with all parties involved!

      2. Amy*

        At one job I was denied the date I originally wanted for my honeymoon because the office was going to be moving one of the weekends. I moved it back a few weeks which is when the office actually ended up moving because of construction delays. I did box and label all my stuff before I left and it was all waiting for me at the new building when I came back.

    3. Kristine*

      I got married 6 months earlier than I wanted to and delayed my honeymoon due to a work event that my company was inflexible about. That company laid me off 3 months before the event happened. I am still PO’d to this day.

      1. Venus Supreme*

        That’s atrocious. You worked for a bunch of brainless ninnypoops. Glad you’re out of there- I hope you have a better job with better people!

      2. AMPG*

        And this is the other side of it – your job isn’t necessarily going to show you the same consideration you’re showing to them. It’s always a good idea to be a team player when you can, but keep things in perspective.

  3. Ashley B*

    I get it work is important. If it was your dream job, I might be willing to work around a key event where my participation and presence was mandatory.

    However if something happened, you got deathly ill, your company needed to downsize, you ‘didn’t work out’ or were fired – they would do the event without you. There are a million senarios that would change the course of events by 2018.

    I feel like a wedding is once (hopefully) in a lifetime event and can take priority over most other things.

    P.S. Just because your boss arranged her life around this job, doesn’t mean you have to.

    1. NonProfit Nancy*

      Totally agree that our jobs rarely take our personal lives into account. I don’t think OP acted wrongly, especially with this much advance notice – things happen, everybody will make it work. But I think the perception problem is just that OP seemingly picked this time – so unlike being deathly ill, this was avoidable with a little forethought. That’s why work doesn’t take it in quite the same category as an illness or even maternity leave (some people plan their pregnancies, but enough people don’t that it’s generally considered out of bounds to question it).

      1. Artemesia*

        But with this much advance notice why pick the one week when it causes work problems? It isn’t as if the thing was planned 3 mos out when she got hired and therefore immovable.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Right. And of course the company would manage if you were suddenly ill… but that’s not at all relevant because this is planned, more than a year in advance.

          1. Zombii*

            This. I had a coworker who would book vacations months in advance, then ask for the time maybe a week before she was set to leave (minimum time for vacation requests), then refuse to accept the denied request because “Everything is already paid for! If I was in hospital, you’d manage! This is exactly the same!”

            Not. Even. Remotely. The same. (PS—Guess who covered her work when management decided it wasn’t fair to make her lose the deposit on her vacation? Guess who’s pre-planned vacation got unapproved because “it’s not like you were going to go anywhere”? Guess who left that job forever ago and is still bitter about it?)

        2. JHunz*

          It’s unlikely that this is the one week that causes work problems. Judging by being told that it’s too busy every time she’s tried to take time off, this is the kind of boss who has fixated on that date being unacceptable just because that’s the date that got picked. Some people plan their entire life around their work, and while that’s fine for them to do it can become a real problem when they’re supervising someone else and expecting the same from them

    2. Newby*

      I don’t think it is really synonymous with being ill. That is something that happens that can’t be avoided. She does have control over when her wedding is. I don’t think that necessarily means that work event automatically trumps wedding. However, if this is a major job duty, she should determine how to get the work done and not just assume it will all work out.

    3. Emilia Bedelia*

      I feel like we always say “If you won the lottery or quit on the spot or whatever, they’d do it without you”, but…. I don’t think that’s really true, and I don’t think it’s always helpful to the letter writers.

      It sounds like this org doesn’t really have a contingency plan. So if the major person responsible for an event is somehow incapacitated, it actually might not happen, or it would be a huge trainwreck, and there would be a huge amount of fallout afterwards.
      If that person actually did get abducted by aliens, or move to Aruba, or get fired, they wouldn’t be there for that fallout… but imagine being the OP and coming back to work after a horrible event. They’d be coming back to an entire organization of people who are thinking “If it weren’t for you, this would have gone better”, and I think the OP should be aware of this risk.

      SHOULD they have a contingency plan? Of course- and in this case, a year and a half is more than enough time to come up with one. I’m on the OP’s side here and think they can probably figure out a solution.

      But I think in general, “they’d make it work without you” is not helpful advice because it ignores the fact that the OP has to come back to work and does have to deal with the situation. The whole point of an emergency is that it’s an unexpected and unplanned for event. If the OP has any ability to plan and avoid an emergency like that, it’s not unreasonable for the employer to expect them to do so.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I agree. I think “they’d make do without you if they had to” is useful when someone is feeling debilitating guilt about quitting their job or scheduling surgery or is hesitating to take needed sick time, but isn’t useful or applicable across the board.

      2. Liane*

        The OP isn’t “the major person responsible for [the] event.” She is the person handling the marketing materials, and very likely those need to be finished at least a month before the event, or there won’t be anyone there.

        I think she needs to have the materials ready well beforehand and have a designee for any last minute issues, like someone just noticed the venue’s name was humorously misspelled or Guest Speaker couldn’t make it due to illness.

          1. Corky's wife Bonnie*

            That’s very true. The non-profit that is in the same building as mine had a big fall event that I attended, and everyone was there from the board members, director and all the way down to the staff that only work one day a week.

          2. dragocucina*

            Yep. We have a major event coming up and everyone’s been told for months that they will be there. We have one person who won’t because of a death in her family. For everyone else it’s a must.

          3. I Herd the Cats*

            +1 Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, everyone is expected to attend (and help at) our two major events each year, during which time you may be asked to do anything from hand out nametags to chat with a particular VIP. Leaving town during this time for an event you could have scheduled some other week would not reflect well on you.

          4. De Minimis*

            Yep…I’m in finance and do no program work, but one of our key job duties is attendance at our yearly meeting [I usually help sell merchandise.] All employees attend and that’s mentioned during the interview process. It’s at the same time each year, which helps.

          5. Not So NewReader*

            The size of the organization maybe part of the issue. Perhaps they give people the time off for an unforeseen, such as a funeral, illness, etc. Maybe the way they can afford to do that is by not granting planned time off.

            1. KellyK*

              This is also a good point. One of the ways to make sure you *can* make do if someone gets hit by a bus or moves to Outer Mongolia for their spouse’s job is to *not* grant planned vacations for that super-busy period.

          6. Zombii*

            That was my read on this situation too.

            Given, it sounds like LW wasn’t aware of that, and she says her coworkers have all worked at the company for a long time, so maybe they didn’t think to make her aware explicitly aware that attendance is mandatory—but it seems like the kind of thing that a somewhat observant individual could parse having been through the gala the previous year/getting ready for it this year.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          We have major internal annual meetings, and the marketing team is always busy up to and through the event. Our annual meeting has powerpoint presentations and videos that might be edited up to the bitter end, and our marketing people do that. They might also be responsible for putting up the signage around the venue during the event.

      3. Turtle Candle*

        Yeah, sometimes we have had to temporarily “do without” at my workplace, because most of us are subject matter experts in roles where it’s not feasible to comprehensively cross-train and where we can’t really use temps. Do we manage to get along in the interim? Well, yeah. But we do it by ruthlessly triaging and working long hours for a while. That’s unavoidable sometimes, but I wouldn’t want to do it to my coworkers unless it was absolutely necessary–so, yeah, I don’t go on vacation during our scheduled-in-advance pre-release crunches. If I needed surgery or was quitting to find a new job, that would be different.

      4. Jessesgirl72*

        I think “they would get along without you” is an especially dangerous concept here, because if you prove to your boss they can do the major annual event without you, then why should they keep you on their payroll?

        An employer understands unforeseen circumstances. But if you are choosing for them to make do without you, you definitely risk them making do on a permanent basis.

    4. MashaKasha*

      Agreed. Every job I’ve had, we’ve covered for coworkers during their wedding/honeymoon. It really is a lifetime event that I had no problem working around as the newlyweds’ teammate. And in some cases, I am talking senior-level specialists at a company with 24/7 operation. We managed. I believe our management’s reasoning was exactly the same as yours.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        But that’s different than being, say, the sole event planner for a major event, where your busiest day of the year is usually the day of the event. That’s a different ball game.

    5. Temperance*

      Last year, I had a medical crisis and my workplace picked up the slack, because they had no choice. I don’t think that this is really comparable to an unplanned medical situation.

    6. hbc*

      Well, yes, my workplace would continue if I got kidnapped and they had no idea where I was and why I hadn’t shown up for a week. That doesn’t mean it’s cool for me to decide not to show up for a week and not call in.

      This isn’t a black and white issue, where the slightest preference for a wedding-related matter trumps the biggest possible work impact (and certainly not vice versa.) Weigh the various factors and try to be reasonable. If your fiancee is only on leave in April and goes back to her overseas posting, even most tax accounting offices will cut you some slack. You’re a fireworks technician and you choose to get married July 4th because you want a stars and stripes wedding theme, at minimum, you’re going to use up a lot of goodwill.

    7. Freya UK*


      My manager has tied his identity and self-worth to his job title so tightly that he’s baffled by anyone who doesn’t. I swear he thinks I’m an alien.

    8. HYDR*

      As a person who does plan events, and relies heavily on the marketing team, I would just have a frank conversation with the event person NOW. Make sure ALL materials are available on a shared drive (logos, programs, etc.) and there is a clear conversation on what materials are needed. You can always add a logo to a word document and viola! you now have menu cards, and the novice person can do that. Any good event planner would have their materials lined up and know what they need well in advance (especially if this is an annual thing). Immediately after this years event, I would have a meeting on things they want to keep the same, change, etc. so it’s fresh in everyone’s minds and not a scramble-at-the-last-minute thing.

      The only downfall is that I know I certainly used my work time to wedding plan….so just remember that you won’t necessarily have that option if you are busy with gala stuff.

      You work to live, not live to work. Congrats on the upcoming wedding!

    9. Gaia*

      I’m a huge proponent of remembering that your life > than your work. But I’d be pretty dang upset if an employee scheduled their wedding the week of a major work event that is known about well in advance without at least mentioning it before they were fully committed. Just like I wouldn’t schedule a work event that they absolutely must attend the week of their wedding, I would expect them to keep these major work events in mind (if their job is the type where they truly exist).

      1. AMPG*

        I think it’s important to remember that they hadn’t scheduled the date of the gala when she picked her wedding date, and it doesn’t seem to be tied theme-wise to a specific date (like, always on Elvis’s birthday or something). Even if it’s typically around the same time every year, they probably have some flexibility to move it up or back by a week so that she can be there.

        1. Not A Morning Person*

          Maybe OP didn’t know the exact date when she and her fiancee decided on January more than a year away, but she most likely knew that the gala is always on a particular day or weekend in January. When she announced the wedding date to the boss, the date was close enough for the boss to appear alarmed by OP’s selection of that date. It’s not like they scheduled the gala after she told them her wedding date. This sounds like the OP has burned up quite a bit of capital with her manager. It doesn’t show the best judgement to schedule a personal event right before the biggest annual event of a workplace. Galas for non-profits tend to be the big annual fundraising events and can determine whether the organization has funding to implement new programs and services or even keep operating. And in a small organization, there aren’t often others to pick up the slack, everyone needs to be available. Even in a bigger place with lots of back up it may be an expectation. I’ve worked for organizations with thousands and even tens of thousands of employees and depending upon the role and the event, it was all hands on deck for anyone who played a part in regular events. You didn’t schedule personal stuff right before or during the annual conference, for example. And that’s SCHEDULE, not experience those personal things. Unexpected emergencies or events might trump your participation (illness, pregnancy, funerals, bad weather, etc.) but you didn’t PLAN ahead of time not to be available.
          Yes, weddings are a big deal and it would be lovely if we could all schedule our personal plans and not have to consider what else is going on at work, with our families and friends, or even in the rest of the world. That’s not been my experience. And if someone wants their personal plans to come first without regard to work expectations and needs, then it’s important to understand that many employers do not appreciate that; it may change how an employee is viewed and there could be negative consequences from that. Just be aware that not everyone thinks that weddings and vacation time come before important pre-scheduled work events. I hope OP has a lovely wedding and a happy life with her intended, whenever it starts!

    10. Lily in NYC*

      These examples are all unavoidable things out of our control and don’t seem like apt comparisons to a wedding. But I’m admittedly one of those people who thinks the wedding industry is insane and that many people have lost all sense of reality when it comes to their “special day” (I hate that phrase).

      1. LittleLove*

        This! Save the date for a chance to watch two people spend way to much money on completely unimportant things with a 50/50 chance you’ll be invited to another wedding for each of them with a decade or so. I wore a $30 dress my SIL made, got married at home with just a few guests and guess what? I’m celebrating my 40th this summer. The wedding isn’t important. The part that comes after the wedding is.

        1. Lily in NYC*

          Congrats to you on your upcoming 40th anniversary! The weddings I’ve had the most fun attending were like yours – simple, not pretentious, and just about having fun and wishing the new couple a wonderful life together.

        2. Julia*

          While I tend to agree with you that the marriage is much more important than the wedding, and statistics say that a super expensive wedding may be a predictor of divorce, I am not sure I feel comfortable with the amount of disdain for people who choose (or whose families insist on) expensive weddings. Sure they seem ridiculous, but people have reasons for things they do, and a lot of us have been kind of indoctrinated about weddings.
          I am all for small weddings or elopements, but I know a lot of parents who make a real fuss over that, and while certainly you could tell them to shove it, sometimes it’s worth it to keep the peace (if they pay.) I have a super casual friend who married the only son of a rich Japanese family and boy did she have a fancy wedding to appease his parents.

          1. Candi*

            Oh yes.

            When I was working at the daycare, the boss/owner had a very traditional-in-many-many-ways Korean mother.

            When my boss got engaged, she was planning a smallish wedding, about 30-50 people, lowish expense…

            Then her mother got involved.

            Boss wound up forfeiting planning (and paying for) the wedding in order to keep her from interfering with the honeymoon details.

            So HUGE FANCY church wedding that boss wasn’t happy with -and a two-week long cruise boss and hubby enjoyed thoroughly.

  4. NonProfit Nancy*

    This can be such a fine line. As Alison says, it partly comes down to how essential your role is to this event, especially being there for the event itself and immediately after. If it’s a big part of the reason you were hired, it can look bad if you’re not prioritizing it. Even if you’re nonessential, for a small nonprofit these events can be THE BIG THING of the whole year, and its all-hands-on-deck no matter what your typical role (I have been asked to take people’s coats, move boxes, park cars – you can’t imagine) – but in that case, with enough heads up, I think it’s understandable.

    1. mcfly85*

      Seconding this. Working for small non-profits, something like an annual gala is so much an all-hands-on-deck type of thing that it would have looked weird if any of us was out then, particularly for one’s own wedding, which is a date you have control over. It’s truly the ONLY event of the year like that, though. Someone having a wedding literally any other weekend we all would have been very supportive and helped cover whatever was needed.

      So Alison’s really right that it just depends. OP, if your role or organization is such that it’s the most critical time of the year for you to be there, I wouldn’t try to plan a wedding then. Plus, imagine how stressful that would be.

      1. SansaStark*

        I was thinking this, too. I’ve worked at large and small non-profits and the big events really do need everyone to do stuff that’s not generally in their job description. That said, I’d have a really hard time telling someone that they need to schedule a huge life event around a work commitment 18 months away, though. It makes more sense higher up the food chain, but for mid-level and below employees, it just seems like a bit much to expect.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          18 months away is pretty much at the only distance you can reasonably expect someone to plan their wedding for a different time. If the OP had planned it, and then 3-6 months beforehand, the boss asked her to move it, that would be unreasonable and impossible. Telling her that she’s chosen a bad time when the date can still be moved is the much better scenario.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Kinda this (and my job sort of works this way), although the fact that they deny time off apparently on a fairly regular basis is a little bit of a red flag for me. Are they chronically understaffed and trying to do too much with too few people, which seems to be a thing with nonprofits?

      3. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

        I have very little to do with our events, and very little to do at our events, yet the expectation is that I am here.

        I have had to make last minute creative tweaks, and have even had to manage last minute production requests.

    2. k*

      Given that OP didn’t even think of planning around this event and was surprised by her boss’s reaction, I suspect that her role isn’t so essential to be there the day of and immediately after. I work at a smallish nonprofit in a department of 2 people that are in charge of events. While I’m a junior employee, I know that I’m a big enough part of our events that I wouldn’t plan my wedding the same time as them.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Except that she hadn’t lived through the event at that point, and didn’t know how essential her role would be.

        1. Natalie*

          Where are you getting that? I’m not seeing anything about the OP’s tenure at the company in the letter but maybe I missed it.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            OP says this in a comment at 3:21:

            at the time I planned my wedding I was only 3 months into the job, and at the time they did not yet have a date for this meeting yet (although they knew an approximation) and there had been no discussions about the event either, so I didn’t know much about it. It just wasn’t even in my head.

    3. Garrett*

      Yeah, I worked at an arts non-profit and every fall, we had a huge arts festival. I was tangentially involved in the planning, but when the event came, every employee (from receptionist to executive director) was expected to volunteer and help out. Bowing out would have been a big issue.

    4. Funfetti*

      Thirding – with caveats.

      I’ve done the non-profit thing with “all hands on deck” and would NEVER have thought to take personal time off before/after. However, I then left to a larger organization – got engaged – then planned the wedding/honeymoon during a major event. BUT the difference comes down to organization culture + role. At my previous job, I was the operations/day of coordinator. They needed me – I really had to be there and never dare miss. The girl who organized planner her wedding for three weeks after. The gala happened – then she left a week later for her wedding stuff. In my current job, that’s not my role. I’m more managerial and volunteer to hand flyers out – there is a whole slew of staff whose role is to do this event.

      To be it sounds like OP knows her role doesn’t need to be physically present for the Gala. I would give the benefit of the doubt that would have factored that in otherwise. So it sounds like she can get her work done – she should be able to go to the ball (so to speak). I think the writing is on the wall with this boss not giving her time off as is – she is going to guilt trip you even if you can convince her to let you take off the wedding. She’ll find a way to ruin it. I would seriously consider talking to her first, putting together a plan – and see if she honors it. If you see her start to go back on her word, start looking for a new job. You can put the wedding in your offer letter. That same former co-worker from my first job left because they ran her into the ground (and subsequently me).

      1. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

        Without getting too far down the “adding things that aren’t in the letter” I found myself wondering if the boss is concerned about last minute changes to the materials, i.e. last minute sponsor additions to the program or slideshow.

    5. Person of Interest*

      Also coming from the small nonprofit world, my experience with these type of events has also been the all-hands expectation. But, knowing in advance you will be out on the day-of, are there other tasks you could pick up prior to the actual date to help ease the burden on others who will pick up your slack when you are out?

  5. Bend & Snap*

    Ugh, I would start looking. That’s crazy.

    I got married when working in the most junior position possible for a very small, very horrible company. The owner asked for the phone number of my resort so they could contact me on my honeymoon. I laughed before realizing he was serious.

    Didn’t give it to him, got fired 6 weeks after I got back for “poor fit.”

    You (hopefully) only get one wedding. Don’t let your job ruin it.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      But you’re projecting your experience on to the letter writer, who’s in a different situation. This is not something to job search over. (Never being able to take vacation time at all is, though.)

      1. Brandy*

        It kinda sounds like the boss is retaliating a little by not granting her days off now though. Id start looking just based on not getting any days off now.

        1. RD*

          She also doesn’t seem to be a good cultural fit, so while I wouldn’t necessarily leave a job for that after just a couple months, I wouldn’t be planning to stay forever, either.

        2. ZenJen*

          I wondered the same thing–boss not granting even single days off because work’s too busy is something that’s not a good sign, whether it’s retaliation or the boss’s view that the business comes first (and that it should for the employees too)?

      2. Bend & Snap*

        That’s true. But in general, if time off is hard to take or the boss gives you a hard time about it, it’s something to evaluate for job happiness.

        A year + is more than enough time for a boss not to freak out over a major life event.

    2. Dolorous Bread*

      I also got married while in a very junior position for a small company. I only had something like 2 vacation days and 1 personal day, so I was coming to work immediately after the wedding 500 miles away. When I requested to take the personal day as well as a part of that time, my horrible (for a multitude of other reasons) boss said no, because personal days are for emergencies only, like a flood in your apartment or something. This rule only seemed to apply to me because other staffers were able to lump personal days into their vacation.
      So I had to take that day unpaid, on a barely above minimum wage salary.

      I was only there another 6 months before thankfully moving on, and ended up taking my honeymoon 3 years after the fact- PAID!

  6. Rusty Shackelford*

    If the Annual Gala is your one big work event, then I actually agree with your boss. While you feel a year and a half is enough to figure out how to “fill the void,” your boss probably thinks you have plenty of time to figure out how to avoid the annual gala. There are 11 other months. Unless you have a strong reason to get married in January, why you would pick the one month when you do have a big work commitment?

    If that’s not the case… I’m still kind of surprised that you don’t think you should even consider your work calendar. Unless you have big “unmissable” events every month, and your boss is just being difficult.

    1. Roscoe*

      I think it really depends on how crucial you are to that event happening. The problem with your logic, is that she could just decide 2 months before the event to quit, and then what? Are they going to cancel the event. People have all sorts of reasons they want to get married at certain times of the year. I don’t really think your company should dictate that, unless its a specific field where its a known thing (like tax season)

    2. Loose Seal*

      If OP is in the Northern Hemisphere, I can think of a mazillion grey, snowy reasons that can easily be remedied by two weeks in the Caribbean. :)

      But it could also be the cheapest time of year to get married because — I assume — it’s not a very popular time to book. That can be a very strong reason.

    3. 42*


      I would be loathe to change wedding plans for my employer. But if this is a recurring huge event every year in January, why would you initially plan your wedding for that same time? Did I miss something?

    4. Lead, Follow or Get Outta the Way!*

      Agree with this. There is definitely a work/life balance that you need to take into consideration. That’s like a CPA taking 2 weeks of vacation, just before tax time. You have responsibilities to both parties and should consider both when planning vacations, major work events,weddings, etc.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Yes, that’s what I was thinking of. It’s entirely possible that this is like a CPA taking off during tax time. (Of course, it’s also possible that the boss is exaggerating.)

    5. Jadelyn*

      To be fair, the OP may well have “strong reasons” to get married in January. And how are we defining “strong reasons”, anyway? “I have my heart set on a snowy wedding, but I don’t want to try to have a wedding during the holidays and the snow might be melted by February”? “I want my whole family there and one of my siblings is in the military, and that’s when they are set to take their leave”? “I have personal/emotional reasons for wanting my anniversary date to be that month”?

      Unlike a regular vacation, weddings are big enough, rare enough, and personal enough that I feel like employers should be a fair bit more hands-off as far as dates go. Why is it incumbent upon the employee to figure out how to avoid a work thing, and not incumbent upon the employer to figure out how to work around an employee’s once (or maybe twice but maybe not) in a lifetime milestone event?

      1. BPT*

        I mean it’s fine to have strong reasons to want to do something, like have a particular wedding date, but you have to realize the consequences that go along with that. I’ve heard people say things like, “I really want to get married on X date no matter what because that’s our anniversary,” and X date turns out to be a Wednesday. And they want the whole big blowout wedding as well. That’s all well and good, and that’s a fine reason if you really want it, but you have to realize that people probably aren’t going to travel for a mid-week wedding and aren’t going to party like they would on a Saturday. So having fewer people and a more low-key wedding is probably the consequence of having to do something on a particular date.

        Same thing with weekday brunch ceremonies – I know you want to save money, but you can’t be upset when 200 people won’t take off work and be celebratory on a weekday morning.

        So in this case – sure, you can have a good reason to want to get married on a specific date. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with consequences, like your work being mad or an event not going off well or your coworkers being mad they got saddled with a ton of extra work.

        It does seem like there could be a workaround for OP’s case, but her reasons for wanting to get married on a certain date don’t really affect how her work views it.

      2. Jeanne*

        I wonder why OP wouldn’t share those strong reasons with her boss. Maybe she did and didn’t tell us but it seems like it would help. “My brother is home from the military that weekend and then not until 2 years later.” But of course you get into the boss not agreeing you have a strong reason. I think this boss is not going to like any reason.

        1. Joseph*

          I think this boss is not going to like any reason.
          I don’t think that based on what’s in the letter. The boss is worried that OP voluntarily picked the *one* month of the year where the Big Annual January Gala would be an issue, not considering the impact on her company/co-workers. This is perfectly reasonable given that they picked the date 18 (!) months out and (as far as the letter indicates), this is one month out of 12 that’s off-limits. As others have pointed out, this sort of major work commitment is something that you need to consider when picking a date. If you’re a tax accountant, you can’t take time off in April; if you’re a teacher, you can’t schedule a cruise during Finals Week; if you’re a professional sports player, you can’t go on vacation in-season. That’s just the way it is.
          So I don’t really see the boss as being ridiculous enough to immediately dislike any reason.

          1. Mookie*

            The boss is worried that OP voluntarily picked the *one* month of the year where the Big Annual January Gala would be an issue, not considering the impact on her company/co-workers

            That’s not how I interpreted what the OP quoted her boss as saying. The boss said “work events,” period, not, like “our busiest time of the year” or “the one gala everyone must attend.” Her expectations appear to be broader than that.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        “Why is it incumbent upon the employee to figure out how to avoid a work thing, and not incumbent upon the employer to figure out how to work around an employee’s once (or maybe twice but maybe not) in a lifetime milestone event?”

        Ideal circumstance vs real world? Some employers will not give in an inch. For a person in that environment, the best advice is to say “plan ahead”. If the advice giver does not say that then they are doing the person a disservice. And that is simply because there are some pretty rigid employers out there.

        Is it right? I don’t know. I do know that any time you have a relationship with ANYONE you have to forego other things. It’s inherent in relationships. I must forego sleep because my dog has decided he wants to go out every night at 11:30 pm. I want my dog, so I must put up with waking up at 11:30 every night.

        So how much is too much? That is going to vary by person. I am in awe of how much personal time finance people, real estate people and others spend on CE units. They give up a lot to do that. It’s a chunk of time annually. In the end OP is the only one who can decide if the job is worth it.

    6. NonProfit Nancy*

      Consider also you might NEED these oh-my-God emergency get out of free cards for the future. If you actually DO get sick the night of the gala some year, or if you’re on maternity, or have to go to a funeral. In this case, you used up a pretty serious chit on something that was avoidable, so nobody’s going to have as much sympathy when you might really really need it. It’s fine to do, but if this Gala is THE big event of the year AND your role is considered by your boss to be pretty crucial … you are using up a lot of capital on this.

  7. NoMoreMrFixit*

    While some may disagree this is actually a reasonable request. It’s all a year away and lots of time to schedule everything. And certain times of year are going to be hands off for certain fields. For example I worked in post secondary education for over 20 years. Nobody got time off in late August or early September unless it was illness or a death in the family. Similarly early January and May were likewise frowned upon as all hands on deck was expected for start of each semester. Accounting firms do similar during tax season. It comes with the territory.

    1. caryatis*

      I agree. If it’s a year and a half away, surely invitations haven’t gone out yet and OP can reschedule. The boss isn’t saying “You can *never* have a wedding/honeymoon” but rather “Why did you have to pick our Big Gala when you had a year and a half to pick a convenient date?”

      Yes, your marriage is more important than your job. The one specific wedding date you picked is not important enough to annoy your boss.

      1. Jadelyn*

        The only problem I have with this is that there’s a tacit assumption under “you had time to pick a convenient date”, and that’s that it’s a person’s responsibility to make sure their WEDDING DATE is “convenient” for their employer. Which seems bizarre to me.

        Like, if I get married, I want my anniversary date to stay the same date as our current (dating) anniversary. So, yes, the specific wedding date is pretty important to me, and I’d be shocked if an employer tried to tell me I should have picked a “more convenient” date for my OWN WEDDING.

        People pick wedding dates for all kinds of reasons, are we going to say it’s okay for an employer to be the one to decide if your reason for choosing a certain date is “good enough” to justify inconveniencing them?

        1. caryatis*

          But we don’t know if OP had a compelling reason to choose that date. A decent employer won’t veto a wedding, but a decent employee should consider their job’s needs, along with their own needs, when planning any vacation, especially a long and immovable one.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yep — if you really have to pick a date that’s going to be a huge issue for work, then you explain the circumstances, you don’t just announce it as a done deal.

        2. BPT*

          It should be a discussion with the employer, but just having a good reason to want a specific date for your wedding doesn’t mean that an employer has to allow it. They should try to work with an employee, but some things are just immovable, like big events. If you’re literally hired to put on two or three big events a year, and then say, “hey, I’m going to be gone for one of them,” I can definitely see an employer having a problem with that.

        3. Rusty Shackelford*

          People pick wedding dates for all kinds of reasons, are we going to say it’s okay for an employer to be the one to decide if your reason for choosing a certain date is “good enough” to justify inconveniencing them?

          It’s a two-way street. If you don’t want to consider your work schedule when planning your wedding, why should your employer consider your personal schedule when planning your work?

        4. Joseph*

          You’re considering the feelings and opinions of your co-workers. This is no different than considering the need for family members to travel (so you don’t pick a Wednesday) or avoiding Easter weekend because you know the pastor won’t be available.
          You absolutely can choose to pick a date which you want, regardless if it’s inconvenient for others. You just need to realize that it’s going to impact others and accept the consequences of picking that particular date (e.g., irritated co-workers, family members unable to attend, using a justice of the peace instead of a pastor).

        5. Not So NewReader*

          That is why I would not provide my reasoning. That turns the conversation into, “well your reason is dumb and let me tell you why…” I wouldn’t even want to start down that road.

          When I was supervising, I laid it out this way, “We are adults. Think about your time off requests, decide how important it is to you. If you decide that it is indeed important, then request the time. I am going to assume it is really important to you or you would not be asking.”

          Oddly, requests went down. I kind of figured that would happen. People can tend to be more stern with themselves than any supervisor. I think that when employees have to give reasons, something gets lost along the way.

    2. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys*

      +1. If you work in any kind of industry that has seasonal peaks and valleys or special events and you are in control of the date, then yes I think you should consider that when planning your personal events. If an employer hires you for duties specific to those events, then definitely yes. By saying you are not available and they need someone to cover for you, you are asking them to spend more money or a coworker has to work two jobs for the period. It’s not a good business decision at that point. And it can be seen as a neglect of duty which could affect future assignments as they will think you do not have the loyalty they want to give you more/bigger/better work to do.

      If you can’t control the date, i.e., emergency surgery, jury duty, etc, then they’ll cover and figure it out, but there is an expectation that by employing you, your employer can expect some level of fidelity.

      Now as for saying they are too busy for one day off, that is absolutely crazy. I can see why you may have locked a date down first as they would have tried to withhold approval making your ability to plan a nightmare. I understand the tactic and have applied the better to ask forgiveness plan before myself, but I would have still chosen a date after the Gala if that is THE event of the year.

      If you have a good relationship with your manager, it might be worth having the conversation that not approving time off is bad for morale and you felt you had to plan without conferring as she had denied all your previous small requests. If you don’t, you may want to consider updating your resume and look for something with better work/life balance.

  8. Roscoe*

    I think this definitely depends on the job. I had 2 accountant friends who got married last March. That is right in the middle of tax time when NO TIME off is given. So they got married then, but didn’t honeymoon until a month later. Similarly, if you are a teacher, I can understand not taking the first week of school off. However, I feel like the jobs that are like that are things you know going in. This doesn’t really seem to be that. I’ve worked at many non-profit organizations, and I know that they are usually so short staffed (and broke) that the thought of a key person leaving at a busy time SEEMS SO BAD, when in reality, with planning, it can usually be handled.

    1. paul*

      Not always. We used to have 2 major annual events at the non profit I’m with; you wouldn’t in general expect a week in October and a week in December or January (yay Point in Time count) to be no goes for vacation in our field, but for our NGO they were at that time. It wasn’t particularly unreasonable given the nature of the job or anything.

  9. Loose Seal*

    [blockquote]I just can’t imagine that I’ll get married on a Friday, and come in on Monday ready to work again and put honeymoon plans on hold so that I can work for this one event. [/blockquote]

    This is exactly what I did with my honeymoon. We picked our wedding date specifically so family could be there. But that date didn’t work well for me at work. So we got married on a Saturday morning, visited with friends and family over the weekend, and I was back at work on Monday. We took a short honeymoon about five weeks later.

    It worked out great for us because we had family coming in from out of town. I rather liked being able to just hang out with people. Plus, it gave us time to rest up before we went on our trip. So many people say they were exhausted and/or sick on their honeymoon and I’m glad we avoided that.

    1. Me*

      I think it’s actually better to do the honeymoon later on. We only took a local mini-moon after our wedding, and did the big 2-week honeymoon a year and a half later (when my husband finished medical school). I am so glad that we didn’t have to rush away on a honeymoon right after our wedding. That would’ve been really stressful for me! Instead we got to focus on the wedding, and separately take a relaxed approach towards honeymoon planning.

      1. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys*

        My hubs and I woke up at 4am (2 hours of sleep) after a VERY long, but delightful wedding day to leave for our honeymoon. We survived and had a great time, but I look back now and wonder why we felt the need to bolt so quickly. There is always a bit of a anti-climatic feeling the day after and spending the day with friends and family even if just driving them to the airport would have been a lot more satisfying than traveling while exhausted.

        I do remember my hubs and I arguing about what to do during the trip. I wanted to go shopping and didn’t want him to go with as he would just complain or be unhelpful. He argued it was our honeymoon and we should spend almost every moment together. We had been living together for over a year so the honeymoon was really just a vacation for us; no getting to know you/starting our life kind of stuff. I think back and still shake my head, but we celebrate 2o years in a few months. And I still hate shopping with him. :)

      2. Red Reader*

        I’m doing mine backwards — we’re going to Disneyworld for a week’s honeymoon, then flying from Orlando to Vegas to get married on a Friday (meeting some friends and family there), then flying home on Sunday evening, and my then-husband will be back at work on Monday. I mean, it’s not either of our first wedding, so we’re keeping it pretty simple, but.

        1. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys*

          My sister did it that way too and loved it! Her husband was a teacher so they took the trip in the summer and got married Labor Day weekend when it was easier for people to travel and they’d get extra time with them. Not sure why I didn’t follow her example.

      3. alter_ego*

        I’m 27, which means I’m going to about 45 THOUSAND weddings a year at the moment, and I don’t know anyone who went on their honeymoon straight after the wedding. I think one of my coworkers did? but all of my family and friends have gone weeks to months after their wedding. It didn’t occur to me that it was necessary or even all that common.

            1. AdAgencyChick*

              Thritto. I liked spending my first few married days in another place, with only my husband for company.

          1. pomme de terre*

            I can totally see the appeal of zoning out on a beach immediately after your wedding. And I’m usually a “let’s do 10 things a day in a new place” kind of a vacationer.

            I think it’s somewhat more common for today’s newlyweds to do a (yucky portmanteau ahoy) “minimoon” right away and then a big vacation at a more convenient time. A friend of mine got married in DC, went on a short trip (like 2 nights?) to the Greenbrier right afterwards, and then took an international trip several months later.

          2. Mookie*

            Until friends closest to my age started marrying, I genuinely thought the honeymoon-immediately-following-wedding thing was still in effect (probably learned from terrible films where somebody has to tell one of the newlyweds Something Important but, oh no! They’re already on their way to the airport! Somebody pulls a Dustin Hoffman on them!”

          3. Bibliovore*

            I have difficulty being sympathetic with the OP. I picked a Wedding date that was bad timing for both my husband and my work. But…I wanted to get married in September. He said and I quote “September is bad.” No kidding, I said but you can’t give me one Sunday of your life? This was the date available for the venue. We got married and then went to the annual MidAtlantic Teapot Conference, where we were both on the clock. Our honeymoon was a few nights at a bed and breakfast and then work. We have been married almost 30 years and still spend our anniversaries at various Teapot conferences. I fondly recall the Northwest Teapot Conference in Eugene, Oregon where I found out 4 days in advance that I was going. That was our 5th. The 5th anniversary present must be Assam.

        1. EW*

          I went on my honeymoon straight after my wedding. I’m 27. Lots of the couples I’ve known have done similarly. It’s not necessary, but some people prefer to not get sucked back into “real life” before their honeymoon.

        2. Chinook*

          I did as well but only because DH was being transferred right after the wedding ceremony (which we had moved up 2 months because we knew it was coming). He literally moved across the country without me the day after our honeymoon was over and I finally got to follow 4 months later.

        3. ThatGirl*

          We went on a “mini moon” – a long weekend in a resort town – immediately after our wedding, but the real honeymoon was three months later. We spent that weekend just sleeping, enjoying the fall weather around the lake and … “sleeping”.

          1. anonderella*

            Yes – the night of my cousin’s wedding, the couple and some of the closer family members (the folks in all the home movies, not the general snicklefritz) relocated from the wedding venue to a nice hotel in TheCity for a somewhat-unplanned reception, where the couple would stay for the weekend, and we all proceeded to drink in the bar area and cause general.. mischief. I agree about being with family after the event (but with the freedom to leave us and go to their own room after a while); it seemed to work out for my cousin, and months later they went on a sweet-ass honeymoon to the Disney/Universal Studios in Orlando, staying in one of those hotels.
            Highlight memories from the hotel bar:
            My drunk aunt knocking over a lamp (which was unharmed) with her fake butt (hahahha), which in turn pulled the extension cord out of the wall… which then plunged anyone sitting in the bar area next to the large window into complete nighttime darkness.
            and, same aunt, drunk cousin, and drunk me somehow got hold of a peanut and a piece of tape and.. taped a peanut to my cousin’s hotel door… yeah. No McGuyvers in this family.

          2. Venus Supreme*

            That sounds perfect and something I’m going to keep in mind if/when I get married. I don’t think I could handle the stress of planning a wedding, planning a huge honeymoon, plus balancing work commitments. A mini-moon sounds perfect :)

        4. ZVA*

          I’m 26 and two friends of mine (same age) just got married & went on their honeymoon right after the wedding—I just assumed that was what everyone did. Then again, they’re the first of my friends to get married, so what do I know!

        5. Evan Þ*

          I’m 25 and sort of in the same boat. Two of my friends went on their honeymoons right after their weddings; one waited a few months due to grad school. (She got married over spring break and waited till summer for the honeymoon to avoid time pressure.) Two more waited a day after the wedding and then left – myself, I think I’d prefer that if I didn’t have any time pressure.

      4. Pebbles*

        DH and I got married on a Friday night, spent Saturday morning having brunch and opening gifts with my family, and then enjoyed that afternoon and Sunday for just us. He went back to work on Monday because of Big Event and I took Monday and Tuesday off to run post-wedding errands (dress cleaning, thank you cards, etc.).

        We waited 2.5 weeks to go on our honeymoon, mostly because DH wanted to see our local team of his favorite sport play team in honeymoon destination. Worked out great for me too, because it also happened to land over the same time that my favorite sport was doing their annual draft picks in honeymoon destination!

    2. Honey Honey*

      I agree that it’s best to take the honeymoon later on. Doing the hhoneymoon right after the wedding is actually pretty stressful!

    3. mskyle*

      Yeah, I know lots of people who have done basically this, either because one or both of the fiances/spouses had work conflicts or because the time of year they wanted to have their honeymoon didn’t line up with the time of year they wanted to get married. I will probably end up doing it myself, not for work but because I’m expecting to have a big non-work commitment the week after my wedding (really hoping it doesn’t turn out to be the actual weekend of the wedding).

      It’s a pretty normal thing to do, but if it’s a dealbreaker for the OP then she should definitely give a lot of thought to how she’s going to get her work done while still allowing herself to have the honeymoon she wants.

      (How did/is the 2017 gala working out? Seems like that would be a good trial run.)

    4. JMegan*

      Same. I got married in July because my MOH was a teacher, and she was only available in the summer. But we took our honeymoon in October, because travel is cheaper then.

      I assume OP has already considered this option, but it might be one way to make it work if you can.

    5. Wakeen Teapots, Ltd.*

      I’ve had two employees do exactly that because of their new spouse’s work commitments.

    6. MCL*

      I also got married on a Saturday (took the Thursday and Friday prior off), and was back to work on Monday. We got married in September, we’re going on our honeymoon in a couple of weeks at the end of February. My spouse has an annual work event in September that is all hands on deck, and we couldn’t do the trip right after the wedding. We have been together for over 5 years and like to do vacations to warm places in the winter, so it worked for us – YMMV. I really appreciated not having to do the logistics of a wedding event plus traveling. I understand that others prefer taking the more traditional route and doing the honeymoon right away, though.


    I’m not understanding why she picked a wedding date that historically falls during the biggest rush of the season, especially when working in such a small office. She could have picked any other time. Especially when she has so many responsibilities regarding the event.

    1. fposte*

      I think it didn’t occur to her that it might be good to factor work in when choosing dates until she got the reaction she did. I don’t know if it’s as big of a problem in this case as her manager’s reaction suggests, but it’s at least useful for the OP to realize that it’s not uncommon for jobs to have events that you’d be expected to factor in when choosing a wedding date.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        It’s not something “they” teach you about holding down a job. And annoyingly, employers can get miffed if you didn’t have this knowledge in your genes at birth.

        Most of the jobs I have had there were points during the year that time off was a no-no. My current job has two days out of the month that would be a hardship for everyone else if I were not there. Okay, it’s not ME specifically. There is no one else who does what I do, so anyone holding my position would have the same requirement to be there on those two days. Last year I gave my friend gas money to drive through an ice storm to get me to work on one of those days. It’s the nature of the job.

    2. Tea*

      There could be a thousand and one reasons for it, all of which are pretty personal and hard to judge. The married couple picks the wedding date, sure, but “she couldn’t have picked any other time” isn’t quite true either, I think. Folks are also subject to a lot of external/internal pressures and factors to take into consideration.

      Off the top of my head: maybe she’s got a beloved family member coming off deployment and only able to make it that one month. Maybe an overseas friend can only do that one weekend. Maybe they’re getting married on the same date as their grandparent’s anniversary because it’s a Family Thing. Maybe she just loves January and has dreamed for ten years about being married in January since she was ten. Maybe the venue they have their heart set on is booked solid except for that one date. We have no idea– and really no way to judge whether it’s a “good” reason or not.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Okay, but shouldn’t “I’m really going to be needed at work” be one of those factors that are considered? To the point where you at least discuss it with your boss before putting a deposit on a venue? (I admit I’m making an assumption that “choosing a venue” involves “reserving that venue.”)

        1. Tea*

          I definitely don’t disagree– I schedule my stuff based on my work calendar too. But weddings are super personal and a bunch of super personal things come out when people are planning them, so I can see professional and business related factors falling to the back of peoples’ minds between “will Aunt Mildred live long enough to see me wedded?” and “it’s my darling sweet pea’s dream to get married at This Fancy Venue and they can only do February 29th? We’ll take it!”


          It’s pretty obvious she knew it was their busiest time at work. I doubt there is no other day she could be married. If I was her manager I’d be somewhat irritated.

          1. Candi*

            Not from the letter. She’d been there three months when the wedding planning kicked off. “Event in January on floating date” doesn’t register the same as “Giant Important Vital Event on floating date” -and it doesn’t sound like she had the information available to realize it was the second and not the first.

            I was on both ends of this kind of thing. People Know Things about Workplace, and they/you don’t always realize that this information needs to be consciously passed on to the new person -they are not going to know telepathically. And some times that thing is Very Important.

      2. Gadfly*

        Yes and no on the ‘can we judge’, I think. We can’t judge why it is important to her, but to some degree it is fair for her employer and co-workers to judge if it is really a reason for them to jump through extra hoops to cover for her. It is like the difference between calling out for a hangover versus calling out for the flu.

        Some things are more reasonable to make huge efforts to accommodate than other things.

  11. olieme*

    My husband and I absolutely planned our wedding around our work schedules, because our jobs both have extremely busy seasons and we’re the only people at our respective jobs that do what we do. Our busy seasons only partially overlap, so our choices of dates were limited, but in the end each of our employers was appreciative of our courtesy (and we were able to enjoy our wedding without tons of work stress).

  12. Z*

    My mother and father couldn’t get married in the spring b/c it was my father’s busy time at his job. We never went out of town for Spring Break, or even vacations in June , b/c it was Dad’s busy time. Even now, we know Dad is not particularly available from March to June.

    But that’s what comes from being a self employed, one-man lawnmower sales and repair shop.

    While I might have taken the Gala into consideration when choosing the date, it should not preclude you from getting married.

  13. Leatherwings*

    I think your boss is being a little ridiculous here. The fact that she immediately panicked rather than sitting down and discussing a plan indicates that to me. That being said, small nonprofit galas are such a huge deal that everywhere I’ve worked, you’re expected to work around. I honestly think the answer is in the middle: both of you could use to be a bit more flexible and mindful.

    1. Willis*

      I was thinking this as well. Even if her boss would like her to reconsider the date, panicking about it rather than having a discussion about whether it would work for the OP to be out then is not the way to go. Plus, never approving other days off because “it’s too busy” makes it a bit of a crying wolf situation. Maybe the OP is legitimately needed in Jan, but people do need to be able to take time off. I’d want to talk with my boss more about this before changing my wedding/honeymoon plans.

      1. NonProfit Nancy*

        The denied vacation requests is a much bigger deal IMO … but is OP saying that they’ve only been on the job for a few months? TBH I don’t expect to take a lot of vacation, “even just one day,” in the first few months of a new job. Perhaps you need to level-set with the boss about this?

        1. Willis*

          Agreed on the vacation time in the first few months. But it sounds like she’d been there for 3 months as of May, so hopefully she’d be eligible for some time off by now!

          1. Natalie*

            I’m not sure where people are getting the idea she’s only been there a short time? She got engaged in May. She told the boss in July once they had set a date.

      2. paul*

        Plus, never approving other days off because “it’s too busy” makes it a bit of a crying wolf situation.

        This. This jumped otu at me more than the wedding thing TBH. I don’t know if that’s normal for them or if the boss is just pissed and being petty or what. But that’s a big red flag. It’s one thing to say “This is a large event; I’m not approving leave during it.” It’s another to never approve leave.

    2. NonProfit Nancy*

      I suppose, if this year’s Gala is coming up soon, the boss could just be stressed out thinking how much worse it would be without OP. Boss is wrong, because the plans for next years will have proceeded all along on the understanding that OP won’t be there, so it’ll be different. But if the big event of the year is coming up, I could forgive the boss for being a little high strung right now.

    3. Bex*

      I think the boss may have panicked because she was completely caught off guard. It sounds like the OP might have just dropped the bomb without any prior discussion. I’ve worked at small nonprofits where 80% of our private funding was from the annual gala, and no one would ever dream of taking off time in the days/weeks leading up to the event. I’m currently at a big NGO where there are a lot more people to cover, but I still would never make nonrefundable vacation plans without at least checking in with my team.

  14. Jubilance*

    When I think of scenarios where you should factor your job into personal planning, I picture an accountant avoiding tax season for any personal events or travel. Given that the OP is making the marketing materials, that should be work that’s done well in advance, right? So I don’t get why they would need you to be in the office after your wedding.

    Also lets not shame the OP for picking their wedding date. They could have scheduled for that time due to costs or essential family members or their fiance’s schedule.

    1. Leatherwings*

      Eh, OP asked if she should’ve been more mindful in picking a date. I don’t think people need to pile on, but she did specifically ask about it.

  15. Amandala*

    At oldjob, I was the only communications/marketing person and we were a small team (12) with a lot of events (two conferences, day long workshops, AGM etc). I absolutely planned my wedding around those dates, especially since I knew I wanted to take two weeks off. Cue convo with my spouse: can we do wedding this month? Nope. This month? Nope.

    However that was just a fact of life in that office with vacations in general. Could I have scheduled my wedding near a big event and people would have helped cover for me? Probably. But it wouldn’t have been worth the stress it would cause me and others.

  16. NW Mossy*

    Alison’s point is a fair one, but I also think it’s entirely reasonable (if the OP has flexibility on her side) for the boss to come to agreement on a better time and then honor it – no denying the PTO request, no pushing the OP to cancel at the last minute, and no demanding that the OP be in constant contact while on PTO. OP, you could even frame it just like that: “If I move it to [date], will you honor that and work with me to ensure that things can run smoothly in my absence?”

    Unfortunately, this has a bit of a whiff that the boss might be the sort of person who makes it very difficult for her employees to disconnect from work because she doesn’t fundamentally respect the idea of work taking a backseat to life occasionally. She doesn’t view her own life that way, and it may be hard for her to envision what it’s like for people who don’t see things her way.

    1. OP Here*

      OP here – your instincts regarding my boss’ personality are right on. Works 24/7. Nights, weekends, vacations, nothing is off limits. I did have a long conversation with her regarding my views on work/life balance, so she does understand this about me, but I do think it’s hard for her to relate to someone who doesn’t view work in the way she does.

      1. Jeanne*

        This is very difficult. I had a boss who would deny vacation because we might be busy then. But I assume you want to keep the job for a while yet. You’ll have to figure out a way to deal with her thought process. Not necessarily to agree with her but to deal with her. For ex., tell her that you will make sure you have X and Y done by a certain date ahead of your wedding so that she can have everything she needs from you. Lay out plans as detailed as possible. Then if this is the date you are set on, you probably have to expect that she will be mad at you about it and learn to live with that.

      2. BPT*

        It does seem like your boss is putting undue pressure on you to not take vacation, which is unfair and (presumably) not what you signed up for if vacation time is part of the package you agreed to.

        But I wouldn’t conflate the two issues – her not wanting you to take time off at all is a different issue than her not wanting you to take time off on a certain date. The latter is more likely justified, the former is not. I’m sure it’s hard not to run these two issues together since they’re both about time off, and the manager would probably seem more reasonable if she was usually ok with you taking time off, but pushed back on this one date.

        But work/life balance can be achieved at a company that does have some rigid things to adhere to. Having you work 12 hour days all the time, no. Having a busy stretch where you work 12 hour days for a week but then get to leave work early the next week, sure. Never letting you take time off, no. Usually letting you take time off but pushing back on a certain date, that can still be within the bounds of appropriate work/life balance.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        If she has difficulty relating to people who don’t view work the way she does, then she is going to have many difficult moments in this job.

        One of your questions to ask yourself might be: “Am I concerned about not having this specific time for my wedding granted OR am I concerned about requesting time off in general?”

        The answer here matters. In the first case, where you are concerned about getting time off for your chosen date that is something that you might be able to work through. (There have been suggestions, so I won’t restate them.)
        BUT. OTH, if you have an overarching concern about getting ANY time off that is a much bigger problem and will not be resolved just because she finally okays your wedding date request.

        Food for thought.

  17. Geneticist*

    Your boss isn’t great because she immediately panicked. But unless you have a really really good reason to specifically get married on that date in January, I would change the date because you have 11 months out of the rest of the year in which you could get married and you knew that is when you had an important work event.

    Anyway, I definitely planned my wedding to happen the week after one of my big work events (we run a 1 week educational course every July) and then because we had another conference happening shortly after, I did the honeymoon the following year.

    Getting married is more important than work of course. But in my opinion, getting married on a specific date without any reason for that particular date to be special is not.

  18. OP Here*

    OP here – for those wondering why I would choose a wedding date at what is known to be a crazy time of year, at the time I’d booked my wedding I’d only been working at this job for about 3 months, so I hadn’t ever worked the Annual Gala before (and honestly knew only a tiny bit about it – at the time they didn’t have a date for it, but I knew it would take place in February). Even now, as I work on the marketing materials for THIS year’s dinner, it’s honestly not as crazy for me as it was made out to be. I’ve also been in the industry for 10 years, and usually scheduled vacations around some big events (although my supervisors told me it wasn’t necessary to do this) – but I figured a wedding kind of fell into a different category than standard vacation. I also worked at various “laid-back” and less corporate-feeling environments, so the rigidity here is a first for me.

    As far as being able to create the marketing materials way in advance next year, at this job, things change all the time, at the drop of a hat. So they can decide they want to go in one direction for the marketing materials, then decide two days before it goes to print that they’ve actually changed their minds. Additionally, sponsors come in all the way up until the materials go to print. Now, while I literally am the only person here who knows how to use the design programs, we do have a freelancer who they’ve used on and off for the past 4 years – but they “prefer to have me do it”. – This mentality makes taking any time off pretty hard (since I don’t really have a support team), and when I did go on vacation this year for a week, I came back to a nightmare flood of emails. So part of the problem is that I’m really their only go-to for this kind of stuff.

    I am all for taking Alison’s advice and having a sit-down “how can we make this work” conversation with my boss (really regarding the honeymoon since the wedding is set in stone) but I’m not hopeful as there is a lot of rigidity here. However, I think I’d rather wait a week or two to take the honeymoon if it means peace of mind for all involved, including myself. A depressing mentality for me, but might be necessary.

    1. Al Lo*

      We took our actual honeymoon about 3 months after getting married, and took a few days off at home right away — went out and spent some wedding gift cards, enjoyed each other’s company, visited a bit more with some friends who came in for the wedding.

      Maybe a compromise would be to take, say, Monday (and Tuesday?) off after your wedding, so you get some downtime without as big a work impact, and then take the vacation later. Then you still feel like you’re not just racing back to work the next day, which I get would feel icky (to me, at least).

    2. LadyKelvin*

      I’d actually recommend that you wait a week or two after your wedding to go on your honeymoon. Weddings are exhausting. You don’t want to leave a day or two after your wedding only to want to sleep for the first three days of your trip. (Because you will want to sleep for three days after your wedding). We actually waited 2+ years and then had to compromise on where we went because we got married 2 weeks after my husband started a new job and they thankfully let him go negative in his vacation bank to go to my hometown and get our marriage license and get married, but he was back to work Tuesday morning (it was a holiday weekend). Then he had no vacation for a honeymoon that year, the next year he used all his vacation to teach a two-week course abroad, and then finally we decided we were definitely going on our honeymoon and his best friend was getting married abroad so we had to go there. My point is waiting a few weeks is not going to ruin your honeymoon, its just a time for you and your husband to enjoy each other’s company, so it makes sense to have it during a period that you won’t be stressed out.

    3. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys*

      At least you’ll have this year to use as a guide stick. Also, some things change at the last minute because they can, not because they have to. That may be something to ask when they push for changes. You’ll also have another year to train a back up for simple things and plenty of time to loop in the freelancer, maybe even develop SOPs for the group to follow for more efficiencies.

      It doesn’t sound like an impossible situation to resolve. Good Luck! And congratulations! Sorry I didn’t say that first.

    4. Willis*

      If it means it would save you from getting emails with emergency edits to marketing materials – postponing a week or two definitely sounds like it would be worth it to me!

    5. Maya Elena*

      Postponing honey moon is reasonable (I did that), to a point.

      The problem is, I feel like the boss forfeits the right to reasonableness by not being reasonable herself. She probably wouldn’t let you go two weeks after the gala anyway.

      Maybe it is possible to corner her into “I need a week/two weeks off in the winter of 2018. What is a good time?” And have it committed, maybe in writing.

      Just because they *like* to make last minute changes and *prefer* not to use the freelancer doesn’t mean they have to and can’t (respectively)…. So I think you can make reasonable accommodations but let your conscience feel at ease and go on with your plans only marginally altered.

      And a year in advance for an event YOUR COMPANY is hosting is so far out, it’s not immutable for them either…. They might have to do it on a different weekend because Star Speaker backs out or the caterer cancels!

    6. Spoonie*

      I’ve been there. At WayOldJob (a nonprofit), the big gala-esque event was chaired by different people each year, so it was always generally *around* the same time of year, but never *exactly* the same time. It could jump from mid-September to the beginning of October (sometimes later). Ideally, it would have been easier if you had discussed the timing of the 2018 gala first before doing any scheduling, but…

    7. voluptuousfire*

      A friend of mind had her honeymoon before the wedding. It was cheaper to go in March (they married in June) and that’s what they did. Turns out her husband bought his wedding suit in Italy. :)

    8. AdAgencyChick*

      OK, I have a lot more sympathy for you knowing that you were new to the office when you booked your wedding.

      At this point I’d think of your best solution for how to minimize the stress on your team while still getting to take time for your wedding and honeymoon. It sounds like that might be some combination of doing as much advance work as possible, booking the freelancer for some or all of the time you’ll be out, and making sure the freelancer has very detailed documentation to work on things while you’re gone.

      Then tell your boss that unfortunately you cannot reschedule your wedding or honeymoon, but here is your plan to make your absence as painless as possible to her (and any other coworkers who would be impacted).

      I think your boss will react more favorably if she feels you’re trying to take care of her, even if “trying to take care of her” doesn’t mean dropping your plans for her.

      1. Taylor Swift*

        I think being new makes it worse. OP definitely should have checked what the office norms were. And she doesn’t seem very willing to compromise or see the employer’s side of things.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          It sounds like she got blindsided by this one. I know myself I did not learn this one until I started working. It’s not something people mention in random conversations.

        2. OP Here*

          Hey there,

          I’m very willing to compromise and see my office’s side of things – which is why I wrote! She actually knew I was going to pick a venue as well as pick a date after work that day – we discussed at length and that may have been a good time to bring up the big annual event I barely knew anything about. At this point, since the wedding is set in stone, it seems like I may be postponing the honeymoon by a week or two. Thanks for the feedback!

          1. AMPG*

            OK, that makes a HUGE difference, in my mind. She knew you were new and didn’t really know the busy seasons, and she knew you were about to pick a wedding date, but didn’t think to mention, hey – avoid late January because of our gala? That’s on her, then. Not that you shouldn’t work with her to minimize the impact on the office, but I think she should realize that she could have headed this off herself.

            1. Candi*

              I’m also seeing hints this a ‘floating’ event day -one that wanders around that portion of the calendar. I’m certainly seeing nothing that indicates ‘the big event always the third week of January’ or something like that. So at the very least the boss could have said ‘big event is always somewhere between New Year’s and Valentine’s.’ Or something.

    9. Venus Supreme*

      Hi, OP! First, I want to say congrats on getting married. How exciting!!

      Like you, I wouldn’t think twice about consulting with the boss before setting a wedding date. It sounds like January is the month you want to get married and I think you have enough time ahead of you to prepare everything. It’s also not your fault that you didn’t know what to expect at your job at the beginning of the calendar year. (Also, if it were me, I’d think, “Who knows if I’ll be at this job January 2018?” because that’s my personality haha). I agree that you should discuss with your boss about how to plan in case you’re not there for the gala. Also-also, I agree about taking time off between the wedding and honeymoon. I’d personally prefer some breathing room between the wedding and taking vacation with my spouse.

      I hope everything goes well! I expect an update from you February 2018.

    10. Gadfly*

      Okay–I think I may understand your boss a bit now. I suspect that it could be a bigger deal than you think.

      My last job was in the advertising department of the newspaper. And sometimes we had big special events. Sometimes it was a special job for a client, sometimes it was something more general like Black Friday. And when everything went well it would seem like it was no big deal and other peopke could cover for it.

      But if something went wrong close to when it needed to go to press, it was very important to have someone intimately familiar with the product there if at all possible. Bringing in someone else to make just one little fix often resulted in disasters or at least solid attempts at them when something about a seemingly simple change caused issues with other things the outsider was not aware of but the regular person had already worked through and was familiar with. I saw million dollar print jobs trashed because of things the fill-in didn’t know to watch for, (like an expiration date change that kept disappearing due to some odd layering issues or things like that) or presses held up, or costs dramatically increased because print times had to change to later rush jobs, etc. I saw clients lost because of things resulting from that sort of situation.

      In my case, that was a normal part of things. For smaller things it was just a risk of doing business. But for the big things, if it was your baby to coddle you needed to be prepared to do what you could to be available in case.

      Where this sounds like it is the one big thing, it sounds like they may really need their person there until it is done to handle this sort of thing. In your boss’s position I would rather have the freelancer as point person than backup if you couldn’t be there at crunch time. Which is problematic to be depending on the availability of freelancers over the employee whose job it is.

    11. Lablizard*

      My friend took her honeymoon before the wedding planning went completely into overdrive. They wanted to go to Patagonia, so the season worked, and they figured they would enjoy the vacation more if they were not post-wedding, planning, and thinking burned out.

      Which is just a long winded way of saying that you can be creative with this stuff. And also consider whether an airport+flight or road trip is where you want to be immediately after an exhausting event like a wedding

    12. Mona Lisa*

      I think that postponing the honeymoon for a few weeks until after the gala might be the best for all involved. You’ll feel less stressed and won’t have to worry as much about crisis-level e-mails coming in and can actually take a break if you wait. When I started my last job, they insisted on me coming in for the two weeks prior to my wedding instead of waiting to start afterwards. I negotiated to take a few days off before and after, and then we waited two months until my office’s two week holiday shutdown (also my husband’s school break) to take the honeymoon. This worked out well for us because we got to use the few days after the wedding to recharge and see some of the people who were still in town. The honeymoon was then a welcome retreat and a great way for us to spend our first married Christmas. It might work out even better than you think!

      1. yasmara*

        Absolutely agree. I think this approach minimizes the potential damage at your workplace and you will hopefully be able to be more relaxed because the big work event is over. I hope it works out!

  19. AnonAcademic*

    I got married while I was a teaching assistant completing a Ph.D. program where there are a lot of hard and fast dates – qualifying exams, midterms and final exam period, etc. all of which are busy and stressful times. I chose to propose my dissertation two months before my wedding, then got married in the middle of fall semester (after midterms) and took a short local “mini moon” before returning to finish the semester. We went on a longer honeymoon during my winter break.

    The goal of all of this was to minimize my own stress by not having more than one “big thing” at a time – and I would think similarly about your current predicament. Marketing an annual gala which putting the finishing touches on a wedding may indeed make it hard for you to do both well, or without major stress. You should also ideally be able to enjoy planning your wedding without feeling so torn between work and personal life. If the wedding date is truly firm I would think about the minimoon followed by a later honeymoon thing – for me it would have been more stressful to be trying to find class coverage to take a longer trip, versus having 2-3 lovely days as a newlywed with a longer trip to look forward to 2 months later.

    1. EmilyHG*

      I also got married while completing a PhD program– I finished my last semester of coursework, got married, and fit a short honeymoon in before starting a summer research position near my husband’s job. It was really stressful, but I don’t think it’s abnormal to plan weddings around work/school events.

    2. blackcat*

      My husband and I planned our wedding for a “lull” in the summer in our respective grad school programs. We cleared it with folks in our lives ~6 months before and everyone (including his PhD advisor) was okay with it.

      The day before he left, his advisor told him that, if he really cared about his work, he wouldn’t take a week off to get married. His advisor warned that cancel funding for the fall because of he was taking “excessive time off.” One week to get married was excessive. One. Week. Oh, and for good measure, he topped it off with saying that I wasn’t a good wife for an academic, because I, too, was pursuing a PhD (I had just started).

      His advisor never revoked my husband’s funding, I think because he realized it was an asshole move. But he also never apologized.

      My husband no longer speaks to his PhD advisor.

      1. Sensual Shirtwaist*

        My Dad’s phD advisor made a similar comment to him (that he was going to have ‘trouble’ because my Mom also had academic ambitions).

        Dinosaurs just don’t go extinct fast enough these days.

        1. blackcat*

          It was made worse by the fact that his advisor was only about 40, and this was pretty recent. This guy isn’t a dinosaur!

          Some people are assholes about personal time. Saminrva’s comment below is appropriate: avoid the stress if you can, but sometimes, people will make it stressful no matter what.

        2. Candi*

          Oh for…

          The only problem I see with the both in academia thing is if one wants a dream job at a university that doesn’t have an opening for the other. And that’s some I’m sure y’all can work out. (And I’ll be forty… soon enough.) :p

          (insert witty comment on fossils)

    3. saminrva*

      My spouse and I work in higher ed too and also planned our wedding around our busy times on purpose for our own benefit. General rule for wedding planning: if any stress is at all avoidable, avoid it!

    4. yasmara*

      Husband & I planned our wedding to be after his PhD was done, but before he would have to be on a campus to start a post-doc or academic position. In the year between setting the date & actually having the wedding, his PhD research went off the rails & he ended up having to change his topic & basically start his dissertation over (luckily, a lot of the basic background info was reusable). He didn’t finish his PhD until 8 months after the wedding and ended up starting a post-doc in the spring. It worked out, but all our planning couldn’t prepare for a research derailment.

  20. PinkCupcake*

    In a perfect world, I would agree with OP. We should be able to take time off without repercussion for major life events like this.
    However, it has been my experience that my time off is a lot more enjoyable when I coordinate it with the normal business cycles of my company. I mean, sure, I can take time off during our peak season. But, I already know that I will have to put in a ridiculous number of hours beforehand prepping to be off, and then put in a ridiculous number of hours to dig out once I return. So, what winds up happening is that I really didn’t get any “time off” at all, I just moved that work time to the week before and the week after.
    It stinks, I know. And it certainly isn’t always convenient. And, of course, YMMV. But, if you are in a position that is not easily backfilled during major events or peak season, you might also be helping yourself to change the date to another time. Do you really want to be double-timing it right up to your wedding date (when you’ll have a zillion other things to think about) and then having a huge workload once you return?
    That said, I don’t agree with your manager’s position that an employer has the right to expect this of you. I just think that from a pragmatic perspective, it might work out better for you in the long run. Congratulations on your engagement and best of luck to you.

    1. NK*

      I completely agree with this. When I got engaged, my job involved a big “all hands on deck” project the first week of each quarter. While they would have worked around it and made do if I had planned my wedding/honeymoon that week, it would have generated a lot of stressful prep work on my part, and would have put more work on my coworkers’ shoulders during an already stressful time. So it just made sense to me to schedule around it, even though I am generally huge on work-life balance. Also, my bosses encouraged me to take more time off for the wedding than I originally planned and didn’t have me put it all on the books. So there was some give and take there too.

    2. Jenbug*

      omg this

      at OldJob, I had a week of vacation and the two weeks prior I worked 15 hours of OT to prepare for being off. The day I left, my inbox was empty for about five minutes. When I returned a week later, I had more than a thousand emails. My vacation was awesome, but it was definitely a lot of stress.

  21. not really a lurker anymore*

    I planned our wedding around a mid semester break while I was getting my degree, once I realized I wanted my elderly grandfather there and that was the best time frame. We took a quick honeymoon before classes started back up and then did our “real” honeymoon the next spring, after my classes were done.

    Nowadays, I take time in January to find the problem weekends for my job. Then I plan vacation time around them.

    As a kid, our main family vacation was always in the 1st two weeks of July as that’s when my Dad’s employer shut down the company for cleaning/refitting/maintenance every year.

    Why wouldn’t one consider everything when picking out dates for something important?

  22. 2 Cents*

    OP, this is probably also a good time to bring up that you can *never* take time off (or nearly never) because things are always “too busy,” meaning you’re unable to use one of the benefits of the job. And a reasonable benefit.

    I can understand certain jobs/professions where taking into consideration your work situation makes sense (such as an accountant not planning big stuff right before April 15). But *constantly* acting like she can’t live without you for 1 day, much less a 2-week (assuming here) period for your wedding and honeymoon is ridiculous.

    That said, I’m on Team Take a Honeymoon Later. Right after we got married, we stayed at a hotel in a neighboring city that had some stuff to do for 3 nights before coming home. We then took our honeymoon cruise 6 months later. The days after the wedding, I was so wiped that I wouldn’t have enjoyed being on the cruise.

    1. Jeanne*

      The never take vacation definitely needs to be discussed. Most people want to be able to use their provided vacation. Is boss really not going to let you have any days off? Does boss have any other direct reports and do they get days off? This would be hard for me.

  23. AdAgencyChick*

    I do think it’s a fair request for an employer to want you to schedule your life event with them in mind when all of the following are true:
    1) The timing of your event is entirely under your control. (I would think a request like this insane if it were about the timing of a pregnancy rather than a wedding.)
    2) The busy period is known about far in advance. (Again, insane to approve the time when the employee asks for it and later try to revoke that if an unforeseen busy period comes up.)
    3) It is truly an all-hands-on-deck period and it would be a major hardship to the boss and/or coworkers to cover for this employee. (A wedding is an important enough event that I would hope colleagues would want to make it happen for the OP. But if everyone else is already pulling 12-hour days in the busy period, they probably can’t pick up the slack.)

    In OP’s case, 1 and 2 are true, and it’s hard to tell about 3. If OP’s situation is anything like advertising, creating materials can’t always be done well in advance because inputs are coming in sporadically, a zillion people have comments that have to be incorporated, etc. before things can be produced. If OP is the only person who deals with all of that, and no one else can cover, then I understand why her boss is annoyed.

      1. KM*

        But what if there are other concerns about your wedding date? Weddings are (not always, but often) family events for which you have to consider your loved ones’ needs and schedules. Although I was able to pick the time of year I wanted my wedding, I had to factor in my and my fiance’s siblings’ school schedules, my parents’ work schedules, my fiance’s best man’s school year, etc.

        Furthermore, OP notes above, and this is definitely the case in some workplaces (including mine), that major events aren’t always scheduled that far in advance and you may only know the general time frame in which it will take place. For example, my work has spring, summer, and fall events at which I am greatly needed, but the exact date could fall anywhere in a 4-6 week time frame, changes year to year, and is determined less than a year out.

        This is all to say that while I do agree that some thought to your job is warranted (e.g. a teacher shouldn’t get married the first week of the school year, a mall Santa shouldn’t have a December destination wedding/honeymoon), I do not think it’s fair in most situations to cross entire months or seasons off your wedding date list based on a general busy time/when a major event MIGHT be. It truly is (for many people) a once-in-a-lifetime event that should work best for YOU and your family’s needs.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Of course you don’t have hold whole seasons for a work event that might take place, but that’s not the situation here — the date of the event is known.

          And to your point that you’re juggling lots of schedules when planning a wedding: Of course. But one of the things you’re juggling is your own work schedule. It’s not outrageous for that to be one of the main factors you use in determining the wedding date. (There are, of course, other factors that are more important. But work shouldn’t automatically be the least important consideration.)

          1. KM*

            The date is known now, but in the comments OP said that the date was NOT known when she booked her wedding.

            And of course it shouldn’t be the LEAST important factor, but I do think that many employers could stand to have more flexibility around such major life events. Wedding dates are very rarely chosen on a whim or without any thought to outside considerations: people think about their budget, when their desired, affordable venue can accommodate them, when their families can come, etc.

        2. BPT*

          There are always trade offs when planning an event like a wedding, though, and it’s never going to turn out 100% perfectly. Sometimes, making sure your immediate family can be there means that your best friend can’t be there. Or having to have a wedding on a certain date means you can’t get married in the venue you wanted. Or needing to have a morning wedding or weekday wedding to cut costs means that a good amount of people can’t make it. Work is another thing you have to factor in.

          If I skip this event, what are the consequences? Will it harm my standing at work? Will I get fired? Are there ways I can make it up to my coworkers? How much can I get done beforehand? You look at all the factors and decide what consequences you’re ok with. If you’ll get fired for missing an event, then you have to decide whether a certain date is more important than having that job. (And I’m not being facetious – in some cases it might be, like if a parent is on a deathbed or the job is terrible enough that this is the last straw.) If you have to work extra hours for the month after the wedding to make up for things, is that worth having that exact date. It’s just another set of variables you have to choose between.

    1. AnotherHRPro*

      I completely agree. In this case, the OP had only been with this organization for 3 months so I can get it could be an honest mistake in not realizing that her preferred date would be during their busy period but I completely understand the boss’s frustration.

      I would also add the the OP mentions that she can “never” get time off. While that is concerning at first glance, the OP has only been with the organization a few months. In my experience, new hires don’t get to take much time off in the first few months on the job. And if this “never” time period is only a few months, I think it is too early to say this is really an issue.

      1. NW Mossy*

        I read the letter and the OP’s follow-ups as saying that she originally picked her date when she’d been there 3 months, but she’s now been at the job for over a year (maybe closer to two, based on the timeline) and the PTO denials are more recent.

    2. Gadfly*

      And with stuff like this, you really do need the person who has been dealing with keeping track of all the crazy to do the last minute things because they know what to look for to avoid undoing fixes for other crazy issues. Like it may not be possible to just shrink the other logos to add on one more sponsor. They may have to be each exactly 9picas wide for some obscure reason. And if the person that knows all that sort of thing isn’t there during a crisis, it means essentially no one knows it

  24. phedre*

    I work for a nonprofit and I’m the one who plans our fundraising event. I think you should have at least tried to schedule around the event. I have to admit that I’m surprised it didn’t even occur to you. But that said, your work should be able to get by if you’re not there, and if they can’t they need to cross-train someone.

    When I was planning my wedding I chatted with my boss about timing. She said, “if it’s possible for you to schedule around our event, that would be awesome. If it’s not, schedule your wedding for when it’s best for you and we’ll make it work.”

  25. Winger*

    I work for a big annual music festival that happens once a year, for several weeks. The dates of each Festival are known 4-5 years in advance.

    I have had to decline wedding invitations/save-the-dates from my closest friends, 18 months in advance, because the Festival dates conflicted. This has always been a hard conversation but if I want to keep my job, I have to do this.

    (This is aside from the difficulty of explaining why I need to work all year, and why I make a good salary, planning for something that happens once a year and seems to the naked eye to plan itself.)

  26. The IT Manager*

    You boss’s opinion is very strong, but this event is so important to your organization that the date for it was already set 18 months out and you still chose a wedding date near it. I’m not saying you have to change your wedding date especially now less than a year out, but I think you should have given it some consideration when picking your date and not picking a weekend right before the gala.

    I do agree with Alison that as the marketing person, you should probably be able to finish all your core tasks well in advance of the event, but I do wonder, is it an all hands on deck kind of event? Will you and everyone else in the office be expected to pitch in and help so that you being off for your honeymoon has an impact?

    OTOH, your boss sounds like she might unreasonable with the not approving leave recently so maybe she’s totally unreasonable about this too.

  27. PB*

    I feel for you, OP. My husband was in a difficult work situation when we got married. He had to take a couple hours off one day to take care of some wedding business with me. He had let his supervisor know well in advance, and it really just was a couple hours. Still, his supervisor started whining, and asked why he couldn’t have gotten married in June instead of September.

    As for postponing the honeymoon, waiting might not actually be the worst thing. We had decided for logistical reasons to wait a few days before departing, and it was such a good decision. We were so tired after the wedding. Our house was a mess, and we hadn’t had a chance to breathe in weeks. Having those few days before taking off turned out to be a huge relief. I can’t imagine how stressed we would have been to have to pack a suitcase and take off right after the wedding, on top of everything else we were doing. I took those days as vacation, and my husband went back to work.

    In the end, everything worked out. Good luck with the planning!

  28. ScarlettSiren*

    While I totally get where OP is coming from- may I also note that a wedding doesn’t just signal one big day, or even just prep for that day and a honeymoon. You’ll have an anniversary every year, so boss might be thinking ahead to next year when you want your anniversary off and honestly so should OP. I got married in early September, then switched into a career in higher education- guess who has to defer her anniversary every year?
    No, a job certainly shouldn’t rule your date preference but it’s worth consideration.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I actually don’t know a lot of people who take their anniversary off, so that would never occur to me.

      1. Person of Interest*

        This would never occur to me either as it relates to someone’s wedding planning, but my husband and I take a day off for our anniversary because it coincides with another annual event that was our first date and is always a weekday, so we always take that day off to go to the first-date event together. One year I even pushed my start date for my new job back a day so we wouldn’t miss out. Sixteen years (dating plus marriage) and counting!

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Sweet! I’ve been married a lot longer than you, and we still celebrate the anniversary of our first kiss (which wasn’t actually a date).

      2. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys*

        My honeymoon was in April when ski lift tickets and lodging are cheaper. We try to go every year at that time as an annual vacation. Now we have to plan it around child’s Spring break, but we are usually taking time off and skiing within a week or so of our anniversary.

    2. dragocucina*

      This is a good point that I didn’t think about. We have employees who want their anniversary off every year. For a couple it’s the anniversary week. I try and work with them, but sometimes it’s just not possible. Cue Greek drama with me playing the harpy.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        That gets tedious when people want the same time off each year and KNOW that it is a busy season. Yet they still ask.
        The thought struck me as I read down through, what if OP has to do 12 hour days during this busy season and can’t have an anniversary dinner with her spouse as long as she holds this job? Some couples can flex their schedules but not everyone likes to.

  29. TotesMaGoats*

    I think your boss is overreacting but at the same time I would’ve planned my wedding around graduation since that’s my biggest event. I would suggest that if you haven’t set a date for the 2018 gala then just make it before your wedding. If the scenario was engaged in 2016, sometime after january gala; date already set for 2017 gala; then I would’ve talked with them then about 2018 date and planned around it. But I don’t think you should be raked over the coals for not doing that. I think, under normal circumstances, your planning makes sense.

  30. Kaybee*

    I’m writing this as I’m trying to schedule surgery around my work calendar lol. Ultimately, I believe that your personal life should come first. But if this really is the One Big Thing each year, and you’re not in a situation where every month there’s a One Big Thing as others have mentioned, it might be easier for you to schedule around it so you don’t have to deal with the stress of finishing your part of event prep immediately before your wedding, and so you can enjoy your wedding and honeymoon without wondering how the event is going in the back of your mind. Going back to my surgery, my bosses and coworkers have been absolutely wonderful in supporting me and letting me know that I need to think of myself first, etc. I couldn’t ask for a better work support system. But. I’ll rest easier knowing that nothing imperative to my job duties is happening in my absence. Scheduling around work is really about my comfort as much as theirs.

  31. DietCokeHead*

    When my husband and I were planning our wedding, I wanted to have it in May. I didn’t want a June wedding because my dad had passed away in June and I didn’t want it over Memorial day weekend because I didn’t want to disrupt our guests holiday weekend. My husband was concerned that our wedding would conflict with a summer camp at his work. So before we booked anything, he cleared the date with his boss who said that they would be fine without him at the camp. The organization actually ended up going through chapter 11 and my husband lost his job in the process. So ultimately, we were really glad to have our wedding on the date that we chose and that we didn’t have to adjust for a job that he no longer had at the time of our wedding. So my view would be that job situations can change radically in the time leading up to a wedding.

  32. MashaKasha*

    My concern is, a lot can happen between now and January of next year. Say OP moves the date to March because of the gala, then in September the management changes, or they get a new project etc and March suddenly becomes a critical month too. Then everyone’s expectation will be, “OP has already moved her wedding to accommodate a work event, so surely she can do it again”… and again and again. I admit I don’t know much about OP’s field. Where I work, a lot may change over a twelve-month period, up to and including the management, the owners, and the direction of the company. I agree that it would be better to move the wedding/honeymoon so they don’t overlap with the Gala, I just wonder if this won’t open the door to having to reschedule each time a new emergency pops up.

    1. animaniactoo*

      At that point, the wedding date will be the pre-existing thing. Not the date that OP could have planned around but chose not to and then moved to accommodate upon realizing that the responsibility for that fell on them and it was going to create problems.

    2. paul*

      That entirely changes the situation though. Right now one of these events was planned before the other.

    3. Chinook*

      Speaking as someone who had to reschedule her wedding once and then eloped a month before that because DH’s job (he was military) meant he could be transferred far from here before we got married, it is better to not borrow problems when it comes to wedding planning. In my case, we picked the date we wanted (June) but saw rumblings that he might get on a course and transferred to another province before that, so we moved it up to April and put down deposits in January. We could do that because nothing was set for us and we could still control the date. Then DH got word in March that he was being transferred that Friday (it was Monday) but, if he were married (hint, hint), he would be eligible for one month transfer notice instead of the 5 days single guys leaving on base got. We had the licence, so we found a justice of the peace for the next day, eloped, DH filed his paperwork an hour later and he got the extension which meant he could physically be there for the wedding.

      Now, if we hadn’t already had the date picked, the deposit paid and the licence in hand, I can almost guarantee that the sergeant wouldn’t have allowed DH to leave base to elope (during the week, his platoon were confined to base) but, because we had made plans in good faith, he was.

      I think the same applies to OP and the possible slippery slope. She hasn’t made non-refundable deposits, sent out invitations and done all other things that makes her wedding date unchangeable, so it isn’t outrageous for her boss to ask to change it. But, once everything has been put in place in good faith, then it becomes a non-moveable event.

  33. Graduate Admissions*

    My husband and I planned our wedding on the same date as our dating anniversary. Luckily there were no work conflicts and it wasn’t a known busy time at work either. So it worked out great for us! I was even able to plan for the wedding and honeymoon during lunch breaks without worrying about anything else!

    Do you really want to be getting married around the same time as your biggest work event of the year?

    Work stress, on top of wedding planning stress, on top of any other stress that might come up last minute…. is it really something you want to do to yourself knowing you could potentially avoid one of them?

  34. Cookie*

    Let’s be honest, a year and a half is a lifetime. These days most people in their 30s are pivoting to the next step every 2 years. They would deal if you moved on, so they’ll deal if you go on a honeymoon.

  35. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I would be more concerned about the planning. Weddings are notorious for being difficult and throwing wrenches in the few weeks before the actual event (your numbers get all messed up because all of your cousins get divorced at once, your caterer goes out of business, your florist goes to jail, etc.). So it’s your busy time at work AND your wedding crunch-time at the same time… That sounds like a nightmare to me, which is why I’d be cautious about my own wedding dates. For some people, this is not an issue, but it’s something to think about.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I’m not saying it HAS happened, just that it COULD happen. Yes, I do have an issue with paranoia and aversion to risk. :)

    1. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys*

      AvonLady Barksdale, you’re making eloping look like a really good idea. :)

    2. NW Mossy*

      At my wedding, the minister failed to show up. Thankfully, we were able to find a last-minute emergency back-up minister from a nearby church and he did a spectacular job despite having literally less than 10 minutes of preparation time. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for his willingness to drop what he was doing and help out a couple of strangers!

        1. SophieChotek*

          (Although now that sort of reminds me of someone who got married but almost wasn’t….several months later the minister admitted to the bride that he forgot to send the license in and luckily found it again a few days before the deadline…and mailed it into the government…or whatever you do to file it.)

          1. Gadfly*

            I have a friend with a not-quite-SIL. A couple of years ago the SIL admited the license never was sent in because she and the groom gotvin a fight and tore it up the day of the wedding and they were too embarrassed to admit it/get help to fix the problem and just ignored it. So legally they were never married. (Not a common law state)

    3. dragocucina*

      I went to a wedding this past fall. The caterer’s assistant had been fired and it turned out she hadn’t actually booked the reception (probably part of the reason she was fired). The original minister was in a car wreck the week of. It turned out fine (the catering company stepped-up and made a great meal happen). The wedding coordinator was an Universal Life minister and stepped in. It was lovely, but oh my, the stress levels!

  36. AKJ*

    When I was planning my wedding, many years ago, my fiance and I both worked for a company where vacation was rigidly scheduled – a vacation bid would come out in November of the previous year, and we would pick our weeks of vacation by seniority. There was usually room for three or four people to be on vacation on any given week, depending on the time of year. The weeks of summer and around the holidays were our busiest times, and of course the people with seniority grabbed those weeks first. There was absolutely no way around this, and we knew it. The only way to get any flexibility at all was to recruit co-workers to cover your shifts for you, in exchange, you would take theirs at some point.
    We were engaged in August, and people started asking for the date of our upcoming wedding. I had to tell everyone “It depends on the vacation bid!” When the bid came out that November, fiance and I looked at the available weeks of vacation we could still get together, took them, and I walked back out and announced to all of our co-workers what the date of our wedding would be. Then I could start planning.

    So yes, I let my job (our job, at the time) dictate the date of my wedding, absolutely. There was no way around it. A co-worker of mine had already planned her wedding before getting hired, and the only way she could get the day off was to get people to cover her shifts ahead of time. She did this well in advance, and it would have all worked out – but the person who was supposed to cover her shift on the day of the ceremony got fired two weeks before the wedding. I had been planning to go to the wedding, instead I ended up covering the bride’s shift that day. It was my wedding present for the happy couple.

    1. Emilia Bedelia*

      I’m now intensely curious- what job did you have where this amount of scheduling was necessary?? This seems insane to me.

      1. AKJ*

        I don’t want to out myself by being too specific but it was in the transportation industry. We were not unionized when I was there, but our policies regarding scheduling, etc. were set up in a way that was very similar to union work rules. (There were a lot of reasons why that was, but to explain it would take a while) Thing were also set up in a way where we had just enough people to keep things moving, so one person being out unexpectedly was a big problem. We usually had people who had a “vacation” schedule, where they were slotted into the shift of the people who had vacation on any given week.

  37. animaniactoo*

    Your job isn’t just about a paycheck. It’s also about responsibilities you fulfill, that you are committed to fulfilling. So yeah, you pay attention to the work calendar not just for their benefit, but for your own so that you are not making yourself nuts right before you go do something else that also has the potential to make you nuts while you get ready for it.

    If there’s no good time to ever do something, that’s one thing and should be addressed*, but not planning around *known* things that are major events for the company and you have significant duties around? Shows a lack of care for your job that you probably don’t want to imply. Note that their solution from 18 months out could very well be “We have time to replace OP with someone who won’t leave us in a lurch during our major event”.

    Question: You’re responsible for marketing materials – I know from experience that information can change up to the day before with frantic revisions of marketing materials at the last minute. Who are you expecting to handle the last minute stuff? Is there a way the company can outsource that? Hire a temp? Will it be nearly as optimal a solution as you being available to handle it? Because if not, why do you think it’s okay to purposely make it somebody else’s job at a period when they are also likely to be busy with last minute stuff in their own role?

    *As it should be now – “You’ve said that the last three times I requested a day. This is not the busiest that we get and I need the time off or I’m going to burnout hard. How can we make this work so that I can take a day during some of these slower periods?”

    1. animaniactoo*

      Fwiw, my company exhibits at major shows in January, February, and September/October. For awhile, my department and the marketing department were not even allowed to request vacation in the two weeks leading up to each of those shows. You bet I planned my wedding with a wide berth around them.

    2. OP Here*

      OP here – just a little context – at the time I planned my wedding I was only 3 months into the job, and at the time they did not yet have a date for this meeting yet (although they knew an approximation) and there had been no discussions about the event either, so I didn’t know much about it. It just wasn’t even in my head.

      Regarding who may cover me when I’m gone – this is a recurring problem. I’m afraid to even so much as call out sick because they literally have no one else here to do my work. There IS a freelancer they utilize on special occasions, but they are very hesitant to use them (most likely for $$ reasons). I have never been employed anywhere where my manager doesn’t know how to do anything I do, so that’s different for me, too. Everytime my manager goes into a marketing email I’ve created (to make a change) everything comes back to me all wrong and she laughs about the fact that she doesn’t know how to use the program. While job security sounds great (yay, they need me!) it’s also a burden because i’d love to have a morning where I can say “I’m so tired I just need a mental health day” – but I am not afforded that luxury here.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        You need to separate these in your mind, because they are two different issues. You never being able to take off, even a single day, is completely different from you getting pushback for planning to be gone during an extremely busy time.

          1. Uzumaki Naruto*

            Are you sure? Because it sounds to me like the lack of redundancy, and lack of trying to solve that problem, is actually the problem.

            1. BPT*

              Redundancy with certain skills is not the same thing as being able to completely take over for someone though. Having someone who can cover the day-to-day tasks while OP is out is much different than having someone who can run an event or do big picture stuff for one or two events a year. The former, they need, the latter is usually the main person’s responsibility.

            2. Jessesgirl72*

              Yes, because even if they were able to cover for her the other 11 months of the year with no problem at all, it still wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to balk at her planning her wedding right before the annual gala. Her choice of wedding date would be a problem for most non-profits, and the OP’s manager isn’t being unreasonable about that.

              The manager is being unreasonable that she can’t be missed for a day here and there during the rest of the year.

      2. ThatGirl*

        Perhaps when you discuss this with your boss you can talk about training a backup? Someone who knows how to use the program in case of illness/emergency/hit by a bus/win the lottery?

        It’s actually not a great thing to be indispensable, for all of the reasons you outline.

      3. animaniactoo*

        Dates are approximate here too until about a year out. But we generally know the timeframe, so it’s planned around on that basis.

        It’s a lot more reasonable that you really weren’t aware of the event, but it would have been better to be able to respond in the moment “I wasn’t aware of that, is it going to be a major issue?” and take that as feedback to figure out with them what to do. You didn’t, life happens. Where are you at with this issue now?

        As somebody who once had that level of job security for that reason – take the day sick if you really need it. Deal with the mess when you get back. You’ll burn yourself out faster giving in to the mentality that you *can’t* do it because it will all fall apart in your absence. Can you talk about cross-training with somebody else so that if you’re out, somebody can at least do basic things like making a change in an e-mail promo? You should be ready to cross-train with somebody else and pick up some of what they know how to do as well in exchange. Small companies can really suck – but they can be GREAT for learning a lot in a short amount of time because they need somebody available to do it and the options are slim pickings when you only have 5 employees (or so).

        1. OP Here*

          Hi there – I haven’t brought it up with my boss again since a couple weeks after the initial discussion – the 2nd convo was when she indicated that i really should have taken it into consideration and that any employee should expect to take those kinds of things into consideration. And I have – in the past, at different jobs, for vacations, dr. appts, etc. I just kind of thought a wedding held different weight/was put into a different category.

          I think when I start seriously considering honeymoon options, I’m going to sit down and have a good solid conversation about this with my boss, and include the fact that coverage should somehow be possible if I can’t be here in an emergency – it may be a good time to discuss cross-training someone else to help out in the event I can’t come in for whatever reason.

          1. animaniactoo*

            Don’t wait to have that conversation. Have it as far in advance as possible, because among other things, you’re going to need time to cross-train that person, and it’s going to be a slow process when you guys are all busy all the time.

            I would say that your ideal time to have this convo is as soon as possible after the 2017 Gala (which you may have had already, so when I say asap, I mean a week or two after is good, you want everybody to have a decompress period before you start doing the download), and with a flavor of “Now that I’ve seen what we do leading up to this Gala, I understand the concerns more. I’ve got some ideas I’d like to talk to you around this, can we meet tomorrow/next week/later today on it?” In part, because you want to already have this kind of stuff hammered out so that when you start to seriously plan, you already know what you’re dealing with as you plan.

  38. Violet*

    I had sort of the opposite situation, where we had planned our wedding/honeymoon for late March and then I started a new job in January where the busy season was late March/early April. I negotiated that time off before I accepted the offer, and my coworkers were happy to cover for me on an exciting occasion, so the actual wedding and honeymoon were fine… but it means that now, every anniversary falls during a super busy time at work. Of course, I had no way to know about the work schedule when we picked the wedding date, but it kind of sucks to never be able to go on an anniversary vacation (or even reliably plan an anniversary dinner). I’d say OP should take their work schedule into account, but not just because the boss thinks so.

  39. Ramblin' Ma'am*

    Usually I side with the employee on these work/life questions, but in this case I think the boss actually has a point. It would be different if you were just starting a new job and were told you had to reschedule a wedding or vacation that had been planned beforehand. In this case, you already know the wedding date will coincide with an important work event. I’m fairly low on the totem pole at my company, but I wouldn’t plan a vacation during a busy time of year without consulting with my boss first.

    Also–I think just for your own benefit, preparing for a wedding AND doing a major work project at the same time sounds really stressful.

  40. Hannah*

    OP – why can’t you just go on your honeymoon after the Gala? There is really no difference in waiting a few days vs taking off right after the wedding.

  41. Jillian*

    I work for a small non-profit and essentially am their event planner. I would croak if my marketing person told me they’d be out the week of our gala. 18 months is a long time to plan for alternative solutions but still, it’d be hard to make the changes either way.

    I don’t necessarily think the OP is wrong, but I would be so stressed if it were me, and I know that when I get married, I will be planning the date around our major events.

  42. puzzld*

    I don’t know about anyone else, but in these difficult times, I don’t want to put the thought “I could manage without puzzld. In fact we managed nicely when…” in my managers head. Paranoid? You bet. But if you mostly like your job, you might find it to your advantage to be the “one they can’t do without” rather than otherwise.

    This is particularly on my mind as we can see a RIF off in the distance. We are hoping to deal with it by freezing open positions, etc. But if push comes to shove, the girl who wasn’t there is the one who will be let go.

  43. Chickaletta*

    The fact that the date is soooo far out is what gives me pause. The OP knows the gala is in January every year, yet the OP chose that month 18 months in advance… Eighteen months. It’s going to come off a little suspect no matter how she spins it.

    And though this is slightly OT and not advice the OP was seeking, but, speaking as a married woman, be careful not to place SO much importance on the wedding date itself. Yes, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. But our western culture also places too much emphasis on weddings, I think, and it causes a lot of stress for the couple, their families, and the marriage itself.

    1. OP Here*

      Hi there, OP here (trying to answer whatever questions I can!). At the time I booked the wedding date (which, BTW, is a Friday in January – definitely not my dream wedding date but the only thing we could fit into our budget) they didn’t have a date yet for the big meeting, but had an approximation of time (which, I did not know). Additionally, I’d only been there about 3 months and this meeting hadn’t even been brought up to me yet. I’ve also only worked in very laid back offices, so the reaction to my good news was shocking and a bit offputting (i.e., could have been approached differently, such as “ok – that is a busy time of year, so we have to do some planning to figure out how to accomplish our goals on time”). The wedding itself is set in stone at this point, however, so my question is really whether or not to plan the honeymoon around the big event, which at this point it looks like I should do, to afford peace of mind to all involved.

      1. KM*

        You raise another good point about the budget – it’s not like everyone can just pick a weekend that they like and build their dream wedding around it. You have to factor in what months are affordable to you (you can probably get a wedding in January for half the price of one in June at many venues), when your desired, affordable venue is open, etc. Not to mention your fiance’s schedule, and your loved ones’ schedules, especially if you have some from out of town that are important to you but limited in their own work schedules.

        It really sounds like your employer is being a jerk, IMO.

        1. Taylor Swift*

          Well, it’s not like everyone is entitled to have their dream wedding, regardless of whether they can afford it. If you can’t afford your dream wedding in June and you can’t schedule it in January, you plan a different wedding.

      2. Jenbug*

        I definitely think that you will be able to relax more on your honeymoon if you wait until after the event. Plus, it’ll be even nicer to have that down time after you’re done!

      3. JMegan*

        Wait, so your boss is annoyed because you didn’t plan around an event that hasn’t been scheduled yet, and that you didn’t even know existed? That’s a bit extreme. I mean, I suppose you could have gone to her and said “Hey, I’m looking at dates for my wedding 18 months from now, is there anything I need to be aware of before I put down a deposit?”…but I totally get why it wouldn’t occur to you that it would be necessary.

        Boss needs to communicate better. If January is always a no-go for vacation time, then she needs to disclose that right when people start their jobs. Good luck getting it all sorted, and I hope you get the honeymoon of your dreams!

        1. KM*

          This is also a good point – one thing I always ask in job interviews is when the major events/busiest times of year are. I really like to travel, so I like to know when my no-go periods are.

          But that being said, I think any company with distinct busy times or major events should be up front about that in the interview – OP’s hiring manager should have said “we have a major gala every mid-January or early February and we need all hands on deck then” or “We do not approve time off on August 17, which is when we have a mandatory office pajama party” or whatever.

          1. Kyrielle*

            …mandatory office pajama party. I know it’s just a whimsical example, but … what a visual. Hee!

          2. Candi*

            According to a comment the OP posted farther up in another thread (Ctrl+F venue), she was at work the day the venue was booked. She discussed the upcoming booking and some of her wedding plans with her boss -including time of year.

            And her boss did not mention Big Event. At all.

            Which puts me into ‘are you kidding me?’ Territory with the boss.

  44. Crazy Canuck*

    It appears that I disagree with the majority here. I work to live, I don’t live for work. My boss gets zero say on what I do with my time outside the office. I’ll be the first to admit that this had come at a price sometimes. I could be making far more money if I was willing to to play the game. But some things are worth more than money, and I firmly believe freedom is one of them.

    Back on topic .. many moons ago, I was in a vaguely similar situation. There was a verbal agreement about the vacation for my honeymoon, but then boss changed his mind with one week to go because someone else quit. So I quit on the spot and walked out. 19 years later, I still have zero regrets about it.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s not about your boss getting say in what you do with your time outside of work; it’s about your boss getting say in the time that you’re required to be at work. Those are two different things.

      And sure, if you don’t want to subject yourself to that, you can definitely opt out of those jobs. But that will limit you from a lot of things, which is I think what the OP was asking about.

    2. Taylor Swift*

      Your priorities may be different than a lot of the other commenters’ but I don’t think anybody is actually disagreeing with you. They’re just pointing out that price that comes with disregarding work obligations.

      1. Candi*

        Also, that specific boss was just a jerk. There’s plenty of commentator stories where oh pie! Something happened! and the management still managed to handle Clark and Bruce being out doing their pre-planned vacation.

        * Pie > cow pie > bull…

  45. Stellaaaaa*

    I would gently encourage OP to recalibrate her notions of how important weddings are. This stands out to me:

    “I just can’t imagine that I’ll get married on a Friday, and come in on Monday ready to work again.”

    Why not? The phrasing in the rest of that paragraph sounds like she’s asking for Friday and Monday off surrounding that weekend AND some honeymoon time a little later on, as separate chunks of time. When you’re the only person in the office who can perform your essential function and there’s only one big event every year, it frankly strikes me as tone deaf (not only in terms of work but also in terms of basic life reality) to defend this wedding planning choice as “I just can’t imagine being able to come to work 3 days after my wedding.”

    1. Chickaletta*

      True story–
      A couple months ago, Monday morning meeting with a client at Starbucks:
      Me: “Did you have a nice weekend?”
      Client: “Um, well, yeah. I got married.”
      Me: “Really? Congratulations! And here you are back at work already!”
      Client: “Yes. It’s a busy time with work. We’re holding off on the honeymoon until things slow down a bit.”
      And, scene.

      1. Chickaletta*

        To be fair, my client runs his own business and was in the middle of a product launch, so he wasn’t being told by anyone what to do. My point is this: there are people who come right back to work after the weekend they got married and schedule honeymoon time off for more convenient times.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          Yeah, I’m not saying that weddings are no big deal or that she shouldn’t want to take the next day off. But the approach of “How could I possibly come back to work after a 3-day weekend?” isn’t going to make any headway with her manager and it flies in the face of what many employed people experience after getting married. It’s not like having a baby or experiencing a loss. A wedding is a fancy dinner party. I can’t think of any legit reason to NEED Monday off.

    2. Security SemiPro*

      Eh… people place importance on things, I don’t think it is something to judge unless its harming themselves or others. Weddings can be really important and impactful on people. Wanting to take some time to absorb them isn’t a terrible plan, especially if you know you’re going to need it.

      My boss gets worked up if his team makes it to The Big Game, its a Big Deal for him and his family, and I’m pretty sure work takes a pause for him there. I might quit a job if I couldn’t have Christmas Eve with my family, but I find the weight my in laws put on Christmas dinner odd and unnecessary. I had staff that couldn’t make it in on the day of the inauguration, and if they were not going to be functional, I didn’t really want them in the office. All of these are based on human emotion and I don’t know that any of these need recalibration, but they do need self awareness and self management.

      I agree that “I just couldn’t possibly…” isn’t the best way to frame communication at work when a deeply held personal emotional interaction buts up against work, but I don’t think that’s a sign that the feelings are improper to have.

  46. CrazyCatLady*

    I’ve worked in non-profits where there are one or two big events every year and those where there is a rotating event schedule that is not well-determined in advance. I’ve figured that if I know about the big event(s) and there are only one or two of them I need to block off time for, then those take priority, and I won’t knowingly schedule vacation, etc. while they will be going on. However, at work places where the event schedule is not well planned, I feel like it’s only fair that I can go ahead and schedule vacation when there’s nothing on the books and no history of big events around that time period.

    However, I ran into an issue with this at my last job, because events would only get scheduled 2-3 months out, and I was expected to put my personal life on hold just in case something came up. I had a spiteful boss who knew well in advance that I wanted to take the week of my first anniversary off, and then decided that my anniversary would be the perfect date for a last-minute brand new event. This was in addition to denying days off for me and my teammates for no good reason throughout the year. Needless to say, I got out of there shortly after.

  47. Brett*

    I know this is not stated in the letter, but is this the OP’s first year at the employer? Or is the gala not at the same time every year?
    The way she mentions “we hadn’t even held our 2017 gala yet” makes me think that the scheduling of the 2018 gala was a surprise to her.

    1. OP Here*

      OP Here –

      Your instincts were right – at the time of choosing the wedding date, I had been employed here for 3 months and the specific events, etc, had not yet been communicated to me.

  48. Nonprofit manager*

    Speaking as a manager here, the thing I found off-putting was a sense that the OP shared the date with her supervisor and then seemed to leave it up to the supervisor to figure out coverage.

    I would feel very differently if Agnes said “I’m going to be out during busy time in 2018 for my wedding and honeymoon. Ooh, so excited, we’re going to the Caribbean!” and Bernadette said “I am getting married and going on a honeymoon during busy time in 2018. It may be a possibility to bring in contractor X to cover for me while I’m out, or I could work with colleagues A and B to cross-train them before before I go. I am committed to doing what I can to make sure my responsibilities are covered.”

    Personally, I really encourage my staff to maintain work life balance. I’d be much more concerned about the not being able to take even a day off thing rather than the response to the wedding news.

    1. OP Here*

      Hey there, OP Here –

      I did actually sit down with my boss a few weeks later to talk to her a little more about this, and that I’m sure we can figure something out since we have plenty of time and I’d do what I could to make sure everything gets done on time, which is when she mentioned that I really should have taken the date into consideration when planning my wedding (obviously it’s too late for that part now), and that any employee should do so (which, while it seems like common sense, is something I’ve never had to deal with and also something I didn’t think really applied almost 2 years out).

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        and also something I didn’t think really applied almost 2 years out

        You’ve mentioned this a couple of times, and it seems like your position is that it doesn’t matter if someone else is inconvenienced, as long as you warn them ahead of time. And that’s just not really true when it comes to work. If they want/need you there during that particular time, it doesn’t matter how much warning you give them, it’s still makes you look tone deaf.

        1. Emily*

          I think the OP’s take was not “it doesn’t matter if someone else is inconvenienced, as long as I warn them ahead of time” but rather, “two years is more than enough time to for the company to delegate any responsibilities I would have had to others, WITHOUT them being inconvenienced.”

    2. Stellaaaaa*

      I think a major unspoken issue is that the manager of a non-profit (somewhat correctly) is going to assume that all employees are passionate about the cause. It’s something they screen for. If OP talked that talk in her interview and then suddenly announced that she’s skipping the big annual event to go on her honeymoon, her supervisor might be wondering if the right person was hired. There are many industries where work/life balance is easier to achieve. If OP is in her 30s and still surprised at the thought that the big annual fundraiser should have been factored into her wedding planning (even as a new employee; people who are passionate about non-profit work would do this math automatically), I have to wonder if this is the right fit for her. She asked Alison if it’s a generational thing. I think it’s a non-negotiable component of the field she’s in.

  49. Uzumaki Naruto*

    The fact that the LW can’t take time off at any point because things are “too busy” makes me think the issue is the boss’s weird issues about, I don’t know, how career should always be your top priority or something. Or maybe things really are that busy, but it’s not your problem to solve if your employer doesn’t have the resources needed to run its operations. Or maybe your boss just thinks she can get whatever she wants out of her employees because, hey, why not give it a shot.

    I get the idea that there are some things that are so important to certain jobs that you should plan even big personal life events around them. But your boss’s general attitude makes me doubt that’s the case with this wedding and event — that the deal is the boss’s attitude or outlook, actually, and not a super important conflict that requires your presence at work.

    1. RVA Cat*

      This. The fact the boss is denying leave requests in the interim makes me wonder if the boss is either doing this out of spite (if other employees are getting leave approved), or they’re badly understaffed and/or the boss doesn’t think vacation time should really exist.

      Honestly, the best way might for you to be in New Job well in advance of your wedding.

    2. Stellaaaaa*

      Non-profits commonly work this way though. It’s lousy but it’s also something you understand when you accept the job.

      1. paul*

        I’d disagree that non-profits commonly deny any and all leave request (leave during big events is a different one). I’ve worked in non-profits a good bit, and work *with* other non profits a lot, and most of my close friends are non-profit employees.

        The vast, vast, majority allow people to take vacations without flack. The few I’ve seen that didn’t had all sorts of other dysfunction. Now, that’s separate from telling people that they can’t take leave during a major busy season or work event.

  50. NotoriousMCG*

    I 100% planned my wedding date and honeymoon around work events. I worked for a small nonprofit (five staff) and I can’t even imagine not taking something as huge as a gala into account on this sort of thing. The vacation time at normal points of the year is an issue though. That kind of attitude is what leads to such a high level of burnout in nonprofits.

  51. mcr-red*

    Hello OP! I am so sorry you get pushback/denied taking days off. I am in the exact situation and it makes me crazy, and most people just cannot understand the huge hassle it is ever taking any PTO. I was told by manager that I could only take certain days of the week off. It’s not that my teapots are something that is specific to me only, it’s that no one in my department wants to take on my teapot workload and certain days of my schedule have bigger amounts of teapots than others. When I complained to my big boss, I was told to use up my time where I could. Taking a full week’s vacation for me is rare. It’s incredibly frustrating.

    That said, when my wedding came along, I came in with an attitude to boss/manager that this is non-negotiable, you will HAVE to figure something out. I wasn’t even taking a honeymoon, just needed one day off for the actual wedding. They somehow survived without me! And when my anniversary rolls around, we’re having that same talk again.

    The gala thing reminded me of when my ex worked somewhere that had an annual event, and it happened to be when I went into labor. His work was furious that he wasn’t there for the event. The next year, the event was on a different day, and he requested PTO for the baby’s first birthday. Work had an “emergency” that required him to work a double shift (so 4 a.m. to 11 p.m.) on the birthday. I still think it was revenge for missing the event.

  52. Lovemyjob...Truly!!!*

    Just about every company I’ve worked for has had “Black Out” dates where any PTO requests would not be given. I would never have planned my wedding date without first checking with my supervisor to see if the date I had chose fell in that period. Even gift giving can be hard during those dates. January is the busiest time of year for the company I currently work for. My husband wasn’t aware of this and last year gave me a trip to NYC for the first ever BroadwayCon for a Christmas present. I needed two days off at the end of January to take the trip. The hoops I had to jump through to get those two days off were so difficult I had to make my husband promise to never buy non-refundable tickets without checking the dates with me first. He assumed that all companies had the same black out dates (his are around the holidays).

  53. js*

    As a marketing person working on a 4 person team for my organization’s major event, i would never expect to schedule my wedding/honeymoon/any other personal event in such a way as to need significant time off right before or over the event itself. This is not unusual. In my last job they wouldn’t grant time off for the entire month prior to the event. it’s not a question of work “dictating your wedding”. it’s that work is 100% allowed to “dictate” your use of PTO, and if taking it so near or over the event would mean you might not be able to fulfill your job duties as needed, then they can say no. Sure, you could say that you are taking the time and it’s non-negotiable, but be very certain that you are that valuable because if that happened at my org, you’d be out the door as soon as they could hire someone new.

  54. PK*

    I’ve never worked in a nonprofit so perhaps that changes things. I’m guessing fundraisers are a big deal. However, I would find it really off-putting to have a company push back against a vacation request with 18 months notice. That’s more than enough time for the business to come up with contingency plans.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The issue here isn’t that there’s enough time to come up with contingency plans; it’s that when being present for a big work thing is a key part of your job, it doesn’t make sense for them to come up with contingency plans when you have some control over the date you pick.

      1. PK*

        I guess if the purpose of her job is this particular event, then sure. However, if there is some sort of blackout period for vacation, that should have been clarified before now. Even then, I’ve seen exceptions made during these periods when it was clearly planned out.

        Ultimately, she’s going to have to move her honeymoon after from the Gala from the sounds of it. I’d still personally find it off-putting that absolutely nothing can be done with a year and a half (!) of notice. People make due with far less.

    2. Nonprofit manager*

      The challenge in a nonprofit environment is that “contingency plans” often come with a price tag. Fund raising events are often paid for with undesignated funds, and I’ll spare you the nonprofit-y details here, but in many industries every undesignated dollar is worth 2 or 3 dollars of restricted grant money. Solid contingency plans that don’t either (1) cut into budgets that likely don’t have wiggle room to begin with and (2) don’t negatively impact the workload and productivity of whoever has to fill in are really, really hard to come by.

    3. animaniactoo*

      My company would absolutely push back against me taking any vacation time during the first two weeks of February. Even with 18 months notice. It’s better than it used to be, but there’s still a lot of last minute stuff leading up to an event that is usually the 2nd or 3rd weekend of February every year. Yeah, my coworkers could cover for me if they really had to (and did one year when I had a surgery get pushed out), but they have their own stuff they’re pretty busy with right around then and they shouldn’t have to.

      Considering that I’m responsible for designing specific lines of product and creating some prep stuff around them, that’s really not unreasonable. Things happen at the last minute “We need better representation around this item, so we’re also going to do Mint and Orange (which I’m responsible for) executions of them, can you bang it out and put it on a display board by tomorrow?” No matter how carefully you plan, sometimes you can’t see a gap until you set your booth/showroom for the specific event and see how it works “live”.

      1. PK*

        That makes sense and I also have a blackout period. However, it was very clearly relayed to me during interviews so it wasn’t a big surprise.

        1. animaniactoo*

          I’m willing to bet that nobody would even remember to mention it during hiring in my company. Mostly because it’s such an industry-wide thing that if you’re in anything or have done any work in a closely-related industry, it’s a given that you’re not taking those two weeks if you’re a designer, salesperson, or working in the marketing department. It’s so ingrained there were only a few years here where they sent out official blackout date notifications and that was pretty much back when they first got into this portion of the market and these shows were being added to the schedule.

          1. PK*

            Well, if I was a tax accountant, I would obviously know the blackout period was during tax time. In my field, blackout periods depend completely on each individual business so there’s no standardization. I’m guessing that non-profits don’t run their galas at the same time though.

    4. doreen*

      It’s not only non-profits. My husband’s company has two “all hands on deck” (literally everyone except the warehouse staff and the truck drivers) weekend events a year, and he will not be given that weekend off for anything where the schedule is up to him. Illness or death in the family, no problem. One day off for my daughter’s wedding, most likely not a problem (since he doesn’t get to choose the date). An employee schedules his or her own wedding that weekend- they would either have to reschedule the wedding or look for a new job.

  55. Lisa*

    ok, I worked for a company with a holiday season – so it was well known that you could not take a vacation from November to new years. But – this is a wedding! What if you’ve always dreamt of a xmas day wedding or new years or the day is a special day like your parents were married on that day. If your boss pushes back, I would say ok. Not talk about your wedding at work, and start looking for a new job. This is more than the wedding. You are being cheated out of compensation by not being allowed to use your PTO. This isn’t going to get better. you may get to keep your wedding day, but the other time off – is still an issue.

  56. Code Monkey, the SQL*

    I had a near-miss with this scenario. I scheduled and booked a vacation last year in early spring, for this coming June. In the mid-summer of last year, I was unexpectedly rolled into a new project (new-to-me, it has been ongoing for several years by now) that has been setting milestone dates as they go. Think, “ok, this release has gone well, we’ll contract you for another 4 month release also, with a blackout period at the end of those 4 months.” One of those milestone blackout periods came perilously close to the vacation, which would have put me in a really impossible position.

    On one hand, non-negotiable blackout date. On the other, several thousand dollars in deposits. I’m really glad it didn’t come to that, but I’m wondering how to handle that kind of conflict in the future, especially when company culture at the top favors working until you drop rather than work-life balance.

    1. rubyrose*

      I was in a situation once where I had put down a deposit and signed a one year lease on an apartment and paid for a class at the university. My possessions were in storage, which I was paying for. My company then told me they wanted me to work on a project several states away, for a time period not less than 7 months (ending was not known). I had to be onsite.

      When I told them of the monetary commitments I had already made, they agreed to pay for whatever I was on the hook for the class (after dropping it), the deposit, and the storage. I was able to go to the complex and explain the situation. The complex let me out of the lease.

      My theory is that if the company had previously given approval for your time off, they should be willing to pay for those deposits. Or stand by their commitment to give you the time off.

  57. Margaret*

    I think this really depends on your job/industry, and how certain and standardized the busy season is. If you are aware of the busy time and know that it’s hard for anyone to be out – then, yes, you should be, to a reasonable extent, planning your life around it. It’s what you signed up for. If it’s something variable, or basically year-round, or for some other reason you couldn’t have known the conflict, then I’d say you should work with your company to come to a compromise to help coverage while still living your life.

    For example, I just planned a pregnancy around my job as a tax preparer. And no, of course you can’t *always* plan a baby – accidents happen, some are born early, if you have fertility issues certainly just do what you have to do. But if you’re have normal fertility and are planning a pregnancy – you can choose when to NOT conceive. I ended up getting pregnant with a due date of October 7, which was the absolute end of the window for us, in order to be back to work by early January for tax season. If we still hadn’t gotten pregnant then, we would have taken a few months off from trying, so as to minimize the overlap of maternity leave with tax season. I’m sure there would be a limit to that – if it was taking us a few years, rather than a few months, to actually conceive, at some I’d say whatever and just keep trying or doing treatments. But I would apologize (not for being pregnant, but for the timing) and do everything my power to mitigate the impact on my firm.

  58. Administrative Assistant*

    I was the secretary to the President of a large community college, and had been on the job for about four months when my sister was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. She lived in a city two days’ travel from the rest of our (largish) family, and we all set up a schedule that we could each go up to stay with her during her chemo weeks, to help around the house, fix her meals, transportation, all that (her husband worked in the Big City). My week fell on the week of commencement exercises, which of course was a major event for the President. I didn’t know that at the time, nor had the date of commencement even been fixed yet. My boss approved the weeks’ leave for me. Four weeks before the event, she realized that she’d approved my leave during commencement and called me in to her office to yell at me for being “insubordinate” and a bunch of other things, although by the time I would have to be absent, 99% of my duties (planning) would have been done and the only things left were things someone else could fill in for (making sure she had her notes, gown, etc.). I had in fact already arranged a competent fill-in for those last duties, and all the planning was up to date. I reminded her that my sister was critically ill, that my place on the schedule had been approved by her MONTHS ago, and my family was all counting on each other to be there when we said we would, and that nothing was going undone. She never forgave me for leaving her in the lurch and I never forgave her, either.

    1. mf*

      Whoa. She sounds like a terrible boss. The fact is she made a mistake by approving your leave in the first place, but instead of owning that, she blamed you.

    2. lolnope*

      First, your boss was a dick. But I also can’t equate this situation with the planning of a wedding. A wedding can be held any day of the year, whether planned for months in advance or not, whether you spend $70 or $70,000. The goal of a wedding is to enter marriage, not the wedding itself.

      In your case, there might not have been another day. Your time was the only time you’d have with your sister. Period. You deserved that time.

  59. Freya UK*

    Between being offered my new job (<3 months) and my start-date, I got engaged! The look of horror on my new MD's face was priceless on my first day :D

    Not entirely relevant to OP, but one thing that hasn't been mentioned in the comments is culture – In Arab cultures (I'm half Lebanese) weddings ARE a major life event, and traditionally both the wife and groom are not allowed to work for a month before the wedding (ie; you might even hire a maid so you don't have to clean), in addition to this, engagements can be much shorter than western ones. Somehow, businesses survive, quite happily. HMM… Could this be a case of… correct priorities?!

    Anyway, tl;dr, I'm throwing in my support both for the OP, and for the other few of us who are staunchly in camp 'Work to Live' – Life comes first, always. Your wedding IS special, it IS important and you are absolutely right to do whatever is right for you regarding it. Unless you have a vocation, work is just a means to an end.

    1. paul*

      If that’s all the regard you give your employer why should they give any more regard to you?

      I’m usually on the side of work life balance leaning towards life, but come on, *most* fields and agencies have some black out periods you can’t take vacation. Hell, even ones that don’t you may not get leave approved if too many people have already asked off. That doesn’t make them unreasonable.

  60. Janet Knox*

    If you really care about your job, you try to schedule events during slow periods. As a teacher, it would be frowned upon to take a week off for a wedding and honeymoon during the school year. We’re not even allowed to do jury duty–the judge always excuses teachers if school is in session. You can do whatever you like, but I think you are sending the wrong message to your boss. (And congratulations on your engagement!)

    1. Bibliovore*

      Wow, that is great. I was called for jury duty my first year teaching at a new school in November. I was put on a murder trial and sequestered FOR A MONTH. The Judge wouldn’t let anyone off! Talk about a rocky start.

      1. Evan Þ*

        But (to look on the bright side) an exciting story to hint about to your students when you finally meet them?

  61. mf*

    Welp, your wedding is a year from now. So you’ve got a year to find a new job.

    (I’m kind of joking. But not really. If your boss is overly rigid about time off, it might be worth while to casually job hunt and see what else is out there.)

    1. mf*

      Also, I do think Alison has a point. There are some professions where it’s reasonable to have a blackout period. Commentors above mentioned election season if you work in politics. Also for teachers really can’t take a significant amount of time off during the school year for anything other than parental leave or FMLA.

      But in my experience, people who work in professions that have these blackout periods usually already know about it and wouldn’t be writing to AMA with this kind of question. (I know a lot of teachers and professors. It’s a given that they ABSOLUTELY CANNOT take time off during the school year unless it’s an emergency. Like somebody’s in the hospital or has died. They wouldn’t dream of scheduling a honeymoon or vacation during teh school year.)

      All that being said, I think employers should accommodate time off for their employees’ weddings if at all possible. It’s a one-time thing and it’s a major life event. Show a little humanity and give your employees a break.

      1. doreen*

        You would think that people in those sorts of professions would know about it- but my daughter’s first grade teacher got married and took a week or two off in the middle of the school year. I don’t think it was a coincidence that she wasn’t there the next September.

  62. Retail is Lame!*

    I didn’t read the comments yet…

    I worked as an assistant manager for a retail company for 3 years from 2012-2015. I was engaged the Summer of 2015. We planned a small wedding with just siblings and parents (though we both come from large immediate families who live all across the world) and the only time we could get everyone together was a few days after Christmas. I told my retail team and boss that I was getting married on Dec. 29th and they told me they couldn’t let me take the day off because it was a blackout period (November-January for retail always suck!). I was even willing to negotiate taking a later honeymoon, but they said they couldn’t even give me the day off (BTW, it was a weekday, not a busy weekend) to get married. Really? haha. But what made it even worse was I found out a couple days later that the manager AND a key holder were going on vacation the week BEFORE Christmas, which is even a crazier time!! I felt that this was hypocritical and completely inappropriate. I gave them a two weeks notice and quit in October.

    Now that I’m working as an HR manager in a small event planning company, I would totally expect to work with my bosses for major vacations and a big day like a family member’s wedding. I’m the only one who does what I do and usually need to be available as much as possible. They definitely are easy to work with so I’m lucky that way.

    1. yasmara*

      My brother is a retail manager. He probably would not have given you the day off either (sorry) but he also would NEVER have taken time off himself.

  63. Tennessee INFP*

    OP – Your wedding is something you will cherish and remember forever. Do not let work interfere with one of the biggest days of your life. I am on the extreme side of “your job should never dictate something as important as your wedding.” I got mad at your boss just reading this letter. Enough so that I would immediately have begun searching for another job if I had been in your shoes (I’m not in your shoes, nor am I encouraging you to do that, just saying). There are tons of companies out there looking for bright people like yourself and you have a year until your wedding. Do you really want to plan a wedding with this hanging over you, being worried the whole time if the materials you create will be sufficient or that they might require a last minute re-write where you may have to work into the evening of your rehearsal dinner?

  64. Not me*

    I think the fact that OP wasn’t aware of the gala when she made her wedding plans is irrelevant. Her original question and all follow-ups indicate she didn’t think she needed to plan her wedding around a work event. Period. Which indicates that even if she’d known about the Annual Gala, she didn’t think it was necessary to plan around it.

    1. animaniactoo*

      Yeah, because she didn’t have experience with jobs that would have that kind of need, so she wrote in to find out if she or the company was in the wrong about it. Now she’s heard and it sounds like she’s being pretty reasonable about the feedback she’s getting.

  65. Jane*

    I think if OP’s boss really said things the way she did, I can see why OP would be put off, but the boss’s underlying expectation seems reasonable in the context of this particular job (not all jobs as her boss seems to think). It sounds like OP would be better off postponing the honeymoon and negotiating to take the day before her wedding off. While I personally would prefer to have my honeymoon immediately after my wedding as people at my particular job typically do, I know tons of people who were not able to do that or didn’t want to do that and scheduled their honeymoons for a later date. The only benefit I can think of of scheduling my honeymoon right after my wedding is that people at my job (perhaps sadly) have more respect for the honeymoon as a do-not-disturb vacation and working through a vacation is otherwise not unheard of or uncommon, so if I schedule it later, it looks more like a “normal” vacation and people I work with won’t respect it as much.

  66. Jane*

    In my case, I took into account that another woman I work with is getting married in the same season I wanted to get married so I made sure that our weddings and honeymoons would not overlap, but I did not check with anyone else or check with my bosses, I checked with my family and quickly booked the venue my fiance and I wanted before someone else snatched up that date. There is a conference scheduled around the same time as my wedding (although the exact date is still TBD) which I am going to have to help plan, so I will likely miss it. I briefly thought about trying to schedule around it but concluded that that was ridiculous because I can help plan and people will understand that I could not attend due to my wedding/honeymoon, which I don’t think is generally a controversial excuse, but I guess it depends on the company and title and the type/overall importance of the event.

  67. Victoria, Please*

    I still feel terrible (when I think of it) of a time when I was involved in a major event and my SO pitched a fit three weeks ahead that I would not be available for our anniversary, his birthday, and a trip with friends. There were Words Spoken which — well. No matter what I did, I was going to be sick with regret, so ultimately I decided that a planning committee that included 6 PhDs and many support staff could handle the event without me and would be fine…it was, mostly. But man. O. man. Doubleplus ungood.

    If someone told me more than a year out that they had their wedding planned for the middle of our current busiest week for Reasons, my response would be “Okay. Let’s see how you can contribute mightily in the runup and then you have a great time and don’t worry about us.” More resilient and sustainable in the long run, imo.

  68. Undine*

    I have a good relationship with my boss, and when I start making plans I’ll mention to my boss “I’m thinking of going on vacation in X time frame.” It’s just part of my picking my dates. I do try to schedule around our release dates (although those are fluid, so they could shift to come up under me), but by giving my boss an early heads up, I give them a chance to mention anything I haven’t thought of or haven’t heard of yet. So if I say, “I’m thinking of taking two weeks off in June,” my boss has the chance to say, “Don’t forget the annual dinosaur invasion is the 17th.”

    I don’t think that would work great with your boss, she does sound like she’s uptight, but people are generally more relaxed if they have input before things are set in stone. Although it’s unlikely, if they’d known that info before they finalized the gala date, they might even have been able to pick another date, because they also are trying to accommodate all the different schedules and needs and venue dates, just like you are.

    1. Sail On, Sailor*

      Thank you! Now I finally know when the annual dinosaur invasion is happening. (And I’m totally stealing that line.)

  69. Gaia*

    We have a major work situation coming up this spring that will last for 3 weeks. For the first time in our history we are restricting all PTO during this time. Everyone must be there every day. That said, I have an employee whose wife is due the week following the end of the blackout. Of course if his wife goes into labor he will be allowed to take time off. But we had another employee who scheduled a trip out of state right in the middle. He was not so kindly told to cancel or this would endanger his job. The team has known about this – and the exact timeframe – for more than a year. I don’t feel at all bad about telling worker #2 to cancel his trip while allowing worker #1 to know that an unexpected change to his life would be accommodated.

  70. Wrench Turner*

    I say this having worked in many small non-profits where everyone was “critically vital OMG important” all the time at every event, and people often missed them, and the company went on doing great work and nobody died.

    If you can be flexible in your scheduling this far out, sure, but they have these events regularly, you have this event only once. Make sure they’re okay for your absence this time around, and enjoy your much more important family life event without guilt. It’s just a job, and you’re just another worker there. This is your family. This is much, much more important.

  71. Analyst*

    I hear you. I decided to get married in March, for several reasons, almost two years ago. A year ago, I was transferred into a job that suddenly got very, very busy from March to May or January to March, depending on the year.

    I’m still getting married in March, but the honeymoon’s been kicked to the last two weeks of May, after everything is finished.

  72. Mena*

    Actually, a friend of the family got married on a Friday night and yes, indeed returned to work the following Monday. She works in education and taking a honeymoon in November isn’t feasible during the school year; the honeymoon will be next summer. Yes, there are expectations of availability that employees need to respect – the lead time doesn’t change anything. And it seems you could prepare materials ahead of time – you don’t mention that you’re expected to attended the event.

  73. MVP*

    You didn’t even need to mention you worked for a nonprofit…So obvious ha ha! Being in fundraising and having to deal with issues like this, I’ve always found that smart planning and pre-work is ALWAYS an option. Boss needs to chill!

  74. Dorothy Mantooth*

    When planning my recent wedding, my work schedule was one of the things taken into account when deciding a date, but it certainly wasn’t the only thing. We also had to consider family schedules, church/site availability, the major local university’s football schedule (not joking) etc.. I work at a college, so fall is a very busy time as the start of the new school year. I also wanted a fall wedding, so I just made sure to go a couple of weeks after the term started to get through the initial craziness.

  75. (Another) B*

    I just can’t imagine that I’ll get married on a Friday, and come in on Monday ready to work again and put honeymoon plans on hold so that I can work for this one event.

    This is EXACTLY what I did when I got married. And I didn’t complain about it either. I moved my honeymoon a week later bc our annual event was the week after my wedding. I think it’s the employee’s responsibility to book personal events that don’t clash with work ones.

  76. Usually a lurker*

    This is so far down that it’s possible no one will get to it, but if you’re planning on staying in the job for a long time, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t just impact your wedding, but also how easy it is to have anniversary vacations down the line. I purposely planned my wedding during the one slow month at my job and I’ve always been grateful because it means it’s always easy for me to take vacations that coincide with my anniversary. BUT I’m at a job where people stay really long term, so working around my anticipated schedule was worth it. Also, not everyone cares about anniversaries, so that might not be a big deal to you.

  77. royc*

    I’m with the boss here. Many moons ago, I worked on a presidential campaign, and one of the manager’s right hands announced she was getting married the week after the campaign ended. Not only did that mean she was distracted just as we entered the last week of the campaign, but she was gone for two weeks of what, had we won, would have been vital inaugural prep time.

    There are obviously limits to what a reasonable employer can (and should) ask of employees, particularly when it comes to once-in-a-lifetime events like a wedding. But in certain fields, particular years or times of the year are known to be off limits, barring compelling reasons otherwise.

Comments are closed.