'I was so excited planning my wedding. But as it approached I felt nothing but doom.'

Phoebe Rogers still vividly remembers the moment she was proposed to.

She had always dreamed of being in love, and also being loved by someone. Now it finally felt like her chance, she reflects to Mamamia.

"A big theme in my life is that I've just wanted love. I had experienced a series of failed relationships and periods of feeling alone. And as I grew older it became more important. When he came along, it felt pretty magical."

Phoebe and her partner had been dating for two months before he proposed. Hindsight makes her think differently about the quick timeline. But in the depths of the love bubble, Phoebe and her partner began planning their dream wedding.

"It was to be intimate and very romantic. The venue was a waterfront precinct overlooking Sydney's harbour, there were beautiful flowers, I had my dress sorted, it had a beautiful corset and a flowing skirt. The celebrant was this amazing woman. It felt more and more special," she explains. "But at the same time, it felt too good to be true."

Watch: Engagement ring trends through the decades. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

The romance and grandiose gestures of love were constant in the beginning of the relationship, says Phoebe. Her partner showered her in interest, and their conversation flowed. 

But as the months went on and the wedding planning intensified, cracks began to emerge.

"When I look back, there were warning signs in the beginning. He was moody, irritable and jealous, and I felt embarrassed a lot of the time during our relationship. At the start of 2021 is when I really started doubting if this was my forever person. I felt like I was working overtime to make sure he was happy," she says.

"My family was also very much thinking, 'This is not Phoebe's person, this is not at all what we imagined for her.' I remember calling mum in tears about his behaviour, and she made it very clear that she was worried about who I would be spending the rest of my life with. I listened."

For more than a year, Phoebe was planning her wedding. In the final months of preparation ahead of walking down the aisle, all she felt was anxiety and doom. 

The duo were set to marry in October 2021. In August that year, Phoebe called off the wedding, and subsequently, ended the relationship.

Her story features on Insight's 'Weddings' episode, airing on Tuesday, May 7, on SBS. Now, Phoebe is thankful that she called off the big day — and there are countless other people out there who have had to do similar and know it was the right call. There was a financial cost though, as well as the obvious emotional one.


"Our wedding easily was set to cost between $30,000 to $50,000. I didn't get all the money back that I had spent. I was frustrated by that, but at the end of the day I wasn't worried about getting the money back. I just needed to get out of [the relationship]. I just needed to be happy."

So many of us remain wedded to the idea of marriage — and while fewer of us are getting married than in previous generations, we're still spending more on weddings than ever before. It's a billion-dollar industry after all.

 In 2024, 122,000 couples are expected to marry. Easy Weddings released a report in 2023 saying the average cost of a wedding in Australia currently is $34,715.

Planning the special day is a considerable amount of work. Having to contact all the vendors and inform them that the wedding is no longer going ahead is even more taxing, notes Phoebe.

"It all fell on my shoulders. I was embarrassed, writing emails to vendors and telling them the wedding was off. Fortunately, this all happened during the pandemic, so I often blamed the cancellation on COVID-19 to make conversations with the vendors easier."

She now realises she stayed in the relationship longer than she wanted to because of the wedding.

"You get caught up in the dream and the ideal. So there was a bit of embarrassment in the realisation that, 'Oh gosh, I've chosen not a good partner again.' I felt the pressure to make it work. Also, I had just turned 36 when I called off the wedding, so there was all the societal pressure. We're taught that marriage is the answer to happiness."


Looking back now, Phoebe knows it was one of the best decisions she ever made.

"As soon as he was out of the house, I felt relieved. I was at peace and no longer walking on eggshells. I worked on myself, went back to therapy, and took healing really seriously. Then when I went on to date again, I knew I had to do it very differently. I wanted that experience to be the last bad relationship I ever had."

She's now in a new relationship... and marriage isn't necessarily the be all and end all for them.

"I still think weddings are beautiful and I appreciate them. But I don't feel it is something I need to have. My current partner and I, we've been together for two years and we probably will marry one day. It's just not the priority, nor is the engagement. Sharing a life together is the priority — the day-to-day to stuff. 

"It's not the big day or big dress anymore."

Insight's 'Weddings' episode will air on Tuesday, May 7, at 8:30pm, and will be available to stream on SBS On Demand.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Do love easy and simple skincare? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.