Post # 1
I think I mostly just need to vent, but advice is welcomed, and please feel free to share your similar stories.
My family and FI’s family have only met once or twice. We’re both pretty independent and both families are fairly laid back (well mine is anyway), so “approval” etc., isn’t a big deal.
I grew up on a farm in the country, with not a lot of money and my mom is probably the least materialistic person I know. FI’s family has money, or at least likes to live like they do. Even when they mean well, at the end of the day, they are just snobs, and make lots of rude comments about other people.. basically they like to take every opportunity they get to one-up, and to put other people down. They’ve never done this to me (to my face), and have been nothing but sweet and kind to me. It just makes me uncomfortable because some of the comments they make could totally apply to my family. Like I said, mom doesn’t have a lot of money, some of family member’s are quite overweight, and they often comment on people’s weight.
FI isn’t really like the rest of his family, and we have discussed this issue and he knows how I feel, and agrees with me… but at the end of the day they are his family, just like at the end of the day, my family is my family. I don’t come off as “poor country bumpkin” (i put myself through grad school, got a good job, like to dress well, maintain a healthy weight etc.), so I guess on the surface, I don’t come across of what the rest of my family is like… but that is where I come from, so it bothers me and makes me worried about the wedding when FIs family makes rude comments.
I don’t what to do… or if there is anything I can do, or if it’s even my place to do or say anything.
Agh…. how have others dealt with similar situations?
Post # 3
@futuremrs1986: I think I’m in something similar-ish.
My husband grew up in a well-to-do family (at least compared to mine). I always worried about both families meeting for the first time in our wedding.
There isn’t anything you can do. His family wouldn’t know any better than the well-off life they’ve been living. The very nature of the characteristic you describe prevents them from ever seeing your way if you do decide to pull them up on it. When it comes to something like this, I’m afraid to steer up the issue.
Are you bothered out of principle or for more practical reasons that you might be treated differently in time? that your family might experience being put down by his family when they meet.
Have the families met each other yet?
His family might hold back in the presence of your family because out of respect for you.
Post # 4
His parents have met my mother once or twice but that is it.
I think it’s the principle that bugs me. I’m not worried about them treating me differently. I think I’m feeling somewhat protective of my family, because I know they’d never say anything in front of me or them, but I know things would be said.
How did the meeting of your families go?
Post # 5
My family and my SO families are complete opposites. My parents consider themselves more of… well… “hillbillies”. They don’t have a lot of money, they’ve never owned a new car, they don’t care much about being fashionable. They’re kind of hippies still (wear tiedye, mom has dreads and feathers in her hair, dad has long hair). SO’s family is very rich. His mom often makes comments about people’s looks, and they, compared to my family, are more “snobby” (though I feel bad using that word.. They’re pretty sweet to me). Our parents have met briefly twice in the 7 years we’ve been together. I have asked my mom to not swear in front of them (that offends SO’s family, my mom swears a lot), and SO has asked his family to be open-minded.
For this reason though, we want a private wedding/possibly an elopement. We don’t want our extended families coming together, because (especially after a few drinks) we can see it going horribly, horribly wrong. We figure they probably just won’t be together often, and when they are, they can both compromise and get along. I do worry about his parents harshly judging my parents behind closed doors though. I just try to not think about it too much. As long as they don’t say anything about it, I am ok. Good luck!
Post # 6
@glitter-girl: I agree elopements and small weddings are best for when you don’t want to merge extended families
@futuremrs1986: My DH’s family is nice to me and do not express their snobby opionions if they do have them. I think I have a more different complex than yours. I grew up in an immigrant family and we have some “immigrant” behaviours that we still display. My parents aren’t social and do not have any friends and I was afraid that their lack of social skills would show through. I thought about it a lot. It provided a lot of stress for me in the lead up to the wedding.
At first, I worried more about my in-laws changing their tunes towads me after meeting my family. I thought about it more and thought yeah but I’m tougher than that, I can take it. I knew I can’t stop a person passing judgement in their mind but damn them if it comes out of their mouth within hearing distance of my family members. But I think that part wasn’t ever going to happen.
So what was I really afraid of? My family was flying over for my wedding, lets just say its their first time flying over a certain ocean and its going to cost them big bucks. The cost of flights were worth taking out a small loan, on top of that its coming out of people that don’t make that much to begin with.
As this trip was going to cost them so much, I thought that they better be having the time of their lives in the wedding. I was afraid that no one would talk to them because of the cultural barrier and maybe the immigrant behaviour that I am so embarrassed of. I felt guilty feeling this way but this is how I felt.
I had this thought that my little family will be sitting in the corner no one talking to them and not having any fun and feeling left out in their own daughter’s wedding. That thought was so heart breaking for me and it frequently entered my mind and made wedding planning harder for me. I love them so much, and they can’t help the way they are no matter how much I tried to improve them.
Oh yeah, so what actually happened. In the wedding, his side mingled with them. My side didn’t initiate any mingling but maybe because they felt a little outnumbered which was expected. Also, like I said they are socially awkward.
But towards the end of the wedding, I did find them sitting at the head table on their own for a while but I think at that point in the wedding its only normal that you stick to the group you’re most comfortable with. His family can’t spend the entire time entertaining them too.
Post # 7
Our families mingled briefly for the first time several years ago when I was graduating from college, as I had a small party. They kept to themselves and bolted ASAP.
When it came to the wedding, we were married in the same room where we had the reception – just off of the dance floor before a podium. While we had our receiving line, they started bringing out the food. That minimized the amount of contact the families would have, as his family sat at their own tables. There really wasn’t much time to talk before the wedding.
Our band was actually too loud, which also made talking difficult. I know my parents approached theirs and chatted for a few minutes.
Honestly, it’s always nerve-wracking at a wedding. My family and his family is like the wedding scene in “Up” – I come from a working class, younger, wilder family. His family is much older, lower-middle class and reserved (well, I’ll be less polite: some of them are straight-up bitches like you describe).
His family was polite and respectful, for the most part. My husband’s sister and my cousin’s wife/my friend signed our marriage license, and the cousin-in-law tried several times to chat with my sister-in-law while they were signing everything. SIL just looked at her, faked a smile, looked away and walked off. My God, she couldn’t even drum up a “Hello”? CIL later told me, “I now see what you were saying about her…that girl is a total witch!”
It was a relief when the night was over and it dawned on me the families wouldn’t have to interact again for several more years. Holidays will always be separate. The only exception is if we have kids…unfortunately, birthday parties get complicated.
But, my point is basically this: they’ll likely just keep to themselves. Most receptions are not so long that they’re obligated to talk to each other. I’d say the families spent a grand total of 10 – 15 minutes interacting at our wedding.
Post # 8
Thanks for sharing ladies.. glad I”m not the only one in this situation!