Post # 1
I’m 25. My fiance is 26. We’re adults and have been on our own for some time. I am not close with my family, but it still bothers me that my parents are not pleased by my engagement.
My parents told me they don’t want us setting a date, or starting to plan the wedding. We don’t plan on getting married for a year, but I feel like there are certain things which should be done soon, like finding a venue and such. Normally I’d jsut say “too bad!” and do it anyway, but I come from a wealthy family, and has always been understood that my parents would pay for my wedding. My FI and I don’t have the money to have a big wedding and pay for it ourselves, so I feel like we are stuck doing what they want. (Or rather, NOT doing it!)
I wouldn’t care if we eloped and ran off into the sunset, but I don’t want to burn bridges… and they will always be my parents…
The strangest part is that they have no reason to not like my fiance. He has always been nice to them, and wonderful to me. They are very strict Christians and my fiance and I aren’t, and I know they don’t like that – but how can they expect me to be with a “good Christian boy” when I’m not a good Christian girl?? They say they don’t know him that well, and since we live far apart it’s been hard for them to get comfortable with him, but we have made efforts to spend some time with them so they could get to know him. However, whenever we do go back to see them, they barely talk to him, and want to only spend time with me. I feel bad even asking him to go see them since they make him feel so unwelcome. it’s just so odd!
It makes me feel really badly, since I was looking forward to doing “girl” stuff with my mom — going dress shopping and picking out a veil and all that stuff… but she says she isn’t excited about it and doesn’t want to. His mom is offered to do all that (she is amazing!) but I know that would only infuriate my mom! I don’t want to make things worse, and I’m just not sure where to go from here.
This is supposed to be a happy time for the whole family, right?????
Post # 3
Holy crap! I thought my family wasn’t excited…
My mom went dress shopping with me and she enjoyed it. I cannot believe your mother said she isn’t excited. That is just plain B…sorry. It is. I am so sorry about your family’s rude behavior. I would go shopping with FI mom. Tell your mom you are though. Tell her that just because she isn’t excited about it or for you that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. I think that’s the big problem in my family.
Post # 4
Maybe you could have a chat with your mom (via phone if you are not nearby) and really ask her what the issue is. Does she want you to wait because of her feelings about him or because she generally feels you are too young now? I am also not very close with my mom but she went dress shopping and even brought her best friend along (who was very excited to be there). Maybe invite an aunt or a friend of your moms who is more into the wedding? It seems like you don’t really know why your parents are not into your wedding so asking flat out may help to clearify. I don’t know if this is a stretch, but maybe it is financial if they are planning to pay for a big wedding, maybe some of their assets are tied up right now but they don’t want to make you feel bad or worry so they are just encouraging you to wait without reason. Good luck.
Post # 5
I felt that I had to register to post a comment to this one. I expect that it will be very difficult for others who haven’t grown up in Christian families to understand this one. I experienced a similar situation when I got engaged to my atheist fiance. While I still believe in God, my parents find my decision very difficult to deal with. They often ask when i think that my fiance might finally “see the way”. After we got engaged, I was very stressed as they gave me many warnings about the perils of having different beliefs. My parents are both Christians and thus their dream is to have me marry a Christian guy. My aunt sent me a letter warning me not to marry my fiance insisting that she was bringing a message from God to me. Yet, still I do believe in God, just not in the institutional aspects that seem to be more about embracing legalism and making sure no one challenges the “group think”.
I imagine that your parents haven’t fully dealt with the loss of their dreams that you are not pursuing a Christian life. Maybe they hoped that it was just a phase you were in and that you would change. Perhaps getting engaged to a non-Christian just reinforced this loss a little and now they need some time to process it. Maybe give it a month of talking about non-wedding related things with them before discussing wedding dress shopping and so on. It takes time for parents to adjust. From what you have described, it seems like they really love you, they just need to learn to get used to learning to love “you” and your fiance, not who they hoped you would be.
My parents have come around and have been quite supportive.
Post # 6
Give them a little bit of time and if you haven’t gotten far with them, you might have to accept the fact that it will take longer than you’re willing to wait for.
If they don’t approve of the relationship, don’t expect them to pay for the wedding, despite their wealth. Believe me, mine didn’t. And it’s not that they didn’t approve of my fiance, I just didn’t want to have the wedding THEY wanted me to have.
You can save a lot of money in the meantime, so dont’ feel too discouraged. Not taking their money could be a good independent thing for you and your FI, also.
I think it’s really mean and poopy that your mom told you she’s not excited for you or to do stuff with you. I mean, that’s really crap. You need to have a talk with her and tell her you’re disappointed in her lack of enthusiasm for her happiness, then ask her how she expects the next 14 months to pan out? I mean, really, does she expect to do wedding stuff with you, or is she leaving you to “sink or swim” because you didn’t marry the super good Christian boy? Convince her he’s still a good man; maybe just not as pious as she and your father would prefer. They need to be adults and not treat him like he’s scum in their house.That’s just super rude. Tell her that if she’s not going to be an adult and a parent about this, then she obviously won’t mind if you go do these wedding things wtih his mother.
Give her a chance but don’t break your back over it and risk your own happiness. After all, you and your FI have to make this relationship work, even with your parents in the background and this is just the first of many tests. I wish you the best of luck. Maybe your parents still think if they are disapproving you’ll change your mind or some junk
Post # 7
Wow I really appreciate the responses!
slicey – that is a good idea about bringing an aunt… everyone ELSE in my family is very excited! and I know they aren’t having financial trouble. At the same lunch where my dad told me not to set a date and that I should stop planning, he told me not to bother doing my “DIY stuff” because of how much money he just got through a particular business deal. ugh. I think they just like to be in control.
Career_frau (hey nice – I’m German, too) thanks for the perspective… although he isn’t in their faces about not being religious… when they’ve asked, he tries to be vague and says he grew up in a Christian home… never overt about being atheist. He’s But I suppose you could still be right – maybe they can still tell!
Thanks again girls, for the advice and kind words.
Post # 8
& here i thought i had it bad…
a mother who has already called me a bridezilla because i don’t like any of her suggestions. a FMIL who is upset (but won’t come right out & say it) that we’re not having a religious wedding. his side are Christians but the ONLY one who goes to church regularly is FFIL, so why should she be upset??
can you take your dad aside & talk to him first, usually if you talk to him he can reason with the mother 😉 that’s what i have to do. if your parents just won’t listen what-so-ever… ask a close aunt as slicey did. if all else fails, i vote to find a nice area you & FI enjoy, find an officiant who will marry you & have a handful of friends there. i know you don’t want to hurt your family but ya got to do what ya gotta do sometimes. i’m almost at that point & we’ve only set a date, found a venue & created a shorter guest list, seriously!!
Post # 9
I think you should start preliminary work on looking for a venue, since September is a popular month. You need to look at a few venues that are within your price range, since it is possible that your family may refuse to contribute to your wedding costs. Please keep in mind that it is possible that they may also pull their financial support of the wedding at any point even after agreeing to pay for it if disagreements arise during the planning process.
Your first step needs to be having a conversation with your parents about the wedding. It is their right not to contribute to the wedding, but they should explain why they told you to wait.
I have to tell you that this sounds like very passive-aggressive and manipulative behavior (particularly since they haven’t explained their motivation), and you would be in for a very difficult wedding planning process if you accept your family’s contributions.
If you really want to get married next September, you should start planning assuming that you and your FI will be paying for the whole wedding (plus any contribution FI family may be willing to give you). If you are both willing to wait for your parents’ approval, then you can look at venues in both levels of affordability.
Post # 10
We were faced with a truly grumpy guestlist ourselves and decided to elope. It has been so freeing, I can’t tell you how happy we’ve become with the whole process of wedding planning. We’re taking a few friends (the ones who are genuinely happy for us and haven’t sniped) with us to city hall, dressing for our wedding in full regalia, and then having a reception for those few friends in a San Francisco restaurant and cake cutting. I just simply couldn’t deal with the prospect of having an unhappy wedding day because our guests were going to be so unpleasant. I now cheerfully agree to all demands on our wedding when on of them calls and happily plan our elopement as we wish.
Post # 11
At the end of the day, marriage is about you and the man you’re committing to, not money or parents etc.
Talk to your mother, express your feelings for your h2b to her, and that you’d like her to play a big part in your special day.
If this doesn’t work then go about planning your wedding yourself, with the help of friends etc. You’re mother will soon be curious and want to get involved.
Wedding are supposed to be a celebration and ironically they often cause heartache within families.
GOOD LUCK and chin up!
Post # 12
Give them time. My parents weren’t that excited at first either since they wanted more time to save. But I am paying so I just set the date and as the planning continues they get more and more excited.
For you since you are not paying consider what’s more important getting married now or having a big wedding. I really wanted to do the eloping thing myself…there’s ways of having a “destination” wedding and inviting everyone along, you just have to pay for the ceremony and even you could afford that. Once mom hears of the destination wedding she’ll prob start chipping in for the real deal 🙂
Post # 12
I know you wrote this many years ago, but was wondering if you’d be willing to provide a follow up. I read your post and I am in almost the exact same situation as you were – same ages, me/fiance not religious, religious and unenthusiastic parents, super excited future in-laws… everything. How did you maneuver this problem and do you have any advice for someone in practically the same shoes?