Post # 1
I am not close to my parents. They are both a bit “n’er do well” and have just always been immature and sometimes abusive people (my dad less than my mom). I moved out of the area 10 years ago. We maintain a cordial but distant relationship now.
When I got engaged, neither of them had even met my FH (we had been dating two years by then and all of my family and friends in that area had met him). They never even showed any interest in whether I was dating anyone, and when it was clear that I was dating someone seriously (e.g. my brother asking about him over thanksgiving dinner), they never even asked about him. Since we got engaged (in March) they have met him once (at a party my aunt threw for us in the area around my birthday in June). They have never once asked if they could help with anything financially (which I realize they likely couldn’t because they are terrible with money) or physically, nor ever offered an apology for not being able to help. Meanwhile, my FMIL & FFIL have been amazing! They gave us a large cash gift towards the wedding (even though FMIL suffered a health emergency that nearly killed her and has kept her out of work since September) and are genuinely excited and interested in whats going on (e.g. I sent my FMIL pictures of my dress when I picked it out, not my mom. Picked out invitations with her, my mom didn’t see them til I sent her one). One of my aunts and my grandmother have also been extremely supportive: They came to our destination and attended the meal tasting, trial hair, etc with us, they have chipped in and purchased the cake and half the DJ fee, etc. My aunt is also throwing my bridal shower next weekend. My mother RSVP’d to the bridal shower but hasn’t once thanked her sister for doing this for me.
Yet, after all this, they expect to take front and center roles at the wedding. My dad wants to walk me down the aisle, they want to be introduced with the wedding party, they’re coming to the rehearsal dinner, etc. I just resent it all so much. They act as though everything is hunky-dory. They love to play the part of the doting parents in public, when in truth they know nothing about my life and are not parents at all. I know its my day and I can put my foot down, but at what cost? Starting WWIII just isn’t worth it. But really I feel like those seats right in front should be the people who supported me and helped me and just shared in the joy of this process, which isn’t them. They don’t deserve a place of honor, but I feel forced to let them just to avoid conflict.
I don’t know what to do, I suppose at this point there isn’t much to do. It’s just such a frustrating situation and I’d rather not be feeling so much resentment on my wedding day.
Post # 3
@handincookiejar: I feel your frustration. As much as it does suck, try to focus on the plus side. That you’ve managed not to follow their dysfunctional ways, that you have a loving FI & that you’ll have great in-laws. You and the people that matter know what you’ve accomplished on your own.
I don’t think their role will be central. Your guests will care about you and FI. Not about the man that walks you down the aisle or the couple that is introduced as your parents.
Post # 4
@handincookiejar: We have a similar situation, and we’re addressing it by not sharing details and what have you with them.
My plan is to have private security and if anyone is causing a scene, they’ll be escorted off the premises. I figure it will be money well spent to avoid WWIII.
Our wedding is intended to be an open, honest and authentic celebration of our love and going along for “appearances” just feels uncomfortable to me and isn’t how I want to start my marriage.
Just my two pennies.
Post # 5
@Kili: Thanks. I know everyone there will “get it.” We’re having a small wedding and everyone invited knows me well and knows my back story (except perhaps FH’s grandparents).
@bitsybee: Yes! That is it exactly: keeping up appearances! That is just not what I wanted, but I’ve still gone ahead and let it happen. There will be family members assigned to getting my mother out if she starts anything (she LOVES a good audience for her scenes).
Post # 6
Could you just not do these things? YOu can walk yourself down the aisle for one, and give yourself to your FI. You dont have to announce parents etc etc, most if not all weddigs I’ve been in, to and held myself of course, only announce the bridal party and bride and groom.
Since it’s your wedding and it’s one day, it probably IS worth being at least a little bit stern with them over.
Post # 7
@handincookiejar: Appearances are overrated. 😉 I was raised Catholic and some relatives are scandalized that we aren’t having a Catholic ceremony. Part of why is that a Catholic wedding requires you to vow to raise the children Catholic. We don’t plan to, so no Catholic ceremony for us. I do not want to start my marriage planning to break a vow.
So yeah. I know you have relatives assigned, but perhaps you can look into hiring a burly bouncer because relatives = family feelings.
The nice thing about vendors is that they aren’t emotionally invested and there’s no reprecussions for doing their job. However, if Uncle John has to take your mom out, she can guilt him, put him in an uncomfortable position, etc. Just a risk to think about.
I’m having help because my family is NOTORIOUS for wedding crashing. I could not imaging telling great aunt Gertrude she can’t come in. It’s just easier to have a random security guy tell her she’s not on the list and I can beg forgiveness later.
Post # 8
@handincookiejar: I would say find a way to incorporate everyone who is special to you that day.
Give Mom her flower and give the same flower to your supportive Aunt and Grandmother.
Tell dad you would rather walk alone. Have your mother already seated in the frong besdie your grandmother and Aunt.
Let them be introduced with the party.
During your speech, thank your Aunt and grandmother for their support and then a general thank you for sharing our day.
Post # 9
I don’t think you are Catholic, but in the ruberics there is allowance for the man and woman to proceeded to the alter togeter. In many cultures the bride also proceedes alone. I think that you can just say,
“wow dad, thank you for the offer, but that’s just not how FI and I are planning the day”
As far as seating, I would explain that you are mixing it up, and maybe even put your friends at the “head” table and put family at other tables. Sounds like your in laws would understand. This whole announcing business is goofy…you aren’t doing it, your parents can deal.
Let them have the rehersal dinner…its not *that* big of a deal.
Post # 10
@bitsybee: I was also raised Catholic, maybe where thats where all this guilt coems from 😉 I have warned my wedding-day coordinator that my mother may be an issue and may need to be asked to leave if disruptive. I also talked to our photographer about making sure he got shots of the people who are important to me, e.g. there will be no touching mother-daughter getting ready picture, but having great pictures of my grandmother and myself is a priority.
@LuvMySailor: I have gone over that so man times. I started to tell my dad months ago that I’d really like to walk down by myself, but he just sounds so damn excited about it…I couldn’t do it. He’s a nice guy, we just aren’t close anymore (I was a total daddy’s girl as a kid), so I don’t want to hurt him. I will defintiely be thanking the people who were so amazing over the last 11 months, and not my parents. They may get butthurt about that, but hopefully they will keep it to themselves at least until after the reception. I’m definitely planning a special treat for my aunt, grandmother and FMIL. I am truly lucky to have these amazing women in my life. Makes the burden of having a crazy mother a lot more bearable.
Post # 11
@handincookiejar: LOL – the guilt never goes away, does it?! You sound like you have it under control! Don’t stress, there’s no mess is my personal mantra 🙂
Post # 12
@handincookiejar: *Sometimes* it’s better to forego your feelings and let your annoying parents be involved, but not in the case of abuse/bad parenting. It’s so messed up when parents sweep everything under the rug, deny what they’ve done to their children, and pull the “doting parents” card. And, of course, the parents are selfishly exposing you to judgement – cause if you don’t play the dutiful daughter role, you look like a “bad kid.” You have a lot of difficult decisions ahead of you, but what will the Future You want? Will Future You kick yourself for giving into your parents? Will you feel resentful or manipulated if you see pics of your father walking you down the aisle? Or is it something you will grow to appreciate in time? I have no idea what the answer is for you, but that might be one way of looking at it. Good luck. Glad you’ve found support in your FILs and your aunt and grandma.
EDIT: Also, this is where tradition bites us in the ass cause it creates expectations but doesn’t account for different experience. If she’s in good health, could your grandmother walk you down the aisle? If she’s considered a matriarch of the family there isn’t much people could say to that and it would look very sweet.
Post # 13
@Syzygy88: I had actually broached the idea of my grandma walking me down the aisle, which is something I think even my dad would understand (even though he’d still be hurt) because we have always been very close. She doesn’t think its her place though. She has told me that she thinks if I really want to walk alone, I should, but if I can stand it at all I should let my father do it because it means so much to him.
I think with my dad, I’ll get over it. It’ll feel like a good deed perhaps, but still something I can live with. My mother is a more difficult pill to swallow. She has at times been very abusive (emotionally/verbally/physically) to not just me, but just about everyone close to her. She leaves in such a deep place of denial/delusion that she doesn’t see any of this. She is always the victim. She truly needs mental help, but will sadly never agree to it (many have tried in the past). As time goes on, I want to seperate her from my life more and more. For instance, when I think of having children someday, she is not someone I want around them. So I do feel like Future Me will perhaps look at those wedding pictures and think, why? Why did I tolerate that for so long? Why did I let this negative energy be a part of such an important day?
Post # 14
@handincookiejar: Hey, I hope you can figure all this out and glad your dad isn’t too bad. What you said about your mom made me think of this website: http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/. You might want to check it out.
Post # 15
Your wedding day is the day when spiritually you leave your parents and ‘cleave’ to your husband. He becomes your top priority. Hurrah.
It’s the first day of the rest of your life.
Post # 16
Well my bachelorette party and bridal shower were this last weekend. The shower was a fiasco. My mother was negative and griping and stand-offish the entire time. At one point I told her to just leave, no one wanted to inconvenience her. It absolutely broke my heart at the same time. I wanted to cry so badly, but didn’t want to ruin the otherwise beautiful shower my aunts had put together.
I talked it through with my brother and my fiance the next day when I got home. I decided to e-mail her a letter basically asking to start over. She apparently feels as if I have excluded her and replaced her, etc, so she has given me space. I in turn feel as if she has never been interested or concerned, so don’t offer any information. Neither of us has ever actually ralked about it. I don’t think for a second we could ever be best friends or anything, but I am hoping we can at least get to a place of civility when we do see each other. Hopefully before my wedding!