Post # 1
My FI has a very different family culture than mine, and I am really trying to fit in and include everyone in our wedding plans but I need some advise on how to handle his parents. They have been divorced for 20 years and they both tell me about it all the time, it’s depressing! My FI talked to his Mom recently for the first time in 2 months because he called her and she guilted him that I haven’t been calling to keep her informed of wedding details…well she has never called me! In fact I have called her to ask for opinions right after we got engaged (last October) and she avoided the conversation like crazy because I think she thought I was going to ask her for $$. His Dad has guilted me into adding things (that I have to pay for) at the reception because that is what he likes, and I am really starting to feel like this wedding is about the two of them and not the two of us.
My parents are super supportive and have given us a set budget and we are paying for the rest. His dad said he would pay for the rehersal dinner but I don’t think he is in the financial state to help at this time. His Dad also asked if he could invite 150 people to our 300 person reception…and he was serious.
My question hive, is how do I stand my ground without being mean? I want to have a good relationship with his family but how do I get started?
Post # 3
This is an important question, and one that’s not easily answered.
One thing that I have learned in dealing with family (mine not his), is that rather coming to them for advice, I present them with what I’m planning to do and give them 2 mutually satisfactory choices (that I like equally well). It goes something like this: "Mom, I think I’ve worked out our centerpieces and I’d love to get your input. I’m looking at either square vases with potted wheat grass or votives and fruit. Which of those two choices do you like best?"
Then, after the discussion I say, "Thanks for the input. It’s really helpful. I really value your opinion, and FI and I will talk it over…"
This way, they get put in a win win situation and you are happy with the outcome either way. They also feel like they have some control at a time when they feel like they don’t have much.
Also your fiance should be running interference for you here. It’s his family and he’s the one who should be put in the position of standing his ground… He’s obviously learned how to deal with them in his years on earth, in one way or another. So pick his brain for survival skills. Good luck with this challenge!
Post # 4
- Wedding: September 2009 - Rancho Bernardo Inn
I’ve definitely struggled with some of these issues with my own FMIL. It’s hard to deal with because you are frustrated by you can’t totally vent to your fiance because he will get defensive of his own family.
In my situation I think some of feelings of "not being involved" come from not being able to contribute finacially. I have tried to find little ways to involve such as talking about how I’m going to need so much help when we are putting together our invitations or programs. Also, maybe emphasize and ask about how rehearsal dinner plans are coming along. And if they have any ideas in mind. This will both give them something to do and kind of remind them that it’s not normally their place to be involved in every step of planning. I think @doctorgirl’s suggestion of showing pictures is another way to make her feel involved. I also believe that sometimes family’s just have a hard time with the transition of their children leaving and getting married, and this is just the way some of those feelings come out.
I understand that even with this advice it is soo tough. I’d encourage you to be able to have support that you can vent your true feelings and frustrations to (outside of your fiance) and remember that it is you two getting married not them. Let us know how it goes! Good luck!
Post # 5
Your FI should step in, this is his territory. Who did your FMIL turn to when she had a gripe about you? Your FI. It’s the same thing. Your FFIL should not insist on anything if he’s not paying for it. (Even if he was it would be rude). Voice your concerns to your FI. Then go on planning your event. They don’t have to agree with everything (why do we always try to please everyone but us??) Just tell them what you’ve decided to do. I know with my own mom it helped to tell her when things were decided/signed. She was just stressed out about all the uncertainty and not being in the know.
Post # 6
Thanks so much for your advise! My FI is going to jump in with his Dad. He is going over tomorrow to finish his guest list and consult with him on a couple of topics, including the rehersal dinner.
I think my FMIL is having a hard time because she and my FI have never had a close relationship and now we are several hours away from her. My FI went to live with his Dad when he was just a kid. She also has two younger children, which she totally adores. She is very anxious for us to have kids, and has even joked about us being pregnant before Christmas (we are getting married in October). Maybe some of my issue is having a bit of anxiety about expectations. I think I will take the advise of giving her some options and see how things go.
I’ll keep you updated!