Post # 1
So FI and I have only been engaged for about a week and a half. Though the engagement has been a long time coming and we have been talking wedding for about a year.
My parents are well off, and offered to foot the bill for the entire wedding. I know, I’m lucky and shouldn’t complain, but bear with me! My dad told me that he would be giving FI and I a lump sum of money to spend on the wedding, to do with what we please. He said anything left over from that amount, we could take and put toward a downpayment on a house! GREAT, right?
My mother is a very controlling and brash type. She is used to getting her way and is very spoiled by my father. Even before we got engaged, she was sending me information on wedding venues in the Poconos, one in particular. Initially, I thought she was being helpful. When I explained to her that I wanted to get married in Philadelphia, where I have been living for the past 5 years and FI’s family is based around, she lost it. She went all guilt-trip on me about how she always pictured me getting ready for my wedding in my room at the house I went through my teenage years in (which is now her office), and how she wanted pictures of it. I have tried to compromise and tell her that we’ll look at venues in both areas and see what happens, I’ve even offered to look in the middle. She is getting extremely pushy with this one venue and she HASN’T EVEN BEEN THERE!! She heard from a friend how great it was and is constantly dropping hints. Quite honestly, it is not at all what FI and I pictured for our wedding. Yesterday, I was talking to her on the phone while my dad’s family was over for Easter. She says, “Oh by the way, I showed your grandmother pictures of Mountain Springs and now you have to get married there because she just thinks it’s beautiful”. Sounds innocent enough, right? But it’s not. My mother HATES my dad’s mother. They have never gotten along and my mother completely dismisses her opinion in ANY OTHER ASPECT of life…
I don’t want to have a blow out with my mom. I don’t want to seem ungrateful for them paying for my wedding… but I also want her to understand that it is MINE and FI’s wedding… not hers. I have tried to approach it nonchalantly… but now I just feel like i’m walking on egg shells all the time.
Bees… any advice would be super fantastic.
Post # 3
These situations are so hard. We are running into this with FMIL, who is adamant that we get married in a church, especially the one where we met. She has offered to chip in for the wedding because she wants some of her work friends and old friends invited, but even if she wasn’t we’d still hate to fight with her on this because we normally get along so well.
I think you are doing all that you can do – you’re being open minded, but sticking up for yourself. Since you’re still being considerate and kind, and showing that her input matters to her, you’re not being spoiled. Many moms envision their kids weddings, but their visions rarely come to fruition. She’ll get over that, but it’ll take some time.
One thing that has helped us so far is to take other suggestions of FMIL’s. For instance, she got excited about wanting family style catering and the head table in the middle of the room. We’re fine with those things, so we’re running with them. I think that makes her feel good about having some sort of say in what we’re doing, and makes her feel appreciated.
Post # 4
I am so sorry that your mom is putting you in a hard position. My mother is doing the SAME thing. She is helping paying for stuff so she think she can plan everything herself. She is living her wedding dreams through me. Not fair. But this is how I have dealt with it. I had a huge talk with my parents and explain to them that if they wanted to help FINE but just because they help doesnt give them a say on the venue or guest list for that matter. If they dont want to help FINE either way its going to by our way our rules. We didnt ask them for money and we are paying for it ourselves. I had to tell her THis is MY wedding. Its only happening ONCE so it will be my way. It sounds selfish but since then she has been helping by giving her opinion and not being so demanding.
I had to be harsh and I know I sounded mean but its my wedding. I want it to be perfect by my standards no one else.
Post # 5
Has your dad already given you the lump sum? If he has, it’s not like she can just take it back, so you have a lot more ground to stand on. My other thought is that your wedding is REALLY FAR away to be wanting to secure a venue so soon! But it’s a good time to set your ground rules on who will be making the decisions for your wedding. Your parents are very gracious for offering to help, but you still should have the final veto on any ideas. You need to sit down with both of your parents and have a serious talk with them about what the ground rules are. Make sure you’re all clear on who makes the decisions. If their help comes with strings attached, then you may prefer to decline. That’s really up to you. But if you’re not all on the same page, you leave yourself open to her insistance on asinine things like location!
Post # 6
All I can say from experience is pick your battles with momzilla carefully…and this battle seems like something you need to fight for! I wouldn’t let my mom bully me into even looking at a place she thought was great but FI & I already had been there and knew it just wasn’t for us, we eventually found our location by ourselves and LOVE it…now all I hear is well we are paying so I better be able to see it before the wedding etc. I get so annoyed with the drama.
Post # 7
@MightySapphire- The reason we are securing our venue now is that we are actually looking to get married on 09.10.2011, which will get booked fairly quickly. In fact, several of the venues we’ve looked at already have it booked. I just don’t want my parents to throw the whole- “we’re paying for it so we will tell you what to do” thing in my face, as they have before.
@medina- I politely tried explaining to my mother via email- which is honestly tacky, but easier considering we are both hot heads- that it is my and FI’s wedding, that we plan to only get married once, and that we want our wedding to reflect both of us. She ignored the message completely…
I mean seriously ladies… I looked at the websites of the places she wants me to look at and it isn’t my taste at all…
Post # 8
@MightySapphire – believe it or not, there are venues we’re looking at that book up 2 years in advance for in season, in demand dates.
Post # 9
@vanilla I am so sorry. I talked to both my parents in person so My mom didnt feel attacked but we have had our blow outs over email too. I finally told her I wasnt going to tell her anymore about the wedding if she was going to be ugly or mean. Maybe try that approach?
Post # 10
Ooh, what I tough situation. I like MightySaphire’s approach of talking to them and setting ground rules. If they’re brash enough to say “yes, the money comes with strings and we’re only willing to pay for the kind of wedding we want you to have” then you and your FI need to consider what you can afford to do without their help, and how important it is for you to do it on your own. If they say they’ll give you the money to spend however you want (what your dad seems to have implied previously) then maybe you should ask for the money now. Don’t say it’s because of the venue debate, but talk about how you’re going to start looking for decorations and DIY stuff and accessories, and you don’t want to bother him with recipets everytime you purchase invitation samples. I think the key thing is to make them say their intentions clearly and out loud – either they want to have final say in your wedding, or that you can do whatever you want. That way everybody’s clear, and in the future you can refer to that conversation.
That being said, your mom may still try to guilt you into doing it her way, not because she’s paying but just because it’s “what she’s always wanted for you”, and then you’ll just have to humor her when you can, and stand your ground on the big stuff. Having the financials locked in should make that easier. Good luck!
Post # 11
Tell her you’re doing it your way, and that if she doesn’t like it, you’ll just pay for it yourself. I would much rather have my own wedding than any amount of cash. This is you and your fiancé’s day. End of conversation.
Post # 12
I agree with @MightySapphire – you need to figure out now what the rules are for using your parents’ money, or you’ll be fighting with momzilla for the next year and a half. Although your dad made it sound like the decisions are up to you, that doesn’t mean much if your mom doesn’t agree.
Bring up this issue separately from the venue debate, preferably in person. Tell them that you want to understand upfront what they would like you to “get approved” before deciding and what you have complete leeway on. Mention specifics (venue, guest list, catering, drinks, dress, etc, etc, etc) and make sure both your mom and your dad agree to the decisions. Make sure you are clear about who gets the final say (i.e., does your mom just want to know about all the decisions before you make them or does she insist on final veto power).
If your mom insists on controlling major of the wedding, maybe think about paying yourselves. Unfortunately, he who holds the money, holds the power, so you have to be very realistic about what you are getting yourself into by accepting that money.
Post # 13
I’m surprised mine is being better than she normally is – but talking to my mother on the phone just sucks any of the wedding planning joy out of my life.
They are giving us $10k towards the wedding, but my mother threatened to pull all that out if we didn’t get married in the Catholic church. I didn’t want to be lying to myself – but we ended up compromising with a convalidation after our wedding. As bad as it sounds, I need that $10k and signing paperwork for 15 minutes to shut my mother up will be worth the moral trade off. Our family is dysfunctional like that.
I hope you can find some kind of compromise. 🙁
Post # 14
Well clearly you’re going to have to have this venue battle sometime, but I think you should wait until you have some ammunition on your side. Meaning, keep looking for someplace you love (and sure, look at mom’s suggestions too, can’t hurt) but tell her you’re not ready to decide yet, you don’t know, you’re too busy to get into it, etc etc. For now, just don’t discuss it with her, or tell her her ideas are in consideration but you’re still processing.
Then when you have a short list you adore, then bring it up with her and fight for what you want. It’s much easier to fight _for_ something when it’s concrete, after all. And from her perspective, instead of seeing a daughter who is rejecting all of her ideas, she will see a daughter who appreciates her contributions but has stars in her eyes about something else.
And give her free rein on some of the elements that you don’t care so much about, so she feels included in the planning. Of course it’s your wedding, but you don’t want her to feel like you’ll take her money but not her love-in-the-form-of-help, you know? As you’re aware, mothers get pretty emotional about this stuff! Good luck!
Post # 15
Thanks for all of the good advice ladies.
**UPDATE**- sorry, it’s a long one.
I went home this weekend to the Poconos to see wedding venues with my parents so that they would feel involved in the process. I have told them over and over that FI and I want to explore all of our options and that we will have a “go back” list that we want the gang (my parents, his parents) to see and get opinions on.
Well… the morning started off promising with everyone in good moods, until we got to our first venue. They loved it so much THEY PRACTICALLY RAMMED IT DOWN MY THROAT!!!! My mother and father were pressuring me to have FI make a 2 hour drive to see a venue that doesn’t even have our date available, and he’s already seen it (he painted the ballroom we looked at). FI lost it… he was so mad at me for not standing my ground and sticking to the plan that WE discussed. Mom and dad could not understand why I wouldn’t commit to the venue that day.
I CRIED MY EYES OUT… I am just so frustrated. I cannot please everyone and this is MY AND FI’s day… not theirs. I am so sick of the pressure.
Momzilla went as far as to posting on facebook with a link to the venue website “This is my vote… do I even get a vote? I am not sure about anything anymore”. She also posted “GRRRrrRrR” after the day was over.
THENN… she and my father came downstairs the next morning with a guestlist of family and friends that I am required to invite. The list totals in over 165 people… my budget does not accomodate this many people…
UGH! I AM SOO FRUSTRATED!!!!
Post # 16
Oh man. This is a bad situation. I’ve never dealt with this, but you have my sympathy. I think it would probably be best to STOP involving momzilla, and just tell her what you’ve decided once you make your choices. If she doesn’t have the opportunity to give an opinion it may save you some of this crap 🙁