Post # 1
I’m the MOH for a very good friend, and she’s having a tough time keeping her mom and her fiance on pleasant terms. I’ll be talking to my friend later this week, but thought I’d try to get some ideas about what I can say that might help her.
The situation (from what I understand so far) is that they spent last weekend looking at wedding venues (my friend, her fiance, and her mom). The wedding is still a ways off, so they have plenty of time. The biggest concern for my friend is the cost of the wedding. She is working; the fiance is looking for a job. The fiance’s mom is basically on SSD/other assistance and will not be able to contribute much, if anything, to the wedding. My friend’s mom offered to help financially (but nobody knows what exactly that means).The understanding I have is that my friend most likely will be the one primarily responsible for funding the wedding (and this does not appear to be a problem for her).
During the venue searching, the friend’s mom apparently blew up at the fiance, calling him a cheapskate, and she has since been emailing, calling, and texting my friend nonstop, saying that she doesn’t want my friend to marry this guy/etc.
There aren’t any fathers involved in this scenario, and it is becoming really stressful for my friend. I feel terrible for her because her mom seems to be making this exciting time really unhappy for her. I’m also not sure what to say or how to help because my husband and I were extremely blessed to have good incomes and families who were willing to help us with our wedding, so I’m not really able to talk about my personal experience with her.
I think my friend just wants to talk about how to handle her mom and how to try to keep her mom and her fiance on good terms. Any thoughts?
Post # 3
@0252scholm: It sounds like she’s going to have to just tell her Mom that she loves this guy and is marrying him anyways so she needs to stop giving him a hard time. I can kind of understand that the mom would be frustrated that there is no financial help from his side of the family but they can’t pull money out of nowhere. Also, if your friend is taking care of most of the cost of the wedding and is not bothered by it then she needs to tell her mother that. There is no reason to make a big deal out of it if she is cool with it.
Post # 4
@0252scholm: First, tell your friend to not accept any money from her mother. Second, she needs to get her mother to understand that her and her FI are a social unit now, so if her mom has a problem with her FI it’s a problem with both of them. Also, she may need to prepare herself to cut her mother out of her life. I had to do all of these things because my mother didn’t like my husband initially (he’s white, she’s asian), but after cutting my mother off (pre-engagement) she’s finally come around.
Post # 5
If the mom blew up about money, there is a clear solution – remove the mom from wedding details and budgeting. Out of sight, out of mind. If she doesn’t have an opportunity to know or worry about budgets, she will be able to stay on better terms. Find some things that she can help with, like color schemes, decor, or the dress, that wouldn’t require discussion of money. Whenever the fiance finds a job, I’m sure that will help the situation too. He’s finding a job and he’ll be able to contribute to their well-being in due time.
If you’re up to it, I think you should take over as the helper/coordinator and help with vendor visits and planning. That way, the bride still has some support but doesn’t have to worry about drama with her family.
Post # 6
@0252scholm: Her mom is in no position to sit there and judge your friend’s FI, if he is good to you friend, loves her, and she’s happy; then her mother should be happy for her. She needs to explain that to her mother is a very respectable way. Although that is her mother, this man is going to be her husband and partner in life and she would appreciate it if her mother could support their relationship and be happy for them.
Post # 7
@0252scholm: I think your friend needs to tell her mom very firmly that treating her fiance like that isn’t acceptable, and that her involvement in their wedding and their life is conditional upon her treating her future son in law with respect and kindness.
Finances are between your friend and her fiance. Her mom doesn’t get to treat him like crap because he’s unemployed. Husbands come before moms, and anybody who can’t stand up to their parents for their partner isn’t ready to get married.
Post # 8
Personally, I wouldn’t allow my mom to be involved in anymore of the wedding planning if she is going to personally attack the FI. I wouldn’t take her up on her offer of money, either, just to keep her out of it. I don’t know the whole background of the situation, but if your friend’s FI is trying to keep costs down because he isn’t working at the moment and they are relying on only your friend’s income to pay for this, that is a good, smart thing to do! He isn’t out trying to spend money that they don’t have.
Post # 9
That is a terrible and unnecessary situation your friend is in, and unfortunately, my FI and I can generally relate to it (or my FI can, esp on the whole mom taking all measures of communication in trying to call of the engagement/wedding).
But she is lucky to have you as her MOH and as her friend!
I agree with PPs in that your friend needs to set up a clear boundary regarding the issue of her mother’s behavior towards the fiance and take actions to strictly follow it. Temporarily cut off all communications if her mother cannot behave or control her temper. My FI had to do it, because his mother & older sister would call/email him multiple times a day just to yell and swear at him.
I also agree that your friend should not accept any financial help from her mother, especially if her mother cannot be genuinely supportive and happy about her lending/giving her daughter the money for her wedding. There is absolutely no good that will come out of it if all her mother has is complaints, regrets, and negativity regarding her financially chipping in (esp she is so adament about your friend’s FI being “cheap”).
Your friend should set up a budget with her FI, and work with that budget and that budget only. In this scenario, that’ll be the most solid rock your friend and her FI will ever have in building their relationship and their marriage.
Of course, all that can be done only if your friend has the heart and the courage to stand up against her mother – but I’m sure she’ll be able to do it with the support of her fiance’s love and your friendship.
Post # 10
@0252scholm: I have one word for you: BUFFER
Sometimes being a good friend, means taking one for the team….and when cash is tight and wedding planning is on the agenda, tempers can flare easily.
If this was me, and it has been more than I care to mention, I’d stick like glue to Mom whenever she was around, and work the hell outta The Three D’s
Distract, Diffuse and re-Direct
You distract her from her future son in law, I don’t know a single parent that doesn’t look at their child’s finace through a microscope, after all, its your baby, but some people take it too far and need their attention diverted…often.
Tense situations need to be identified and diffused quickly, a good sense of humor and quick wit is invaluable, I’ve been blessed with both.
And finally, sometimes you just have to look at her and say, “Hey Maude…c’mere and look at this GIANT bra for a minute.” Because all that really needs to happen, is for your friend and her fiance to plan the wedding they want, with as little drama as possible.
Post # 11
Thanks ladies, I completely agree that she needs to not accept money from her mom. I’ll definitely pass along the things you have said–thanks for putting it into good words.
And yeah, bleusteel, I wish I could be there more for my friend and help with venue searching/etc, but I live in DC and she lives in Ohio, so it’s not an easy trip to visit her. Trying to help through phone calls and emails is the best I can do, so I want to make sure I’m as helpful as I can be during those calls!
In terms of being a “buffer” (which I’ll try to do when we’re all together), at this point I should stay out of it right? I’m friends with her mom on Facebook, and there have been a few times where the mom has sent me messages regarding various things. Right now I think I should just listen to my friend and try to help–and not reach out to the mom. Do you agree?
Post # 13
Yeah I agree with previous posters, there financial business and who is paying for what is not any of the families business. I also think that it is a better idea for your friend and her future hubby to make decisions on the venue and things that are important them without involving others, it is much less stressfull, espcially if they arent paying.
Weddings and funerals can bring out the worst in people, and I suspect that there is more going on than the mother thinking the FI is a cheap skate. You mentioned there were no father’s invovled, it could be the mother is Jaded and experiencing her own version of Post Traumatic Stress from her own experiences and it could also be that the reality is hitting her that her daughter is getitng married, so maybe she things she will lose her. Strange things happen, I expreinced both of those from my family and was beyond shocked because I have an EXTRMELY SUPPORTIVE FAMILY, but fears did arise on their behalf.
What I would say is that no matter what, you friend needs to set boundries with her mother and demand respect, and if the mom fails to comply, she may have to feed her with a long handle spoon. This must be nipped in but, immediatley, or trust me it will fester.
Just continue to be a support to your friend as best you can and encourage her to stand for her relationship.
Post # 14
@0252scholm: I think you should stay away from being a buffer, that is not your battle to fight, the buffer comes when she sets up boundries with her mother. Being a buffer is only a temporary situation and they will still have problems after they say “I Do” and you are on your way back to DC. Plus it simly is not fair to YOU to be stuck in the middle of Mess.. I don’t think MOH means MIDDLE OF HOSTILITY, It means Matron or Maid of Honor. There is no honor in being the buffer of mess.
Just my thoughts
Post # 15
I agree with @creeative1: regarding the whole “buffer” business.
Your friend should settle the ground between her and her mom first before you come inbetween them. And please, by all means, do not become their messenger…whether it be FB msgs or emails. They should hash it out face to face on their own.
Nipping at the bud is cruicial, as I’ve learned the hard way. I was absolutely traumatized and scarred by my FILs (especially FMIL), because I was reluctant to have FI cut them out – I kept trying to reason with them and thought “what if” and put myself (and my FI inevitably) on the front line – all we got was more wounds. Now after two years of suffering I just let FI deal with his family, whether it be him cutting them off completely or not, and I just try to support him emotionally when in need.
It’s not a happy place. Keep yourself out as much and as long as you can, but be open to be emotionalyl/psychologicalyl supportive for your friend when she asks.
Post # 16
Notwithstanding the inappropriateness of yelling at the D’s fiance, where are the mom’s comments even coming from?! If FI is unemployed, and your friend is funding most of the wedding why does her mom consider the FI to be “a cheapskate” as opposed to a responsible person who does not want to overspend considering his circumstances.
I thought you were going to tell us that the mom is mad that the couple are not in a position to afford an expensive wedding, not that he should be willing to spend more of your friend’s money and hers than he is comfortable with.
This is something that should be between your friend and her FI to work out.