Post # 1
So my parents have always wanted a very big say in EVERYTHING in my life and while I typically resist, eventually I end up giving in. Now that I’m planning a wedding, this seems to have escalated A LOT! I feel they are very critical of every decision we make, demand we accomodate them in every decision and they seem to make decisions on their own without asking us. They are very vocal and I haven’t had a peaceful conversation about the wedding with them yet!
Although it is a small wedding (80 people), they expected to have nearly half (35) of the seats for their friends. We have 20 people in the wedding party and our immediate family, so really 35 is more than half of the 60 guest seats available, leaving only 25 for me, my FI, and my FI family. We had a big blow out about this a few weeks ago because I wanted to see their guest list and that was unacceptable to them. Eventually, (after 3 hours of yelling) I just gave in. I have no idea who those 35 people will be.
Since then I haven’t had any real communication with them. They have emailed a few times about business or work they want me to take care of… and I’ve done everything they asked. My dad is coming to town this week and I’m really worried. I know that he will disagree or disapprove of something and I want to be able to:
1. not let it escalate
2. not give in, unless we’re really okay with it.
So far, my plan is to stay calm (no yelling, tears on my part) and say thanks for your input and then do whatever we want. If we’ve already decided on something else, I’d let him know we’ve already decided X. I know it will escalate and he’ll yell and insult me… that’s the pattern, when he does that I give in…. so naturally he’ll do what has worked in the past. What should I do when he does that?
Any advice? I’m super nervous and could use any tips..
Post # 3
(hugs). Who’s paying for the wedding?
Post # 4
My parents, my FI parents and we are each paying for a third. They gave us the money “no strings attached” and after we told them about the type of wedding we wanted (80 people, destination, etc). I know they deserve a say because they are helping… but they freak out every time we don’t take their advice. So for example, because they want 35 people, my FFIL now has offered not to invite anybody. My parents are fine with this.
Post # 5
@sj8082: of they’re paying 1/3.. they get to invite 1/3 of the guests… which is about 26-27.
Post # 6
If I were in your shoes Id give the money back because clearly strings Are attached to it.. then Id plan my own wedding without telling them any details and just send the invite. My parents would get over it. I love them but they will not control things in my life Im an adult.
For me no money is worth the stress of someone trying to take over and dictate MY wedding and MY life.
Post # 7
@sj8082: I agree with other posters that you’ve got to be prepared to refuse their money. Insisting on half the guest list, and then not even giving you names, that is bullying behaviour and you need to resist. But direct resisting is hard so here are a couple of thoughts:
You say: “So far, my plan is to stay calm (no yelling, tears on my part) and say thanks for your input and then do whatever we want.” – good idea. I’ve used that a lot with my parents 🙂
You say: “If we’ve already decided on something else, I’d let him know we’ve already decided X.” – not so good idea! Don’t do tell him you’re not, that will only get an argument. The way to disagree with him is to disagree while he’s not there, so he can’t bully you. I suggest that if you’ve decided something else, say thanks for your input and then “decide” when he’s not there.
Another strategy, if he gets insistent, (like you say, “I’m not sure” and he says “but I need an answer now”) is to give a half hearted agreement (“well… ok”) and then email or phone him a few days later (when he’s not in your town) saying you’ve changed your mind.
Post # 8
I think practice practice what you will say.
Then repeat it over and over again. Perhaps this will be a good time to talk to them about being an adult and having them respect your decisions. Because if they can’t it’s going to cause tension and cause harm to your relationship.
Stick to your guns this is YOUR wedding not your parents there reason why they should have 35 of their friends there.
Post # 9
oh my are we sisters? If you figure out a way to peacefully plan your wedding with them, PLEASE share the secret! I’ve just given up on enjoying planning and just counting down until FI and I can go back to enjoying our lives. It’s put so much stress on us and our relationship :-/ We joke that if we can make it through planning a wedding, we can make it through anything!
Post # 10
This really seems extreme to me. I don’t see any reasoning with them. Good luck.
The fact that they’re ok with your FFIL paying and not inviting any guests blows me away.
Post # 11
@paula1248: Thanks! Great idea to hold back on the answers… my FI was also on board with that idea to give us some time to consider their request.
Post # 12
@MrsWBS: LOL I feel your pain… I also feel like I’ve given up on enjoying the process… it’s more like a mission. There are things to do and so we get them done and hope not to rock the boat too much! Good luck 🙁
Post # 13
Thanks everybody for the advice…
I agree and am fully prepared to return their financial support… and have offered already. They get pissed and to be honest, I have no clue how the conversation deteriorates so drastically, but it does. At some level, they want us to keep the money because it gives them the control they want….
The guest list issue is insane… we did agree to give them 35 seats and while I felt forced, there is no way that either me or my FI would go back on our word. At least at the end of this we both want to be happy with how we acted… It might be all we have! But I am worried about the next, equally unreasonable request, that we don’t want to agree to and say no. As soon as we say no, it’s a problem. The tips are helpful and I’ll try practicing…
The sad part is I really do like (and love) my parents… I really enjoyed their company before wedding planning. I really do hope after all this over, there is still some form of a positive friendhip left.
Post # 14
How about eloping? Have a celebrate our marriage party later? Have you thought about that? Invite family only to the elopement..
Post # 15
I would make sure you or your FI’s family controls the STDs and invites – your parents seem like they might insist on sending those out and when that happens, you have NO control over who gets invited. Their guest list could grow and yours could shrink and you wouldn’t even know about it until too late. Also, if you/FI’s family have the invites and your parents can’t get at them, then they’ll have to reveal their guestlist.
One thing that might be good to remember is that you said it is a DW – if it is, your acceptance rate might go down. Some of your and FI’s friends might understand getting invites after the mandatory invites go out (and you get some declines), if you explain that family invites had to be sent first.
Post # 16
I was kind of in the same situation. I had a very small wedding. My parents paid for 1/2 and his parents paid for 12. Basically the set up was that his parents were going to pay for it all then my parents would just write a cheque for 1/2 when all was said and done. (was just having a backyard wedding so it really wasn’t that much)
Well In-laws believed that since they were paying for 1/2 that they would only need my opinion. They would want something that I really didn’t want and after a little bit of fighting they would say “We want to give it to you as a gift”. I then caved and said yes. They bought us 3 “gifts” when it was all said and done and it turns out that they still made my parents pay for 12. So really it wasn’t a gift.
My point is. That it is not a wedding that I was happy with. The whole day bugs me because my in-laws had way too much control over the wedding. Especially on the wedding day. They figured that it was “their” event that they were hosting and the whole event was done in 5 hours. They rushed through everything and people started leaving by 7 p.m. She even told my uncle (who was our photographer) that we had to be back for supper by 4:30. So after taking out time for commuting to the site for pictures we had less than an hour for pictures. I have more pictures of the guests than the actual bridal party.
So I do understand that you are willing to settle on the guest list issue. What you have to do is draw a line somewhere and make sure that your parents are aware. They will control the wedding as long as you will let them so you need to make sure that you are prepared to stand your ground.
Good Luck! 🙂