First, let me say that I am sorry that you are stressing out like this.
That being said, the only person to blame for this stress is yourself. You are not presenting yourself as a “people pleaser”, but rather a “doormat” for anyone, and everyone, to walk over. If you honestly want to have a sane wedding planning process, you need to take a time out and come to grips with the following truths:
1.) This is YOUR wedding; meaning you and your FIs. It’s not your mothers’, or his mothers;….YOURS. That means YOU get the final word/decision/say in the planning, decisions and execution. Granted, if parents are paying for it you have to give them some say but at the end of the day, YOU get the day of YOUR dreams. The best way for you to be a ‘people pleaser’ in this case is to be elated with your wedding and for your guests to have the opportunity to share in that bliss with you. Got it? Happy Wife = happy life!
2.) A LOT of pressure will fall on you. Even though it’s “your” day as a couple, most FIs will go play ball with the boys and leave you to plan all the knit-picking details. Fine, as long as you know what his overall vision is. Best way to get that is to sit down with your FI and get his imput. My FI and I have set aside “fifteen on Friday”, which is basically our time to sit down together (usually with a glass of wine) and “talk ONLY wedding stuff”. Usually it goes over the 15 minutes, but we wanted to have a designated block of time to focus on planning our marriage. It is essential to have that open communication regarding your big day. Communication is handy in planning but essential in a successful marriage moving forward.
3.) In wedding planning it is 100% IMPOSSIBLE to keep everyone happy. There will always be someone who is in diagreement with your ideas, colours, dress..etc. If you are aiming to keep everyone happy, you will either go insane or get to the point where you just want the day over and done with so you can stop caring, stressing or feeling steamrolled regarding it. Negative feedback or unwanted help taking you in directions you are not interested in going needs to be dealt with like water off a ducks back. Ignore the negative feedback unless it’s something, or from someone, who is super important to you. And learn the power of a simple “No thank-you” for those people that insist you go in a direction that is not your desire. You don’t need to be a bridezilla bitch, but you also can’t create YOUR perfect wedding by committee of others opinions.
As for your current connundrum, I would talk with you FI and explain that while you appreciate his mother’s offer you had expressed timeline concerns which have been ignored and in some cases months have gone by. You were supposed to have engagement photos taken in October and it is now January. Photos are an important milestone for any couple, as they last a lifetime. You would naturally like to capture the excitment of the engagement while it is still fresh, new and exciting and before the stress of full-blown wedding planning kicks in. Therefore, you think that you should take your friend up on her offer. If FI gets angry at this, then ask him politely to speak with his mom about confirming an actual date for photos and if she can’t by the end of the month whether you can revisit your friends offer. Life is about compromise that makes all people happy, and you’ll be a happier and stronger person if you extend “people pleasing” to also include yourself!!!
Good luck! Hope the pictures turn out AMAZING!