Post # 1
Hi bees, lately there’s been so many problems and fights between my parents and I that I’m not even sure what’s what anymore and am seeking your advice, suggestions and tough love.
I’m 23, my fiance is 24. We are both completely self-sufficient, pay our own bills, rent, and are no longer dependant on our parents financially. We got engaged exactly a year ago on Christmas Eve in his hometown (midwest), called my parents who said “We’ret the busy right now, we’ll talk about this some other time”, happily announced our engagement on Facebook to our friends and other family and that’s about when the easy part ended. Long story short, my super traditional parents did not acknowledge our engagement until we had completed a super traditional ceremony, which we are doing in four days. We had a huge fight a year ago about what even defines an engagement for MONTHS and finally reconciled when my fiance and I (we are currently long distance and living on the east coast) flew out to meet with my parents (they live in California) and compromoise to do the Chinese engagement traditions. The FI, future MIL and FIL are all flying in from the midwest for this.
Fast forward to this week: I’m back home in CA for the holidays and my parents drop the bomb that they expect to be fully in charge of the wedding. According to them, planning the engagement party (they are the hosts) is part 1 – planning the actual wedding is part 2. The wedding is also not FI and my wedding…it’s the family’s wedding. I calmly and firmly told them that ‘no, FI and I are the people getting married, so we want to be in charge. We will take your opinions and your advice, just as we will take his parents’ opinions and advice into account.” Again, long story short, my dad threatened to disown me for not letting him and my mom be in charge of the wedding, stating that my need to be in charge is THAT disrespectful to them. He suggested that the FI and I come to him with proposals about what we want in regards to our preferences for the wedding and he’d “sign off on it”. He states that he doesn’t actually want to do much planning at all but he wants to retain this “power” because he doesn’t trust us to do things his way if he let us be in charge.
As for who is paying for the wedding? My FI and I are paying for it, 100%. My future MIL and FIL are not contributing and so far, they are only offering advice/opinions when solicited by my FI. Needless to say, this is turning out to be a horrible Christmas and at this point, the FI and I are starting to feel like we’d actually prefer a courthouse ceremony that we’re happy with than pay for and have a wedding that we are unhappy with.
So I guess the final questions I have is: what do you guys make of this whole situation? What is your advice? I’ve been fighting with them for a year over this issue, mostly over email and phone and now in person to the point that I’m not even sure what is what anymore.
Post # 3
@silverinkpot: I’m sorry that you are going through this. It is your money, so it is your decision on how to spend it. It IS your day. Of course, the parents want to be a part of the day, just like I wanted to celebrate with my daughter. I paid for her wedding, but planned it based on what she and my SIL wanted. I think it’s harder when there are strict traditions.
Post # 4
I’m not Asian so I can’t relate to the cultural aspects of this. But… it’s the 21st century and you guys are an established couple paying for this yourself, so stand your ground! Respect your parents of course, but they also need to realize that times have changed.
Post # 5
@silverinkpot: If you and your FI are paying for everything, and you won’t be asking them for any money, then they absolutely are not “in charge”. They won’t have an opportunity to say anything if you just go ahead and book stuff without consulting them first. I’m sure with cultural traditions it makes it harder but times have changed and you’re an adult so you don’t need to ask them anything.
Post # 6
Your money, your say. That simple.
Post # 7
I wish I could put it as simple as “You pay, your way” which is what it should be. This is what it does boil down too. It is not about your old family, it is about your new family (you and him)
A compromise situation might be instead of running decisons by them, ask them for a list of X amount of cultural things that they want in your wedding. Take the list under high consideration and try to incorperate as many as you can without cramping what you are trying to already do. If it’s not on that list, they dont’ get to ask you to add it. If it is on the list and you can’t (or just really don’t want to) do it, make a very good argument for why it isn’t happening. Hopefully that will make them feel included.
Post # 8
@silverinkpot: what about a compromise? What if they are in charge of the ceremony and you’re in charge of the reception, or vice versa? I agree with the pp, you are both adults, paying for it yourselves, etc. But, it would be really sad if they got so ticked they didn’t even come, or made a cloud hang over the wedding day because they are offended. My advice is to try and find a common ground, and be the bigger person, so to speak. If you’re ok with it, see if they would be happy with full reign of an aspect of the day, not the entire thing.
Also, is your fiancé of the same culture? If he/she isn’t, pull the traditions card. It seems important to your parents, and maybe they will understand that. Tell them it’s just as important to include their traditions, thus it would be better for you to have final say to make certain everyone is happy. 🙂
Post # 9
I am paying for the wedding and my FH is paying for the honeymoon. The few times I have asked FH about this or that for the wedding, he waved me off and told me that the wedding is my thing and the honeymoon his. I have asked for a few opinions now and then, but that is it. But you have a cultural thing to deal with and some of the PPs ideas are really outstanding.
Post # 10
This is an issue I saw when my friend got married. What she did was let her family plan (and pay for) a Chinese reception. They picked out everything from the food to the guests. Meanwhile, she planned her own wedding and reception. One was on Saturday, the other on Sunday.
Post # 11
@silverinkpot: Ugg that is terrible 🙁 Im so sorry your going threw this! Imy self do not have the curtural road block BUT My FIs parents have taken control. They are paying and we are using there beach house as a venue so I understand giving them some lead but its just gotten out of hand. hopfully we both can gain some control. good luck
Post # 12
I can’t believe your parents would threaten to disown you over the wedding. Well, I’m the kind of girl who hates to be pushed around. So parents or not, I would not hesitate to cut them off from my life.
Post # 13
Thanks so much everyone. Lots of support here and lots of great suggestions as well that I will be trying with my parents to try to resolve at least some of these issues.
Post # 14
Hi @silverinkpot: First and foremost… I see that this is your DEBUT Post on WBee… so a BIG Welcome to “the Hive”
Etiquette Snob here … lol
The old adage… “He who PAYS gets the say” holds a lot of water IMO
Things are certainly more complicated tho when you take into account Family Traditions & Customs…
Obviously your Parents want to follow the Customs & Traditiions they are familiar with… despite the fact that you and your Fiancé have chosen to pay for everything
This puts you in a really “sticky no mans land”
In order to go thru the Engagement & Wedding Process most easily you guys are going to have to work on COMMUNICATION extensively
Communication is an important part of ANY Wedding… but more so when people are coming at a situation passionately from different points of view.
I suggest you have a heart-to-heart sit-down with your Parents (with or without your Fiancé present) and work thru the various events / details of your Wedding.
This will no doubt not be an easy convo, as they’ll have a different perspective than you do.
The thing is you need to be BOTH FRIM in what it is you want / expect… and sensitve to their not wanting to lose face (a HUGE thing I’ve found for Asian Families / Parents)
Hopefully, with a little sensitivity on BOTH sides you guys can find some mutual ground you can agree on.
Hope this helps,
Post # 15
@silverinkpot: 🙁 so sorry to hear this. I myself am Chinese and SO is Japanese/Korean. While his family didn’t have their normal traditional, I sorta did. I did not have a elaborate engagement party like you but there were stuff I did honor with an arm twisted. You’ll learn that regardless of who is paying, parents/siblings/grandparents etc will always have an opinion and will want you to do what they tell you. While it isn’t as easy as telling you it’s your wedding you should have it your way or since you guys are paying, it’s whatever you want. I learned that “our wedding” really wasn’t our wedding. It was our families wedding. Especially in Chinese culture when it’s a lot about face, respect and power.
Cant say much to help you in your situation but Iwould just try to find a balance somewhere. Just bc I realized it want “our wedding” didn’t mean I didn’t try to make it my own. I broke a lot of rules but my parents didnt known about it until the day of. I kepted a lot of details from them bc I knewthey would have a cow and i didn’t want to hear it until after your wedding.
But the disowning part is more severe. You know your parents more tho so how seriously is he when he say things like that and how upset does he normally and how long does be stay mad for? Good luck!