(Closed) FMIL Advice Needed!

posted 13 years ago in Family
Post # 3
388 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2021

LNH, I am so, so sorry you are going through this.  First things first…you and Fiance need to get on the same page.  Weddings have a tendency to bring this issue to the forefront, that families want you to choose them and show that they are the most important in your lives.

But the fact is, you and Fiance are about to embark on your journey as a family unit together, and that is most important above all things, including his family.  Did you two together read both emails from Future Mother-In-Law and notice the difference in the messages she was sending?  He’s clearly being clouded by the fact that it’s his mother, which is normal, but he needs to make a choice.

While it would be very nice to have the extra money and it would ad an increased financial burden on the two of you, I very much agree that you should decline their financial assistance and do it on your own.  Future Mother-In-Law sounds like she wants control of the whole thing, and is completely disregarding what you want, just because she’s contributing financially. 

I don’t think you should be having these conversations with Future Mother-In-Law by yourself.  You need to do it together with Fiance and represent a united front.  If he is really reconsidering NOT being with you because you seem unsympathetic to his family, that seriously needs to be discussed. 

Yes, you are supposed to be respectful to each other’s families but it is unreasonable for him to feel that his family can be completely inconsiderate to you.  Just because he lets his mom run all over him doesn’t mean you should take it, too.  We all take a lot of crap from our own families and sometimes it’s hard to see on your own.  I would hope that if this is a man who loves you, he would stand up for you when someone in his family is treating you poorly.  Good luck, I really feel for you.


Post # 4
28 posts

I agree with everything said above.

 Does your officiant do premarital counseling?  If you can take advantage of that, it might help you and your fiance work as a team.  It’s really a shame that she’s pulling this with only four weeks left, and the more guidance you can get about how to present a united front, the better.

 I also am so sorry this is happening!

Post # 5
41 posts
  • Wedding: June 2008

I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with all this!  It sounds like such a headache.

 Personally, I’d take the money, after offering at least three times not to take it because of their changed circumstances.  Then I’d exclude the Future Mother-In-Law from all the rest of the planning (there can’t be much left, right?) so she can’t mess anything else up, and at the same time make a big deal to her how much the money helped and how much you appreciate them helping you when it is a strain to do so — send her a handwritten card, and have Fiance mention it to her when they talk.  Basically, try to make her feel appreciated without letting her get into any of the substance.  It sounds like she’s always going to be an interfeing Mother-In-Law, and you should probably get used to appearing to go along with her while really ignoring her.  But that’s just my $0.02.

Post # 6
63 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

This is what concerns me most, from your post:

"My Fiance is now asking why I lack compassion for his family and telling me he is having serious doubts about someone who can be so uncaring for his family."
Okay, if he can’t see how crazy his mother is being- that would be an issue to me.  If he thinks it is okay for his mother to lie to you- that is an even bigger issue.
My fiance and I put each other first above all other people.  He has my back and I have his back.  That’s how we navigate the murky waters of future in-laws.  My family can act funny, and so can his!  So we protect each other first and foremost.
If it were me, I’d plan to use my own funds.  If she contributes, great!  She deserves a warm thank you for that.  If she doesn’t in the end (I think that’s where this is headed), at least you have retained control and she hasn’t ruined the day.
We’re skipping the rehearsal dinner altogether.  I’ve never really understood the need.  And an after party is easy to cut out, too.
If you let things go forward without addressing this (the lying and manipulation, and now lack of support from your fiance), then you have to understand that it will never change.  All of those things will keep happening.
I think it sucks that you have to deal with this.  I wish she’d never offered to help in the first place, since she can’t deal with actually helping.  Good luck to you!  I hope you get the wedding you are working for.  🙂

Post # 7
33 posts
  • Wedding: August 2009

I agree with the posters above — you and Fiance need to have a serious heart to heart before you even start tackling your Future Mother-In-Law. I think in your description of what happen, you seem to have been more graceful and patient of the situation than you had to (better than I would have been anyway =P). But that he is seriously doubting moving forward with this marriage because of the situation should be flashing all sorts of red lights and warning signs. So best of luck with that talk and hopefully you can both view the situation from the same lens — not that you are trying to alienate his parents, but that you should both be treated honestly and respectfully as adults! At the same time though, I would still be as respectful as you can to his parents in the public acknowledgement, etc. Whether or not you privately decide to accept their money, is up to you. Perhaps you and Fiance and rebudget and then let your Future Father-In-Law and Future Mother-In-Law know that you will let them know if there is anything leftover that they can contribute after tha planning is over.

As for the rest of the situation, I’d see if you or your wedding coordinator can talk to your vendors and re-negotiate some of the contracts. Did you sign or did your in laws sign? I feel like with the combination of your coordinator taking care of some of the talking and hopefully your vendors sympathy for the inlaws cutting in when they shouldn’t have, you could rework some of those numbers to be more within your budget. Good luck!!


Post # 8
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Wow, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with all this!  I guess first of all, it sounds like the vendor contracts are actually in your name.  If that is true, then you can go ahead and make any changes you want.  Just let the vendor know that you will not be financially responsible for any changes made by your Future Mother-In-Law.  Send faxes and emails so that there is a paper trail – make sure that you get responses confirming the cuts that you make. 

If you have to cancel the Rehearsal Dinner (and I totally would, if its scheduled in the same room) you should just to that.  You can perhaps make reservations at a local restaurant for just the bridal party, or even forego the Rehearsal Dinner altogether if it is a financial problem.

It sounds like your Future Mother-In-Law is still a total flake financially, which I’m sure is embarrassing for your Fiance, but the real issue is how you and he are going to pay for everything.  Since it sounds like any money you get from them will be a pleasant surprise – they’ve changed their minds once, and what is to stop that from happening again – I would scale back to what you can cover yourselves, and just not count on any money from Future Mother-In-Law.  You don’t have to tell her that you won’t accept her money, just don’t count on it.

You also need to sit down with your Fiance and have a long talk about what’s been going on.  Leaving his mom in a position to provide direction to vendors is clearly going to turn out badly.  The two of you need to let her know that you will be taking over at this point – and thank her for all her help to date – and then she won’t be surprised when the vendors let her know that they have been instructed to deal directly with you. 

Don’t let her make trouble between you and your FI!  If you do, this kind of thing will be going on throughout your marriage.  Better to figure it out right now.  And try not to be visibly upset with her – as it sounds like she is already defensive.  The best thing (although it might be hard) is just to be nice to a fault – and treat her as if her help or her opinion is really irrelevant.  Which, at this point, it is.  But you don’t have to be nasty about it.  Just say "Oh, thank you so much, but we already have that handled."

Post # 9
9 posts
  • Wedding: May 2008

Isn’t it insane how rudely Future In-Laws can act?? My Future Mother-In-Law has been driving me insane, too, although not nearly so dramatically as yours.

I agree with the others—first things first, chat with your Fiance. Its hard, but try to remain gracious and udnerstanding. Many times I’ve had to say things to my Fiance like, ‘my family is crazy too but____’. If he feels like he’s constantly defending his mother, no progress can be made, but stick to your guns. I think about the tv show, ‘Everbody Loves Raymond’, and how Marie is with Ray—your Fiance has to choose you NOW over his mother, and set the stage for her to understand that while he will always be her child, he is also going to be your husband and a grown up man. Its funny on tv, its hell in real life.

If you can’t afford the wedding without her money, then cut cut cut cut and cut some more. I had to do this myself when my father refused to chip in, and my inlaws renigged on their money (in fact, they won’t even pay for the entire Rehearsal Dinner, only $250 so I had to ask my dad to pay $300 to cover it, very awkward). Have a picnic at a local park, it can be elegant if you get some pretty tablecloths and have some nice homecooked food. We did this for my brother and everyone LOVED it! My Rehearsal Dinner is at a local restaurant and is only $20/person. they don’t have to be expensive, its a time to relax before the wedding.

Scale back on catering–people will eat what you give them, we can only afford one dinner entree, and two sides. Oh well for our picky guests. Scale back on drinks, make it an open bar for only 2 hours and then cash  bar. Scale back on cake–who eats fondant anyway?? We saved $600 doing the music ourselves and we know exactly what we’ll hear. There are ways to save if you have to. And if you get their money, then great!! Call the caterer back and add more entrees, change the bar back to being an open bar, do whatever, but simplify!

 GOOD LUCK! I feel your pain!

Post # 10
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I wasn’t able to read through all of the responses, but what I did read sounded right on.

One IMPORTANT thing that you should do right away is get in touch with all the vendors your Future Mother-In-Law dealt with.  Explicitly tell them that YOU signed the contract NOT Future Mother-In-Law, thus they are ONLY to discuss things with YOU and ONLY you (or your fiance) are authorized to make decisions/changes.  It’s a bunch a bologna if you signed the contracts and your Future Mother-In-Law is going behind your back to vendors.  Make that clear to them.

Second, tell your Fiance that you two should make a game plan and present it to his parents.  All you conversations with teh Future In-Laws should say "we" "us" "both of us" not "she" "her" "me".  You don’t want his parents thinking that you’re making all the decisions- it should be clear you two are deciding together.

Also, if you and your Fiance have a game plan, then when his mother changes her mind, your Fiance will just have to say "we already made that decision and that’s how it will be".  I had a bit of this with my own planning and I reminded my Fiance that he couldn’t keep telling his monther "We’ll see what we can do" when she suggested massive changes to our plans. He needed to stick to his guns and tell her that things were already decided.


Good luck! 

Post # 11
508 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Goodness – what a horrible position!  I agree with the others – you’ve been dealing rather graciously with what must be a very trying person.

First, take a few deep breaths.  Then, have a heart-to-heart with your Fiance.  If he’s having second toughts and siding with his family, that’s a HUGE issue and does not at all bode well.  Family dynamics are tricky at best, so you two need to provide a united front to lay the foundation for relations going forward.

You and/or your wedding planner need to make it very clear to all vendors *in writing* that you and and your fiance are the ONLY ones who are authorized to make any changes and if the Future In-Laws try to shake it up, that you are not financially responsible and will not be liable.   

For the money, if you can, work with the vendors to cut what you can and adjust your budget to be able to do the wedding on your own.  If your Future In-Laws do contribute (which sounds unlikely, given their financial situation), then it’s a bonus, but you’re not in a terrible spot if they don’t (or are at least prepared for the debt).

Best of luck – this is not at all what you need in the weeks leading up to the wedding! 

Post # 12
388 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2021

I noticed that a common thing you mentioned in your post is that Future Mother-In-Law does not want to be embarrassed…she doesn’t want the coordinator to contact the reception site (the country club that she and Future Father-In-Law belong to), and the church because it would bmake her look bad? 

That is ridiculous because both places have probably worked with many wedding coordinators in the past, so how would that make her look bad?  Because she’s worried that it makes her look like she’s not involved?  Well if she refuses to work WITH you and the coordinator, it’s her own fault that she appears to not be involved.

And if you don’t accept the money from the Future In-Laws, why does Fiance feel that would make them lose face in front of your friends?  It’s not like you’ll be making an official annoucement of who contributed financially to the wedding.

You said that they’ve had difficulty managing their finances in the past, so it sounds like they work hard at keeping up appearances (hence still belonging to a country club when you’re financially strapped!).  See if you and Fiance can let them off the hook and commit that you were planning all along to give them credit for helping with the wedding.  As long as they feel they are being acknowledged for something, who’s really going to verify that they are writing a check to you?

Contributing financially to your child’s wedding means they get to have input and respect, but it doesn’t give them control. 

Post # 13
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I can relate to your situation a little. 


   You need to tell your fiance to deal with this.  I’ve learned when dealing with touchy issues with my Mother-In-Law (such as religion in our wedding) its best to let my fiance do this.  I had a strained relationship with my inlaws for the first 2 years of our relationship, it made life really hard on my fiance.   


   I wouldnt accept the money.  I would calmly talk to you Fiance about this.  I would tell him your parents are in financial trouble and we don’t need this… it is selfish to take it.  Don’t bite into your MIL’s drama… just do what you want.  I know it’s hard, but you just have to do it. 

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