Post # 1
My fiance and I thought we were the luckiest people on the planet. Both of our parents got along extremely well, we settled many of the major decisions quickly, and we are blissfully in agreement on most things and both willing to compromise together on the things we disagree on. Here’s the problem: my parents cannot accept the fact that the wedding is not completely about their little girl because my fiance and I are happy to make decisions together, and continue to refer to it as “Emma’s” wedding. (They are somehow certain his parents refer to it as “fiance’s” wedding, which is how this came about, which I have also never heard).
For both parents, this is a big deal: I’m my mom’s only girl, he is the baby of the family and the only one to want a big wedding (his sister never married or plans to, brother had a smaller courthouse wedding). Due to this and the fact that I love his family, I’ve tried very hard to include both families closely in the planning process. His mother has been a great resource for me to include little things he might like because sometimes, he will not speak up because he wants me to have the wedding I’ve dreamed of. However, my stepfather feels that because I am listening to their opinions, I am compromising too much and he feels I am being railroaded. What they are not able to understand is: we do not want a traditional wedding. We want to work together.
I’ve tried gentle and stern approaches, and finally we had a battle royale last night in which I left their house in tears. My stepfather told me he wanted nothing to do with the wedding, my mother (after telling me she thinks I’m being taken advantage of and that nothing we planned is what I actually want) is telling me she feels like she has to compromise her beliefs and that she is a doormat. In effect, we are both hurting each other and I am at a breaking point where all I have tried to do is be diplomatic and somehow have wound up offending my parents. I’ve included them in every step of the way from the dress, to the cake, to the venue tours and it just seems like they can’t accept the fact that I am including his family as well in the planning process. I’ve tried telling them we WANT to plan it together, listened and been respectful of every suggestion they’ve had, but it’s not sinking in and now they are insulting our relationship (“he should just step back and let you plan it”, his family “they should plan their own vow renewal and back off your wedding” and hurting me very deeply “none of this seems like it’s really what you want”. Somehow, INCLUDING everybody is offending everybody.
Can someone please tell me what on God’s green earth I can do to try to ease this situation? Are there any articles or resources I can send them that can be helpful, or tips/advice for this nervous bride? I will be forever grateful to you!!!
Post # 2
Are your parents paying for the wedding? It wouldn’t be unusual in tha case,for them to feel that they should have more say in the decision making.
If they are not, you may just have to tell them that if they continue to criticize and be inflammatory, you will have to stop discussing he wedding with hem at all.
Post # 3
I hadn’t considered that as a factor, which seems totally fair and I’m glad you brought that up!
While my parents are contributing, his parents also contributed the down payment for our venue which was quite significant. Originally we had planned to pay for the entire wedding ourselves in stages, and when both sets of parents offered to contribute we were conflicted about accepting but felt it would be rude of us not to so we have tried to be fair to both.
Post # 4
If everyone is contributing, everyone gets a say. Make sure your parents know that his parents are also contributing money. It’s sometimes awkward to talk about money but if your parents think that it’s being paid for by them and you/your fiancé, that could be why they think it’s parents shouldn’t have any input.
Post # 5
Are you comfortable sharing a bit more detail about how and how much they are contributing? Proportionally, I mean, and an estimate is fine. Like, is it about 1/3 your parents, 1/3 his parents and 1/3 you guys? Or more like the venue down payment is his parent’s entire contribution and your parents are paying the rest except for your dress and the booze or something?
Not saying that if they pay 80% they get to make 80% of the decisions, but knowing a bit more might help us understand what their motivation might be, which will help give better advice.
Post # 6
Absolutely! His parents have put in the down payment which would be about 1/4 of the reception cost, but his mother is also helping us handle the flowers and has purchased some decor for the engagement party which is at a company his father works at. My parents are putting in approximately 1/2 for the reception and are paying for food/drinks/decor for the engagement party, and we are doing the other 1/4 on our own.
I honestly hadn’t considered what a large impact finances would make, especially since we’re trying to be so non-traditional and didn’t ask for/expect any help, but what I’m beginning to understand is maybe my family is struggling because we are being so untraditional in including everyone.
Post # 7
Can you give an example of something that they are getting upset over? I’m trying to understand what has them so bent out of shape.
Post # 8
You and me both! They’re my own parents and even I am struggling haha.
The first issue was the church: my mother wanted it in a Catholic church, I explained to her that while I am a Christian woman I do not identify as Catholic and we chose a historic property that functions as a church for our ceremony location. My future Father-In-Law made a comment that “all churches look the same” to him, as they are not religious. This offended my parents, who went on a tirade with me about that and the fact that we’d mentioned having one of our best friends possibly officiate. They insisted on a pastor and have been upset that we haven’t found the right one yet, though my fiance and I have compromised and will have our friends say a few words at the start of our ceremony before the pastor begins.
The second was the bridesmaids: I didn’t want my brother’s longtime girlfriend in the wedding as while I love her and think she’s perfect for him, we are personally not that close. However, according to my mother because I’m putting in my other brother’s girlfriend and my fiance’s sister (both of whom I am close with) I HAD to include her. This caused tension because it meant upping our party numbers, when we were already happy with what we had, but we compromised and put her in.
The third is the engagement party and-let me tell you-that’s the true nightmare. We really wanted to have our engagement party at the cranberry bogs his father has worked at, as I know they always imagined one of their children getting married there. While it wasn’t my style to do the wedding there, we both wanted it to be included somehow and thought the engagement party would be a nice fit. My mother has consistently told me she thinks it’s “not what I want”, but I insisted as it is what we as a couple would like even if it’s not my elegant taste (we are planning a very elegant wedding, and I wanted him to have a more fun engagement party that’s his style). MIL is very familiar with the venue, and without consulting me or my mother began asking my fiance what he’d like to see for decorations since rustic is more his thing and I’m more chic-then went out and bought all of the decorations he mentioned. This caused my mother to do the same thing with things she’d thought I would like..and now we have two sets of decorations and are trying to arrange a walkthrough so there’s no argument on where to put things for the party.
Post # 9
honestly, it sounds to me like when your parents say “you aren’t getting the wedding YOU want” what they mean is “we aren’t getting the wedding WE want”
Your mom just likes to say that its not what YOU want in order to not sound like she’s a MOBridezilla.. but she is… because she’s driving YOU to tears with her demands.
I’d call her on it, next time. Not “I want to compromise iwth my husband” but “Believe it or not, this IS what I want. Are you perhaps confusing what I want with what you want? I want you to be happy mom, but it’s very hard to talk about compromising my wants and needs with your wants and needs if you won’t own them.”
Post # 10
- Wedding: October 2020 - New York, New York
You said, “I’ve tried very hard to include both families closely in the planning process”. That’s the issue. In my opinion, they’re TOO included. Even if someone is contributing money, they shouldn’t be able to tell you who you should include in your bridal party. Ultimately, its your wedding, not theirs! I would start telling everyone as little as possible and try to keep family out of the process.
Post # 11
Yikes bee, both sets of parents need a juice box and a nap! It really seems like a pissing match about who is getting what. Very tit for tat. I know it’s not easy but I’d tell you patents to simmer down and accept your decisions. Weddings bring out the worst in people and everyone wants their way. There’s no pleasing everyone so try to just stand your ground and make yourselves happy because at this point you won’t be able to change your parents minds
Post # 12
Yeah, your parents are behaving selfishly and I would be putting an end to it. Forcing you to have a pastor perform your ceremony and to add a bridesmaid you didn’t want is definitely crossing a line. Buying a whole new set of decorations for an engagement party is petty. Since it sounds like you’re still in the beginning stages of planning, I would set the boundaries now to make things go much more smoothly.
The next time they try to force you into a decision or convince you that what you want is not actually what you want, I would calmly and nicely explain to them that it’s your wedding, you’re grateful for their help but you are going to plan it your way.
There are certain things you will need to deal with them on relating to the money they’re giving you, but decisions like what type of ceremony it is, who’s in the bridal party, etc. are not their domain.
Post # 13
Oh I LOVE this. Thank you!!!!!1
Post # 14
It sounds like you all need to have a Come to Jesus Meeting and hash out (resectfully) what your expectations are so everyone hears the same thing, no second hand chattering.
Make your expectations clear – cool, calm communication and just saying what each of you expect.
Per the Catholic/pastor/officiate issue: Do not get bullied into having a religious wedding if you don’t want one. Manhy parents have unrealistic expectations here, plus a Catholic priest won’t come to a venue to marry a couple, it has to be done in the parish.
Per the bridesmaid issue: This should be a non issue. You ask YOUR nearest and dearest, NOT who your mom thinks you should have. Be firm on that one.
I agree with other posters that you have a pissing match between parents, perhaps some upfront conversation can help!
Post # 15
Oh boy. You have my sympathy. But your mother was right when she said to include the long-time be. You really can’t invite one brother’s be and not the other, regardless of how close you are to them. It just looks like you’re deliberately excluding one and encourages hurt feelings.
I dont think you should discuss the wedding any further with your mother. Just tell her that you and your Fiance need to make a decision together. He needs to be on board with this tactic as well, as she has no problem going around you to get his inout.