Post # 1
I never thought I’d actually be in this position – both thinking about getting married and worried about my mother. Yet here I am. The other day my boyfriend broached the subject with my mother that he and I have been discussing for some time: that we’d like to get engaged soon. She likes him a lot and is completely on board. And in the past she and I have agreed on the notion of wedding, at least as it relates to my friends. Our distate with certain traditions and our belief in the practical usually mirror one another.
So color me surprised when she immedately sandbaged me the next day with talk about wedding planning. Or rather, with her plan for wedding planning. I assumed I could at least wait till the ring was on my finger. But she was already planning on a destination wedding for just the family (she has drama with her immediate family, so this saves her a lot of grief) without any regard for my boyfriend’s siblings and mother. When I mentioned this, she asked me how long I expected to cow-tow to this woman (bf’s mother is…interesting, and she has an interesting relationship with her son.) Regardless, I told my mother that I was simply surprised by the idea of a immediate family only destination wedding, and that the only thinking I’d done on the subject had the wedding in Chicago, where the boyfriend and I lived. Here’s where things get sticky.
The boy and I are almost thirty, and I have three siblings in high school and college still. He and I had always assumed that we’d be paying for the wedding ourselves. But my mother is very sensitive about money. She’s insisitng that if I don’t let her and my father pay for my wedding it will humiliate her, and break my father’s heart. But my parents also have ZERO money to spend on a wedding (they have more important things to worry about anyway and my family had it’s fair share of financial set backs. I’m aware of the limitations and not bitter about it – shit happens). But now they’re essentially telling me that I cannot pay for my own wedding (taking the pressure off them and allowing me to have a wedding that I really want) so I’m stuck with whatever they can afford. I suggested sitting down with me and my boyfriend so would could talk about funds and what we think is a reasonable budget and such, but my mother refused to do that becuase she’s be humiliated (my boyfriend’s mother had money and is a terrible person with it (and also hates me, but that’s a story for another day) so I think she expects to be judged even if she wasn’t already sensitive about the monetary subject). For the record, I would have no problem paying for the wedding and saying that my parents did, but I was shouted down before I even got that far. I honestly don’t know what to do. The excitment I’d been feeling about taking this next step in our relationship has completely vanished. I wasn’t prepared to start nagivating this mindfield before I even had a ring on my finger!
Can anyone offer some sage advice? Anyone ever been in the same shoes?
Post # 2
Definitely a delicate situation and bittersweet to say the least! It’s nice to hear that your parents are on board and already excited about the prospect of a wedding but I can definitely understand your frustrations with the details that followed.
I’m not sure how receptive they would be to this but what if you and your [soon to be] Fiance have two ceremony type events? One small, intimate, just very close friends and choosen family (to help alleviate the tension she has with certain family members) to witness you and your Fiance say vows, etc. Your parents could cover this portion of it (still have it be beautiful without breaking the bank due to smaller size), get to “dictate” their vision in full and then later you could do a much bigger ceremony celebration/reception that you and your Fiance have more control over and can cover financially (this is when you could invite those who aren’t in the immediate inner cirlce).
It’s not the most conventional/traditional but I’ve seen it executed very well by friends and everyone was happy.
Alternatively, and admittedly not the most honest, you could figure out what you want in terms of venue, vendors, details etc. and then discreetly make deposits or payments to them without your parents being made aware. This way they go to put down money or pay for things and it’s already less than it would have been.
But overall I wish you the best of luck!
Post # 3
Ugh. This shouldn’t be about your mother and her feelings, it’s about you and your future husband. I’d just tell her that you appreciate the thought, but this is your life, your wedding, and you can’t be responsible for her feeling humiliated or not. Her fears of being judged are nonsensical and not your problem. You’re an adult, and this is what you want. End of discussion.
It may help to write it in a letter or email so that you don’t get “shouted down”.
It may unfortunately get to a point that for a while you don’t talk money with her, don’t talk planning. Plan and pay for things on your own, and if she can’t handle it without making it all about her, then she doesn’t get to be involved.
Sorry if this sounds harsh, but it’s really selfish of her to be acting this way and she might need a heavy hand. Congratulations on your engagement!!
Post # 4
Especially if she can’t afford it, you are not obligated to take money from her. Even if she insists, she can’t give it to you if you refuse to take it. This will also help you to keep control of the planning process.
Post # 5
What my parents did was give me everything I “needed” for a wedding, and any upgrades we wanted, we paid for. So essentially, they gave me the price of a very basic (though I’m sure would have turned out nice) wedding. However, we upgraded location, food, etc and paid the difference.
You could try to work something like that out. Tell your mom you are grateful she wants to help, and come up with some base “cost” she can afford and then you decide on the (many) upgrades you want. Just be sure to phrase it so she can have the knowledge that she provided a reasonable wedding for you. It may be that psychological achievement she wants.
Post # 6
SImply don’t take the money. It’s not like she’s going to send you to your room without supper, right? You and your fiance are adults. It’s about you two, not her. If you can’t stand up to her in this matter and do it yourself are you really ready to get married?
Post # 7
Wow. Her heart may be in the right place, but she seems more concerned about appearances, and what your wedding means to her, than she is about what you and your SO want and what will make you happy.
She isn’t getting married. She doesn’t get to decide that your Future Mother-In-Law and SO’s siblings shouldn’t be considered. If you can’t reason with her can you at least tell her that the topic is tabled until you are engaged, and then you and your Fiance approach your parents together to present the plan the two of you have decided upon? Good luck, Bee?
Post # 8
Elope. If there’s this much drama before you are even engaged, I can’t imagine… Also, since you guys are adults you can say no thanks. That money is going to come with lots of strings attached.