Post # 1
After my FI and I found the venue we love, we approached my parents, who seems excited, completely on board, and generously willing to pay for it all. I cautiously accepted their offer, really hoping that it can be a smoothe process. While I understand that they have certain prefereces and may want to invite a few more of their friends, or add certain elements in the wedding that I may have been indifferent about, I really did not expect the entitlement that I am experiencing. In this week alone, I have gotten 4 emails from my mom demanding things that “are very important to her”, (such as serving salmon, insisting on a traditional jewish ceremony, etc…being sure to mention to me in the same sentence that they are being very generous). It felt very manipulative and not the inclusive process that I had envisioned. I also got an email yesterday telling me that from now on all contracts with vendors will be in her name. I had a very strong reaction to this. I normally do not stand up to my mom, but I feel strongly that I need to be at the helm of this, and I need to be able to make the final decisions.
I told my parents that we need to sit down tomorrow and figure out how we’re going to work together. How can we manage disagreements? This is particularly tough when we have different ideas about what paying the wedding truely entitles her to. It’s confusing because I know this can be a grey area. But I really do need to feel like my wedding is my own. When I speak with my mom tomorrow, I want to say that if they are not willing to let me be in charge of my own wedding, than I will pay for it myself, albeit a very scaled down version of it. I wish that setting that boundary would solve my difficulties, but I also believe that paying for my own wedding is a slap in the face to them, who have very specific ideas about how things are done.
I feel stuck, sad, and disillusioned by this whole process, and my wedding is over a year away. That being said, I wanted to get other people’s experience with parents paying for or significantly contributing to the wedding. How have you navigated the need for power and control? What are some things to look out for? What are the areas that feel easier to compromise or you regret compromising on? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Post # 3
@LilyMarie: Fortunately for me, my parents simply wrote a check for about 60% of the total wedding cost. The only things they have requested are–my dad wanted to have hot wings at the reception (which I kindly declined–I will let him have it at our rehearsal bbq) and my mom wanted to invite about 8 additional people than I anticipated. We are less than 2 months out and things are still going quite smoothly.
I will say, accepting money can be a very tricky situation. Ideally, parents would gift the money, no strings attached, but that doesn’t always happen. I am of the belief that if you are going to accept money, then you have to accept the benefits/consequences of the money.
I think having a conversation with them is a good idea. Perhaps discuss what each of you envisions for the wedding and what is really important. Yes, this is your wedding, but someone else is paying….so they have a say in it.
You can go into the conversation with the intent to stand your ground, but be prepared to back up your words with action. If you say you are going to pay for it if they don’t budge, be prepared to, because they may just back out. Obviously I don’t know your parents like you do, but if they are struggling with you over control, they may decide it’s their money, their choice.
Post # 4
FI and I are personally paying for our WHOLE wedding. My mom only paid the deposit for our venue ($500) and my SMIL is paying our officient fee/music fee (bc the church wont allow us to use an Ipod…grr). My SMIL also offered to pay for our flowers, but i’m not sure if I will let her or not.
I let it be VERY clear in the beginning that anyone who wished to contribute could give us money or pay for a deposit. That no one was gonna have more pull than we were and that if they didn’t like how we wanted something and wanted to control it, they could keep their money.
Post # 5
My parents (really Dad, mom hasnt worked since I was born) paid for my wedding in full but requested nothing. I just let them know what things cost and when the payments were due and they transfered money into my bank account accordingly. They don’t even know half the actual details of the wedding — they don’t even live in the same state.
So all that being said — I have no direct experience dealing with anything like what you are. I guess I’d handle it like any other conflict and try to have a respectful non-threatening conversation where I’d use a lot of “I” statements and explain how you are feeling. “I am so, so grateful for the amazing gift you’re giving me, but I feel that my own desires are being disregarded in this process. It’s always been important to me to have my personal touches present in my wedding. I expected the planning process to be more of a joint effort and would like to find a way for that to happen where everyone is happy…” etc.
I’d avoid using absolutes such as “If I can’t be in control than I will just pay myself” because that’s likely to feel combative on their end — like you said, i agree it would come across as a slap in their face. I think I would steer clear of dwelling on specific decisions and ask her if you guys can discuss a new “plan” for how planning will go moving forward, such as you guys will have weekly phone calls or meetings to discuss major decisions together. I would also ask myself what things are important to me and what things I didnt care much about, and use “letting” them have their way as leverage when asking them to let something more important to you go your way, and pick my battles accordingly. Maybe have that conversation WITH your mom — maybe the two of you can look down the list of wedding related decisions and sort of divvy up what’s most important to who and let each party have an equal amount of “wins.” I’d offer to pay for certain aspects myself if that’s they only way to get my way as opposed to cutting them out completely as it may just hurt their feelings.
Unfortunately it seems like it is more commong for people to think “well if they/i’m paying….then their/my way is what happens.” I think the opposite, i think parents contributing the the wedding should be seen as a true gift and thus the bride/groom should make all/most of the decisions. Good luck! At the end of the day, youre marrying your man and that’s what matters 🙂
Post # 6
My parents are paying for 90%+ of ours. There’s been a few situations where mum seems to want to insert herself too much already – but actually more situations where she just doesn’t “get” and thus goes silent on things I’m really keen about, more so than being forceful about suggesting things, which in a way is just as hurtful.
Basically FH and I cant afford to get married on our own and probably wouldn’t have been able to for a number of years. Medical expenses amongst other issues, I don’t really need to go into it. We are incredibly greatful for my parents generosity. Where we can, we’ve tried to reach a compromise. I would have preferred February (summer here), they thought it was too hot, due to clashing events the first few weekends in March we ended up with March 21 (my brother’s birthday of all days). Not quite what I pictured but something we were prepared to move on. There’s a few other things that I haven’t been as prepared to compromise on and it’s just been a case of handling that as diplomatically as possible.
I think the main thing to do is try and figure out the motivation behind your parents requests & see if you can find room to move. With mine, it’s simply that mum and I have different tastes, as well as mum seems to be basing her thoughts on every other wedding they’ve attended recently rather than on what I/we see as our vision for the day! And there’s a lot of harking back to my brother’s wedding five years ago, which is fair enough since mum was practically project manager for that one! (it was held at our house in NZ rather than in Melbourne where my sister-in-law is from & SIL was happy to let my mum do the local organisation).
It’s not easy when you’re trying to make it your day and your parents are making that difficult – same time you don’t want to come across as ungrateful. It can really suck and as my bridesmaid said “it’s not really that generous when there are strings attached” (her parents also payed for a large part of their wedding). Try to focus on communication & compromise and I hope things get better soon!
Post # 7
My parents are paying for my whole wedding. I am the third of three kids getting married and they have footed the bill for everyones wedding (including my brother). my brother ended up having the conversation you suggested (i will pay for my own wedding if you try to insert your opinions) which to me was a bit overboard given my moms side of the story (that all they had done was look for venues…but i dont know both sides of that story). In the end my parents paid for it all, my parents didnt have any say, my mom was hurt and didnt say a word.
my parents are paying for mine, and i am dealing with the competing interests of them, me and my fiancee who grew up much differently than me (he was raised on a farm). I wanted to have a small destination wedding or elope which my fiancee didnt want. He thought his parents wouldnt fly and his brother wouldnt have the money to come.
Our compromise is a small cermeony with higher end brunch afterwards and then a larger more casual party that evening. My mom has definite ideas re: what is proper, etc.
i have had to make some compromises to my “vision.” I envisioned the party as a bbq. It is in a tent at the country club serving tenderloin because “this is the only party most of my moms friends are being invited to.” Speaking of my moms friends they are probably a third of the invitation list. Many of whom i also wanted to include but a few dozen people i wouldnt recognize walking down the street. My mom claims this is their opportunity to entertain…i see it differently so have recently started saying i dont want more people added to the list (because it is big enough) so we compromised with a second set of invitations if we find out that there will be more space.
as for your situation it sounds like your mom may be asserting her opinion more strongly. I cant tell you how to deal with your parents but can tell you when you drop bigger bombs you cant go back. I agree with you totally that the wedding should be yours, your vision, etc…but maybe you could approach it more softly to start and see how that goes Over. Ie…we are so grateful for your generousity, want you to be involved in the planning but in the end this is our wedding. ask your parents what the most important things are that they would like to see and tell them you will do your best to incorporate those but that you are an adult now and want a wedding that is your own…depending on how that goes over you can always pull out the i will pay for it myself card. Even if you are willing and able to pay for it yourself saying and or doing that will change the dynamic between you and your parents (perhaps even forever)/hurt their feelings if they are sensitive so i would just try to feel them out first. It is possible your mom doesnt realize she is being so pushy.
good luck i hope it gets better!
Post # 8
I think that’s what your getting into when you let your parents pay for the wedding, and a big reason why we will pay for EVERYTHING ourselves when our time comes! But at this point theirs not much you can do but abide or at least discuss all the requests or try and back out and pay for the wedding on your own