(Closed) stressed!!

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 4
3081 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Ok, well at this point I think you could likely take matters into your own hands rather than relying on your Fiance, who doesn’t seem to be stepping up to the plate. Presumably you see/talk to Future Mother-In-Law on occassion? How far do your dad and Future Mother-In-Law live from each other? A cup of coffee or a lunch is not that hard to arrange at a middle point. It doesn’t have to be a big “to-do”. And if you are concerned with your dad saying something awkward, explicitly tell him not to. 

Or just firmly tell your dad to back off if that’s what you decide. If you are adult enough to be married, than I think you have the right to step up and handle this yorself. 

Post # 5
9548 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

There are a couple issues here that need to be addressed separately.

1) His parents are under no obligation to contribute to the wedding financially. It’s very expensive to be sick so they may not be able to afford it. And even if they can, they aren’t obliged to. I wouldn’t even ask. And would certainly not want your dad to ask. That would be in very poor taste. And it sounds like you’re going to be better off not having to deal with the strings that come with a financial contribution anyway.

2) Is this cancer terminal? That is really the only reason I can think of to rush getting the families together. I think it is nice if the families can get together (So long as your dad isn’t planning to ask themt o contribute money to the wedding). However, your Future Mother-In-Law totally has the trump card and if she doesn’t have the time and energy that’s the end of it. Let her know that you would like to plan somthing and that you can make plans around whatever would be easiest for her, but that you understand how difficult illness is and you’ll wait until she’s feeling up to it. Cancer and it’s associated treatments affect everyone differently so don’t assume that her course will be like your father’s. Honestly, if it were me, I’d be asking myself what I could do to help her out through this time.

It sounds like you’re just rying to make everyone happy and I can’t totally understand that. But I think your dad is being a bit unreasonable. Maybe just encourage him to ease up and think of things from her point of view.

Post # 8
1668 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Carolinejane:  Wow..your dad needs to calm down.  Sure it would be nice for the parents to meet, but it’s not like they HAVE to meet in order for you to get married.  When somebody has cancer (terminal or not) most plans are thrown out the window.  Also, it sounds like your dad is a stickler for etiquette …if that’s right, why would he ask your Future In-Laws about how much they are going to contribute? Isn’t it traditional etiquette for the bride’s parents to pay for the whole shebang?

Post # 10
204 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@Sheepshead:  LMAO!


@Carolinejane:  Don’t take this the wrong way, please, but are you totally set on having a wedding?   I totally get it if you feel like you want/need the wedding, but in your circumstances it seems like a wedding might be way more stressful than it is worth.  Have you considered eloping?

Post # 11
9548 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Sheepshead:  HAHAHAHAHA

Sorry – I didn’t see that you were from the UK – glad that health care and unemployment costs aren’t an issue!

Yeah, I have to agree, your dad can’t get it both ways. His contribution should be a gift and has absolutely nothing to do with any contribution you may or may not get from the Future In-Laws. I say plan the wedding that YOU want. Get a firm number from your dad of what he is going to contribute (either by dollar amount or by specific items that he will pay for) and then figure out how much you and fiance can contribute and set your budget from there. And if the Future In-Laws slip some money to your fiance all the better – you can upgrade some stuff at that time.

And he’s just going to have to get over this whole thing that they shoudl be initiating the meeting. I’ve never even heard of that tradition. Just tell him to get over it and move on .

Post # 12
1696 posts
Bumble bee

@Carolinejane: As you no doubt know, your dad is quite right that traditional proper manners call for the groom’s parents to call on the bride’s parents to initiate the acquaintanceship, with the formal reason that they are letting her parents know how happy they are to receive her into the family. But proper etiquette  also requires that people who are better-bred, who perhaps hold to a higher standard of etiquette, must adapt to those who do not know better. Within the first few days of your future Mother-In-Law’s failure to make their acquaintance, a gracious alternative would have been for your parents to initiate contact themselves. Etiquette is just as firm that stubborn judgementalism is in bad form, as it is firm that the groom’s parents should have made the first move.

Now with her illness as an excuse for not taking the initiative — etiquette accepts that excuse, by the way — and with six months under the bridge, your parents have all the more reason to take the first steps, and simply invite you and your fiance and his parents over to tea or dinner. That can easily be done before “a few weeks” have passed and the chemo drugs destroy her taste and appetite.

The next planning step is for whomever will be the hostess at your reception — has your mother offered to give the reception? Or are you going to be the hostess there yourself? — to begin compiling the guest list. This is a second opportunity to engage your future mother in law. She should be invited to bring over her family address book, and you spend a happy couple of hours copying out the various full names and addresses, and making notes of how they are related, of all the people who have been significant in your fiance’s life to date. In the end, you may not invite everyone. But you get the full address list and relationships, so that later when you make the choice of inviting them or not you can actually follow through, and regardless so that you can send them Christmas Cards if you find yourself overflowing with Christmas cheer some year down the road. The hostess should propose this, and follow through on it, in a confident and secure manner. Show leadership, so that your future mother in law doesn’t have the opportunity to put a downer on things.

Your mother is also quite right, that your in-laws are not entitled to an opinion about the reception venue. But the reception hostess can certainly offer the privilege of consulting over such things, and for that manner over the catering and decorations too: it is the kind of feminine planning that some women love to share and compare. Such conversations are what friends are for. This has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with friendship. Which makes me wonder why, if she wanted to be engaged in this way, your mother-in-law has been so unfriendly to your parents.

What makes all the talk about etiquette and friendly consultation seem so strange, is the nasty money-talk. Whether it is “yes well she’s not paying is she” comments or “what a miser!” comments, they are rather vulgar, aren’t they? And your dad is, forgive me, a llittle silly to claim that “it is more traditional now to split things three ways.” It is more common, true, but “tradition” means “A long-established custom or belief that has been passed from generation to generation.” You can follow tradition, or you can adapt and choose a more modern praxis that is NOT tradition. What you cannot do, is pick a modern practise that works for you and then expect other people to make the same choice.

What etiquette actually says, is that no-one needs to pay for anything. Have the banns read, go to the parish church at the convenience of the vicar, have him consecrate the marriage with the verger and church secretary as witnesses, and you are done. Any social celebrating surrounding that act is an option of some lady who offers of her own free will to provide hospitality to guests in celebration of the marriage. Your mother has the right to offer first. If she doesn’t offer, your other kinswomen may offer — do you have a rich maiden auntie who loves playing hostess? Or you can play hostess yourself. Anyone who likes may support the hostess’s efforts financially, but polite well-bred people keep their financial transactions strictly private and out of the social domain.

You cannot force your dad to be gracious or your fiance’s mother to be friendly, and your dad cannot force anyone to split costs. You can only control yourself. I recommend you decide what kind of wedding you want that you can do without relying on others, and make it clear if they offer to get involved that you are accepting the offer ONLY on the condition that they stop behaving unkindly to one another and to you. And then (of course) be an absolute model of gracious behaviour yourself, so they have someone to imitate.


Post # 13
1141 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Honestly it does not sound like either sets of parents are in a position to help with a wedding. Maybe it would be wise to wait until you can pay for it yourself. The upside of that is that all the decisions are yours. Plus all that etiquette stuff has gone by the wayside. Who says one person has to instigate a meeting, sounds kind of silly and petty really!

Post # 14
10601 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

You and your Fiance could host an event so your parents could meet each other.  It might make it easier, as your Fiance could talk to his mom before you make concrete plans to see the timing that would work best for her.

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