Post # 1
<font face="Helv" size="2"> Beware, this is a venting post and its long! My Fiance and I are paying for our own wedding. When I say we are paying, I really mean, I am paying. Since we are getting married, FI’s view is "whats yours is mine and whats mines is yours." I’m fine w/ that since that’s what happens when people get married anyway, right? But because my salary is double that of my FIs it just naturally means that all my income goes to wedding expenses because I have more disposable income to spare (you’ll see why I’m bringing this up in a sec.).
Anyhow, back to the issue at hand. Fiance has very traditional grandparents and parents. Although they are not contributing one cent to the wedding, they have been adamant that we do things a certain way because that’s just how its done (we’re Asian). For example, we are having the traditional banquet with approximately 400+ guests, the grandparents will be choosing the menu, they have "approved" because thats what they want, the wording on the invitations which essentially lists their names (which implies that they are paying for our entire wedding), etc. etc. I think you get the point. I feel like they are controlling every aspect of the wedding when its suppose to be all about ME and what I want since I’m the BRIDE! When I voice my frustration with Fiance, he doesn’t understand why I’m raising such a big stink about everything. Since it has been that way for all his cousins, he just sees it as thats how things are done in his family. At one point, I brought up the fact that I was essentially paying for everything so I should be able to have a say in all these details. Fiance got very angry when I said that and said that its his wedding too and that it was OUR money. I probably should not have said that to him but I was angry and was trying to make a point.
I honestly feel like this has become everyone else’s wedding but mine. I know it doesn’t sound like it right now but I love my Fiance very much but I feel like I’m being taken advantage here. I dont understand why his grandparents or parents should have a say in the wedding when they arent even paying! Wedding planning has been a horrendous experience when it should be this fun time for me. I really dont know what to do at this point. On one hand, if this is how inlaws act during wedding planning, I can’t imagine how overbearing they will be in everything else. Also, it ticks me off to no end that I’m paying for someone else’s dream wedding. Now on the otherhand, I wonder if I’m acting too much like an alpha female. There are moments when I just want to call off the entire wedding and then there are other moments where I think I should be happy because I’m getting married and thats what matters in the end. Am I making a bigger deal out of this than it really is? Has anyone else encountered this problem? </font>
Post # 3
Hmm. . . not encountered your problem- My parents are paying and they want a lot of say in menu etc (but they are paying so I can’t really complain).
I think you know the equitable response although it is not best for maintaining good family relations- you pay, it’s your wedding, you get to decide everything.
I don’t understand why parents/grandparents would have any say if they are not paying- of course out of respect you should ask their opinion but you don’t have to take it.
I think what complicates things is that you are Asian (so am I) and from my experience this means a lot of people want a say in things. Stay strong, if you really care put your foot down, if it is something that you think can slide (like chocolate cake v. dark chocolate cake) then let it go and breathe. You day will be perfect in the end and don’t let the stress get to you.
Post # 4
I had the same problem (Asian here and paid for the wedding ourselves). I did not involve the family in any of the planning until it was done. (ie; I would tell them about the venue site after I have paid the deposit). I set ground rules up front about who we want invited and how we want our wedding set up. Initially, this caused a lot of problems and objections. But after a month or two, both families butt out and let me plan my wedding. Stay strong….but since you are having problems with FI’s family, you need to be on the same page with your Fiance in how you want the wedding to turn out. Without him delivering the messages to his family, you may become bridezilla in their eyes.
Post # 5
My parents are actually paying for almost everything – but they have been really great about trying very hard not to be controlling. When my mom has an opinion, it is usually about how much of something – how many flowers (more), how much photography (more), how many cases of wine to be brought in (again, more…) Which is great, because once again, she is paying for it. I have "consulted with" her on most things, which generally means letting her see the final selection and getting her input before actually choosing (STD, invitations, colors, dress). Luckily, we have similar tastes. However, she knows that I really didn’t want the big party, and would have had a much smaller event if Fiance and I had done all the planning and paying – so I think she is afraid that if she gets too pushy I will back out (not on the marriage, just on the wedding!) Which is probably true.
I agree with yach – your Fiance needs to listen to and understand your feelings, and deal with his family. (Just as you would need to do if the problem was your family.) You are right, in that it spells trouble for the future if he is going to essentially take his mom’s side against you.
That said, the money as control thing is not a great idea. It always means trouble, whether its you or him or the parents playing that card. I would explain to him that regardless of who pays, you have some specific ideas that need to be respected. Some things are open for compromise, and maybe you are willing to let his mom decide some things altogether, but an understanding needs to be laid out. The issue should be more about respect for you and your wishes, rather than respect for your checkbook. After all, even if someone else was paying for everything, you would still have your own ideas about what you want, and it would still be your wedding!
All easier said than done, I know, so I wish you the best of luck.
Post # 6
Thanks for all the honest feedback and advice gals!
IndianBride and Yach: I think I went about this the wrong way in the beginning. I wanted to be respectful of my in-laws and their traditions so I started by allowing them to pick the wedding date. It all spun out of control when they decided to pick the venue as well (I wanted a small americanized wedding and they wanted large banquet). From there on, it seemed to take a life of its own. = So dumb of me, I should have did what you did Yach (make my final decision and then ask them what they think about it)!
suzanno: I completely agree. When I made that statement to Fiance, I immediately regretted it. Also, I think because my own parents have only made light suggestions and not demands make my inlaws’ actions really stand out to me. I guess all I can do is do that going forwrad w/ whats left of the details I have control of.
Post # 7
The money thing is always hard! Its soooo easy to think you’re upset about the money when really its the control. I have mostly dated guys who make less money that I do, and that can be a real issue for men. My Fiance makes about the same, and as his ex-wife never worked, he thinks its pretty cool to have a chick with a paycheck. Luckily he is really easygoing about money – I have to work on it.
Its also hard to learn to deal with a whole new set of parents!! It took me long enough to figure out my own family, and the whole in-law thing is new territory. It probably is hard to change plans that have already been made, but for anything not set in stone you can let them know nicely how you feel, and make the changes you can.
Post # 8
We are paying for our entire wedding (out of our own choice, since we wanted control), and had to put up with A LOT of fighting in the beginning, as both sets of our parents had their own idea of what they wanted – my mom went as far as saying "but it’s my wedding too!". But after seeing that we still wanted to include them, but we wanted to have our vision, they have finally backed down. For example, my parents didn’t like the venue we picked, I entertained my mom by looking at a venue that she and my dad liked, but after explaining to them that we clearly had very different tastes and ideas about things, we booked our venue anyway. They can’t do much after something is already done. Fiance parents tried doing the same thing (even joined forces with my parents), but again, we just did things ourselves and share with them after a decision has been made.
I think it is time that you and your Fiance sit down and decide how BOTH of you envision this day. And it isn’t about disrespecting parents, as they are very very imporant in this process, but it is about having a wedding that you are happy and excited about.
So yes, take control of the details left – flowers, your hair, the bouquet, whatever, and make sure it is your dream being fulfilled. At the end of the day, it is your wedding, not theirs!!
Post # 9
Oh hunny, that wasn’t a long post! You should see some of mine…lol. I haven’t been in your situation, but I’m very "alpa-female" when it comes to people telling me what to do. I also tend to go to an extreme to make a point – because in my case I’ve tried the nicer ways and it never works.
This is your wedding not theirs and I would make that very very clear.
Tell them you honor your heritage but feel the wedding has been hijacked by them, and from here on out – unless they foot the bill, you and Fiance will be making all the decisions and that’s final – no exceptions. Before you tell this to them sit down with Fiance and explain what you wanted, and that while you know what he wants too – there need to be compromise and you’re not getting that right now.
And if that doens’t work my next choice would be to put the wedding off, and yes it’s extreme but that’s me. I doubt much any of the girls will agree – but to me if your spend the entire time fighting with family and Fiance about the wedding, the rest of the marriage isn’t off to a good start and you don’t want that. Most importantly you and Fiance have to work together, and right now your divided on a very important topic. If you and he can’t agree and he can’t hear you out – how can you expect to get his family to hear you out?
And remember one thing you don’t HAVE to do anything they want. They say they want something, your answer should be "Thats a great choice however we’ve decided for Our wedding to go with this" and use that phrase for everything until they realize it’s not their wedding.
I know you love him, and I can feel it in your words – but don’t let your love for him force you to give up your dream because you don’t want to cause waves, your obviously very upset about this and that’s not ok. He should be more concerend with that.
Post # 10
We are paying for our own wedding too and have encountered some difficultiies of our own. (Asian here also) My parents also asked for their names to be included in the invite (which like you pointed out, would imply that they are hosting) but we ended up printing "Together with our parents . . " They weren’t happy, but we put our foot down on that one. (But then of course, we had a Chinese insert for all my relatives with their names on it) For the menu, I relinquished that job to my parents since they would know best what is acceptable at a banquet. At some point, I realized that even though it is OUR wedding, our parents also have dreams for what they want to see at our wedding. It’s hard, but I think it’s important to find a balance between what you want and what they want for you. Like my Fiance always tells me, pick your fights. Some things I really want my way, i.e. decor, colors, etc. However, when it came down to traditions, let’s face it, my parents care more about that then I do. . . What IS important though, is that you talk to your Fiance and make sure that you guys are on the same page. Everything is easier when you have somebody backing you up! Goodluck!
Post # 11
teeners: ditto on the mom comment – if i may quote my own mother: "this is not just your wedding!" i was like, um, actually, yes it is!
in all seriousness, if there’s anything i’ve learned during this whole crazy process, it’s that weddings are community events. whether we like it or not.
it sounds like your specific issue is a cultural thing. my honey and i are mexican-american. for us, our culture norms dictated MANY elements that contradicted our preferences: no "kids only" reception, a gigantic guest list, a traditional catholic mass, etc.
basically, we had to pick our battles. our big battle was our destination venue. my parents flipped out, even though they’re only contributing about 15% to our budget. They were horrified that we would even consider holding the wedding away from where the brides family lived.
it took many patient explanations, heated discussions, and all out yelling matches. but in the end, we held firm, and my parents just had to accept it. the key? we stood *together* on our decision.
that’s just my experience for what it’s worth. honestly, i don’t think you’re unreasonable to feel taken advantage of. but if this is a "battle" you want to fight, i don’t think you’re going to be successful unless you and your fi are on the same page…good luck and i hope things work out!
Post # 12
Sweeney, you go girl! Luckily, my mom and I have already had those kinds of shouting matches on other subjects – and she knows that I don’t have a lot of patience for it. She is being so, so, so nice about making sure the wedding details are what I want, because she absolutely knows that I would call it all off and go the courthouse in a minute if it got controversial at all. (I once parked my car by the side of the road in Eureka, CA – walked away and left her sitting in the passenger seat, because she COULD NOT STOP criticizing my driving. I did come back, after a couple of hours, and she has been a model passenger ever since.) I just don’t want the "wedding" badly enough to add any unpleasantness to my life for it.
If I had gotten married 15 years ago, it would have been a different story.
Post # 13
It is really hard to deal with Asian parents and in your case, grandparents. The fiance and I are paying for the wedding ourselves too, but I’m very stubborn so it’s been a little bit easier for me because I’m very adamant about the things that I want. But, we are still making some compromises so that everyone is happy.
Here’s what we’re doing for our invitations: for the ones being sent out to relatives and parents friends, we’re putting their names on the invitation AFTER our names. For the ones we’re sending out to our friends, we’re only putting our names.
For the menu decision, why don’t you "double-check" it one last time to make sure it’s ok, and by double-checking I mean put in what you want, take out what you don’t. This way, the grandparents think they made the decisions and they probably won’t notice much less do anything about it on the day of because they’ll be too busy with the festivities! We’re having an asian banquet too, but there are things I will not eat for humane reasons, like shark fin soup, and I don’t care what anyone else in my family has to say about it.
So if you want, you can stand your ground and say no means no. Or, you can agree with them, let them "make" the decisions and then change them up. YOU are paying, the vendors will listen to you. The person with the money has the power no matter what anyone thinks.
Post # 14
Communication is KEY! Not to sound rude but I know how my Future In-Laws are. They say they don’t want to "step on toes" but once you let them do one thing they think they can have full control. My parents are helping pay for majority of our wedding but they have been so laid back. I’m Asian as well but I’m not going to have our traditional wedding. After about 5mths of being engaged I told them I was going to have an americanized wedding and surprise surprise they were ok with it. My parents are very traditional Asian parents. They actually got tired of going to the same type of weddings that their friends had for their kids so they were pretty excited to do something different (for our family)
My Fiance is the first one in his family to get married so everybody’s pretty excited. The thing I have issues with is when every time one of his family members would give us ideas I start to cringe b/c their ideas’ are from BEFORE I was born. Which is fine if you want a theme wedding I took a lot of time out to sit through everything I want in our wedding (ceremony, reception, cake, songs, photographers, etc.) I mapped it out in my handy dandy notebook that I carry everywhere with me (wedding ideas pop up in the wierdest places.) Every time a family member tried to give me suggestions or tell us what to do I simply say "FI and I thought it out and this is what WE’re going to do…" I don’t say stuff like you’re ideas are dumb or that seems stupid. Just give an answer that states this is it. My answers final. I let them know what style of wedding I’m leaning towards. My Fiance, my parents and I are paying for the wedding anyways so I don’t think it’s rude not to take on GMa’s ideas. I do tell her thank you for the ideas but believe me they are not goin in the book! Asian families can be very rough when it comes to major events like this. You and Fiance need to talk it out and be on the same page. Just choose your words nicely b/c you are talking about his family. Best of luck to you and update us on how it went!
Post # 15
i was so relieved after reading your post. i am getting married in august and i too am paying for the entire wedding myself (ceremony, reception, attire, rings, honeymoon, etc). i am also asian. my FI’s salary is comparable to mine, but his mortgage and monthly bills keep him from saving any of it. i was (and still am sometimes) bothered by this because this is the case – i’d always imagined myself marrying a richer man and I wouldn’t have to worry about finances. but such is life and this is what it has come down to. on an everyday basis, i don’t mind having to pay for the whole thing because at least i can say that its my wedding and no one can say anything to me about it and i can plan it exactly the way i want it to be. occaisionally though i mind his parents having a whole lot to say about it (they want this and they want that and they want to make sure this is done.) both my Fiance and i are the first marriages in both our families (he and i are both the oldest in our families) so i can see why it is such a big deal to his family. however, what bothers me the most is that if it is such a big deal to his parents, i would think it would be appropriate that they offer to pay for some of it (especially sinced their son isn’t contributing a single penny). for example, they wanted to see the menu that we selected for our guests, his father wanted to "review and approve" our invitation, and changed the way his name appeared on the invite 3 times (which i think shoudlnt’ even be on there because he isn’t contributing but i put it on there out of courtesy).
i can definitely feel what you are going through…hang in there! at the end of the day, its your wedding, its not his or his families’ or anyone else’s.
Post # 16
I don’t know about other Asian cultures, but in Chinese culture, the groom’s family should pay for the whole thing. If they’re so traditional, then maybe you should point that out to them. I find it very annoying when people only insist on the traditions that inconvenience other people, not themselves.
More importantly, though, I think you and you fiance need to have a very serious talk about what you both want the wedding to be, and what he can do to help you get at least some of what you want. If he has no opinion and is just letting things go, why is he not letting YOU, the BRIDE, whom he loves, run things? If he has an opinion and this is what HE wants, not just what his family wants, then that might make it easier for you to swallow the cost of it. And if he’s not going to support you against his family, then that’s something to take into account for your future lives together. When you have children, and his parents have very strong ideas about how they should be raised, for example. A lot of people don’t understand that when you get married, you form a new family, and the old habits of just giving in to what your parents want from you doesn’t cut it any more.
Even more importantly, you should have a talk about money. Like a real serious talk about what the money picture is going to look like, and not just a simple "What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine." My fiance and I did a pre-nup, and while I’m not saying you should (well, I think everyone should, but understand why many people don’t want to), the conversations we had during the drafting of the pre-nup were INCREDIBLY useful. I thought we agreed on what the money picture would look like. I thought we were both on board with the idea of the pre-nup. But when it finally got down to it, a LOT of emotions and issues came up that surprised us and we had to deal with. It wasn’t fun, but I am really glad we did it. In the end the pre-nup itself was almost an afterthought; the important thing was the discussion of finances we were forced to have.