In today’s exciting installment of In-Law Issues Revealed, one lady is trying to plan the wedding of her dreams to another lady’s beloved son, and that second lady is so totally not having ANY of it. LOL! High kick, woot!
No but seriously this poor girl.
Now, as always, I am but one person with one perspective and hardly the gospel on these matters. But I think I nailed this one.
Okie doke! Let’s begin.
I’m a huge Knotty Bride fan! I’ve got some crazy going on right now, but first here’s some backstory. My boyfriend and I have been together for a good while now, and he’s got my grandmother’s ring… It’s a matter of when not if we get engaged. Well here’s where things get a little tricky. I got married right out of college and had a huge, no-budget blowout of a wedding my first go round. (Side note: my dad passed away when I was 18, and my mom passed away suddenly literally 5 days after I got engaged when I was 21 – so I was basically spending money in hopes I wouldn’t feel what was glaringly missing from my wedding day.) Now I’m 28, my boyfriend is 34, and he has never been married. We are shooting for a wedding in May of 2015.
I’m a huge wedding enthusiast. I’ve loved weddings since I was small. I’m genuinely interested in wedding trends and love to entertain in general. My boyfriend is from a small town. His parents are definitely well off, but they certainly don’t act like it except that they travel out of the country multiple times a year. Due to the fact that I have no parents, the majority of our wedding budget will be paid by Jonathan and me. That’s totally fine by me, but I’d rather a long engagement (and us start saving now) and a reasonable wedding ($15,000 max budget which seems almost “cheap” by today’s standard).
Well enter future MIL*… She’s literally said that’s such a waste of money. She feels everybody can just bring a covered dish, no need for flowers – we can just use clippings from everybody’s gardens, and here is the best of it all… “So many people take pictures with their phones these days, you don’t need a photographer”! Wait what?! And this is all for between 150-200 people (less than 50 people on my list) not including the fact that we “have to” invite the whole church.
Now I’m all for some DIY projects, and I don’t think I need excessive florals. But having been through the wedding planning process once before, I know that my priorities are photography/videography, live music, food/bar and then as an aside, my dress. (The first time I went dress shopping I had just lost my mom and had taken custody of my then 13 year old sister… Needless to say it was not a fun, pleasant experience, and just about everybody cried the entire way through the process.)
So here’s the problem – my boyf’s mom is very outspoken. She has no qualms telling me that my expectations are unrealistic and we just need to go to the courthouse with someone taking iPhone pictures… I don’t feel like I have a dog in the fight because she is so overbearing, and I obviously don’t have my mom there to balance her out. Again, I’m fine with us paying for the wedding, but her thinking is “how dare I put that sort of financial bourdon on her baby boy”. (Another side note- my boyf owns his own home, has a fabulous job, and I just graduated and will become a teacher very soon. We both have good cars, and one is even paid off.)
So is this a battle worth fighting, or do I just sit back, let her “plan” this train wreck of a party (at this point I wouldn’t even call what she’s describing a wedding or a reception because of course I’ve been told I can’t wear white, or a veil, or a dress with any volume, etc.)?
Sorry this is so long, but if it’s this bad before he even proposes, I don’t want to even see what she’s like when plans are being finalized.
Dear Miss C,
Your FMIL** as you describe her seems rather set in her ways and judgmental about other people’s decisions. It appears she faults people, as she seems to be doing with you, if she doesn’t agree with their choices.
If that’s the case, this will be your future: her acceptance, if you do what she wants… or sadness, frustration and anger if you do what you want and she doesn’t approve of it.
It will extend as it already has to dress choice, and wedding reception plans. And it won’t end there, unless you and your fiance do something about it. It will eventually include following her child rearing rules, should you choose to start a family.
You should be aware of this very possible aspect of your FMIL’s personality – She can’t help her unwanted intrusiveness. She is, like most of us, stuck with her social behavior. If it’s accepting of one’s right to be different from her in one’s choices, then that’s great. If it’s not accepting of one’s right to make one’s own choices – as in your situation – then you’ve got a real problem.
So, here’s what your fiance has to do (because this is more his responsibility than yours):
In a very understanding and loving way, he has to talk to his mother and acknowledge that her choices in her own life have been okay for her. However, her way is not the only way to live a life. He has to explain to her that there are many equally acceptable ways to navigate one’s course through life.
He then has to stress that your choices, although different, are as valid and as proper as hers. Finally, he has to assure her and convince her that your choices are not a challenge to hers, they are just different from hers.
Easy peasy. Right? No. Not right. BUT- necessary if you want a happy life together.
Ok, so let’s discuss:
1. Do you guys have any advice for this girl? I was joking earlier about nailing it; I’m only like 75% sure I didn’t lead her in the wrong direction.
2. Do you suspect the fiance is kinda in agreement with the mom about spending? Or do you think it’s more about not wanting to step on her toes?
3. Have you dealt with this at all in your life, in one way or another? If so-what would you recommend (or is it HOPELESS?)?
4. And that part about the bride not being allowed to wear a white dress; obviously, because she’s been married once before and therefore “is not pure” or some shit. Thoughts on that?
(p.s. Would be cool to hear from some mothers-in-law, too, about anything. Could offer some extra perspective on this.)
(p.p.s. I’d love to have as open a discussion as possible with you guys today, becuse I know it’s a touchy topic, still, in our culture, but I’m betting the more we talk about it super openly and honestly, the LESS compelled we’ll feel to brush it under the rug and suffer in motherfuckin silence.)
*MIL = mother-in-law; **FMIL = future mother-in-law, but you probably already knew that.