Wedding Woes

It sounds like she's only going to the ceremony?

Dear Prudence,

One of my oldest friends, “John,” is getting married soon, and I’m returning to my hometown to act as a bridesmaid. My mother asked me where the wedding was being held, and I thought nothing of it until she told me that she plans on driving to the church, 40 minutes away from her home, to stand outside and possibly “find a seat in the back” to watch the wedding! I told her kindly but firmly that it was a private event and that she hadn’t been invited. She insisted that churches are public spaces, and since she wasn’t costing them any money, she was allowed to be there. If she were friendly with John’s family it might be different, but she hardly knows them. In the decade since I’ve moved away, she has only seen or spoken to John once.

What makes it worse is that over the years, almost without fail, she’s insulted John’s family whenever I’ve brought him up. She’ll gossip about how “obesity runs in his family,” and will make disparaging remarks about their appearances. She’s always been obsessed with looks, equating weight with worth, and the last thing I want on the happiest day of my friend’s life is to have this smug near-stranger silently judging him and his loved ones. How do I put a stop to this nonsense and get her to stay at home?

—Wedding-Crashing Mother

Re: It sounds like she's only going to the ceremony?

  • Technically, the mom is correct.  But I would try to dissuade her by being blunt that:

    • I don't want her there.
    • I won't have any time to talk to or spend with her because I am there for John.
    • She barely knows John.  There's no reason for her to go.  And it would be weird and possibly unwelcome for her to be there.

    If she shows up anyway, I'd say "hi/bye" and then just ignore her like I said I would.

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  • VarunaTTVarunaTT
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    I think it's weird to just show up to a ceremony that I wasn't invited to, but technically the mother is right.  I would be very clear with my mother that I would be busy and wouldn't be available to sit with her or anything else at the ceremony.

    And it sounds like mom is a gossip and just wants material for it.  I'd also start sticking up for John or shutting Mom down about John in general.
    ShesSoColdOliveOilsMom
  • eileenrobeileenrob
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    If that’s how LW’s mom wants to spend her time, go ahead. The second paragraph info does makes it strange that she wants to go, but she’s technically allowed to.  If I were LW I’d just remind her I won’t have time for her day of.
    charlotte989875
  • Mom probably just wants to see her daughter in the wedding party/dress (especially if this is a first time BM/wedding). It's weird, but whatever. 

    Be clear that you won't he able to hang out with her, and start shutting her down when she puts down your friends. 
    MesmrEweeileenrob
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs
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    yeah, it's extremely weird that mom wants to go.  I can't imagine my own mother, or anyone I know actually, to take it upon themselves to go to a wedding they're not invited to!

  • banana468banana468
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    Meh - we had a church lady attend our ceremony.   I don't think it's all that odd.

    Only odd if mom speaks out of turn.   LW should tell mom that she's allowed to attend the ceremony but please know that she won't be able to spend time with her and she'll be expected to go home (or really - won't be welcome to the other events) that come after. 
    MesmrEweOliveOilsMom
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe
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    Yep - technically the Mom is correct especially if it's Catholic!  

    This is also the reason that the priest doing our marriage prep went over with us things about my purse/car keys/valuables, etc. were with someone during the ceremony instead of being left in the bridal room because the ceremony is a public event.  (and yes, we did have a few "walk-ins" of church lady/gentlemen types attend...)
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    short+sassy
  • ernursejernursej
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    I've been in more weddings than I can count and my parents have come to every church wedding because they love weddings and to see me all dressed up. It never once seemed weird to me but they are just coming in at the last moment to the very back of the church and leave shortly after. They never make a fuss. I think it is actually sweet.

    I would downplay and remind her that you won't be able to engage. I would also bring up that she usually doesn't talk fondly of them and ask why she is going.

    charlotte989875STARMOON44OliveOilsMom
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    I would say something like "Mom, I don't get why you want to be there. You don't speak warmly of John, I'm not going to be able to spend much time with you, and you don't know any of the other invited guests. So what exactly is the point of your attending?"
    ernursejOliveOilsMom
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    edited May 14
    ernursej said:

    I've been in more weddings than I can count and my parents have come to every church wedding because they love weddings and to see me all dressed up. It never once seemed weird to me but they are just coming in at the last moment to the very back of the church and leave shortly after. They never make a fuss. I think it is actually sweet.

    I would downplay and remind her that you won't be able to engage. I would also bring up that she usually doesn't talk fondly of them and ask why she is going.

    100%  DD was married in our hometown in the local church.  A few moms of her BM's attended the Mass.  These moms watched all the girls grow up.  I have also attended the church service of friends of DD and DS.  These are long term childhood friends of my children.  I share in their joy, and quietly offer prayers for their new lives together. 

    I do NOT do this if they are having a ceremony in a private venue.

    In LW's case, however, the motive seems insincere.  I agree with @charlotte989875.
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe
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    MobKaz said:
    ernursej said:

    I've been in more weddings than I can count and my parents have come to every church wedding because they love weddings and to see me all dressed up. It never once seemed weird to me but they are just coming in at the last moment to the very back of the church and leave shortly after. They never make a fuss. I think it is actually sweet.

    I would downplay and remind her that you won't be able to engage. I would also bring up that she usually doesn't talk fondly of them and ask why she is going.

    100%  DD was married in our hometown in the local church.  A few moms of her BM's attended the Mass.  These moms watched all the girls grow up.  I have also attended the church service of friends of DD and DS.  These are long term childhood friends of my children.  I share in their joy, and quietly offer prayers for their new lives together. 

    I do NOT do this if they are having a ceremony in a public venue.

    In LW's case, however, the motive seems insincere.  I agree with @charlotte989875.
    Any time my brothers were in someone else's wedding, my parents were invited  as well (not the whole family)...  We also invited all of the parents of our WP and didn't think anything about it...
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