Etiquette

Trouble with Mother-in-Law and her "ettiquette"...help?

Hopefully I posted this in the right spot...this is a tad long so I apologise. Just wanted to give some back story ^_^;

I'm getting married in April and ever since my fiance and I started planning the wedding, his mother has been a bit...hard to deal with...and that's putting it a bit lightly.
The first problem we had with her was the food tasting at the place we are holding the reception. I had gone to talk to her and my mother privately about the wedding and his mother responded to me with "It's your and Justin's wedding; it's whatever you both want." The second she was home she blasted my fiance about how we shouldn't have picked the reception, we should've looked longer; we shouldn't have paid for the deposit ourselves, etc. Since then she has been nice to me when I am around but talk about me behind my back to my fiance. I am nothing but nice and polite to her, so I don't understand why she acts this way when I am not around. The amount of people in the wedding party was too big to her so she was telling us my fiance's older sister didn't want to be in the wedding anymore (which turned out to not be true), my fiance's youngest cousin MUST come to the wedding, even though we told both sets of parents we prefer an adults only wedding and she will be the only child there; she's extremely unhappy with us renting an apartment instead of buying a house (we felt we just can't afford a home right now and would like to rent for a year or so), she told my fiance she won't visit us because we live closer to my house (where my fiance asked to look) and it's too far for her to drive..she's 20 minutes away. She also isn't happy that I'm not having a traditional shower for myself. It seems that anything we do that is not what SHE wants, she does not like and tries her absolute hardest to change our minds, or at least try to manipulate her son ito agreeing with her. We've already had many fights over things that were okay between us then not okay the next day after he had talked to his mother. 

Our recent issue is the guest list. I would like it to be around at the most 100 people. I wanted a smallish wedding with very close friends and family. I emailed my mother-in-law a list of family on their side that I did not have addresses her, asking for them so I can start addressing the envelopes to my invitiation. She proceeded to freak out on both of us, saying she needs to see the entire guest list to make sure she added everyone. Now, we had already at this point asked her for a list of people to invite, and she gave me one. The email I got back was all their addresses....along with extra people I never even heard of who AREN'T on the list. When we confronted her once on the matter, her response was "It's protocal and we have been to their kids' weddings, so we are obligated."

All of us (myself, my fiance, his parents and my parents) are paying for the wedding, so they don't get the entire final say. But I feel that, just because THEY feel obligated, does not mean that WE need to feel that as well. I understand some friends and family I don't know I need to invite, but everyone??

I know I need to put my foot down somewhere but my fiance doesn't always back me up when we have to confront his parents. Do I narrow down the guest list myself and let them find out when they're sent out? Do I confront them with or without my fiance and look like a b**** to them? (because I'm sure I will) His mother is very hard to talk to because she can be two-faced. It's mean to say, but my fiance has said the same thing about her too.

Has anyone else had similar problems with their in-laws or know how to deal with the situation without looking like the bad guy?

Re: Trouble with Mother-in-Law and her "ettiquette"...help?

  • "I know I need to put my foot down somewhere but my fiance doesn't always back me up when we have to confront his parents."

    I would try to remember that this is not just a wedding-planning issue. I would have a converation with your fiance about it... because the issue will come up again. Imagine what comments she may make about how you decide to raise your children (if you have them) or other life choices you make.

    "Do I narrow down the guest list myself and let them find out when they're sent out?"
    No, that would cause more drama.

    If she truly will not listen to you, you may want to decline the money she is contributing to the wedding.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • In Response to Trouble with Mother-in-Law and her "ettiquette"...help?:
    Hopefully I posted this in the right spot...this is a tad long so I apologise. Just wanted to give some back story ^_^; I'm getting married in April and ever since my fiance and I started planning the wedding, his mother has been a bit...hard to deal with...and that's putting it a bit lightly. The first problem we had with her was the food tasting at the place we are holding the reception. I had gone to talk to her and my mother privately about the wedding and his mother responded to me with "It's your and Justin's wedding; it's whatever you both want." The second she was home she blasted my fiance about how we shouldn't have picked the reception, we should've looked longer; we shouldn't have paid for the deposit ourselves, etc. Since then she has been nice to me when I am around but talk about me behind my back to my fiance. I am nothing but nice and polite to her, so I don't understand why she acts this way when I am not around. The amount of people in the wedding party was too big to her so she was telling us my fiance's older sister didn't want to be in the wedding anymore (which turned out to not be true), my fiance's youngest cousin MUST come to the wedding, even though we told both sets of parents we prefer an adults only wedding and she will be the only child there; she's extremely unhappy with us renting an apartment instead of buying a house (we felt we just can't afford a home right now and would like to rent for a year or so), she told my fiance she won't visit us because we live closer to my house (where my fiance asked to look) and it's too far for her to drive..she's 20 minutes away. She also isn't happy that I'm not having a traditional shower for myself. It seems that anything we do that is not what SHE wants, she does not like and tries her absolute hardest to change our minds, or at least try to manipulate her son ito agreeing with her. We've already had many fights over things that were okay between us then not okay the next day after he had talked to his mother.  Our recent issue is the guest list. I would like it to be around at the most 100 people. I wanted a smallish wedding with very close friends and family. I emailed my mother-in-law a list of family on their side that I did not have addresses her, asking for them so I can start addressing the envelopes to my invitiation. She proceeded to freak out on both of us, saying she needs to see the entire guest list to make sure she added everyone. Now, we had already at this point asked her for a list of people to invite, and she gave me one. The email I got back was all their addresses....along with extra people I never even heard of who AREN'T on the list. When we confronted her once on the matter, her response was "It's protocal and we have been to their kids' weddings, so we are obligated." All of us (myself, my fiance, his parents and my parents) are paying for the wedding, so they don't get the entire final say. But I feel that, just because THEY feel obligated, does not mean that WE need to feel that as well. I understand some friends and family I don't know I need to invite, but everyone?? I know I need to put my foot down somewhere but my fiance doesn't always back me up when we have to confront his parents. Do I narrow down the guest list myself and let them find out when they're sent out? Do I confront them with or without my fiance and look like a b**** to them? (because I'm sure I will) His mother is very hard to talk to because she can be two-faced. It's mean to say, but my fiance has said the same thing about her too. Has anyone else had similar problems with their in-laws or know how to deal with the situation without looking like the bad guy?
    Posted by PintSized
    Red flag honey.

    You and your FI have GOT to be on the same page,and he has GOT to back you up, no matter what. Even if you're the one speaking and all he's doing in his nodding his head.
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  • Your FI needs to handle his mother. You are about to be his wife. From this point on, you two need to be a united front, but he deals with any issues with his family. Currently you are having issues with her, he gets to tell her no.

    If he can't tell her no, then honestly I wouldn't marry him. If you go ahead and marry him, you will have to deal with his picking his mother over you for the rest of your life. As not getting involved means he isn't supporting you and thus is letting mom win. If you can handle being second fiddle forever, go ahead - I couldn't.

    Planning Bio
    Married 9/15/11

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    *This is Not Legal Advice*
  • In Response to Trouble with Mother-in-Law and her "ettiquette"...help?:
     We've already had many fights over things that were okay between us then not okay the next day after he had talked to his mother.  

     know I need to put my foot down somewhere but my fiance doesn't always back me up when we have to confront his parents. 
    Posted by PintSized
    This isn't a problem that is going to go away after the wedding.  Unless you want this to continue throughout you marriage, something needs to be done.  He needs to know that you guys are a team, and you need to put up a united front.  He also shouldn't stand for his mother to talk about you behind your back.

    It sounds like FI needs to grow a pair. Then resume your plans.
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  • I totally sympathize with you! My FMIL is a nightmare! My FMIL always tells me how fabulous her other DIL is and how she loved helping plan her wedding. I asked her if she wanted to help with mine and she said no but still tells me how it was so great of her and her DIL to get to bond through the experience of planning her wedding. What makes it even worse is my parents are going through a divorce right now so I haven't had much of their support due to their problems. 

    One thing I can tell you is kill her with kindness. I am always very nice and polite to the FMIL, it literally gets me no where but at least I know that I am being the bigger person about it.Also, have your fiance deal with his family. He should deal with the guest list and any logistics with them. Right now they are only his family so he needs to be the one that handles that stuff. He also needs to back you up. My fiance and I now talk about every wedding aspect and he presents it to his family as a decision he has made.

    My FMIL has a tendency to say some unsavory things about me as well, my fiance once told me some things she said and I told him that by him telling me he is getting in the middle of it. I told him he should tell her that she can either address her issues with me directly or keep her mouth shut. I also told him if she says things about me he should not tell me because it only hurts my feelings and creates problems with he and I and further makes me hate her even more. He addressed her dislike of me and told her that it makes him uncomfortable that she puts him in that position and told his mother to stop saying negative things about me. I am not sure if she says bad things about me still but at least I don't know about them. 

    With my FMIL I actually no longer talk about the wedding with her. If she asks about updates and whatnot, I tell her there are no updates. The fewer details she has about the wedding and the less amount of time I have to interact with her the better. I picked the wedding venue my FMIL wanted and then she complained that I picked that venue even though when we ranked them she wanted that one and threw a fit about it because originally I was going to pick another one.

    I think it would be smart to sit down with your fiance and tell him he needs to handle some of the wedding aspects and back you about about your decisions because you both are marrying each other, not FMIL!

    When we made our guest list we sat down and told our parents, we have split the guest list 50/50. I allocated  my parents a certain amount of people to invite and he allocated his parents a certain amount. My FMIL complained and even sent me emails about not getting to invite everyone she wanted and I referred her back to her son and said I have nothing to do with his 50% of the guest list, and asked her to talk to him about it. (She never did, because she knows he will not give her more slots, she was just trying to create more problems).
  • Ditto.  If FI won't back you up now, he never will.

    As for the etiquette question, weddings are not tit for tat.  An invite to one doesn't have to mean a reciprocal invite.  But, if she is paying, she gets some influence.  If you and FI are willing to compromise, consider figuring out the cost of the additions, (or as many of them as you are willing to allow) and ask if she is willing to increase her budget.

    "FMIL, the budget we previously discussed will cover a reception for # of your family guests, as we had planned.  We can add an extra table that seats # for $, plus $ a head for dinner.  Are you able to increase your budget by the amount needed to cover these extra guests?"

    Be aware that if she really wants to put her foot down, she can yank her part of the funding entirely.  Plan accordingly.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Thanks for the help! I appreciate it immensely from everyone too!

    I really do need him to help back me up. He doesn't seem to like confrontation and just doesn't speak up when I need him to, so a handful of things we originally said no to, we said yes because he didn't help.

    I do plan on telling him not to tell me everything she says and to defend me when I'm not around.

  • In Response to Re: Trouble with Mother-in-Law and her "ettiquette"...help?:
    Thanks for the help! I appreciate it immensely from everyone too! I really do need him to help back me up. He doesn't seem to like confrontation and just doesn't speak up when I need him to, so a handful of things we originally said no to, we said yes because he didn't help. I do plan on telling him not to tell me everything she says and to defend me when I'm not around.
    Posted by PintSized
    I understand. My husband doesn't like confrontation with his two-faced mother either. If there's any confrontation happening with her, it's because I finally, after almost two years of marriage, feel comfortable getting into it with her. But after a super hard first year of marriage with a husband who DIDN'T back me up, it really makes a world of difference that he does now. She keeps her mouth in check, and I hope that's what will happen with you too.
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  • This is mostly just in agreement with PPs, but I just wanted to say that one spouse's unwillingness to back up the other against out-of-control parents is a ticket to a failed marriage.  My FI and I are really, really sensitive to it, because it broke up my FI's parents' marriage.  "Not taking sides" between your parents and your wife IS taking a side- it's taking your parents' side.

    Especially if this is something that's an issue in other areas besides wedding planning, this is something that it's definitely worth talking to a premarital counselor about.

  • In Response to Re: Trouble with Mother-in-Law and her "ettiquette"...help?:
    Thanks for the help! I appreciate it immensely from everyone too! I really do need him to help back me up. He doesn't seem to like confrontation and just doesn't speak up when I need him to, so a handful of things we originally said no to, we said yes because he didn't help. I do plan on telling him not to tell me everything she says and to defend me when I'm not around.
    Posted by PintSized
    And what are you going to do when he continues to pick mommy over you? Wedding rings don't come with a set of balls, you know. Are you really okay with coming in last for the rest of your life? Because that's what you're signing up for.

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