Snarky Brides

Up a wall.

I've been lurking on this board and a few others on TK for a couple weeks now and I'm finally crawling out of my hole because I feel like I need both some outside perspective and perhaps a little kick in the ass to get my head on straight (if it's crooked). **This got a lot longer than I thought it would... sorry in advance! Ultimately question is italicized at the bottom if you'd like the TL;DR**

FI and I have been dating for 6 1/2 years, so we've gotten pretty good at this communication thing, thankfully. He proposed about a month ago (is it OK to say "finally!" here? we'd been talking about it for almost 2 years...) and we had picked out the ring together at the end of February, so I knew it was coming and started some low-level planning - mostly venue searching and figuring out a guest list.

I am very fortunate in that my parents are paying for the majority of our wedding. I'm the only daughter and the oldest child, as well as the first to get married among my siblings, so I'm feeling a bit of pressure from my parents. I'm also the first and only child who moved away from home thus far; FI and I live about 2 hours away, in central PA, from my hometown in central NJ and 3 hours from his hometown in coastal NJ. We've lived in our home state, full-time, for about 3 1/2 - 4 years now and we both attended college here before that. 

The issue (sorry, finally getting to it!) is that while my parents have offered us this very generous gift of a mostly paid-for wedding, they have said that they prefer we stay either within 1 hour of my hometown in NJ or, if we aren't happy with anything there, within a half hour of where we live in PA. But the preference is heavily on an NJ wedding. FI has found that there are a lot of wedding venues that are our style (craftsman style, restored factories, old farms) that are smack dab between our house and my parents' house, which is great, but they're 2 hours from my parents and not close to our house.  FI says that the money for the wedding is a gift and gifts do not (or should not) come with strings and that we should be able to have our wedding in any location we would like. We did find one place close to my parents but it is very expensive and while my father would eventually be OK with paying for it, I just feel like it's too much to ask for one day.

My frustration with this is that while yes, I agree that gifts should not come with strings attached, they are contributing to this wedding big-time and therefore have a right to put some restrictions on it. We then have the right to say no thank you and use our own money but we do not have the funds to have a wedding that I'd be happy with. So I'm in the middle trying to compromise by finding somewhere that has some style elements we like, is in NJ and near their house, and keeping FI happy. And FI is getting frustrated with me because he wants us to have the type of wedding we want to have... but in my eyes it doesn't work that way - we can't just stomp our feet and expect them to give in.

I know it's not really a question of who's right or wrong here but more... am I just being block-headed in not listening to FI? I tend to be more of a people pleaser, especially with my parents, while FI is more towards the other end of the spectrum. I view FI and myself as a team and while this thing shouldn't have "sides," I know that we will always be on each others, but this is probably the first time I've felt so caught in the middle between my parents and him.
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Re: Up a wall.

  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm not familiar with your region at all, but Banana has a point here. Whereas I was looking only at money and thinking NJ was too much, the money may be well worth it if it's easier on all the intended guests. 
    ________________________________


    Knottie1452098987OurWildKingdom
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its

    I agree with PPs. If your parents are paying, they definitely get a say.

    I also want to add that you should think about other opinions/wants your parents will have and possibly discuss it with them. Will they demand that your FI wear a purple velvet tux or that your brothers are groomsmen? The venue will probably not be the only opinion they have and you and your fiancé will need to determine what you're willing to compromise on with them, or not and pay for the wedding yourselves.

    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    OurWildKingdomthisismynickname2
  • Gifts shouldn't come with strings, but I think your parents were more than clear with you what the terms of their gift would be - location of the wedding. If you don't feel able to compromise on this then I honestly don't see that you have any alternative but to pay for the wedding you would like out of your own pocket. If FI doesn't like the terms he is surely grown enough to realise that he doesn't have to accept them, but it sounds like he just wants have his cake (free wedding) and eat it.
    This is mostly the perspective I feel like I'm coming from. To be fair, I did leave out that when she found out we were planning to get engaged and I was starting to look at venues, my mother said, "Don't worry so much about price or location." So we started off with less of an expectation on location and then about a week or so ago the request of "within an hour of our house" or "within a half hour of yours" came through.

    lnixon8 said:
    Your parents offering to pay is generous, and it's not like other gifts. It's inappropriate for your FI to choose to spend it against their wishes. (the venue smack in the middle). You and FI are a team but thery're YOUR parents so you know how they will really feel (and this will affect you later on) if you just do whatever FI says.

    You already said you can't afford the wedding you want by yourselves so I would start talking to your parents about the more expensive venue and see how they feel about it. I would give them hard numbers, not "it's a little more than I want you to have to spend." (I know my parents weren't thrilled at paying 1200 for a frickin fancy portable bathroom for one day) but you will tell if they are uncomfortable or are okay with it.
    I feel like I'm playing referee between him and my mom and it really sucks, TBH. I haven't had to do this before because they mostly share similar viewpoints and it's all very frustrating. 

    My mother did come with us to the expensive venue this past weekend and understands why I love it so much. She's not helping much either because she's being a bit wishy washy with "well, it is expensive but maybe we can make it work..." So I told her last night that once we get pricing for off season and the minimum count there, I need to either have a yes, we could do this or no, we can't do this.thisismynickname said:
    Agree with this ^^
    Have you tried showing your parents what you've found yet? Explaining that everything that is close to them is very expensive (more than you want, and more than you want them to pay), and you've found great venues between the two locations? Maybe if they're more involved in the venue search process, they'll see that perhaps their demand isn't totally reasonable. 

    Your FI is wrong- the money comes with strings, period. 
    I have showed a few out-of-parameter venues to my mother... some of which she shot down right away and one or two of which she's not said one way or another. So I could talk to her and my father more and see if there's flexibility.

    banana468 said:
     Quite frankly, your FI is coming off as really selfish here.

    Here's the thing that I think you should mention:  People don't give two hoots about the vibe or feeling of your wedding if it's inconvenient.   A two hour drive and not close to your house means that everyone needs hotels and it's extra work to make happen.   That's also a lot of extra hotel expenses for your guests.   And frankly, they should be important.

    I can tell you that when I remember a wedding, I care far more about how comfortable I was and how I was treated.   If the wedding was far away for me and more costly I'm going to wonder why the couple was putting their vision ahead of the comfort of all their guests.

    IMO, if most of your guests are in NJ, the nice thing to do is have the wedding in NJ.   And your parents are making this request as they are giving you this nice gift.   Are they hosting?   Because in that case, they have a huge say.

    Ask your FI this:   Would he rather have a small wedding financed by the two of you that fits his vision or would he rather drive a bit further and have the wedding that allows you to have all the guests you want?  

    And without further information here I'd also mention that right now, his actions are making him sound like the rear end of a horse.   

    Your wedding is ONE DAY.   That's it.      He may need that reminder. 
    The part that makes the location parameter a bit sticky is that maybe 50-60% of the guests are in NJ and included in that percentage is FI's family, who love to travel and have told us that wherever we decide to have the wedding, they'll be there. The other 40-50% live in parts of PA, New England, Nevada, and Germany... so they'll have to travel no matter what. So while I understand my parents' request/preference of location to a point, I feel like it's mostly coming from their personal comfort bubble... which they have a right to stay within since they're paying but isn't completely logical.

    I've told FI that what I want is a party (with a ceremony beforehand i.e. wedding) with a ton of amazing food (we love farm to table), tons of alcohol (we're all big drinkers), and decent music in a pretty venue (with indoor bathrooms, so most barns are out) that's our style. Now we've had to add location as a major component to that and something has to give... and it's looking like the venue style will be it because of the area we're looking in.


    Also, I know this makes FI sound like a jerk - he's definitely particular with some things but some of this "jerkiness" is coming from a really lovely desire that I get to have the wedding I want and it's a day that fits us as a couple. I love that, it's so nice that he's so involved and has opinions on everything. He's also the type of person who would rather buy something of quality, even if it's more expensive, than go for quantity and this mindset is, I think, getting in the way because our wedding budget doesn't work that way. 

  • I get that your FI wants to make you happy.

    But I think you're going to need to sit down with your parents to really get a budget and a set of terms.   Then make sure that you stick to them.   Your parents can't be wishy washy here because you can't throw a 'sort of' party.   

    I will say that DH and I looked at some venues that we loved.   One was on the water and just gorgeous.   I loved that it looked out at the harbor.  But the parking was atrocious and the timing sucked.   Another venue was expensive and would not let us work with our timeline.

    So we came to another choice that was logistically close and worked with our timeline.   And now nearly 9 years later, what I remember is how much fun I had with my husband and my friends and family.   The venue treated us well and we had an open bar flowing with plenty of food.   That it wasn't on the hall or with marble flooring is completely secondary to the memory of knowing that I got to be married to the man who never stops making me smile.   

    I think it's some perspective to have.   There is a lot of work that goes into making a wedding but it's a day.   Focus on the marriage. 


    OurWildKingdomInLoveInQueensOliveOilsMom
  • Also, I know this makes FI sound like a jerk - he's definitely particular with some things but some of this "jerkiness" is coming from a really lovely desire that I get to have the wedding I want and it's a day that fits us as a couple. I love that, it's so nice that he's so involved and has opinions on everything. He's also the type of person who would rather buy something of quality, even if it's more expensive, than go for quantity and this mindset is, I think, getting in the way because our wedding budget doesn't work that way. 

    This is a totally ok opinion to have...with your own money. If he feels strongly about you having the wedding you want, and that he thinks quality is worth the price, then he (and you) should pay for that wedding. For him to have a "desire that you get to have the wedding you want", but the way he assures that is by doing it on your parents dime, that's where the jerkiness and entitled attitude starts to shine through.

    I'm sure he has good intentions. But to have champagne wishes when you're spending someone else's money isn't really fair to the people funding the operation.
    While all the answers and advice above have been exceptionally helpful, this is basically what I needed to hear - that yes, it's a nice sentiment to hold but not when it's not your money. And I think because he is having such a hard time understanding that this gift does have strings, he doesn't realize how jerky it is to get mad at the money tree for not growing enough money. We've discussed that we're going to be responsible for some parts of the expenses (decor, rings, anything extra that we want in addition to the package we pick) but we just financially can't bridge that budget gap... I think we need to really talk this out again. Hopefully I don't get teary again... we talked some of this out on Monday and I got very emotional trying to explain how frustrated I was feeling. Lordy.

    banana468 said:
    I get that your FI wants to make you happy.

    But I think you're going to need to sit down with your parents to really get a budget and a set of terms.   Then make sure that you stick to them.   Your parents can't be wishy washy here because you can't throw a 'sort of' party.   

    I will say that DH and I looked at some venues that we loved.   One was on the water and just gorgeous.   I loved that it looked out at the harbor.  But the parking was atrocious and the timing sucked.   Another venue was expensive and would not let us work with our timeline.

    So we came to another choice that was logistically close and worked with our timeline.   And now nearly 9 years later, what I remember is how much fun I had with my husband and my friends and family.   The venue treated us well and we had an open bar flowing with plenty of food.   That it wasn't on the hall or with marble flooring is completely secondary to the memory of knowing that I got to be married to the man who never stops making me smile.   

    I think it's some perspective to have.   There is a lot of work that goes into making a wedding but it's a day.   Focus on the marriage. 


    Thank you for this as well. You're right that years after this over, the fact that we got married next to an original foundation wall in a 1700s farmhouse won't matter much; what will matter is how much fun we had at the wedding and that it was the day I got to marry my best friend.

    I'll have to wrap this into the talk with him that I mentioned above; almost every time I've mentioned compromising, he says some version of, "well, if we can't have the wedding we want, then what's the point in spending the money." Which I just realized as I typed it sounds super jerky... It's his frustration and anxiety coming out when he says that type of statement but I obviously need to communicate that 1) we're going to have to compromise and 2) stop saying that particular thing because it makes me want to just give up. 

    I didn't go into this wedding planning thing thinking that everything would be super easy because FI is not the most easy-going person (at all)... but I didn't think it would pinpoint such specific gaps in our communication!
    You totally sound like you get it. And it definitely isn't comfortable - I find most money talk uncomfortable, but it is sometimes necessary. You got this. If you get ready, that's totally ok, it just demonstrates how you feel about it all! 

    Just remind him that this is all about the marriage. The wedding is just one day. It could be the worst day ever (it absolutely WON'T be), but you will still be married. And that's what it's all about!


    lnixon8OurWildKingdomHeffalumpNotATotalBetty
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Your parents HOSTING the wedding is the gift, not the money used to pay for it. The gift is a prepayed wedding X minutes from you or your parents not a cheque to spend as you please. You can are welcome to decline a gift but you can't dictate the giver's terms.

    A strings attached gift is "you can have Gran's vase if you promise to visit her grave every year" not "I'll buy you a car. You can have either a ford or a Toyota". See the difference? (Your situation is the latter and your fi is trying to negotiate a Honda- the answer should be "Ford, Toyota, or nothing")
    This is a great analogy! OP everyone has a "dream" wedding but just about everyone has to give up some part of the dream and often for budgetary reasons. Your FI needs to get over the "if we can't have what we want why bother" attitude.
    OurWildKingdom
  • Your parents HOSTING the wedding is the gift, not the money used to pay for it. The gift is a prepayed wedding X minutes from you or your parents not a cheque to spend as you please. You can are welcome to decline a gift but you can't dictate the giver's terms.

    A strings attached gift is "you can have Gran's vase if you promise to visit her grave every year" not "I'll buy you a car. You can have either a ford or a Toyota". See the difference? (Your situation is the latter and your fi is trying to negotiate a Honda- the answer should be "Ford, Toyota, or nothing")
    This is a very good analogy - and one he'll understand because cars  ;)

    I'm having a little conference call tonight with my parents and us, so I'm hoping that we can hammer out some more details and budget restrictions. Then we'll have our own discussion on the wedding... which will hopefully go OK.
    OurWildKingdom
  • I agree with everything that PPs have said. I would really encourage you to sit down with your FI and list out everything that is of interest to include in your day. I would then sit down with your parents and discuss the money that they are interested in spending (hard amounts ... no wishy-washy allowed) and if there are any items that go with the money (i.e. we will pay for your venue, but it has to be in x location). Then, I think you and FI need to have another discussion looking at what has been proposed and if it is acceptable. If not, you are footing the bill.

    **Something to keep in mind is that no money should be counted on until it is in the bank/bill has been paid by that person.

    OurWildKingdomHeffalumpSP29
  • Sounds like it's working out. Just wanted to say you're not the only one who has had to have uncomfortable conversations about money with parents, FIs, or both. It's not fun, but the more you do it the easier it gets. 
    OurWildKingdomHeffalump
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 2016
    I am surprised that your FI cares where the wedding is held.  My own DH only wanted to get our wedding over with so we could get on with our married life.  (SEX!)  Daughter's DH (who is very much like her Dad) also didn't really care much about wedding details.
    Nice to hear that there are some guys who get involved.
    You are so lucky to have generous parents who will pay for your wedding.  Many brides don't have this.  It isn't like they are asking for you to have a church wedding when you aren't religious.  All they want is a venue that is convenient for them.  No biggie for me!
    From your guests point of view, all they care about is a comfortable place to sit, good food and drink, and a reasonable commute.   They don't care about your decor or how pretty the site looks in your pictures.  Two hours to go to a wedding is nothing.  I flew 2000 miles to go to my own daughter's wedding, which I paid for!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    OurWildKingdom
  • LD1970LD1970 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    My H was completely involved with wedding planning, and we chose our venue together 100% on our own.  He was into all of it except the flowers & dresses.  In fact, it's the reason we paid for our own wedding - my parents were willing to pay, but my mother wanted to shut H out of the planning, so we said thanks but no thanks, and did it on our own.
    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~Mae West
    charlotte989875Knottie1452098987SP29
  • CMGragain said:
    I am surprised that your FI cares where the wedding is held. 
    I think that this may have been something that was true when you were married, but I think now, men do care about things for the wedding. I think historically, the Bride's Mother basically planned or influenced most things about the wedding and the groom just had to show up. Now, it is the couple's wedding and reflects them together. My FI cared about invitations, food, location and several items where he didn't want "x". He has picked out his own suit, and was responsible for deciding the guests for his half of the guest list.
    Knottie1452098987SP29
  • CMGragain said:
    I am surprised that your FI cares where the wedding is held.  My own DH only wanted to get our wedding over with so we could get on with our married life.  (SEX!)  Daughter's DH (who is very much like her Dad) also didn't really care much about wedding details.
    Nice to hear that there are some guys who get involved.
    You are so lucky to have generous parents who will pay for your wedding.  Many brides don't have this.  It isn't like they are asking for you to have a church wedding when you aren't religious.  All they want is a venue that is convenient for them.  No biggie for me!
    From your guests point of view, all they care about is a comfortable place to sit, good food and drink, and a reasonable commute.   They don't care about your decor or how pretty the site looks in your pictures.  Two hours to go to a wedding is nothing.  I flew 2000 miles to go to my own daughter's wedding, which I paid for!
    Did you guys even bother to read my entire post?
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • LD1970LD1970 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    It's just like when men say they're babysitting their kid. No, you're being a parent, you're not hired help when you're watching the kid you helped bring into your family.
    OMG, I HATE that.  Hate.

    And as far as the wedding, ClimbingWife's response reminded me that it was actually H who did all the initial online research for venues, and then called the ones we liked online to set our appointments.
    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~Mae West
    Knottie1452098987climbingsingleJen4948drid
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