Wedding Etiquette Forum

Frustrating Mother in Law

I have, as usual, rather frustrating FILs. When FH and I first got engaged, they congratulated us, but then his mother called to say they couldn't come to our engagement do because she couldn't afford a new dress. They are not wealthy, so we didn't expect any monetary help from them. My parents are footing the bill for the reception. When we created the guest list for the wedding (we very very carefully set our parameters for who to invite- cousins only got invited if we exchange Christmas gifts; no ring no bring; etc), they were really cruel about who we invited, throwing things out like "well I bet SHE invited all of her cousins" or "of course HER sister gets to bring her boyfriend" (neither of which is true). This is the only input that they have given as far as anything in the wedding goes. They haven't offered to help stuffing envelopes, or asked if there was anything they could do. I wasn't terribly shocked by this, just based on their personalities, but they have now invited people to the wedding shower that my sisters are hosting who aren't invited to the wedding (and didn't ask my sisters). She also told my sisters that many people can't make that date, so they should change it. 

After this whole debacle, FH told me that the reason she has been difficult is because she feels uninvolved. While I can understand where she's coming from (my mother is my best friend along with the host of the wedding, so we have done basically everything as either just us two or with my parents). I'm torn here, because I want to do the right thing by my fiance, but after being so rude to my sisters and to us, I don't really want to involve her. I would rather her just stay out of things. I feel like she has waited for us to get everything done, and then whined that she didn't get to help (when she didn't really want to to begin with). 
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Re: Frustrating Mother in Law

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Maybe stop excluding her because poor and invite family in circles based on relationships not gifts exchanged?

    based on this post I can see how her feelings would be hurt
    Neither of these was in the OP's post.

    They who pay get a say. And the OP and her FI had no right to expect his parents to pay for any part of the wedding. Since the FILs aren't paying, while allowing them to invite some friends would have been reasonable, the FMIL had no right to expect a family reunion paid for by others and needs to get over that. Presumably the people she feels closest to DID make the guest list, so it's probably not as if she won't know anyone there at all.

    Not inviting relatives one does not feel close to is not unreasonable (but no ring no bring is extremely rude, OP, so cut that out and invite all guests in relationships with their SOs). If one doesn't feel close to relatives that one doesn't exchange holiday greetings with, it makes sense that they won't be invited to the wedding.


    Casadenasimplylaurel
  • I have, as usual, rather frustrating FILs. When FH and I first got engaged, they congratulated us, but then his mother called to say they couldn't come to our engagement do because she couldn't afford a new dress.
    Why does she need a new dress to come to your engagement celebration? Maybe I am inferring too much, but it sounds like you might have told her she needed to buy a new dress for the occasion. If so, that is rude. 

    They are not wealthy, so we didn't expect any monetary help from them.
    Who cares how much money they have? You shouldn't expect any monetary help from anyone. Ever. 

    My parents are footing the bill for the reception. When we created the guest list for the wedding (we very very carefully set our parameters for who to invite- cousins only got invited if we exchange Christmas gifts; no ring no bring; etc), they were really cruel about who we invited, throwing things out like "well I bet SHE invited all of her cousins" or "of course HER sister gets to bring her boyfriend" (neither of which is true).
    a) This is a horrid way to create a guest list. Only inviting people who buy you gifts at Christmas? WTF?
    b) No Ring No Bring is extremely rude. As PPs have previously stated, anyone in a relationship - regardless of length of time or level of commitment - should be invited WITH their SO. You are asking them to honor your relationship, so you must honor theirs. It is not up to you to decide how serious they are.

    This is the only input that they have given as far as anything in the wedding goes. They haven't offered to help stuffing envelopes, or asked if there was anything they could do.
    They don't have to help you do anything. This is your wedding. If you want something done, you do it. If someone is generous enough to offer to help, you can graciously accept. But these are your FH's family - soon to be your family. They are not unpaid labor.

    I wasn't terribly shocked by this, just based on their personalities, but they have now invited people to the wedding shower that my sisters are hosting who aren't invited to the wedding (and didn't ask my sisters). She also told my sisters that many people can't make that date, so they should change it. 
    Well this is inappropriate. Anyone invited to a pre-wedding event must be invited to the wedding. And it's not polite for them to ask your sister, who is hosting, to change the date.

    After this whole debacle, FH told me that the reason she has been difficult is because she feels uninvolved. While I can understand where she's coming from (my mother is my best friend along with the host of the wedding, so we have done basically everything as either just us two or with my parents). I'm torn here, because I want to do the right thing by my fiance, but after being so rude to my sisters and to us, I don't really want to involve her. I would rather her just stay out of things. I feel like she has waited for us to get everything done, and then whined that she didn't get to help (when she didn't really want to to begin with). 
    OP, there are several things you have done that are extremely rude (addressed above in bold). 
    InLoveInQueensei34
  • APDSS22APDSS22 O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A is OK member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I agree with PPs, but I think the OP might have been suggesting that she is inviting cousins that she is closer to and has a relationship with (they exchange gifts as a part of that relationship). Rather than she invited those cousins as payback for gifts given.

    I can't imagine the rude mindset where someone invites people to an event hosted by another person without clearing it with the hosts, but OP is definitely not squeaky clean either if she's purposely not inviting significant others due to an arbitrary qualification.
    OliveOilsMomcowgirl8238SP29huskypuppy14
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    Ironring said:
    I'm going to be devils advocate here for a second and I could completely be wrong.....but I took the "only inviting cousins you exchange Christmas presents with" a completely different (non rude) way. To me, it meant that she likely has a lot of cousins, some of them are close, close enough even that they stay in touch to the point of sharing Christmas presents. The rest of the cousins they aren't close to at all and rarely interact with. So maybe I just read it wrong, but I read that sentence to more mean "we are only inviting cousins we are close to" which I don't see anything wrong with. 

    But theres a bunch of other stuff in your OP and I understand why your FMIL is hurt. Invite SO of all guests, ask your FMIL if she would like to be involved, don't assume she wants to stuff envelopes or do any other sort of labour or be annoyed if she doesnt.
    That's exactly how I took it. 
  • kylexokylexo Finger Lakes, NY member
    500 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    how can you expect someone to get the warm and fuzzies about celebrating your love if you're excluding theirs for being unmarried or not engaged? that's rude as hell. are you telling me that if i applied your rules to my own wedding, i shouldn't have invited my grandmother's boyfriend; even though they've been together for over 25 years, but are unmarried? respect peoples relationships. sheesh.
    PrettyGirlLostOliveOilsMomcowgirl8238
  • I appreciate all the above responses- as far as not inviting cousins we don't have a relationship with, we have about 65 cousins between the two of us, and only currently have relationships with about 15. The rest live far away, or we've never met because their parents and our parents don't have relationships (these people are mostly on his side- I have 12 cousins and we chose to invite 10). No ring no bring was our decision because we have probably 20 friends in relationships that had just started when we sent invites. My sister's boyfriend was only in her life for a few weeks, my bridesmaid had a boyfriend who was also short lived. I don't think it's rude at all to discount these people. All of the long term relationships of our guests (over, say, 8 months) there is a ring involved. 

    I asked my FMIL if she wanted to go dress shopping around this time last year- about a week ago, she said she could go. 
  • We can call it "we didn't invite people who we don't have a relationship with, regardless of their relationship with our other guests, as we have a limited supply of money with which to pay for our guests."
    Four people were excluded because of this rule, and they have all since left the picture.
  • kylexokylexo Finger Lakes, NY member
    500 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    We can call it "we didn't invite people who we don't have a relationship with, regardless of their relationship with our other guests, as we have a limited supply of money with which to pay for our guests."
    Four people were excluded because of this rule, and they have all since left the picture.
    If they aren't together, then they aren't invited, but they should have been invited when invitations went out. If they break up in the meantime, then obviously they aren't invited. These guests should be invited by name, that way it's not an open +1 if they break up. I hope you have room in your budget to add people if any of your guests begin a new relationship, as they should be included too. (also would have really broken the bank to include 4 SO guests? it's petty as hell to exclude anyone - but ESPECIALLY so few people!)
    InLoveInQueensSP29
  • OP your last post was written in the past tense. "My bridesmaid had a boyfriend who was short lived." Etc. Has your wedding already happened? Is this relationship already Over? Same with out you phrased your sisters boyfriend. 

    (Also, if they are still together, it kinda especially sucks that you didn't even invite your bridesmaids boyfriend, considering she's someone who is standing up for you and has probably put in a lot of time and effort for your wedding)
    lnixon8OliveOilsMomcowgirl8238
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    We can call it "we didn't invite people who we don't have a relationship with, regardless of their relationship with our other guests, as we have a limited supply of money with which to pay for our guests."
    Four people were excluded because of this rule, and they have all since left the picture.
    Then I guess you need to LRN2BUDGET or cut your guest list even more.

    Yeah, no kidding.  I'd drop you as a friend too.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    cowgirl8238kimmiinthemitten
  • Literally all of this is completely beside the point. I didn't ask for advice on my guest list- the wedding is 6 weeks away and invitations were sent and that's not getting changed. You guys thinking I should invite people's SOs doesn't impact the fact that my 4 single friends are totally ok with it (and understand that we don't have any money to invite people we've never met). 
  • kylexokylexo Finger Lakes, NY member
    500 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    Literally all of this is completely beside the point. I didn't ask for advice on my guest list- the wedding is 6 weeks away and invitations were sent and that's not getting changed. You guys thinking I should invite people's SOs doesn't impact the fact that my 4 single friends are totally ok with it (and understand that we don't have any money to invite people we've never met). 
    if you can't afford to host people properly (with their SOs) you should have reevaluated the size of your guest list
    PrettyGirlLostcowgirl8238InLoveInQueenszitiqueen
  • We can call it "we didn't invite people who we don't have a relationship with, regardless of their relationship with our other guests, as we have a limited supply of money with which to pay for our guests."
    Four people were excluded because of this rule, and they have all since left the picture.
    Then I guess you need to LRN2BUDGET or cut your guest list even more.

    Yeah, no kidding.  I'd drop you as a friend too.
    The SO left the picture, not the friend.
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 2016
    Literally all of this is completely beside the point. I didn't ask for advice on my guest list- the wedding is 6 weeks away and invitations were sent and that's not getting changed. You guys thinking I should invite people's SOs doesn't impact the fact that my 4 single friends are totally ok with it (and understand that we don't have any money to invite people we've never met). 
    Wait a minute. . . if a person is single, then they are not in a relationship.  People who are truly single may be given a courtesy Plus One.  However, it's totally fine etiquette wise not to give out plus ones.

    That is entirely different from people who are actually in a relationship, and therefore are not single.   In those cases, you need to invite their SO's regardless of how long they have been dating, if they are engaged, etc.  Otherwise you are being really damn rude.

    So which is it now?  Did you simply not give single guests plus ones or did you neglect to invite ppl's SOs?

    ETA: Wedding is 6 weeks out and you already sent out invitations?  Why?  That's way too early.



    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    sparklepants41
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