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Wedding Woes

Family negativity is bringing me down

aisfora86aisfora86 Philadelphia member
25 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment
I'm sorry in advance if this gets long - I just am disheartened and don't really know what to do.

A little backstory - I come from a lower-middle class family in the North East of the US. My parents divorced when I was 11, and my mom raised us with no emotional or financial support from my dad. For years it was my mom, my sister and I working together to get things done. We all were very close. More recently - my younger sister has been engaged since last spring and is getting married in September. I am the maid of honor in her wedding, and am very excited for her. Her wedding is going to be at the renaissance faire, and she has been very mindful of her budget, which is awesome. I'm happy that she's chosen something that will make her happy, and is reflective of her hobbies and interests. I've been supportive of her all along, and just want her to have a wonderful wedding day. I've offered to help her with things, I've been planning pre-wedding events for her, etc.

Well, a few months back, I got engaged to the love of my life. My mom and sister, while they love my FI, were furious, saying that I needed to wait until after my sister's wedding in September to get engaged, and that I'm taking her spotlight. My go-to response was that she was entitled to her wedding day, we're planning for next May, so there will be no overlap in anything. I have no desire to take away my sister's spotlight, but I'm not putting my life on hold for this. After a few days, they seemed to get over it for the most part.

Comments started then about my ring - it's a diamond solitaire, but apparently that makes me an asshole?  My sister has made multiple comments about how it's not her taste and diamonds are tacky - she has a gemstone ring, which is also beautiful. I'm not sure why she feels the need to put mine down. My mom has made multiple comments about her thoughts on the cost of the ring and how she feels that it's a waste of money and obviously I don't have my priorities in the right place.

My FMIL asked if she could throw us an engagement party, which we agreed to - and only asked for close family and a few friends to come as a nice way to meet each other. Engagement parties aren't the norm in my family, and now my mom is calling me a priss and an attention whore because of this. I've gotten a number of phone calls from her that she's angry that I'm "expecting presents", even though I've told her multiple times, that this isn't a gift-giving event, it's more of a inter-family get together. We don't care about presents. If people get us presents, that's really nice, but not what we're expecting. She can't get over it, and keeps calling me a spoiled brat (I'm 32, have been self-reliant financially since 17, and this is legit the first time in my life that a party has been thrown for me, so that's a bit of a stretch).

FI and I have been planning our wedding for next May. He's been actively involved in the planning and is very excited. My sister has made comments repeatedly about how her FI isn't involved in planning, because he's a "man's man". My go-to response for this has been, "I'm happy the FI is involved in our planning. It makes things less stressful for me, and it's fun to plan together". I am a professor and work 60+ hours per week during the school year, so having my FI so involved has actually been a huge help. I don't know why she thinks I need to explain his involvement like it's a bad thing.

FI and I are also having a wedding with a budget that is a bit larger. We've both been saving for many years, and his parents have voluntarily kicked in some money towards certain things for minimal input (they want to be aware of what's going on, but do not want to be decision makers. They are wonderful people who are very reasonable, so I'm not concerned, and am very appreciative). My mom and sister have made many comments about how it will be overdone, a huge production, etc. My sister has said multiple times that she thinks I'm trying to outdo her, and that my wedding will be "ridiculous". It's a fairly typical wedding with 120ish guests, and the typical wedding stuff - no expectations for anyone to help, bridal party will be able to pick their own dresses and stuff when we get to that - I've really been trying to keep it fairly low key.

I've stopped all wedding talk with both of them, but they just randomly call me or text me to bitch about this stuff. For instance, my mom called me yesterday to thank me for cooking mother's day dinner, and then spent ten minutes talking about how I'm a terrible person with bad priorities for having a wedding.  My sister texted me yesterday pissed about the engagement party being a "gift grab" despite us telling her over and over again not to bring a gift. The negativity is tiring and disappointing. I feel like I'm constantly defending my choices, my future in-laws, my fiance and myself. It's especially difficult because I've always been really close with my mom and sister, and I'm a little caught off guard, and very hurt by their attitudes. 

I don't know what advice I need here, but I just felt  like I needed to vent. Anyone else have situations like this around their weddings?

Re: Family negativity is bringing me down

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited May 15
    I have a mother is nasty and bitchy whenever we are in stores together, and she has double standards too. I sympathize.

    I don't know why your mother is being so bitchy to you. But I bet your sister is jealous that she is not the only bride and your mother might be playing favorites. It sucks. The only advice I have for you is to set limits on your mother and sister's participation in your wedding, since they seem to be incapable of treating you with Politeness 101. Don't talk about your wedding with them, and cut them off if either starts bitching about how "inconvenient" your wedding is for them. Tell them: "You've said that so many times that you sound like a broken record. I am not willing to listen to any more negativity from you. And no, I am not canceling my wedding for you. Grow up and get over it." 
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Without knowing more to the story a lot of what you're saying is coming across as either resentment or perhaps a lack of understanding for doing things differently. 

    All I'd do at this point is treat their opinions like the opinions you get of any other guests.   That means:
    -Don't engage them in wedding conversation.   If they ask about anything give a quick answer and then bean dip. (change the topic)
    -If they make an a snide remark you can use the favorite non-apology, "I'm sorry you feel that way." and bean dip.

    Expect little of them in thought and action.   I probably would not ask your sister to be MOH unless you did already. 

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Well, I can say that you're doing nothing wrong. It's absurd for your mother and sister to expect you to put your life on hold for your sister's wedding, or for you to not have the wedding you want because it won't be the same as your sisters. I detect a bit of jealousy from your sister (and possibly your mother also) that you've managed to put together what sounds like a comfortable living and are able to indulge in some luxuries. Maybe this is something that's been underlying for a while and manifesting itself with the wedding?

    You can't change them or how they act. But what you can do is refuse to be a party to them dumping all over you. It may be Mother's Day, but you did not have to sit there and listen to 10 minutes of your mother putting you down. Use some firm language to shut her down when she starts on that: "Mom, I know this is not what you would have chosen, but we are happy with the wedding/ring/party/life we've decided on and it's not open for discussion. You can drop it or we can end this conversation." If she doesn't stop, hang up or walk out the door. 

    As for your sister, I'd be really inclined to get snarky. "Well, lucky for me I'm marrying an equal partner who doesn't expect me to do all the work because of my gender" but that's probably not the most diplomatic choice. Probably better to go with something like "You've expressed your discomfort with this party before. If you'd rather not come, I won't be upset." 
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited May 14
    My first thought - "Grrrl - if anyone's deserving of a cupcake and adult beverage moment... it's you!"..  Take your wedding out of the equation, in a metaphorical sense it's like the title "Rich Dad Poor Dad" from several years back.  You've made the transition from growing up without means into working hard to become successful and have the means to have an event for 120 of your nearest and dearest together without fear that it would financially "break" you.  You have broken out of the "poverty cycle" and that's intimidating to a lot of people still stuck in it.  You're doing all the right things here and the reality is you're dealing with a different type of poor think not jealousy over your wedding plans.  You've also got some of Mom's bitterness that she thinks she's being helpful in wanting more for you, but it just comes across as nit picking and not understanding etiquette on the family meet & greet.  

    I hate to say, and goes against my very intellectualism, your best way to combat some of this may be "buffering language" a little.  Instead of an "Engagement Party" call it a "Family meet & greet with the future in-laws" type thing for other events that may or may not happen between now and your wedding.  And yes, the elephant in the room is they both feel like you're "stealing their thunder" and this is with them, not you.  Telling you you aren't allowed to be engaged until AFTER your Sister's wedding is just absurd, as is telling you what your ring should or shouldn't look like!
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  • I am so sorry you're going through this.  Especially since it sounds like you and your mom/sis have always had a great relationship.  I'll chime in with the others that you aren't doing anything wrong.  It isn't stealing anyone's thunder to be engaged at the same time.  It's sad they can't just be excited and happy for you.

    You deserve for this to be a happy time for you and your FI.  I know it's easier said than done, but don't let their negativity get you down and don't let them feed it to you.  Like other PPs mentioned, shut those conversations down as soon as they start.  End the call/text chain or leave, when it is in person.  Hopefully they will quickly learn they need to stop the rude comments or they'll just be talking to the air.  I suspect/hope that, after your sister has had her wedding, the unnecessary "angst" they have will go away.  But some damage has already been done.

    As an aside for your sister, one of my former coworker's had a medieval-themed wedding.  Renaissance fairs were already a big hobby they both shared.  I thought it sounded like such a fun and awesome idea.  It was so "them".  Their pics were awesome.  But I know there was a little push back from a few family members that it wasn't something more traditional.  Even though guests were not "asked/required" to wear period costumes or anything rude like that.  It sounded like everyone had a great time on the day of. 
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  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    I had a medieval themed wedding, because it was easier to do it that way for us.  There was push-back beforehand, but people loved it.  It was a great way to keep decor costs down (we either had the decor already due to previous medieval feasts or events, or we knew people who did) and spend more money on awesome food.  Your sister's wedding sounds great to me, so I hope she isn't having doubts.
    And, your wedding also will be awesome!  Everyone is different, everyone's idea of a wedding is different.  For your mother and sister to be tearing you down for your completely normal differences is really sad, and I'm sorry you are going through that.  Ditto the wording that PP have given, and just don't tolerate them trash-talking you like this.  It isn't healthy for them or you.
    I also don't understand your sister insulting your FI for being helpful, unless it stems from jealousy.  People need to work to their strengths, and regardless of gender some people are better at planning weddings than others.  I hated wedding planning, and wish I could have let my H do it all.  Except he would have gone way off budget ...
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Great advice from PPs. My heart goes out to you. Vent away any time!
  • Ro041Ro041 member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I am late to the party here (I was out of town last week for work) but I wanted to throw my two cents in here.

    I am on team Be Direct and would say something like this to both of them, "You seem to have nothing but negative things to say about my wedding.  You are certainly entitled to your opinion but I would ask you to keep your opinions to yourself because what you have said to me has been really upsetting.  If you prefer not to come to the Engagement Party, you will be so missed.  We have told you to please not bring a gift so I am not sure why we are still talking about this.  If you can't understand how much you are hurting me and continue to put me down, then I am afraid we won't be able to talk anymore."

    My mom pulled this kind of crap when we were engaged and once I set firm boundaries, she backed off real quick.  She kept talking about our "big wedding" (of 75 people) and telling us what a burden it was on her to buy a plane ticket to the event.  She also referenced how she hoped this one would happen since my last engagement ended before the wedding.  I finally told her that her comments were hurtful and that I wouldn't engage in any conversations with her if she continued to be hurtful.  She stopped.  And she showed up to the wedding with bells on. 

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