Moms and Maids

Need advice for Mother of the groom

My son just got engaged and I am surprised and very happy. Here is the problem - the bride's family (mother and stepfather) is unable to help financially and unwilling to help with planning. I'm not sure why her mother isn't interested in helping planning. My son is paying for the whole wedding which he is trying to keep at $10,000 or below.

I am getting mixed messages from them as to what they would like me to do. My son resists any suggestions from me as being "old fashioned" but his fiance sends me messages asking about dresses and thanking me for all my help. So far, all I've done is help them find a beach house for their wedding and reception. My son involved me in this and wanted my help.

I think I should just stay out of it unless they ask me for suggestions, but it is hard when his fiance does ask me things. She told me she feels awful because her family should be helping but they are not. I told her I would help in any way. I think this makes her feel even worse.

Re: Need advice for Mother of the groom

  • edited December 2011
    From what I gather some parents just aren't that interested for whatever reason.  Maybe financially they can't afford to help and therefore feel like they shouldn't help or they just aren't that into planning what amounts to a big party.

    For whatever reason your son doesn't seem to want your help, I think it's commendable that your FDIL does. She's obviously trying to keep you involved and I think that speaks a lot about her character. She may also already be viewing you as her second mother and hoping that you can fill the spot her own mother doesn't seem to want. You should continue to help when either one of them asks, but otherwise I would keep quiet with suggestions.

    You're obviously trying not to step on any toes, so I would just keep doing what you are doing. I'm sure any help they get will be greatly appreciated.
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  • pegasuskatpegasuskat member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    My DIL has a family just like this.  I ended up helping a lot, but just offered to do whatever they needed.  Then they came to me with things.  Just be sure and tell her that you are available and want to help with as much (or little) as they need. If you are willing to help pay for anything make sure you tell them.  Don't just assume they know.
  • edited December 2011
    This is something that your FDIL and your son should work out themselves.  They clearly aren't on the same page when it comes to your involvement.

    If I were you, I'd help out when asked.  If your FDIL asks your opinion or assistance with something, absolutely give it if you can/want to.  But you probably shouldn't push where you haven't been asked, you know?
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  • LoveMuffinsLoveMuffins member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Maybe it's just nice for her to have someone to talk to about wedding plans. I know that if my family wasn't interested, and my FMIL was, I would definitely spend time talking to her about it. Heck, I spend time talking to my FMIL about it, and my mom IS super involved. She probably just wishes her mom was more involved and is torn between wanting a bit of motherly advice and attention, and worrying that she's putting too much pressure on you. I think that staying out of it except when asked your opinion is a good idea, but when she comes to you I don't think you should hesitate to give suggestions and/or gush a little over some of the things they're doing.

    Since she seems more into your suggestions than he is, maybe just respond to when she asks, and if your son brings it up just say, "Oh well, she asked for my opinion, and I gave her a suggestion, but you two should do whatever you want, I'm sure it will be lovely".
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    It's okay to give your opinion, when asked. I don't necessarily think your son is asking you to stay out of it. He's asked for your opinions and thinks some of your ideas are old fashioned. When your fdil wants to talk to you about the wedding, it's okay for you to do so. They may love some of your ideas and not others. It's all part of the process. I think it's really nice that you and your fdil have such a nice relationship with each other.
                       
  • edited December 2011
    She's probably looking for someone to hear her...and be excited about it.  I would try very hard to be excited about her day and her choices.  When it was my daughter, and now her best friend, they come to me with options.  Instead of jumping in with an opinion, I ask something like "what about this choice do you like?".  That way I get an idea which way they are leaning.  I was also really big on..."these are both so wonderful I just can't choose, I know either would be awesome!"  I know them both well enough to have that kind of conversation and see what way to go!

    Mostly, they just want someone to listen and be excited!
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  • Mary5211Mary5211 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thank you all for the great advice. I will follow it!

    My FDIL is not sad about the financial piece of it - that can't be helped. She is sad about the fact that her mother is not at all interested in her in general and really never has been. That's the way she grew up so she thought it was normal. She has never really known her bio dad and her step-dad who raised her rejected her and her older sister for his own son who came along a couple years later.

    Her mom and step-dad are more than happy to come to the wedding, but i don't know if they will be walking her down the aisle at their beach wedding! That's one thing I am staying out of for sure.
  • Meganr22Meganr22 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    It sounds as though you are handling the situation well.  Let them know you are there to help in any way you can, but wait for them to come to you.  My mother has been a great help to me, even just emotionally with all the planning involved, and I don't know what I would do without her.  My fiance doesn't want anything to do with wedding planning, he seems to think his only responsibility is to show up, so I would really be on my own without my mother.  It is great that your son is helping her with the planning.  Your FDIL does not have her mother at all and is maybe looking to you to fill that void. 

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